To visit Mount Athos, you need to be an adult male and obtain a diamonitirion (permit). To arrive on the holy mountain, you get a boat
To visit Mount Athos, you need to be an adult male and obtain a diamonitirion (permit). To arrive on the holy mountain, you get a boat from Ouranoupolis.
How to Get to Mount Athos
The only way to get to Mount Athos is by the sea, assuming that the visitors are already in Halkidiki. If not, you need to go to Ouranoupolis since most boats depart from this part of Halkidiki, although some leave from Ierissos too.
If you are in Thessaloniki, the largest city nearby, you can travel to Halkidiki by car, bus, or taxi. But pilgrims must obtain a permit to go to Mount Athos. So, let’s see what you have to do.
Obtain a pilgrim’s permit (diamonitirion) first
Perhaps the most important thing one must do before he plans a visit to Mount Athos is to get a permit. There’s a Pilgrims Office in Thessaloniki and one more in Ouranoupolis.
The visitor must be a male over 18 years old (or accompanied by his father) in order to apply for a permit and must provide a few documents. The visitor permit takes a few days to be issued, is called diamonitirion, and you need to keep it with you at all times.
Get a boat from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos
Most boats depart from Ouranoupolis and arrive at the Mount Athos port, Daphni. From there, the pilgrims must take the bus to get to the capital of Mount Athos, Karyes.
Only then, they spread in different directions based on which monasteries they want to visit. For your convenience, there are mini buses but moving around on foot is always best since the landscapes are fantastic.
The Mount Athos monasteries you plan to visit determine whether you’ll get the boat from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos.
So, make sure to ask when you go to get your permit to avoid mistakes and unnecessary hassle.