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Mt. Athos: the holy mountain that travels you back in time

Chalkidiki ● Macedonia ● Mt. Athos ● 26 April 2018
 

The peninsula of Chalkidiki consists of Sithonia, Kassandra and Mt. Athos. The first two regions are highly touristic areas in Macedonia (Greece), while Mt. Athos is the biggest monastic community in Greece and autonomous state. If you are a man and you want to spend religious vacation and live true spiritual moments, then Mt. Athos is the place to be, a journey back in time.

With over a thousand years of history, the autonomous state of Mt. Athos is one of the oldest monastic complexes in the world. Wonderful architecture, magnificent natural beauty and an atmosphere of mysticism promise visitors a unique experience in the most significant site of Orthodoxy after Jerusalem.

Monasteries in Mt. Athos were first established a millennium ago. Since then, their fortified walls, the imposing towers, the cobblestone paths and the small harbours create a captivating scenery untouched by human activity. In the third peninsula of Chalkidiki live 2,000 monks in a natural environment, which is characterised by waterfalls, ravines, virgin beaches and woodlands, which include foxes, snakes, eagles, hawks, deer and jackals.  


The Holy Mountain of Athos is home to 20 large communal monasteries and numerous little communities, known as sketes or cells. Most visitors accumulate in the large monasteries, which are architectural masterpieces resembling medieval stone-built towers. Built near the beach or in isolated locations, they have fortified walls, heavy wooden doors, and big courtyards. Within the walls, are situated the churches, chapels, dining places, the rooms of the monks and many other supplementary buildings. The monasteries have also important collections of priceless artefacts, manuscripts, sacred relics, icons and historical documents.

For the local transportation, there are boat that serve the small harbour of each monastery as well as taxis, forest roads, dirt tracks, buses and vans. The footpaths are ideal if you love hiking!

Eating together is an essential part of monastic life, and over the centuries the cuisine of Mt. Athos has incorporated many Mediterranean gastronomic influences. Vegetarian diet includes bread, olives, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, fish and olive oil.


Remember that Mt. Athos is male-only society. Women are not permitted here as the monastic community is dedicated to Virgin Mary. A special entrance permit is required to visit Mt. Athos. Interested men have to contact the Centre of Mt. Athos in Thessaloniki, and pick their permit in Ouranoupoli Chalkidiki, the last stop before entering the community. Boats depart from there as well as from Ierissos Chalkidiki.

Where to Stay

Studio & Appartment in Chalkidiki, Greece Pension Zefyros
Pension Zefyros
Ammouliani, 63075 Chalkidiki, Greece

Pension Zefyros is located on a small, beautiful island of Ammouliani in Chalkidiki just 1 minute walk from the nearest beach and 4 minutes walk from the port. Ammouliani island can be reached with a ferry boat from Tripiti and Ouranoupoli. Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is 109 km away from Tripiti.

Hotel in Chalkidiki, Greece Panorama Spa Hotel
Panorama Spa Hotel
Ouranoupoli, 63075 Chalkidiki, Greece

Panorama Spa Hotel is located in the beautiful village of Ouranoupolis, just a 5-minute walk from the beach. The port, where boats depart for Mount Athos is a 15-minute walk away. Thessaloniki Airport is 116 km away.

Appartment in Chalkidiki, Greece Armonia
Armonia
13, Filippou & Kariotaki Str., Nea Moudania, 63200 Chalkidiki, Greece

Centrally located in Nea Moudania in Chalkidiki, Armonia is within 8 minutes walk from the beach and it offers budget accommodation in rooms with a balcony in a great location. Many shops, supermarkets, cafes, banks, restaurants are conveniently located within a very short walking distance. Nea Moudania is 60 km away from Thessaloniki and 50 km from Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia.


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