Plan to visit Mount Athos.
If you want to visit Mount Athos at a specific date, then you should keep in mind that you follow the Julian calendar, differently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar followed by the rest of the world. You will also have to be patient with the necessary procedure of issuing the permit, the lodge, for entering it. This is because there is a mandate that only 110 people (100 Christian Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox) can visit Mount Athos per day (for a maximum of three nights / total of four calendar days). Of course, clergy and those who have a special invitation from the monasteries are excluded. So you need to secure the entrance permit, the Diamonitirio, from the Thessaloniki office and then arrange for the accommodation in a monastery. For this you need to contact the office:
The Mount Athos Pilgrims’ Bureau- Athos
109 Egnatia str
Tel. for nationals +302310252575 Tel. for foreigners +302310252578 Fax +302310222424
Thessaloniki office hours: Monday-Friday 09:00 – 14:00, Saturday: 10:00 – 12:00
and phone the details you will be asked for. Nationals have to communicate at least three months in advance (in the summer months there is a lot of demand and so the faster you make the communication the better) while the foreigners at least six. Foreigners can also send to the e-mail: email@example.com a photocopy of the request along with their passport. Once you have secured your accommodation, you will need to contact the monastery that you wish by sending a letter to the guest request. The telephone numbers for the monasteries along with the e-mail can be found here. Also, at the link http://www.athosfriends.org/documents/ReservationForm.pdf, you will find a letter form plan that you will send to the desired monastery (s). It goes without saying that you can use whatever form of letter you want. You should be aware that minors must be consulted with the monastery, as well as confirmation of your visit two weeks before the date for any cancellations.
You will receive it from the pilgrimage office in Ouranoupoli, which is open every day of the week, after paying the corresponding fee. By the time these lines are written, this costs € 35.00 for non-Orthodox, € 25.00 for Orthodox and € 18.00 for students. You must show it at your entrance to the ship as well as in the monasteries you will visit.
Your entrance in Mount Athos can only be made by boat from Ouranoupoli for the monasteries on the west coast or from Ierissos for the eastern ones. Tickets and bookings can be made at the ticket offices of the companies that make these routes.
Mount Athos (https://www.agioreitikes-grammes.com/)
|Ouranoupoli||+30 23770 71149||+30 23770 71016|
|Ierissos||+30 23770 21041||+30 23770 21061|
|Dafni||+30 23770 24100||+30 23770 24148|
Microathos: +30 23770 71400 (http://microathos.gr/)
„Agia Anna” ferry: +30 6974 819885
Speed boat „Little Agia Anna”: +30 6995 105105 (reservation required).
The main ship from Ouranoupolis departs at 09:45, stops at all monasteries (before Dafni) and ends at Dafni. For the monasteries after Dafni, you have to change the boat. In addition to this boat, there are other speed boats to the monasteries either from Ouranoupoli or Dafni. Find out about itineraries and make your reservation in good time. From Dafni there is a small bus that takes you to Karyes, from where you can get to the monasteries with smaller means of transport. Of course, for those who want to walk using paths or streets in the mountain, enjoying nature, the environment and if they stand and lucky they can meet a monk and chat with him. Consult the table with the distances of the monasteries, make sure you have a cane, water, map, a list of the useful – critical phones and the necessary for walking. It is not allowed to enter private cars on Mount Athos. Allowed only professionally cars and only after a license. (TRUCKS, VANS) Reservations at 00302377071425.
The currency for transactions in Mount Athos is the Euro, and in the monasteries you will find various souvenirs of religious character, which you can buy and take with you eg. icons, prayer ropes, books on the lives of the saints, CDs from the wonderful monastic chorus, incense, etc. The food in the monasteries is excellent, usually vegetarian, often serving fish and wine. The dinner program is in the afternoon about at 6pm. or after the divine operation at about 7 am in the morning. Make sure you are in the monastery before 4pm. because later they close the entrance for everyone and you are in danger of staying out. For your sleep, they will take care of the monasteries or skeletons that host you. The dormitories have a Spartan character, for one night, some of the monasteries have hot water. For food and sleep you do not pay anything in the monasteries, but they receive donations eg. for the church.
Respect – Rules of behavior during your visit.
Once you decide to visit Mount Athos then you must know beforehand that you will have to accept some rules of conduct within it. Remember that the monks are there because they want to escape from the modern world and expect pilgrims and not tourists to visit them.
- First of all, you should know that in the holy mountain the AVATO is valid. This a place where only men can enter, stay, or live. However, in order to allow women or anyone else to admire the monasteries of Mount Athos and the area, there are excursions with touristic boats from Ouranoupolis (in the summer months daily, otherwise, by agreement) which sail to the limit permitted near the coast on the west side of the Mount. On these excursions there is a guided tour of the Mount, and sometimes, after consultation, a monastery can send holy relics or pictures for pilgrimage onto the craft. Such passes from the Mount area can be done by anyone with his boat, provided he adheres to the navigation rules in the area. Also from time to time, there are also related exhibitions in the tower of Ouranoupoli with pictures or other heirlooms that go out of the monasteries and are exposed to admire of everyone.
- You do not have to walk around the monasteries or to admire the heirlooms or pictures with your hands behind your back as tourists. Keep in front of you from piety and devotion to your space or interlocutor.
- You are not allowed to swim in the sea, do not listen to loud music, follow the rules of the monasteries for photography or video recording of the places. Do not photograph the monks or inside the churches or use the flash. Kindly ask permission from the monk of the reception host who guide you according to the rules for each monastery.
- Dress up with respect. Shorts are forbidden, avoid jerseys or shirts with attention-pulling or triggering prints, avoid white shoes. Shirts or blouses with short sleeves are generally allowed, but not in all the monasteries.
- For non-Orthodox people, they cannot participate in eg. in mystery and good is to ask the monk of the reception host if there are restrictions even in the monastery’s premises and who.
- Watch Divine Liturgy. Do what the monks do in its duration. Get up from your seat when they get up, make your cross with them, greet the pictures when the others do, ask for permission if you want to join the Divine Society.
- When you participate in conversations with monks, you do not have to speak openly about other religions or atheism by offending their orthodox beliefs. Be discreet. You will get the answers you ask for.
- Follow the ritual during lunch and dinner. Everyone, visitors and monks enter the dining room and stand upright in front of their seat. The Abbot prays, gives his blessing, a bell sounds, and everyone sits down to eat without talking to each other. A monk reads ecclesiastic texts and in about 20 minutes the bell sounds for the second time. If you have or you have not finished eating, you must get up, the abbot prays and after he finish you can get out of the dining room.