How to Get to Mount Athos

How to Get to Mount Athos

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.

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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 center of Orthodox Christianity since medieval times.

Learn More