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Landscape and Nature

Greece is a very mountainous country, with 80% of it being covered in mountains or hills. Its highest mountain is Mount Olympus with a peak of 2,918m above sea level. Ancient Greeks believed that this was the home of the gods and today it is a national park.

Mount olympus

The 160km long Pindus mountains run down the western side of the country. Described as "the spine of Greece", they are a barrier to east-west travel and they strongly affect the rainfall in the country, with areas to the west of them being much wetter than areas lying to the east of them (due to a rain shadow effect).


Most of the country used to be covered in forests. Over the centuries, the forests were cut down for: firewood, lumber and to make room for farms. Today, a lot of the land is covered by maquis, a tangle of thorny shrubs that don't need a lot of water. These plants include fragrant herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, and bay and myrtle trees.

Vouraikos-train Peloponnese

Greece has the longest coastline in Europe, which is often very rocky and rugged. The clear waters around it make it good for spotting: starfish, sea anemones and seahorses hiding in the seaweed. Dolphins were once a common sight in the seas around Greece too. The animals are often featured in ancient art and on ancient coins and jewellery.

Zakynthos shipwreck beach retouched

Special marine parks in Greece help to protect the habitats of two of Europe's most endangered sea creatures, the loggerhead turtle and monk seal.

Loggerhead Sea turtle

Bird watching is also popular in Greece, where: geese, ducks and swallows stop over during their migration flights from Africa to Europe.