Kindly print off
this Newsletter so that you can take it with you to Greece and
use it as a handy reference.
This information has been compiled to help those who may
consider visiting either Ouranoupolis or Mount Athos. It is
based on local knowledge and is updated regularly in order to
achieve a high degree of accuracy. Please note that any prices
and fares quoted can only be approximate, since they are subject
to seasonal variation.
Prefix telephone numbers with 00 30- if you are calling from
Europe and with 001 30- if from the USA. If you are calling from
anywhere in Greece, even if it is a local telephone call, the
complete telephone number must be dialled.
THE BEST SEASON TO VISIT OURANOUPOLIS OR MOUNT ATHOS
July and August are the busiest months. They are fine if you are
looking for guaranteed good weather and a busy little village.
It is difficult to obtain a permit for Mount Athos but you can
always take the tour to see it from the distance. Be aware
August 15th is the biggest holiday of the summer and the village
gets very busy with Greek tourists.
May-June and September-October are the best months. The weather
is good but not uncomfortably hot and the place is a lot
quieter. The beaches are almost free of people and accommodation
is plentiful and cheaper. In October the locals gather the
grapes which are pressed to produce the wine. What is left after
the pressing is stored in containers to ferment for a while.
Then at the end of October or beginning of November they are
boiled in a sealed cauldron in the distillery to produce the
local tsipouro. Each family takes their turn to produce their
own supply of tsipouro and the distillery operates night and
day. A visit is worth while just to taste the new product as it
comes out of the cooler but be careful. It is the strongest you
have ever tried. During November the olives are gathered. The
locals beat the high branches with long sticks and the fallen
olives are gathered in nets or by hand. This is the best season
to visit Mount Athos.
November to April can be either cold and rainy or like an Indian
Summer. The best time to visit is during the Greek Easter,
usually in April, (different time than the English Easter) when
all the wildflowers are in bloom and the smell of lamb roasting
fills the air. The Greeks celebrate Easter much more than
Christmas and the weather is usually good, but not good enough
for swimming in the sea.
The nearest airport is in Thessaloniki, 120 kilometres away. The
only airlines which have direct flights to Thessaloniki are
British Airways and EasyJet. Both fly out of Gatwick airport. A good travel
agent which always finds tickets at a good price is Travelmania,
on 020 77004844.
TRANSFER FROM THE AIRPORT
Taxis are relatively cheap in Greece. If there is more than one
of you it would be worth taking a taxi directly to Ouranoupoli.
It saves a lot of inconvenience and the journey takes only one
and a half hours. You can chance it by picking up a taxi from
the airport but my advice is book in advance with Kostas the
taxi driver from Ouranoupolis. You can reach him on his mobile
phone 6944-277477. Just
give him your name and flight number and he will be there
waiting for you when you arrive. He charges the same as other
taxi drivers, approximately 145 Euro but you will travel in the
comfort of an air conditioned Mercedes.
Alternatively you can take a taxi to the Halkidiki Bus Depot in
Thessaloniki and then catch the bus for the two and a
half hour journey to Ouranoupolis.
If money is no object the best hotel in the area is the Eagles
Palace, telephone 2377 031047-8, fax 2377 031383. A luxury, well
designed hotel a few miles before Ouranoupolis. All the
facilities are available but at a price. Unfortunately it is
only open from the Greek Easter (usually April) to the end of
Xenios Zeus, tel. 2377 071274 fax 2377 071185, a small family
run hotel in the centre of Ouranoupolis is highly recommended.
Although prices are very reasonable it can boast certain
luxuries which I have not found in any hotel of this size and
price range. Every room not only has its own WC with shower,
direct dial telephone but incredibly full air conditioning (cool
in the summer and warm in the winter) and a television set at no
extra cost. Because it is open throughout the year and is
conveniently located between the port and the Athos Bureau it
has become the favourite stopover for visitors to Mount Athos
and travelling monks. During the summer months it is busy with
holidaymakers. You can book a room either by contacting this
site or by faxing your request directly to the hotel. A discount
of 20% is available to members of the society Friends of Mount
Athos. Breakfast is a delightful experience and you do not have
to be staying at the hotel to be served. It is served any time
before 11 a.m. and costs very little. It includes home grown
organic eggs, hot bread from the local bakery and home made jam
and preserves. During the summer fresh, locally grown fruits are
offered. Ask for the locally grown fresh green figs.
Hotel "SUNSET", tel. 2377 071372 & 2377 071394, fax 2377 071103
is perched on a hill above Ouranoupolis, overlooking the village
and the bay. Apart from the stunning views it also offers a bar,
TV and breakfast room. Every room has a sea-side view, private
balcony, mini bar and telephone. Take your drink at the open air
bar late in the afternoon and watch the sun set over the bay, a
truly beautiful experience.
