The Seclusion of Mount Athos
Mount Athos is primarily a place of
solitude, prayer and contemplation. The Monks of Mount Athos
would like to think that visitors are there as pilgrims to pray
with them rather than as tourists. To protect Mount Athos from
hordes of tourists who may detract from the prayer and
contemplation they have introduced certain rules which are
administered by the Mount Athos Pilgrim's Bureau.
Women are not permitted to enter
Mount Athos at any time. Each visitor is permitted
to stay for 4 days and traditionally accommodation and food is
offered free by the monks.
Procedure for Visitors
1. Intending visitors should initially
contact (telephone) the Pilgrim's Bureau to reserve a place for
the day they intend to visit. It is advisable that this is done
as early as possible but not more than six months in advance.
2. Once a place has been reserved you need to sent (by post) a copy
of your passport showing your photograph and name. Within two
weeks you will receive a letter confirming your reservation.
3. It IS important that you
telephone the Bureau approximately two weeks
before your visit to confirm that you are able to travel.
you have completed the above formalities you are ready to travel
to Ouranoupolis which is the usual port of entry.
5. In the morning of your visit you need to
walk to the Pilgrim's Bureau, situated at
the entrance to the village of Ouranoupolis, where on showing
your passport and other documentation you will be issued with a
permit to visit Mount Athos (Diamonitirio). Walk along
the promenade towards the jetty where next to the restaurant
before the tower you will find the shipping office where you
need to obtain tickets for the sea voyage. Then on to the jetty
for boarding in time for the 9.45 departure.
It is expected that the way pilgrims are dressed should be
respectful and appropriate. Outlandish garments and exuberant
hairstyles are frowned upon. Shorts and
cropped trousers are not considered appropriate to a pilgrimage
and those who turn up at the jetty in Ouranoupolis dressed in
shorts will be prevented from boarding.
Reservations at monasteries
Most monasteries require a prior
reservation if you intend to stay the night there. It is
advisable to either phone or fax them with your request.
For their contact details see above. You may find this
Reservation Form courtesy of
Friends of Mount Athos very useful since it is written
in Greek and English and can be faxed to every monastery
that you intend to stay overnight.
The Mount Athos Pilgrims' Bureau
109 EGNATIA STREET
Opening Hours: Monday to Fiday 9:00
am - 4:00 pm Sat 10:00-12:00 noon closed on official holidays
Telephone No. For Greek Nationals:
00 30 2310 252575 for non Greek Nationals 0030 2310 252578
Fax 00 30 2310 222424
(If calling from the USA please
replace the initial 00 with 011)