Skip to Content

109+ Surprising and Fun Facts About Greece

Along with being one of our favorite countries to visit, Greece is also a thoroughly fascinating place to learn about.

With a long and rich history, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of interesting facts about Greece!

Cool. Strange. Insightful.

These 109+ fun Greek facts are riveting to read – whether you’re planning a trip to Greece or just want to learn more Greek trivia.

Interesting and fun facts about Greece!

Facts about Greece

Fun facts about Athens

1) The Acropolis almost became one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World”

The Acropolis is fabulous to roam around when you’re in Athens – which is so worth visiting.

And like Chichen Itza (the most famous ruins in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula), the Acropolis of Athens was a leading contender in the 2007 “New 7 Wonders of the World” contest.

But one of the surprising Greece facts is that while Chichen Itza made the list, the Acropolis didn’t. Go figure.

Whatever, it’s still one of the world’s most amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Fun facts about Athens: The Acropolis almost became one of the "New 7 Wonders of the World."

And if you need a reminder: Don’t just dash in and out of Athens on your way to the Greek Islands!

Because the Acropolis and its 2,450+ years of history will have you gaping with awe at what humankind can achieve artistically, culturally and politically. Not to mention the other attractions Athens offers…

2) It’s illegal to wear high heels

Who knew!

You can’t wear high heels in Greece when touring ancient historic sites like the Acropolis because you could “wound” the monuments. One of the quirkiest facts about Athens, don’t your think?

Do yourself and the monuments a favor, and wear proper travel sandals or shoes.

3) The city of Athens is the oldest capital in Europe

Greece’s capital, Athens is also one of the oldest cities in the world.

Said to be protected by the goddess Athena (who lent her name to the city), Athens was already a major center of Mycenaean civilization by 1400 B.C.

4) The highest temperature ever recorded in Europe was in Athens

The temperature in Athens soared to a record-breaking 118.4 F (48 C) on July 10, 1977 – the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe.

Reminder: Spring and fall are more pleasant times for visiting Greece. You’ll still get plenty of days of sunshine, but without the searing heat that comes with summer.

5) Athens was the first European Capital of Culture

Fun Athens facts: Athens was the first European Capital of Culture.

It was so named in 1985.

Examples of subsequent capitals to be designated a European Capital of Culture include Porto, Portugal (2001), Matera, Italy (2019) and Novi Sad, Serbia (2022).

6) One famous modern-day Athenian is Arianna Huffington

The co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post was born in Athens.

7) The presidential guards wear pom-poms on their shoes

Fun facts about Greece: The Evzones guards wear pom-poms on their shoes.

Called “Evzones,” these elite ceremonial guards wear a distinctive uniform, which includes a kilt, red cap and black pom-poms on their shoes.

The best time to watch the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square in Athens is on Sundays at 11:00 am, when there’s a “grand change.”

Cool facts about Santorini

Facts about Santorini: Santorini is one of the world's most beautiful islands.

8) Santorini is the only inhabited caldera in the world

Created after an explosive volcanic eruption in 1660 BC, the sickle-shaped island of Santorini is what’s left of the volcanic caldera.

Today, it’s the only volcano cauldron in the world where people live.

9) Santorini is an active volcano

Don’t worry (too much) though. Santorini is dormant (for now).

10) Santorini is the world’s most beautiful island

At least, that’s what many people think. Especially honeymooners – Santorini is one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations.

Fun facts about Greece: Many people think Santorini is the world's most beautiful island.

We love Santorini, but we also think the islands of Bora Bora, Mallorca and Maui are just as beautiful, but in different ways.)

11) Santorini has red beaches

It has black sand beaches too.

You can swim at most of these beaches.

12) Santorini was home to the lost city of Atlantis

Or so the legend goes…

13) People go ga-ga over Santorini’s sunsets

The lovely white-washed village of Oia is famous for its blood-orange sunsets, drawing crowds of photographers and sunset worshippers.

