A Mediterranean landscape, whitewashed houses under the sun, overwhelming history and people of great hospitality: this is Greece. Greeks are instinctively friendly to foreign visitors and convey their genuine warmth. The Greek language best sums this up: the word for “foreigner” in Greek is the same as the one for “guest”.

Foreign visitors and Greek tourists alike wish to partake of locals’ everyday life. While the larger and more well-known islands such as Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini have been popular destinations for years, the immense improvements in sea and ground transportation have made other locations popular as well. Visitors are discovering smaller Greek islands and towns tucked away in the mainland.

Lush islands such as Skopelos,Kefalonia or Zante have been added to people’s wish lists; others have discovered mainland destinations Pelion and Arahova, for their ski resorts and winter tourism amenities, as well as their distinctive traditional architecture.

Southern locations such as Mani and Porto Heli in the Peloponnese are beautiful as well as accessible: less than 3 hours away by hydrofoil or car, they are ideal year-round destinations.

Enticed by climate and natural resources, as well as the Mediterranean diet and way of life, holidaymakers are now choosing to buy former farmhouses, Greek village homes and newly built homes in traditional styles.

The country’s population is approximately 11 million. The official language is Greek (Hellenic) but other languages such as English, French and German are widely spoken, especially in popular tourist areas. The religion is Greek Orthodox. There are, however, minorities of Catholics & Muslims.

Greece has a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot summers and mild, sunny winters, especially in the south. There are approximately 300 days of sunshine per year. The average temperature in the summer is 25 °C (77 F).The annual rainfall varies from 1500mm in the north to less than 500mm in the south, and it rarely rains in the summer.

Greece has been a member of theEuropean Union since January 1981 and a member of the eurozone since 2002.

Currently the country undertakes major financial and political reforms that will create solid foundations for its future.