Mount Athos

Peninsula in Central Macedonia

The Holy Mountain is a monastic state of pristine beauty without much technology. No women are allowed in, and men follow the monks' program.

Attractions & Things to Do in Mount Athos

A central cobbled street of Karyes in Mount Athos and houses with the typical traditional architecture.
photo: Zacharias

Karyes, Mount Athos

The capital of the monastic state that hosts the administrative seat of Mount Athos and is located in the middle of the peninsula.

km 0

Koutloumousiou Monastery

In a very close distance from the capital of Mount Athos, Karyes, it dominates administratively a large part of the central Athos mainland.

↘ SE
< 1km

Stavronikita Monastery

Located on the east coastline of Mount Athos, it is well-known for its robust defensive architecture, and its amazing sea-view.

↗ NE
≈ 4.1km

Pantokratoros Monastery

Being the 7th in the hierarchical ranking among the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos is an integral part of an impressive coastline landscape.

↗ NE
≈ 4.8km

Iviron Monastery

An imposing monastery that was for centuries a shelter for numerous elements of invaluable ecclesiastical art and other religious treasures.

→ E
≈ 5km

Xeropotamou Monastery

«Xiropotamou»

Located almost in the middle of Mount Athos stands for its rich library and numerous heirlooms.

↙ SW
≈ 5.5km

St. Panteleimon Monastery

«Ag. Panteleímonos»

Experiencing the Russian dominance in language, rituals, and ecclesiastical standards.

↙ SW
≈ 6km

Port of Dafni, Mount Athos

Main port of the “Autonomous Monastic Republic of the Holy Mountain” that serves the daily ferry boat connection with the rest of Greece.

↓ S
≈ 7.2km

Philotheou Monastery

«Filotheou»

Located in the Mount Athos mainland on a spot of natural beauty among the dense vegetation.

↘ SE
≈ 7.3km

Xenophontos Monastery

The west coast of Mount Athos hosts the monastery that stands for the fact that it has two main churches dedicated to Saint Georgios.

← W
≈ 8km

Docheiariou Monastery

A coastline Byzantine monastery that attracts thousands of male pilgrims and is famous for the icon of the Virgin Mary the Gorgoepikoos.

← W
≈ 8.7km

Karakallou Monastery

One out of the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos that has the form of a medieval castle located in the middle of an untouched forest.

↘ SE
≈ 9.2km

Vatopedi Monastery

«Vatopediou»

Well-known monastery of the north-east Athos that has a long history and attracts many guests.

↖ NW
≈ 9.7km

Konstamonitou Monastery

«Kastamonitou»

Hidden in the woods and with long history offers a journey through time to the pilgrims and guests.

↖ NW
≈ 9.7km

Simonopetra Monastery

«Simonos Petras»

Impressive monastery that is built on a rock, and is characterized as an architectural miracle.

↓ S
≈ 10.5km

Osiou Gregoriou Monastery

«Grigoriou»

Being an integral element of the beautiful natural landscape on the east coast of the Holy Peninsula.

↓ S
≈ 12.2km

Zograf Monastery

«Zografou»

Center of Bulgarian Orthodoxy hosting a fraternity dominated mostly by monks with Bulgarian origin.

↖ NW
≈ 12.6km

Dionysiou Monastery

Having the form of a medieval castle dominates the coastline landscape of the southeast part of the Mount Athos peninsula.

↓ S
≈ 14.3km

St. Paul's Monastery

«Agiou Pavlou»

The monastery of Saint Paul has a long history that sometimes brought it very close to extinction.

↓ S
≈ 15.9km

Esphigmenou Monastery

The uncompromising and zealous aspect of the Christian Orthodox faith can be summarized to the fraternity of monks who live here.

↖ NW
≈ 19.6km

Hilandar Monastery

«Chilandari»

Within the dense vegetation of Athos mainland, it is the religious center of Serbian Orthodoxy.

↖ NW
≈ 20.3km

Great Lavra Monastery

«Megistis Lavras»

Historical monastery the first in the hierarchy among the 20 monasteries of Mount Athos.

