The Mediterranean area is a natural biodiversity hotspot that has also been influenced by humans for millennia. Especially the grasslands of Southern Europe have long been known for their diversity and beauty. However, several gaps remain in our knowledge about these grasslands, e.g. for some regions such as the southern Balkans, or taxonomic groups such as cryptogams. Here we introduce a Special Issue with contributions from the 9th European Dry Grassland Group meeting held in Prespa, Greece, 2012. The topic of this meeting was “Dry grasslands of Europe: grazing and ecosystem services” with special focus on Southern European regions. The Special Issue, apart from this Editorial, consists of eight contributions arranged according to the three major topics: syntaxonomy (5 articles), management (2) and conservation (1). The classification papers include descriptions of four new associations and four subassociations. Data about management practices are provided as well. We conclude that dry grassland vegetation in Southern Europe exhibits transitions between different higher syntaxa and thus requires further studies at broader scales to allow better understanding at the supranational scale.