Seeing the sunset in Santorini pops up on many travelers’ Europe bucket list.

Fun facts about Santorini: Sunsets in Oia are famous.

This top-rated guided day trip (through Santorini Tours) escorts you to the cliff-top village of Oia for the sunset – after taking you sightseeing, beaching and wine tasting – before dropping you off back at your Santorini hotel.

14) There was no electricity on the island until 1960

Enough said…

15) Wine is more plentiful than water

Santorini gets so little rain that locals joke the island has more wine than water.

16) “Donkey taxis” are used to get to Fira

From the old port, there are 588 steps to get up to Santorini’s capital of Fira.

You can take the cable car up or ride a Santorini donkey.

Donkey taxis are used in Santorini.

The donkey rides are controversial though, especially if you’re, ahem, overweight.

17) Santorini grows more than 100 varieties of grapes


18) The hike from Fira to Oia is one of the world’s most beautiful

The 6-mile hike winds along cobbled lanes on the cliffs of Fira and Imerovigli, then across the spine of the island (where you get amazing ocean views on both sides), finally ending in Oia.

Avoid walking in the heat of the day; early morning or late afternoon are the best times to go.

19) Santorini wines are especially classy

The volcanic soil adds a classy, flinty flavor to Santorini wines.

20) Early Santorinians lived in cave houses

Today, some of the best boutique hotels in Santorini (like Ikies Traditional Houses) are cave hotels – but they’re much more luxurious digs than what the early residents carved out!

21) Santorini is full of stairs

Walking up and down in Santorini is like getting an outdoor stairmaster workout.

Walking up and down in Santorini is like getting an outdoor stairmaster workout.

It’s about 350 to 400 steps from Oia village to Amoudi Bay down below.

The climb from Imerovigli to Skaros Rock is about 300 steps.

Interesting facts about Mykonos

22) Few people actually live on Mykonos

Facts about Mykonos: Not many people actually live on Mykonos, but it gets whopping numbers of visitors in summer.

Just over 10,000 people actually live on the island full-time.

But in summer, Mykonos reels in a whopping number of sun-seekers and holiday-goers.

More than 50,000 visitors stay on the island at any one time then, and the island sees between 150,000 and 250,000 visitors a year.

The savvy ones would stay at our favorite Mykonos beach hotels.

23) Mykonos is miserable in winter

There’s a reason you don’t want to visit Mykonos in winter.

Temps drop, and the island gets very windy from November to March – which makes it bone-chilling cold! In fact, Mykonos’ “nickname” is the “Island of the Winds.”

24) Mykonos’ windmills are centuries old

There used to be 28 windmills all over the island, originally built by the Venetians during the 16th century.

The island’s gusty weather was perfect for operating windmills! They were mostly used to mill wheat for bread.

Fun facts about Mykonos: There used to be 28 windmills. Now there are 16 old windmills.

Today, there are only 16 old windmills still standing.

Five of these windmills are perched high above the crashing waves of the charming Little Venice neighborhood in Mykonos town.

25) Mykonos was a popular pirate’s den

When pirates commanded the seas, they loved to hang out and drink in Little Venice, where balconies overhang the sea.

26) Mykonos has as many churches as families

There are between 600 and 800 churches and chapels on Mykonos – which is said to result in one church or chapel per local family.

Mykonos has as many churches as families.

(Do the math, and “family” must include grandparents down to grandchildren. But whatever, this is still a lot of churches for an island only 33 square miles in size!)

27) “Petros the Pelican” is the island’s unique mascot

This is one of the cutest Greece facts: Mykonos’ town is home to the most famous pelican in the world, Petros, the island’s mascot.

Petros the Pelican is Mykonos' unique mascot.

The original Petros was a white pelican back in the 1950s, hurt and nursed back to health by a fisherman who found him.

The pelican stayed on the island and was adopted by the locals.

Sadly, Petros was killed in a car accident in 1985.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis later donated a pelican to the Mykonians who missed Petros. Two other pelicans apparently also found their way to the island.