USEFUL LOCAL INFORMATION
APARTMENTS (TO RENT): Many of the local families own apartments
which are offered for rent. A few are offered for rent
throughout the year. They usually consist of a bedroom with its
own toilet and shower facilities. They vary widely in quality.
If you don’t want to leave it to chance please contact this site
for recommended apartments.
BAKERY: The oldest bakery (over 30 years) lies in the middle of
the village, the street before the Supermarket (opposite the
hotel Xenios Zeus) turn left at the next corner. It bakes daily.
Go as early as possible, because only leftovers remains for
those who sleep late. It is open from 7.30 a.m. to 14.30 p.m..
A baker shop by the name of Arhondariki is on the main road as
it turns left, approximately 100 meters from the tower. This
baker shop receives it's bread fresh every mornings from Nea
Roda. It is open from 7.00 o'clock continuously until 23.00
o'clock. Antigoni, the owner also sells sweet delicacies.
BANK: You will find the Agricultural Bank of Greece on the road
opposite the hotel Xenios Zeus. It is open three days a week,
Monday Wednesday and Friday, (during the summer 5 days a week)
from 9.30 am. to 13.30 pm.. It does not have a cash dispenser
machine but it offers a comprehensive service. You will be able
to draw money and exchange foreign currency at very favourable
exchange rates. On other dates you could exchange foreign
currency at the Travel Agents on the main road. You will find
branches of The Agricultural Bank of Greece and The National
Bank of Greece at the near by town of Ierrisos, approximately 20
kilometres away. They are open every day except Saturdays and
Sundays, from 8 am to 13.30 pm.
BARS: There are a number of good bars to try. Here are the best
1. The open air bar of Sunset Hotel. Situated on the hill just
before the entrance of Ouranoupolis, (watch for the sign on the
left). Stunning views, open day and night until (very) late and
most reasonable prices. A drink while watching the sun setting
over the islands is a must.
2. The beach bar at Hotel Theoxenia. Hotel Theoxenia is 2-3
miles outside Oranoupolis on the direction of Thessaloniki.
Situated on the beach, just across the main road, it is open all
day and most of the night. Very romantic evenings by the sea but
take a jumper with you as evenings by the sea can be chilly.
All the above bars are quiet family bars (children allowed) with
background music etc. If you are looking for loud music and a
more lively atmosphere then you must visit the open air bar
"Bratsera". It is situated on the seafront of Ouranoupolis and
it is open from 6-7 p.m. until the morning. As you approach the
village of Ouranoupolis take the first road on the right, just
before the petrol station, leading towards the sea. You will see
(and hear) "Bratsera" in front of you. Listen to the latest
tunes on a wooden decking designed to look like a ship.
Smaller and less noisy is the Almira Bar, situated somewhere
between the Xenios Zeus hotel and the Kritikos restaurant.
BICYCLE HIRE: Bicycles can be hired at the Eagles Palace Hotel
which is 6 miles away from Ouranoupolis, on the direction of
Thessaloniki. However, motorbikes can be hired from Fun
Adventure which is situated next to the bakery, directly opposite the
bank (see Motorbike Hire).
BOAT REPAIRS & ACCESSORIES: Stratos is the
boat and car mechanic (sees Motor Repairs) in Ouranoupolis. You
will find him just outside the village on the north, past the
local school. He will also service and store your boat over the
BOAT-RENTAL: On the beach below the promenade of Ouranoupolis
(between the jetty and the end of the village). A small boat
with outboard motor - no need for special licence - costs
approximately 40 Euro per day plus the cost of petrol. The
charge reduces accordingly if one rents for a whole week. The
boats are sturdy and easy to handle after a quick tuition but
offer complete freedom to explore the islands. It works out very
cheap it there is a group of you.
BUTCHER SHOP: There is one butcher shop in Ouranoupolis,
situated in the middle of the village on the street to the left
just after the hotel Acrogiali. It is open 7 days the week from
8.00 am until at least 23.00 pm.
CAR-FERRY: Daily from 7.00 o'clock early until 20.00 o'clock in
the evening from Tripiti to Ammouliani and back. A trip costs 6
Euro. A person without car: 0.5 Euro.
CAR RENTAL AGENCY:
Avis: Represented by the travel agency "Akis Tours " on the main
street, telephone, 2377 071273, or mobile 2945 642542 and ask
for Kostas. Other rental companies are represented by local
travel agencies, so shop around.
CAR REPAIRS: You will find the garage of Stratos, if you take
the first street on your left after you pass the gas station
entering the village. Follow that road until you reach the
village school. The workshop lies hidden behind the school. It
is open from 8.00 a.m. to 15.00 p.m. and from 17.00 p.m. to
20.00 p.m.. It is closed on Sundays. Telephone: 2377 071117, Fax
2377 071356. In urgent cases, you can reach Stratos outside
these hours on his private number 0377 071184.
