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.

Mount Athos Attractions

The tower of Prosphorion at the seafront of Ouranoupoli during a cloudy day.
distant ≈ 33.2km

Byzantine Tower of Prosphorion

The 12th century Byzantine tower at the seafront is now Ouranoupoli's landmark. You can enter the building and learn more.

The remains and the main entrance of the main church of the ancient monastery of Zygos.
photo: Knop92
distant ≈ 30.2km

Zygou Monastery (Ruins)

An ancient monastery of Mount Athos that was abandoned at the beginning of the 12th century. It's close to a nice beach, so maybe you combine them?

Mount Athos Things to Do

A picture shows the cruise tour boat with a monastery in the background.
distant ≈ 33.4km

Athos Boat Trips / Cruises (From Ouranoupoli)

Three-hour boat trip carried out daily from April to October, that will have you admiring Mount Athos' wilderness from afar. Open to women too.

Vatopedi Monastery

The second in the hierarchy, this monastery of the north-east Athos has a long history and attracts many guests.

A picture of the Iviron monastery, the vegetable gardens, and other facilities within a landscape of dense vegetation.
hidden gem

Iviron Monastery

Third in hierarchy this impressive monastery hosts numerous invaluable relics and pieces of ecclesiastical art and other religious treasures.

A picture of Xenophontos Monastery taken from the sea showing the seafront and the dense vegetation in the background.
photo: Aroche / CC BY-SA 3.0
hidden gem

Xenophontos Monastery

The west coast of Mount Athos hosts the monastery that stands out for its two main churches dedicated to Saint George. It was built around 998AD.

A picture showing the exterior of the buildings that compose the defensive walls of the monastery of Hilandari.
hidden gem

Hilandar (Chilandari) Monastery

Within the dense vegetation of Athos mainland, it is the religious center of Serbian Orthodoxy, and home to about 70 monks.

The Monastery of Pantokratoros and its chapels are built by the coastline.
photo: Aroche / CC BY-SA 3.0
hidden gem

Pantokratoros Monastery

Being the 7th in the hierarchical ranking, this monastery and its chapels house 80 monks and also a rare full body hagiography of Virgin Mary.

A picture of Dionysiou from the sea showing the architecture of the monastery built on the rock.
hidden gem

Dionysiou Monastery

Having the form of a medieval castle, this monastery dominates over the coastal landscape. It's rich in relics and religious artifacts.

The seafront, the churches, the facilities, and the dense vegetation in the background of Docheiariou Monastery.
hidden gem

Docheiariou Monastery

A coastline Byzantine monastery that attracts thousands of pilgrims and is famous for the hagiography of Virgin Mary, the "Gorgoepikoos".

A picture of the impressive Simonos Petras Monastery that is literally built on the rock.
photo: Aroche / CC BY-SA 3.0
hidden gem

Simonopetra Monastery

One of the most impressive monasteries, it is built on a rock surrounded by gardens, and is considered an architectural masterpiece.

A view of Osiou Gregoriou Monastery built on a rock by the sea.
photo: Gabriel / CC BY 2.0
hidden gem

Osiou Gregoriou Monastery

Built around 1310, it now has around 100 monks. It hosts relics and hagiography of historical value and a small cave where the founding monk used to live in.

The main church (katholiko) in the inner yard of Agiou Pavlou Monastery.
hidden gem

St. Paul Monastery

The monastery of Saint Paul has a long history that sometimes brought it to the edge of total destruction and oblivion. It's close to Mount Athos itself.

A view of Saint Panteleimon Monastery which is located ον the coast of an area with dense vegetation.
hidden gem

St. Panteleimon Monastery

It becomes quickly clear to the visitor that this is a Russian monastery. The architecture, language, rituals, and the monks themselves are from Russia.

The inner yard of Koutloumousiou Monastery including a part of the main church and the surrounding facilities.
hidden gem

Koutloumousiou Monastery

In a close distance from the capital of Mount Athos, Karyes, this monastery administrates a large part of the central Athos.

The outer walls and the defensive tower of Karakallou Monastery with the deep blue sea in the background.
hidden gem

Karakalou Monastery

In the form of a medieval castle and located in the middle of an untouched forest, this monastery has many relics and part of the Holy Cross.

A photo of the exterior of Zografou Monastery as it is surrounded by the dense mountainous vegetation.
hidden gem

Zografos Monastery

Center of Bulgarian Orthodoxy hosting a mostly Bulgarian fraternity of 45 monks. It's located by dense forest.

Philotheou Monastery

Located in Mount Athos mainland on a spot of natural beauty among the dense vegetation, Philotheou Monastery is run by 70 monks.

Stavronikita Monastery

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

Esphigmenou Monastery

The monastic fraternity here exercises an uncompromising and zealous version of Christian Orthodox faith that's the strictest of all.

Konstamonitou Monastery

Hidden in the woods and with long history, this monastery offers its pilgrims and guests a journey through time. It's the last in hierarchy.

The inner yard of the Great Lavra Monastery with a crane at the background that helps at the renovation works.
photo: Aroche / CC BY-SA 3.0
distant ≈ 21.2km
temp. closed

Great (Megistis) Lavra Monastery

This historical monastery heads the Mount Athos hierarchy and among twenty other monasteries, it's "the First".

Xeropotamou Monastery

Located almost in the middle of Mount Athos, it stands out for its rich library and numerous heirlooms, including a piece of the Holy Cross.

Mount Athos Beaches

An aerial image showing Ouranoupolis Beach as well as a part of the homonymous settlement.
distant ≈ 32.9km

Ouranoupolis Beach

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

Mount Athos Settlements

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 hosts the administrative seat of Mount Athos and is located in the middle of the peninsula.

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.