So today, the “Petros” you see could be one of several Mykonos pelicans.

One of the cutest Greece facts: Mykonos town is home to the most famous pelican in the world, Petros.

When looking for Petros on a visit to Mykonos, we overlooked a tethered goat nearby, which decided to suddenly head-butt George.

Thwack – ouch! Happy memories…

28) Mykonos is gay friendly

Mykonos is a top Greek party island – Paradise Beach is one of the top places to party there. Gay sun worshippers especially love Paradise and Super Paradise beaches.

29) There’s superb diving at the shipwreck of Anna II

In 1995, the 200-foot cargo ship Anna II sank off the coast of Mykonos near Lia Beach.

Resting on the Aegean Sea floor at a depth of 82 feet, the wreck is in excellent condition.

The site has turned into a fantastic artificial reef, full of big colorful sponges – making it a great attraction for scuba divers.

30) Cats are owned by everyone on Mykonos

Lots of cute kitties roam the streets of Mykonos town.

The cats don’t have “owners” and are fed and cared for by everyone.

31) Topless swimming is allowed everywhere on Mykonos

So ladies, feel free to take your top off at the beach! Modern Greeks are quite accepting of this.

(But some hotels don’t allow topless sunbathing at their pools or hotel beach sections. So check first before stripping.)

32) Doors and windows are painted specific colors

They’re painted blue, red or green.

In the past, the color depended on what you did for a living.

Sailors painted their shutters and doors blue. Green was for farmers. Everyone else painted their doors and windows red.

Interesting facts about Crete

33) The air on Crete has healing powers

At least, this is what Hippocrates (the “father of medicine”) preached.

It’s believed he sent the sick to the island of Crete to get better.

34) Crete has two pink sand beaches

Facts about Crete: Balos Beach has pink sand.

Check out the beaches of Balos and Elafonissi – they have a pinkish color.

35) Zeus was born on Crete

One of the Greek mythology facts that Cretans are proud to point out is that their island was the birthplace of Zeus, the king of all Greek gods.

36) There are no harmful animals on Crete

Interesting facts about Crete: You may see goats, but no dangerous animals.

You may see Kri Kri goats, rabbits and hedgehogs. But no dangerous animals.

37) Cretans fire guns during weddings and other celebrations

But only in the air!

38) The minotaur lived in a labyrinth underneath the Palace of Knossos

Interesting facts about Crete: The minotaur lived in a labyrinth under the Palace of Knossos.

According to Greek myth, the creature (half-man and half-bull) was King Minos’ son.

The king’s daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus, a prince from Athens, who killed the minotaur, after which the happy couple fled Crete.

39) Crete is the largest island in Greece

It’s the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the 88th biggest island in the world.

40) The island has some 50 gorges

Samaria Gorge – more than 10 miles long – is the longest gorge in Europe.

Walking along the gorge makes for a beautiful hike.

41) Crete has heaps of “Blue Flag” beaches

A “Blue Flag” beach is one that’s extremely clean with clear water.

Facts about Crete: Crete has 115 Blue Flag beaches.

Crete has 115 “Blue Flag” beaches. Little wonder that the island is a hot spot for European beachgoers!

42) “Zorba the Greek” was set in Crete

One of the best books about Greece is Zorba the Greek.

It was also turned into a fantastic movie. If you watch golden oldie flicks, you’ll recognize Anthony Quinn portraying Zorba in the 1964 film (for which Quinn was nominated for an Oscar).

Anyway, the story is set on Crete, where the book’s author Nikos Kazantzakis was born and raised.

Interesting Greek facts about other places in the country

43) The island of Chios is one of the best places for scuba diving in Greece

The underwater reef formations are fantastic!

You can swim through sea caves, dive along fabulous rocky walls (like the Great Wall) and explore underwater ship wrecks.

