MOUNT ATHOS TRAVEL INFORMATION - HALKIDIKI GREECE
Mt. Athos (Agio Oros - is an autonomous region of Greece, governed by the Iera Kinotita (the Holy Community - which deals with administrative matters), the Iera Sinaxi (Holy Assembly - which deals with legislative and judicial matters) and the Iera Epistasia (Holy Supervision - which exercises executive authority), all of which are based in Karies, the capital of the Mt. Athos Peninsula.
Mount Athos Halkidiki, Greece includes 20 monasteries, 12 cloisters, and countless cells, cottages, seats and hermitages. The "avaton" (exclusion rule) is strictly enforced, as women are not allowed in Mount Athos. Overnight visits can be arranged, although only a small number of men can be accommodated at one time and booking must be made in advance and arranged by the head of the monastery in which you want to stay.
The ecclesiastical artwork in the monasteries is exquisite, turning them into museums as well as places of worship. Most have extensive collections of books, codes, manuscripts, icons, and gold and silver objects. Some of the most popular monasteries and churches are:
The Church of the Protato in Karies: originally established in the 10 th century and renovated in the 13 th century. It is a triforium basilica with wonderful icons and frescos.
The Monastery of Megistis Lavras: founded in the 10 th century, is located on the southwestern tip of the peninsula and is the largest monastic block in Mt. Athos. It is well-known for its ecclesiastical heirlooms.
The Monastery of Vatopedi: built in the 10 th century, is situated on the eastern coast of Mt. Athos. It is triangular in shape and surrounded by high walls. Its main attraction is its exquisite mosaics and frescos.
The Monastery of Ivron: founded in the 10 th century on the eastern side of Mt. Athos, with splendid icons - the most famous being that of Panagia Portaetissa -, as well as a silver and ebony vigil entrance and a superb library.
The Monastery of Xenofon: said to have been built in the 11 th century, is located on the western coast of Mt. Athos and is famous for its wooden screens and the mosaic icons of Agios Georgios and Agios Dimitrios.
The Monastery of Simonos Petras: a unique, multileveled monastery on the western side of Mt. Athos, built in the 14 th century. Part of it was burned down, but much has been re-built since then.
The Monastery of Agios Panteleimon (Russian): founded in the 11 th century, destroyed in the 13 th and reconstructed in the late 18 th . It has a unique architectural style and includes excellent Russian Orthodox art.
Other monasteries we recommend visiting are: Agios Dionysios, Agios Pavlos, Chelandarios, Docharios, Esfigmenos, Grigorios, Karakallos, Kastamonitios, Koutloumousios, Pantokratoros, Philotheos, Stavronikitas, Xiropotamos and Zografos.
Where to stay in Mount Athos Halkidiki, Greece :
At the entrance of the Mount Athos (Agio Oros) Peninsula there are some popular vacation resorts. Ouranoupolis is a large town just before the monastic region. It has a very well developed tourist infrastructure, including shops, hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants. Tripiti is a lovely area at the entrance of the peninsula, with lush vegetation, pristine beaches and turquoise waters. It is the ideal place for those who want to avoid the tourist crowds, but still be close to nightlife venues. In Tripiti, visitors are offered a good selection of high quality Mount Athos hotels, rooms, studios and suites that provide comfortable accommodation.
M Mount Athos Beaches - Halkidiki, Greece :
You cannot swim in the monastic area of Mount Athos. Around Tripiti and Ouranoupolis there are several very beautiful beaches. We recommend swimming at the Ouranoupolis and Tripiti Beaches, as well as the Mount Athos Halkidiki beaches of Alexandros, Philippos, Agios Pavlos, Komitsa, Xyropotamos, Tzafa, Voulitsa and Iviritiko. Ammouliani Island, located opposite Ouranoupolis and Tripiti, offers soft sandy beaches and turquoise waters. You can reach Ammouliani Island from Tripiti by ferry or from Ouranoupolis by rented boat.
Mount Athos Sightseeing - Halkidiki, Greece:
While vacationing in Mount Athos, we suggest visiting some of its archaeological and historical sites. In Ouranoupolis, you can visit the Byzantine Tower of Prosforios, the Ruins of the Zygos Monastery (Frangokastro) and the Christianity Museum of Chalkidiki. Near the town of Nea Roda, you can see the Xerxis Canal and the Ancient Site of Sani/Ouranoupolis. At close proximity is the town of Ierissos, where the Ancient Site of Akanthou and the Byzantine Tower "Krounos" are located.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO MOUNT ATHOS HALKIDIKI GREECE
You can travel to Mount Athos in Halkidiki, Greece by bus from Athens or Thessaloniki:
Athens Bus Station: Tel. +30 210 515-4800
Thessaloniki Bus Station: Tel. +30 2310 924-4444
Polygyros Bus Station: Tel. +30 23710 22309
You can also travel to Mount Athos (Ouranoupolis/Ierissos), Halkidiki by airplane, boat or train to Thessaloniki and a bus:
"Macedonia" Airport (Thessaloniki): Tel. +30 2310 985-000 or +30 2310 473-212
Thessaloniki Port: Tel. +30 2310 531-505
Thessaloniki Train Station: Tel. +30 2310 517-517 to 18
Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos": Tel. +30 210 353-0000
Piraeus Port: Tel. +30 210 422-6000 to 03
Athens Train Station: Tel. +30 210 529-7777
From Ouranoupolis Port, boats depart daily for the monasteries on the western side of Mt. Athos, while from Ierissos boats depart daily for the monasteries on the northeastern and southeastern sides of Mt. Athos.
Ouranoupolis Port: Tel. +30 23770 71248
Ierissos Port: Tel. +30 23770 22576
Phone numbers for reservations in the Mount Athos monasteries:
The Monastery of Agios Dionysios: Tel. +30 23770 23686
The Monastery of Agios Panteleimon: Tel. +30 23770 23201
The Monastery of Agios Pavlos: Tel. +30 23770 23208
The Monastery of Vatopedi: Tel. +30 2377023219
The Monastery of Grigorios: Tel. +30 23770 23218
The Monastery of Dochiarios: Tel. +30 23770 23245
The Monastery of Esfigmenos: Tel. +30 23770 23796
The Monastery of Zografos: Tel. +30 23770 23247
The Monastery of Iviron: Tel. +30 23770 23248
The Monastery of Karakallos: Tel. +30 23770 23225
The Monastery of Kastamonitios: Tel. +30 23770 23901
The Monastery of Koutloumoutsios: Tel. +30 23770 23226
The Monastery of Megistis Lavras: Tel. +30 23770 23761
The Monastery of Xenofon: Tel. +30 23770 23249
The Monastery of Xiropotamos: Tel. +30 23770 23251
The Monastery of Pantokratoros: Tel. +30 23770 23253
The Monastery of Simonos Petra: Tel. +30 23770 23254
The Monastery of Stavronikitas: Tel. +30 23770 23255
The Monastery of Philotheos: Tel. +30 23770 23674
The Monastery of Chelandarios: Tel. +30 23770 23281