What Are the Seas that Surround Greece?
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Greece is surrounded on three sides by water. The mainland of Greece is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water and the country is also comprised of multiple islands, many of which are inhabited. In fact, estimating the amount of islands that make up the country has been difficult, as not all of them are inhabited. It is predicted that the number is anywhere in between 1200 and 6000, with around 200 of them being inhabited.
The mainland and each of the islands are surrounded by the sea, and there is more than one sea to account for in Greece. Here’s more information about the names of the seas that could be found either surrounding mainland Greece or the nation’s islands.
The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar. In ancient times, it was a critical highway between city-states and nations in southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. To the ancient Greeks, the Mediterranean was known as he hemetera thálassa, or “our sea.” Greece’s major metropolitan areas that border the northern Mediterranean include Athens, Heraklion, Thessaloniki and Volos.
Located between the Greek archipelago and the Anatolian peninsula, the Aegean Sea connects to the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea by two straits. Many of Greece’s major islands are located here, including Rhodes and Crete. Greece’s Aegean coast is an important area for wildlife conservation, with Alonnisos Marine Park and other wildlife reserves found here. Crete, Greece’s largest island, is also one of its most popular destinations for travelers on holiday.
The Ionian Sea is a large bay of the Adriatic Sea that spans the distance between Italy on its western shore and Greece on its eastern shore. It includes Calypso Deep, the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea at over 17,000 feet deep. Greece’s Ionian islands include Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira, Lefkada, Paxi and Zakynthos. These are the seven major islands of the Ionian island chain, although the chain includes many more small islands.
The city of Corfu (on the island of the same name) has an Old Town that’s designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Extremely popular as a tourist destination, Corfu was once part of greater Venice and has many buildings in the Venetian architectural style. The Achílleion, a palace and gardens built by the Empress of Austria, is dedicated to Achilles, the hero of the Homeric epic the Iliad, and is now a museum open to the public.
The Myrtoan, or Mirtoan, Sea is the part of the Aegean Sea located between the Cyclades island chain and the Peloponnese, the peninsula region of southern Greece. Here you’ll find the Saronic Gulf (the Gulf of Athens) and, among the Cyclades, the islands of Syros (the most populated isle of the chain), Naxos (the largest in the chain) and Delos, the island sacred to the twin god and goddess Apollo and Artemis in ancient times. Delos is home to numerous historical and archaeological treasures.
The Libyan Sea is the part of the Mediterranean Sea that stretches from the southern coast of Crete to the northern coast of Libya in Northern Africa. Gavdopoula, Gavdos, Koufonisi and Chrysi are the Greek islands located in this sea, although Koufonisi and Chrysi are uninhabited. Chyrsi has no natural source of fresh drinking water, yet it remains popular as a destination in the summer for diving and snorkeling excursions.
While visiting Greece, you will no doubt want to spend time close to the water. Getting to know the different seas that make up the country can help you enjoy it more!
Categorized in: Greek Travel Guide
This post was written by Greek Boston