44) The movie “Mama Mia” was filmed in Skiathos and Skopelos

Here’s a fun fact about Greece for all you romantic movie fans out there: The port where Sophie’s three maybe-fathers meet for the first time is the old port on Skiathos.

Fun Greek facts: The Greek island of Skiathos was used for filming the movie "Mama Mia."

The island of Skopelos was used to film most of the outdoor beach and town scenes (Kastani Beach was the main beach location).

45) Greece has over 6,000 islands

Or 5,000. Or 1,200 islands. Depending on what source you look at.

The number of inhabited islands is between 166 and 227, again, depending on the source.

46) Wild dolphins frolic around Alonissos

The island is part of the National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades – the largest marine protected area in Europe.

47) Rhodes has millions of butterflies

The Valley of Butterflies (Petaloudes Valley) on the island of Rhodes is home to the only natural forest of Oriental Sweetgum trees, which attracts breeding Jersey tiger moths.

At the end of the wet season in May, you can sometimes see spectacular clouds of these moths and other butterflies.

The butterfly “season” is between May and September. Even if you don’t see lots of them, the walk or hike through the shady valley is still very pleasant.

If you’re visiting Rhodes, here’s an inexpensive guided tour which visits both Filerimos Hill and the Valley of Butterflies.

48) The name “Rhodes” means “rose”

And, yes, Rhodes has a lot of roses!

49) Samothrace boasts stunning waterfalls

Had you heard of Samothrace before? No? Well, that’s because it’s one of the most non-touristy Greek islands.

Samothrace is a place for hikers and nature lovers.

50) Anthony Bourdain spent a lot of time on Naxos

Not a party island, Naxos is known for its delicious food.

51) You can hike mining caves on the island of Serifos

From the 1800s to early 1900s, iron and copper ore mines thrived on Serifos. (Conditions for the miners were terrible though.)

Today, you can explore the abandoned mining caves.

52) The famous statue of Aphrodite was discovered on Milos in 1820

Venus de Milo, Louvre

The beautiful marble statue of “Aphrodite of Milos” (also known as “Venus de Milo”) can now be seen in the Louvre.

53) The movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” was filmed on Kefalonia

The beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, with colorful waterfront homes

One of the most beautiful islands in Greece, Kefalonia is home to a magnificent 16th century Venetian castle (Assos Castle), colorful waterfront houses and an underground lagoon in a cave – Melissani Lake – which you can explore by small boat.

54) Corfu is the greenest Greek island

It is nick-named Greece’s “Emerald Isle” and is home to more than 3 million olive trees.

55) People on Corfu drink kumquat liqueur

Kumquats (a small orange sour-tasting fruit) were introduced to Corfu in 1860.

Fun facts about Corfu: The people drink kumquat liqueur.

Now nearly every garden in Corfu has a kumquat tree.

The kumquat liqueur isn’t made anywhere else in Greece.

People on Corfu love their kumquat liqueur.

56) James Bond gambled at Achilleion Palace

One of the main tourist attractions on Corfu, the Achilleion Palace was built by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria in the late 19th century.

It was turned into a casino for the James Bond movie, “For Your Eyes Only.”

57) The chic island of Hydra is car-free

No automobiles are allowed. Donkeys are the main form of transportation.

58) At Meteora, monks live in monasteries perched on towering rock pinnacles

One of the most unique places in Greece, Meteora is peppered with 14th century monasteries, built by monks searching out spiritual isolation.


In the past, ropes and baskets had to be used to haul up the monks from the ground. You can visit some of these monasteries today.

59) Nafplio is Greece’s playground for the rich and famous

The beautiful seaport town on the Peloponnese Peninsula was also the first capital of modern Greece.

60) Alexander the Great was buried at Philippi

Or not. There’s speculation that a tomb found in the ancient ruins of Philippi might be his.

But experts say the bones found there are probably those of Alexander’s mother or his wife. (Alexander died in Babylon, a city located in present-day Iraq.).

