Basic facts about Greece

Location: Southern Europe

European Union member: yes

Capital: Athens

Largest city: Athens

Official language: Greek

Ethnic groups: 94% Greek, 4% Albanian, 2% others

Demonym: Hellenic, Greek

Government: Unitary parliamentary republic

Legislature: Parliament

Area: 131,990 km2

Population: approximately 11,3 million in 2010

Density: 85.3/km2

Currency: Euro (€) since 2001, before that the Greek drachma

Time zone: Winter EET (UTC+2), Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Drives on: the right

Calling code: 30

Internet top level domain: .gr

Administrative divisions

Greece has been divided into 13 peripheries with a total of 325 municipalities since January 1, 2011, when the Kallikratis programme reform was put into effect. There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos (known as Agio Oros in Greek, which means Holy Mountain). This autonomous area is just 390 square kilometers in size and inhabited by less than 2,000 people.

Earlier, Greece was divided into 54 prefectures and prefecture-level administrations. These old prefectures and prefecture-level administrations have largely been kept as sub-units of the peripheries.

Number Peripheries Capital Area (km²) Area (sq. mi.) Population*
1 Attica Athens 3,808 1,470 3,812,330
2 Central Greece Lamia 15,549 6,004 546,870
3 Central Macedonia Thessaloniki 18,811 7,263 1,874,590
4 Crete Heraklion 8,259 3,189 621,340
5 East Macedonia and Thrace Komotini 14,157 5,466 606,170
6 Epirus Ioannina 9,203 3,553 336,650
7 Ionian Islands Corfu 2,307 891 206,470
8 North Aegean Mytilene 3,836 1,481 197,810
9 Peloponnese Tripoli 15,490 5,981 581,980
10 South Aegean Ermoupoli 5,286 2,041 308,610
11 Thessaly Larissa 14,037 5,420 730,730
12 West Greece Patras 11,350 4,382 680,190
13 West Macedonia Kozani 9,451 3,649 282,120
Number Autonomous state Capital Area (km²) Area (sq. mi.) Population*
Mount Athos Karyes 390 151 1,830

* Based on data from the 2011 census

Cities

Nearly two-thirds of the Greek population is urban, and about 4 million of the nation’s 11,3 million inhabitants are living in the larger urban area of Athens. The second largest city in Greece is Thessaloniki, with roughly 1 million residents in its larger urban area. Population figures for the two contiguously built up urban areas (not including the surrounding urban areas) are circa 3 million and 790,000, respectively. Athens is located next to the Mediterranean Sea in the Attica periphery of southern Greece, while Thessaloniki is a part of Central Macedonia.

In the table below you will find the 20 largest cities of Greece by population. The figures pertain to the contiguous built up urban areas and come from the 2011 census.

Rank

City Name

Periphery

Population

1

Athens

Attica

3,074,160

2

Thessaloniki

C. Macedonia

790,824

3

Patras

West Greece

214,580

4

Heraklion

Crete

173,450

5

Larissa

Thessaly

163,380

6

Volos

Thessaly

144,420

7

Rhodes

South Aegean

115,290

8

Ioannina

Epirus

111,740

9

Chania

Crete

108,310

10

Chalcis

Central Greece

102,420

11

Agrinio

West Greece

93,930

12

Katerini

C. Macedonia

86,170

13

Trikala

Thessaly

80,900

14

Serres

C. Macedonia

76,240

15

Lamia

Central Greece

74,720

16

Alexandroupoli

E. Macedonia/Thrace

72,750

17

Kavala

E. Macedonia/Thrace

70,360

18

Kalamata

Peloponnese

70,130

19

Veria

C. Macedonia

66,630

20

Komotini

E. Macedonia/Thrace

66,580