Add a Visit to Mount Athos on Your Bucket List

Add a Visit to Mount Athos on Your Bucket List

Ouranoupoli, Halkidiki, is the last border before one enters Mount Athos – that’s if you are a man. See why a trip to Mount Athos is worth taking.

Ouranoupoli, Halkidiki, is the last border before one enters Mount Athos – that’s if you are a man. See why a trip to Mount Athos is worth taking.

Add a Visit to Mount Athos on Your Bucket List

Visiting Mount Athos (Holy Mountain) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – that’s if you are a man. This is one of the most interesting things about Mount Athos. No woman is allowed to set foot in the area while Mount Athos is inhabited only by monks.

This prohibition is known as avaton and it’s not the only intriguing thing when it comes to visiting this fabulous peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece.

Where to stay in Mount Athos

Let’s start over. You can travel as far as Ouranoupoli, Halkidiki, whether you are male or female. You can settle at Hotel Makedonia, Ouranoupoli, where the rumor is that it was the pilgrims’ last station before they headed to Mount Athos. This will also be your last station if you are a woman. Other excellent accommodation choices in Ouranoupoli include the Konaki Hotel and the Ouranoupolis Princess.

Why you should add a visit to Mount Athos on your bucket list

Today, there are 20 monasteries with rare frescoes, ecclesiastic treasures, and icons and are approached on foot and by ferries. Rising over 2000 meters over the sea, Mount Athos is glorified for its natural beauty and is earthy heaven to climbing lovers. Since there has never been an intrusion of the civilized world, the entire area is virgin and this speaks volumes about its charm.

Men can enhance their experience by staying up to three nights in one of the monasteries but they need to make a request for written permission in Thessaloniki.

Women, who would love a quick glimpse of the forbidden place, can embark on one of the sightseeing boats that go around the peninsula or simply enjoy a day at the beach right in front of the Hotel Makedonia.

 

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Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times. Its 20 monasteries scattered throughout the peninsula are popular pilgrimage sites. Yet, Mount Athos is unique in other ways, too. Take its splendid nature as a reference. It features hills, forests and the sea crashing against the mount's rocky base. In short, Mount Athos is a place unlike any other. Flora of Mount Athos Mount Athos has delightful nature, which is the reason for its "Garden of the Virgin Mary" epithet. There are many endemic plant species inhabiting the region because of many reasons. The uniqueness of the terrain and a variety of micro climates are a few of them. Kassandra and Sithonia, the nearby peninsulas, have the Mediterranean climate. Athos combines elements of the Mediterranean and Continental climates among some others. Due to the fact, you can find a wide variety of plants there. The olive tree, holm oak and the lentisk are some representatives of the Mediterranean vegetation. Some sub-continental species found in the area are the chestnut, fir and the pine. Even semi-desert plants inhabit the Holy Mountain, such as the arboreal euphorbia. And so on. Wildlife of Athos Since around 90% of Mount Athos's surface is untouched, there are many animal species inhabiting the region. While wandering around, you may find traces of various mammals and spot birds. Some mammals found on the Holy Mountain are jackals, red foxes, gray wolves, weasels and monk seals. The Garden of the Virgin Mary is also an excellent destination for birdwatching. Among other birds, you may see golden eagles, black storks, eagle owls, short-toed eagles and gulls. Landscapes of the Holy Mountain Pilgrims constitute the biggest part of Athos's visitors. Getting from one monastery to another is usually carried out on foot via stone-paved paths. Along the way, pilgrims traverse wooded areas with occasional clearings revealing magnificent landscapes. Fields and grooves encircle some monasteries, while others boast forested settings. Some of them are true islands in the sea of greenery.

Nature of Mount Athos, Halkidiki, Greece

Mount Athos is the easternmost peninsula of Halkidiki. It is usually known as the spiritual center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times. Its 20 monasteries scattered throughout the peninsula are popular pilgrimage sites. Yet, Mount Athos is unique in other ways, too.

Learn More