61) Katapola has great fish restaurants

Charming little fish tavernas line the sleepy harbor at Katapola.

62) Tom Hanks has a home on Antiparos

Here’s some Greece trivia for you Tom Hanks fans out there: Known to love Greece, the actor and his wife Rita Wilson have a summer house on Antiparos, a bohemian Greek island with several nude beaches.

Rita, by the way, was born to a Greek mother.

63) Levitha is possibly the smallest inhabited Greek island

It’s hard to say exactly which is the “smallest inhabited” island, because there are tiny islands that are privately owned.

But Levitha is only four square miles in size and inhabited by one single family. They run a tavern for yachters who occasionally drop anchor there.

64) Shipwreck Cove is insta-perfect!

Shipwreck Cove, Zakynthos

On the island of Zakynthos, Shipwreck Cove (or Navagio Beach) is one of the best Zakynthos beaches – and one of the most photographed spots in Greece!

A large rusted shipwreck rests on the beach.

Fun facts about Greek people

Okay, that’s enough geography facts about Greece. Now let’s dive into some facts about the Greek people.

65) Greeks are happy people

One of the most heart-warming facts about Greece is that, despite their economic hardships, Greeks have the lowest suicide rate in the European Union.

66) Greeks on the island of Ikaria live to be very old

One in three people on this Greek island off the Turkish coast live into their 90s.

Fun facts about Greek people: They're happy, and on the island of Ikaria, they live into their 90s.

Locals on Ikaria don’t just have a longer life expectancy.

They have quality lives too – enjoying much lower rates of heart disease, dementia and cancer than Americans or Canadians.

67) Over 90% of Greeks are Greek Orthodox

The rest of the population identify as Jewish, Catholic or Muslim.

68) Cleopatra was actually Greek, not Egyptian

While she was born in Egypt, Cleopatra was the last of the Macedonian Greek dynasty which ruled Egypt for nearly three centuries after Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC.

69) Everyone gets two birthdays in Greece

And your “name day” is more important in (mostly Greek Orthodox) Greece than your real birthday.

Each day of the year is dedicated to a saint, and most people are named after saints. So your “name day” is the day of that saint’s celebration.

You’re typically invited out to a taverna for a drink or dinner on your name day.

Doing the math, as the population of Greece is over 10 million, that means more than 20 million birthdays are celebrated every year in Greece!

70) Many Hollywood celebrities are Greek

Jennifer Aniston, Tina Fey, Billy Zane, Elizabeth Perkins and Nia Vardalos (of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fame) are all of Greek heritage.

71) Albert Einstein was more interested in the Greeks than in science

He once famously said: “How can any educated person stay away from the Greeks? I have always been far more interested in them than in science.”

Charming facts about Greek culture, food and wine

72) Ouzo is magic

Okay, not exactly. But this anise-flavored liquor, which Greeks drink with appetizers, has a magical quality – it turns from clear to milky white when water or ice is added to it.

And it performs its happiness-inducing magic very quickly if you drink a glass (or two) of ouzo!

73) The color blue can repel the evil eye

It was believed that the color of sky-blue could ward off evil spirits.

This is why you see doors, church cupolas, fences and window shutters in Greece painted this rich blue color.

In Greece, it was believed color blue could ward off evil spirits, so that's why you see so many doors and windows painted blue.

74) Greek wine is really good!

This is one of those things to know before traveling to Greece that should put a smile on your face!

Greek wine used to get a bad rap. But the country has upped its game recently.

We’ve drunk some surprisingly good Santorini wines on our visits to the island. So go ahead – give Greek wine another chance.

75) Greeks love their olive oil

It’s a staple of their Mediterranean diet, and Greeks are the world’s top consumers of olive oils.

They drizzle it on their tomato, feta cheese and cucumber salad; sauté potatoes with it; rub chicken with it before roasting to crisp the outside – yes, olive oil features prominently in Greek food!

