Mount Athos is the oldest surviving monastic community in the world. It occupies the best part of the peninsula of Athos in Halkidiki. Because of its isolation, Mount Athos remained one of the most virgin parts of Greece. It is a unique monastic community, which, although part of Greece, is ruled by its own local administration.
Entrance process to Mount Athos
The entrance to the mountain is usually by boat either from the harbor of Ouranoupolis (for the monasteries on the west coast) or from Ierissos for those on the east coast. Before boarding, it is necessary to issue a visitors permits, a Byzantine visa written in Greek. Orthodox Church clerics are asked to receive permission from the Patriarch of Constantinople.
For visitores there are 2 types of visitor’s permits: the main visitor’s permit that allows the visitor to stay in any of the monasteries but only to stay on Mount Athos for 4 days ( the days are more during the winter, when there are less visitores ) and the special visitor’s permit that allows one visitor to visit only on one monastery or cloister but to stay as many days as he has agreed with the monks.
The request for a visitor’s permit is being made at the pilgrims’ office in Thessaloniki. When the application is accepted, it will be issued at the port of departure on the day of departure. Once the application is accepted, the pilgrim can contact the monastery where he would like to stay to close a bed (only one night per monastery). Ships require reservations, both for arrivals and departures.
It is possible to extend the stay in Mount Athos upon request to the central office of Karyes or, as is usually the case for someone who wishes to become a monk, at the request of a monastery.
Most visitors arrive at the small port of Dafni from where they can take the asphalt road to the mountain to the capital, Karyes, or continue through another smaller boat to other monasteries below the coast. There is a public bus between Dafni and Karyes. At the same time, taxis run by monks are available for rent in Dafni and Karyes. Guests of the monasteries on the west side of the mountain prefer to stay on board and land at the monastery they want to visit.
Every day, 100 Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox are admitted to Mount Athos.
Transfer to Mount Athos
Prime Traveller undertakes your transportation to and from Ouranoupolis and Ierissos, offering you taxi or mini van services for your comfortable and safe transportation.