↘ SE
≈ 21.2km
The remains and the main entrance of the main church of the ancient monastery of Zygos.
photo: Knop92

Zygou (Ancient) Monastery

«Moni Zygou»

An ancient monastery of Mount Athos that was abandoned at the beginning of the 12th century.

← W
≈ 30.2km

Ouranoupolis Beach, Aristotelis Halkidiki

The homonymous settlement is the last town before Mount Athos, while the local beach stands for its fine sand and the nearby quality resorts.

← W
≈ 33km

Byzantine Tower of Prosphorion, Ouranoupoli

A 12th century Byzantine tower at the seafront of Ouranoupoli that serves as a local trademark.

← W
≈ 33.2km

Mount Athos Boat Trips / Cruises

Three-hour boat trip carried out daily from April to October, that can be followed by everyone and shows the beauties of Mount Athos landscape.

Questions & Answers about Mount Athos

Why Visit Mount Athos?
  • "Autonomous Monastic State" and center of the Orthodox monasticism.
  • Women can join a daily cruise that sails the coastline of the peninsula.
  • Women are not allowed to enter the "Garden of the Virgin Mary".
  • Only a certain number of visitors can enter Mount Athos daily.
What is Mount Athos, Greece?

Mount Athos or the "Holy Community of Mount Athos" as it is its official name, is located on the Athos peninsula of Halkidiki. Already from the early Christian era, it attracted eremites and monks, while the foundation of the first monastery took place in 963 AD by the founder of the monastic coenobitic life, Athanasius the "Athonite". Today Mount Athos is an "Autonomous Monastic State" within the limits of the Greek Republic, while it is considered as the center of Orthodox monasticism. The importance of Mount Athos has religious, national, historical, and cultural dimensions. As an autonomous political division, it is under the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

How Mount Athos is governed?

The peninsula is divided into 20 self-governed regions that correspond to the number of the 20 communal monasteries. The abbots in charge of those 20 monasteries constitute the Holy Assembly that holds the legislative power. Executive authority rests on the Holy Supervision that is structured hierarchically from the top 5 monasteries and other 4 members. The Greek State is represented by the Civil Governor who oversees compliance with the Athonite Articles of Association and serves as a link to the Foreign Ministry and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

How is Mount Athos today?

It is estimated that today the Holy Mountain hosts approximately 2000 monks whose main occupation and duty is to pray unceasingly. Parallel to that, there is a wide range of occupations executed by the monks. Those can include cultivating the land to cover the basic food needs, the maintenance of old temples and buildings, as well as the hosting of the numerous visitors and faithful of the monasteries. Additionally, the Athonite monks contribute to the evolution of hagiographic art as well as to the rescue and recovery of numerous books and texts that adorn the libraries of monasteries.

Are women allowed to enter Mount Athos?

A special feature of Mount Athos is that women are not allowed to enter the peninsula and the region of the monasteries. Thus, it is not a coincidence that the Holy Mountain is also known as the "Garden of the Virgin Mary" since the Virgin Mary is the only female of the region. This rule is known as "Avato". The female faithful or visitors can join a daily cruise that sails the coastline of the peninsula and gives the opportunity to everyone to admire the landscape and the monasteries from a certain distance.

Can someone visit Mount Athos?

The male visitors can schedule a visit by applying for a permit to the Mount Athos office for pilgrims. Only the number of 110 permits are issued daily (100 Greeks or Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox). The permits cost 35,00€ for the non-orthodox, 25,00€ for the orthodox, and 18,00€ for the students. The overnight stay can be covered again with prearrangement (phone call) with a monastery, a hermitage, or a cell of the many which are scattered all along the peninsula.

How someone can reach the Mount Athos monasteries?

Since someone reaches the port of Mount Athos Dafni, he can use the corresponding buses that depart to different monasteries and the village of Karyes. All this due to the fact that private cars are prohibited. However, without hesitation, hiking is highly recommended. Through that, everyone is able to experience the unspoiled and unique natural environment of Mount Athos.

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