The islands are Greece’s chief morphological trait and an integral part of the country’s
civilisation and tradition. The Greek territory comprises
scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Sea, a truly unique phenomenon on the
European continent; of these islands only 227 are inhabited.
The Greek Archipelago takes up
7,500 km of the country’s total 16,000-km coastline, offering a highly
diversified landscape: beaches stretching along many kilometers,
sheltered bays and coves, golden stretches of sand with dunes, pebbly
beaches, coastal caves with steep rocks and black sand typical of
volcanic soil, coastal wetlands... Many Greek beaches have been awarded
the blue flag under the programme Blue Flags of Europe.
from swimming, they lend themselves to scuba diving, snorkeling, water
skiing, sailing and windsurfing. As they are the cradle of some of the
most ancient and prosperous European civilisations (the Cycladic, Minoan
civilisations, etc.), the islands boast unique archaeological sites, an
outstanding architectural heritage and centuries-old, fascinating local
traditions of a multifaceted cultural past. Moreover, 58.5% of the
country’s lodging establishments and 62.6% of hotel beds are found on
the islands (data for 2003). All the above, combined with the ideal
climate, the safety of Greek waters and the short distances between
ports and coasts, have rendered the
extremely popular among Greek and foreign visitors.
islands lie in the
and are divided in seven groups (from north to south):