Each Greek consumes five gallons of olive oil a year. (By comparison, the average person in the United States consumes only 1/3 of a gallon of olive oil a year.)

Greece is also one of the world’s largest producers of virgin olive oil.

76) The Greeks beat the French for nudity onscreen

This Greek fact may come as a surprise to film buffs.

It wasn’t a French flick but the 1931 Greek movie “Daphnis and Chloe” which showed the first nude scene in European cinema.

77) Greeks are fashionably late

One of the Greek culture facts you just have to accept when traveling is that ferry schedules are more of a “guideline.”

And showing up 30 minutes after the agreed time for social occasions is considered fashionably on time.

78) Digging up dead bodies is common

Cemeteries are crowded. So it’s common to only keep the body underground for three to five years.

After that, the body is dug up and the bones are kept in an ossuary.

79) Greeks love to dance

Dancing is a very old tradition in Greece.

Fun facts about Greece: There are up to 10,000 traditional Greek dances.

It’s estimated there are 10,000 traditional Greek dances that come from all regions in Greece.

80) Tipping at restaurants isn’t common in Greece

This is one of those useful facts about Greece you may not be aware of.

In many restaurants, you’re not expected to tip your server. (So when looking at how much a trip to Greece costs, you don’t need to budget for those extra 15 to 25% tips common in North America.)

But at tourist restaurants, a 10% tip is always appreciated.

Taxi drivers and tour guides also expect to be tipped by tourists. And it’s customary to leave 1 Euro a night in your hotel room for the cleaning staff.

81) Leprosy was a ground for divorcing your spouse until 1983

Nowadays, the three grounds for divorce in Greece are bigamy, adultery or desertion (i.e., a breakdown of the marriage).

82) Greeks are very proud

This is a bit of Greece trivia you may already know if you have Greek friends.

Greeks are proud to be Greek. Indeed, they’re prouder of their national identity than any of their European counterparts.

83) Greek coffee is unique

The coffee grinds are extremely fine, almost like flour, and the coffee tastes a little like espresso. Sugar is often added in the brewing.

Want a little coffee with your sugar? Ask for “Vary Glykos,” which uses 2 teaspoons of coffee to 3 teaspoons of sugar.

Interesting Greek facts: Greek coffee is unique, where the grinds are very fine, almost like flour.

Greek coffee is drunk morning, noon and night, and is usually served with a glass of water.

84) The Greek language is one of the oldest languages still spoken today

Linguists have different views on the oldest language in the world. It’s a toss-up between Sanskrit, Egyptian and Tamil.

But Greek is right up there, at about 3,400 years old. And unlike Sanskrit, say, Greek is still in wide use today.

85) Backgammon is extremely popular in Greece

You often see Greeks, young and old, playing games at cafés. A backgammon game makes a good souvenir to bring home.

Other great souvenirs include honey, Karagiozis (shadow puppets) and olive oil soaps.

86) Greek yogurt in Greece is way better than Greek yogurt back home

Deliciously thick and creamy, it’s often eaten at breakfast, drizzled with honey on top and finished off with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.

87) The “OK” sign is considered rude in Greece

Interesting Greek facts: The "OK" sign is an insult.

This is one of the things about Greece you should know when visiting. You don’t want to use the “OK” sign – it’s a sexual insult.

Fun facts about ancient Greece

88) Athens was the birthplace of democracy

If you ask the question “What is Greece known for?” you’re most likely to receive this answer.

Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century B.C.

All free male citizens 18 and over were expected to vote. If they didn’t, they could be fined and even marked with red paint.

89) Ancient Greeks used pee to whiten their teeth

This is one of the strangest Greek facts. But it’s true – there were many unusual uses for urine in the past!

90) Ancient Greeks ate dinner lying on their sides

The men would recline on their left elbows and use their right hands to eat and drink.


91) One-third of the population of classical Athens were slaves

From the 5th to the 3rd centuries B.C., slaves in classical Athens worked as artisans, helped out in households and toiled in factories and on farms.

