Pilgrimage to Mount Athos

How To Visit Mount Athos (Holy Mount)

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. 

A suitable period to visit Mount Athos is 15 March to 15 June and 15 September to 30 November.

In accordance with the procedures established by the Greek Government, foreigners must obtain a written permit ("Diamonitirio") to visit Mount Athos from the "HOLY EXECUTIVE OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS - PILGRIMS' BUREAU", located in Thessaloniki. This permit allows the visitor to visit and stay at the monasteries of his choice, is valid for a four-day visit (three overnights) on specific dates and it's strictly personal. 

In general, the "HOLY EXECUTIVE OF THE HOLY MOUNT ATHOS-PILGRIMS' BUREAU" issues only ten permits per day for non-orthodox visitors (foreigners) and 110 for Greeks and Orthodox visitors and because of that reservations are made six months in advance by phone (+30 2310 252578), fax (+30 2310 222424) or e-mail (piligrimsbureau@c-lab.gr). In order for the reservation to be made, the desired date of entry into the Holy Mountain and full details of the passport will be requested.

The office in Thessaloniki is open from Monday through Friday (9:00 h - 16:00 h) and Saturday (10:00 h - 12:00 h). It is closed on Sundays and official holidays. 

After visitors have received their permission to enter the Holy Mountain, they should contact the Monasteries or the Sketes who wish to arrange their hospitality in them. The Monasteries do not charge for their hospitality, but donations are accepted. 

The permit ("Diamonitirio") is received by the «Pilgrims' Office» at Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki, on the day of departure. Personal appearance and passport /ID is required in order to obtain this permit. The office in Ouranoupolis (Tel.: +30 2377071421) is open from Monday through Sunday from 07:30 h – 13:00 h and visitors should be there at least 1 hour before leaving to Mount Athos (no later than 09:00 h).

At this time, the entrance fee is 25 euros for Orthodox visitors and 30 euros for non-Orthodox visitors. Students who can prove their student status through a school ID pay only 10 euros. The payment is made upon delivery of the entry permit. 

Access to Mount Athos from Ouranoupolis is possible daily only by ferry boat, speed craft or sea taxi. The ferry boat departs from Ouranoupolis to Daphne at 09:45 h and the trip takes about 2 hours. From Daphne with the bus line you can go to Karyes in about half an hour.

For the pilgrims to be served in the sea transport, retention is necessary by contacting the shipping company responsible for the sea routes to Mount Athos (Tel.: +30 23770 71149, +30 23770 21041).