CAMPING: The campsite of Ouranoupolis lies few minutes before
the village entrance. It is in a very idyllic location by the
sea and has it's own restaurant as well as a supermarket. It has
direct access to the sea. Telephone/Fax: 2377 071396.
CHEMIST: It is located on the main street near the tower. It is open daily
in the summer-months from 8.30 am. to 13.30 pm. and from 18.00
pm. to 21.30 pm. Medicines which are not available can be
ordered to arrive next day. No prescription is needed. The
pharmacist Afroditi Ganiatsou and her husband can take your
blood pressure and give advice on simple treatment. Telephone:
2377 071398. Her private telephone (in emergencies): 2377
DENTIST: The nearest dentist is situated in Ierissos, 18 kilometres away.
Normally, the practice is open on weekdays from 9.00 am. to
13.00 pm. and in the afternoon after 17.00 pm.
DIVING: Scuba diving with bottled air is strictly prohibited in
the entire bay. You can snorkel however and spear fish to your
heart's content, without the need for any permits.
DOCTOR: The local General Practitioner holds his practice
on the ground floor of the old monastic building. No appointment is required but
there is usually a long queue. He is available there only on
Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.00 a.m. to 13.30 p.m.. On the
remaining weekdays the doctor holds practice in the neighbouring
village of Nea Roda. His telephone there is 2377 031306.
A private doctor is available in
Ouranoupolis but only during the holiday season. He services the
local hotels but he is also available for private consultations.
His surgery is near the bank. His name is Alexandros and his
mobile number is 6979720158. One can
find a paediatrician, in the near by
town of Ierissos, approximately 20 kilometres away. A private visit to the
paediatrician (no appointment required) would cost approximately
50 Euro. A medical laboratory is also available in Ierissos
where one can obtain tests privately, including full blood and
urine tests, at reasonable cost.
If in doubt as to where a doctor can be reached go to the
practice by the drugstore, where a notice on the door states the
place of practice for each day. Blood pressure and other
measurements can be obtained at the drugstore.
DRINKING WATER: It is advisable that visitors to avoid drinking
the local tap water. Although it is treated it is advisable to
buy bottled water for drinking. Many locals prefer to drink the
water from two springs one at the children's playground, near
the hairdressers and one just outside the school perimeter. The
water comes from natural springs and is though to be of much
EXCURSIONS: Can be booked at the hotel-receptions or in one of
the local travel agencies.
FISHING: Anyone is allowed to fish with a fishing rod or a line,
either from the coast or from a boat, without the need for
licence. You can buy fishing lines, hooks and absolutely
everything you need at the petrol
station in Nea Roda.
FRUIT: Sold from the back of a van by the old tower. Furthermore, there is a
fruit and vegetable shop on the road opposite the Xenios Zeus Hotel.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: There is no bank in Ouranoupolis but
there are a number of cash point machines you can use to draw
Euros. You can change money at the bigger hotels and in the local travel
agencies. They normally charge 2% commission.
HAIRDRESSERS: The hairdressing salon of Vangelio the hairdresser
is on the main road soon after the entrance to the village. Look out for the sign on the
main street. The opening-times: 9.00 a.m. to 14.00 p.m. and
17.00 p.m. to 21.00 p.m., closed on Sundays. Telephone: 0377
071111. Appointments are usually required.
HONEY: The famous Mount Athos honey can be found in
Ouranoupolis. It is pure and natural without any preservatives.
The best honey is produced by Tasos Ganiatsou the husband of the
pharmacist. His bees are kept in areas free from pesticides and
is extracted by traditional organic methods. You can find Tasos and his honey at the
pharmacy, near the tower.
HOSPITAL: The nearest hospital is in Polygyros, approximately
100 kilometres from Ouranoupolis. Telephone: 2371-024020-9.
HOUSEHOLD GOODS & DIY: In a builder's yard just
outside the village, near the village cemetery.
ISLAND-FERRY: The wooden open boats which take people to the
larger of the islands set off from the main jetty in front of
the old tower. The first departure is at 10.00 am. and the last
return trip to Ouranoupolis at about 6.00 pm.. There is no need
to book in advance and the boats leave half hourly. They are
licensed to carry approximately 50 people and are fully equipped
for safety, despite the short journey. It costs 5 Euro per
person and the return trip is free, so for the return journey
you can board any boat that happens to be leaving. If you want
to go to a quieter location just ask the captain of one of the
boats. He can take you anywhere you like and pick you up at a
MARKET: Every Tuesday morning (8am. to 1pm.) in Ierissos,
NEWSPAPERS: You can obtain English and German newspapers at a
souvenir shop on the promenade near the old tower, beside the
restaurant "O Pyrgos".