It’s believed that slaves in Athens were treated a little better than slaves in other Greek cities.

92) Ancient Greeks exercised nude in public

The Greek word “gymnasion” means “school for naked exercise.” Male athletes in sporting events also competed in the buff.

93) In ancient Greece, cutting or uprooting an olive tree was a crime

The penalty was death!

Olive tree

94) The ancient Greeks invented the yo-yo

Dolls are considered to be the oldest toys in the world – the yo-yo is believed to be the second oldest toy.

95) “Alexander the Great” was Greek

Born in Pella, Macedonia, the great explorer tamed an enormous wild horse at age 12 (which became his battle companion), was tutored by Aristotle and headed a vast empire.

96) Jury trials had 500 jury members

Juries for the ancient court of Athens were very large. A lot larger than the standard 6 to 12 jury members today!

97) Red lipstick meant a “lady of the night”

Indeed, one of the most interesting facts about ancient Greece is that prostitutes could be punished if they didn’t wear red lipstick.

This was to distinguish them from non-“working girls,” who were discouraged from wearing lipstick.

98) Ancient Spartans drank blood

To keep their vigor up, they drank a black broth of boiled pig’s legs, blood, salt and vinegar. Truly one of those weird facts about Greece…

99) Salt was as good as money

In ancient times, Greeks often bought slaves with salt, leading to the saying: “not worth his salt.”

100) A unibrow was a sign of intelligence

Having a unibrow meant you were intelligent in ancient Greece, and it was considered beautiful on a woman.

Many ladies who didn’t have one would close the gap between their two eyebrows using kohl or other make-up.

101) Throwing an apple was a way of saying “I love you

It was sometimes used to propose marriage too.

If the lady caught the apple, it meant she accepted the marriage proposal.

102) The word “music” derives from the Muses

The nine Muses, Zeus’ daughters, were goddesses of the arts in Greek mythology.

Fun facts about ancient Greece:

The Greek word mousike originally referred to any of the arts they governed (poetry, lyric songs, etc.), but later came to mean composing melodies – and music.

103) The first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C.

They took place at Olympia. But 776 B.C. is only the date for the first recorded Olympic Games.

It’s actually believed that the Olympics started hundreds of years earlier in Greece.

(Are you impressed yet about all these interesting facts about Greek history?)

104) Most people today would be “idiots” in ancient Greece

The word “idiot” in ancient Greece referred to a private citizen (someone who wasn’t a politician or didn’t get involved in public affairs).

Over time, it came to mean a “layman” or unskilled worker, and eventually evolved to mean someone who is stupid.

5+ Modern-day Greece statistics

  • Greece has a population of 10,426,919. (World Bank)
  • Athens is the largest city in Greece today, with a population of 3.1 million residents. (
  • Greece has been a member of the European Union since 1981. (European Union). It’s been a member of NATO since 1952. (NATO)
  • The currency used in Greece is the Euro.
  • Greece had the world’s top-performing economy in 2023. Greece’s national GDP was worth $242,385 billion dollars in 2023, according to the International Montetary Fund.

That’s a wrap for our list of interesting Greek facts

Hey, you made it to the end – now you know all about Greece! Okay, not everything. But, still, maybe more information on Greece than before.

Did anything grab you in particular? (You can comment below.)

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!

Love this post? Then pin it!

Greece facts

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Stuart D.

Monday 10th of January 2022

I'm half Greek, and I loved reading this :) My yiayia is fully Greek too.

Janice and George

Monday 10th of January 2022

Hi Stuart,

Thanks for the sweet words!

Not being Greek ourselves, we had to Google "yiayia" - for those out there who may not know, the term means "grandmother."



Saturday 9th of May 2020

I love Greece, people are amazing over there. Hope to go back soon...

Janice and George

Saturday 9th of May 2020

We love Greece too, and hope it won't be too long before we can return! Itching to visit some of those really off-the-beaten-path Greek islands :-).