Greece, a peninsular and mountainous country located in Southern-Eastern Europe, in the Balkan Peninsula and has the largest coastline in Europe (13,676 km) due to its numerous islands. It has more than 2,000 Greek islands but only 168 are inhabited.
The country is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, ranking in the world’s top 20 countries. According to the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the nation received about 17 million visitors in the 2013, a very large number for a small country of 11 million. Visitors are drawn to the country’s beaches and its reliable sunny summer weather, its nightlife, historical sites and natural beauty.
Over 90% of visitors who come to Greece come from other European countries, although in recent years there has been growing numbers of tourists from other parts of the world. The vast majority of visitors that arrive during the tourism season, which is April through October. The high season is July throughout August.
Many of the first-time visitors that arrive in Greece with specific images in mind are surprised to discover a country with such regional and architectural diversity with many medieval churches and castles and classical ruins and temples.
Greece is a full member of the European Union since 1981, a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, the OECD since 1961, the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005.