Filed under: Natural Features
Greece is made of three major land groups, the mainland, the Peloponnesus peninsula and the islands offshore. The land is comprised of approximately 80% mountains and hills, making it one of the most mountainous countries in all of Europe. The mountainous area known as the Pindus region is an extension of the Alps. The Central and Western Greece area contains high, steep peaks dissected by many canyons and other caustic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos gorge the later being the second largest one on earth after the Grand Canyon in the US.
Mount Olympus forms the highest point in Greece at 2,919 metres above sea level. Also northern Greece presents another high range, the Rhodope, located in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace; this area is covered with vast and thick century old forests like the famous Dadia. Plains are mainly found in Eastern Thessaly, Central Macedonia and Thrace. Greece’s climate is divided into three well defined classes the Mediterranean, Alpine and Temperate, the first one features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures rarely reach extremes, although snowfalls do occur occasionally even in Athens, Cyclades or Crete during the winter.
Alpine is found primarily in Western Greece (Epirus, Central Greece, Thessaly, Western Macedonia as well as central parts of Peloponnesus like Achaea, Arcadia and parts of Laconia where the Alpine range pass by). Finally the temperate climate is found in Central and Eastern Macedonia as well as in Thrace at places like Komotini, Xanthi and northern Evros; with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. It’s worth to mention that Athens is located in a transition area between the Mediterranean and Alpine climate, thus finding that in its southern suburbs weather is of Mediterranean type while in the Northern suburbs of the Alpine type.
Filed under: Natural Features
Greece’s climate is mostly mediterranean, but because of its unique geographical location and landscape, Greece has a large range of smaller areas of climates and variations. To the west of the Pindus mountain range, the climate is generally wetter and has some maritime features, and to the east, the climate is generally drier and windier during the summertime. The climate of Greece can be divided into four different types of climates. Dry mediterranean, Humid mediterranean, Continental mediterranean and Alpine mediterranean.
Where the climate is classified as dry mediterranean, during the summer, the weather is dry and any precipitation falls in the form of showers or thunderstorms from cumuliform cloud. Winters are wet and any falling snow doesn’t last too long, especially in the south facing slopes. Rain in winter is often persisting and can cause flash floods.
Where the climate is classified as humid mediterranean, Winters are generally mild with very few and sparse snowfalls, though frost can occur. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year and some coastal areas receive over 1000 mm of rain annually. Summers are hot and Agrinio, a town of Western Greece, sometimes boasts the highest temperature on Greek territory.
Where the climate is classified as continental mediterranean, Winters are cold, often harsh with locally abundant snowfalls and summers are hot, locally sometimes very hot, with somewhat more frequent thunderstorms. Differences in precipitation between summer and winter are not very big, though most precipitation tends to fall in late autumn.
Where the climate is classified as alpine mediterranean, the climate consists of harsh winters with abundant snowfalls and cool summers with frequent thunderstorms.