NIGHTLIFE: Somewhat limited (see BARS). There are no discos.
PATISSERIE: The sweet shop is called Zaharoplastio in Greek. You
will find it just before the entrance of the village. You can take away a box of assorted sweets
for very little money and try them in your hotel room. Simply
PETROL STATION: he nearest petrol station is at Nea Roda village,
12 kilometres away.
PHOTO-SHOP: The nearest Photo-Shop is in Iererissos, 20
kilometres away. They can print your electronic camera photos
instantly or produce enlargements of your favourite photos. Should you require a professional photographer for
any circumstances (or passport photographs) the staff are
trained photographers. They also sell, cameras,
batteries and many other items.
POLICE: The nearest police-station is in Ierissos, 20 kilometres
away. There is
another police outpost on the border to Mount Athos. The
policemen there will be pleased to answer any questions but do
not ask them to allow you inside Mount Athos. Entry is strictly
POST OFFICE: There is no post office in Ouranoupolis. There are
however yellow post boxes, where you can drop your vacation
postcards. They are emptied once a day (in the morning) Monday
to Friday. Postcards and stamps can be purchased anywhere, from
the hotels, from the travel agencies and from the souvenir
shops. The nearest Post Office can be found in the near by town
of Ierissos, 20 kilometres away. There is also a Post Office in
Dafni, the port of Mount Athos.
PROPERTIES: Foreigners are able to acquire a property in the
area in and around Ouranoupolis and many have done so. Outside
the village, you require minimum 4.000 square meters of land in
order to get permission to build a house which cannot be larger
that 200sqare meters. No house may rise above two floors. A
beautiful property with sea-view near the village costs
approximately £70,000 sterling or 110,000 Euro. It is always
possible to purchase land and built your own property, like the
locals often do. Bureaucracy however is considerable. There are
no professional estate agents and the contracts are drawn by a
notary. If you are thinking of settling in Ouranoupolis let us
know in order to provide you with more specific information.
SHOPPING: There are many souvenir shops which sell all sorts of
mass produced souvenirs. Three things are worth buying, gold
jewellery and hand painted icons from Mount Athos and local hand
woven carpets. Gold is relatively cheap and is sold by weight.
It is mainly 18 karat, and has a sticker on it to indicate the
price per gram, according to the complexity of the design. To
work out the price of the item the jewellery is therefore
weighed jewellery in front of you and the weight is multiplied
by the price on the sticker.
Hand painted icons are produced in Mount Athos and are wonderful
works of art. Do not confuse them with the cheaper stamped on
wood designs. Those that come from Mount Athos have a custom's
stamp and signature on the back to certify that they are not
antique and therefore can be taken out of the country.
If you are more of a food and drink person buy the locally
produced tsipouro and some local honey.
SPORT: You can find tennis courts in some of the bigger hotels,
such as Eagles Palace (phone: 2377 031047), Theoxenia (Tel.:
2377 071060) or in the Aristotle (phone: 2377 071012). If the
courts are free, tennis players who don't live in the designated
hotels can book. Water skis etc can be hired in most of the
SUPERMARKET: The biggest supermarket in the place by the name of Tambakis lies directly on the main street and cannot be missed.
Here, you can find almost everything: bread, cheese, sausage,
candies, Cosmetics, liquors, beer, soft-drinks, T-shirt, bags,
fishing tackle and more. The supermarket is open daily,
including Sundays, from 8.00 am to 23.00 pm.. There are numerous
smaller mini-markets in the side streets.
TAXI: The taxi stand of the only local taxi is at the foot old
tower. If you need to go to the airport of Thessaloniki or
Kavala you should book in advance. A trip to or from Thessaloniki costs
approximately 145 Euro. You can reach Kostas the
taxi driver on his mobile phone 6944-277477.
TSIPOURO: A drink very similar to the better known ouzo but
worlds apart. Ouzo is the mass produced drink with the aniseed
taste. Tsipouro is the pure extract from grapes. Each family
obtains a special licence which permits them to distil tsipouro
on a specified couple of days. The grapes are pressed and after
fermenting for a couple of weeks they are boiled in a sealed
cauldron. The steam escapes through a copper pipe which passes
through cold water and the steam turns into liquid and comes out
as tsipouro. It is a pure ands strong drink with no morning
after effects. Nearly every restaurant serves tsipouro so ask
for it. It is worth buying a supply to bring back home. Use the
plastic cola or water bottles to transport it instead of
containers sold locally which they always leak.
WATER-PROTECTION-POLICE: The office of the water-protection
police lies at the entrance to the village. It is manned 7 days
the week round the clock, tel. 2377 071248.