Mount Athos Center
Information for pilgrims to Mount Athos
Holy Executive οf the Holy Mount Athos
Mount Athos, known in Greek as Agion Oros (Hholy Mountain), is a peninsula in Chalkidiki, Northern Greece. This sacred area contains twenty monasteries including one Serbian, one Bulgarian and one Russian. Although the peninsula of Athos is part of Greece, it enjoys certain autonomy. The “Holy Community” under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul administrates the region. This administrative body is composed of representatives of the monasteries and maintains an office at Karyes (Iera Epistasia) where all visitors register upon arrival at Mount Athos.
Only adult men and young males accompanied by their fathers are permitted to enter Mount Athos. This rule, which is known as the “avaton”, forbids access to Mount Athos to any female and this is enforced by the law. Moreover, young men who are accompanied by a guardian or adult group leader visiting Mount Athos for educational purpose need the written consent of their parents, verified by an official authority of their country.
In accordance with the procedures established by the Greek Government, foreigners must obtain a written permit to visit Mount Athos from the «HOLY EXECUTIVE OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS – PILGRIMS’ BUREAU» located in Thessaloniki. Reservations are made six months in advance by phone (+30 2310 252578) or fax (+30 2310 222424) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The delivery of this permit is carried out by the “Pilgrims’ Office” branch in Ouranoupolis. Personal appearance and passport /ID card is required in order to obtain this permit. A letter of recommendation is no longer required.
The office in Thessaloniki is open from Monday through Saturday (9.00h - 04.00h). It is closed on Sundays and bank holidays.
The office in Ouranoupolis is open from Monday through Sunday from 05.30h - 13.00h, Saturday 06:00h - 13:00h and Sunday 08:00h-13:00h
In general, the “HOLY EXECUTIVE OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS-PILGRIMS’ BUREAU” issues only ten permits a day for non-orthodox visitors (foreigners) and 100 for Greeks and Orthodox visitors. These permits are valid for a four-day visit on specific dates. Prolongation of the four-day validity can be issued from Mt. Athos authorities in Karyes. Clergymen should obtain in advance a written consent (“Evlogia”) from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople by writing to: The Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fanari, Istanbul, Turkey (tel +90 2125 349037).
Upon arrival in Ouranoupolis, the port where the boats depart for Mt Athos, visitors must obtain a residence permit “Diamonitirio”. This permit allows the visitor to visit and stay at the monasteries of his choice and costs 30 euros. Students who can prove their student status through a school ID pay only 10 euros. The holder of a permit may proceed to Mount Athos without any other formalities.
The monasteries do not charge for their hospitality, but donations are accepted. Most of the monasteries and Skites require prior arrangements for the accommodation.
Mount Athos visitors should be decently attired. In the event of misconduct, a permit can be withdrawn. Severe penalties are enforced against anyone who attempts to remove religious items from Mount Athos collections. While taking photographs is permitted, the use of video and movie cameras is strictly forbidden. Also, because hunting is strictly forbidden in Mount Athos, hunting dogs and rifles are strictly forbidden.
Following you can find information on bus and boat lines (It is advisable to check timetables before departure because they are subject to change).
Source: Mount Athos Center, https://www.agioritikiestia.gr/index.php/en/