February 8, 2007, 12:16 am
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.

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