Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula.
Much of the country consists of peninsulas and islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas. It borders Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Ancient Greece was one of Europe's first urban civilizations, and the origin of much of the arts, language, philosophy, politics, and sports of western society. The cultural heritage and spectacular mountains and beaches draw tourists from far away. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. The country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and Crete. Few countries can pride themselves on a heritage as important to Western civilization as Greece. A range of first class historic landmarks remind one of the days when the great Greek emperors and writers made their mark on the development of science, literature and democracy. No less than 17 of those monuments are listed as World Heritage Sites. However, the many charming little islands, sandy beaches and picturesque whitewashed coastal towns are at least as much a reason to come for the millions of tourists that this Mediterranean country receives each year.