In Mount Athos, the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, along with the spiritual influence of the monastic life, will guide you through a journey to the inner beauty of human existence.
Mt Athos is the center of the global Orthodox religion and area of mystique, contemplation, and isolation. The Mt Athos monasteries operate in much in the same manner as they have for over 1,000 years.
The 1,500 inhabitants of the monasteries keep Byzantine time and they use the Julian calendar.
Visitors are advised to travel in a group or with a guide since the dense vegetation has overgrown many of the paths and the signposting is poor.
Mount Athos – walking along the ancient stone-paved paths which lead from one monastery to another. Mules and horses can be hired at Karyes, and come with drivers who are well acquainted with the routes on the mountains. The climb begins at the Skete of St Anne.
From Ouranoupolis, boats leave for the monasteries, most of which are isolated from one another.
Ouranoupolis, 147 km from Thessaloniki, was founded by refugees from Asia Minor and is Mt Athos’ main port. It’s the last town on secular Mt Athos before one reaches the monastic republic. It is home to around 780 people and known for its sandy beaches.
The Prosforia fortress is a stellar example of monastery architecture, it is the largest such structure in the prefecture and the best preserved.
The capital of Mt Athos, Karyes, lies approximately in the center of Mt Athos, and that is why it used to be called ‘Mesi’ [that means ‘the center’] during the past years. In the center of the village stands the building in which the Holy Community, consisting of representatives of each of the 20 monasteries, meets.
The church of the Protaton, that according to tradition was built by the Emperor Constantine the Great, has superb wall-paintings of the Macedonian (14th century) and Cretan (16th century) schools.
The library of Karyes, housed in an old tower, has numerous manuscript codices and some thousands of printed books. In Karyes are the nineteen konakis in which the representatives of the monasteries stay when they come to the capital.
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Maps & Location
KTEL Chalkidiki Athens: (210) – 8225148, (210) – 8226345 or (210) – 5152548, KTEL Chalkidiki Polygyros: (23710) – 22309, KTEL Chalkidiki Thessaloniki: (2310) -316575, (2310) -316555, ) -316565, Pilgrim Offices of Mount Athos (Thessaloniki): (2310) -252575, Ouranoupoli Pilgrim Office; (23770) -71422, Police Station of Karyes: (23770) -23212, Ouranoupolis Port Authority: (23770) -71248, Ouranoupolis Police Station: (23770) – 71203, Port Authority of Ierissos: (23770) -22576, (23770) -21041, FAX: (23770) _71016, Doctor-Pharmacy: (23770) -23217 & (23770) – 71398
It presents findings from the most important archaeological sites of the prefecture, the three colonies of Andros in Halkidiki, Stagira, Akanthos and Sani, as well as the Lambropoulou collection (clay statuettes and busts, bronze vases, jewelery, etc. from Prehistoric until the Byzantine period).
It is housed in the Karagani house and represents a traditional Polygyros house in the early 20th century. Among the exhibits you will see traditional costumes, agricultural tools, etc.
It is located in the city center and is a trademark of the city. It is exactly what his name describes!
One kilometer outside of the town you will find the famous chapel of Panagia and on the hill of Prophet Elias the picturesque chapel: enjoy the magnificent view from the top of Tsoukalas (890 m).
Archaeological Site of Ierissos
Here was the rectangle of Ancient Akanthos. Nowadays parts of the walls are preserved, among them an impressive part of the acropolis, as well as scattered architectural members and buildings mainly from the Classical and Hellenistic times. The extensive cemetery is located in the coastal area of Ierissos and numbers around 9,000 tombs.
It is located about 1 km northwest of Ierissos, surrounded by ruined dilapidation and dates back to the 15th century. Today it is about 12 meters high, while it is estimated that it is missing the last floor.
On the beach there is a beautiful aquarium, which hosts fish, seafood and shellfish from the bay (eg swallows, mummurs, skates, marshmallows, lobsters, lobsters, etc.).
This is the most characteristic point of Ouranoupoli. The monastery’s architectural tower was built before 1344 and the monks who cared for the monastery of the Vatopedi Monastery, to which the entire area belonged from 1018 until the Asia Minor Catastrophe, where the estates were distributed to the refugees, remained here.
Although the peninsula of Athos is known for its monastic community, what many do not know is that the part of the peninsula that does not belong to the monastic community has some of the most impressive beaches of Halkidiki.
Beaches that we recommend to visit at Athos:
Ammouliani is placed on the Mount Athos peninsula, being the only inhabited island of Halkidiki.
It is the perfect choice for an idyllic holiday, offering a combination of fine sand, blue water and great rocks. Tourists can find isolated fantastic bays that offer them the relaxation they need. There are also beautiful beaches such as Alikes, Megali Ammos, Ag. Georgios, Karagatsia and other great bays, where visitors can enjoy the splendid sea.
There are a lot of traditional Greek taverns in Ammouliani and you can go on daily excursions by boat to the islands of Tigani, Gaidouronisi and Pontiki. Visitors can also take the ferryboat to Tripiti, a settlement that offers you deep blue waters in a splendid environment.
Nea Roda is a village situated on the Athos peninsula in Halkidiki, at a distance of 115 km southeast from Thessaloniki. The inhabitants’ main occupations are fishing, agriculture and especially during summer tourism.
This holiday resort is popular because of its sandy beach and the crystal blue water. For enjoying their holiday, tourists can choose excursions to Mount Athos and water sports activities.
There are various rooms to rent with splendid sea view and a lot of entertainment possibilities in the traditional taverns and clubs.
Tripiti is a small port located a few miles before Ouranopolis. From there, small ferryboats linking the Ammouliani Island with the mainland. It is a very nice village, with lush vegetation, beautiful beaches and turquoise water. The ideal is the destination for those who want to escape the crowd.
Ierissos is situated on the east-side of Halkidiki at a distance of 118 km from Thessaloniki. It is a great harbor in Ierissos having a lot of fishing activity.
Tourists can find wonderful sandy beach awarded with the Blue Flag and a lot of picturesque taverns that offer great taste of traditional fish specialties. We should not forget about the cultural activities that are hosted by Ierissos and one of them is the festival at the Agios Pavlos country church that takes place on 29th of June and the other one at the Prophitis Ilias country church which takes place on 20th of June.
Olympiada is situated on the northeastern side of Halkidiki, on the Strimonikos Gulf, at a distance of 95 km from Thessaloniki.
Tourists can enjoy a relaxing holiday in Olympiada, swimming in the beautiful sea, eating at the traditional taverns and walking in a natural beautiful environment.
There are a lot of attractions when coming to Olympiada, such as visiting the home town of great philosopher Aristotel, situated in the village Stagira at 1 km distance.
There is also a natural harbor in Olympiada, where you can discover the natural beauty of the perfect combination of splendid beaches and green mountains.
Ouranoupolis is a small picturesque village, placed on the west side of the Mount Athos, having a splendid fishing harbor. The name Ouranoupolis is translated as “City of the Heavens”.
Ouranoupolis is at a distance of 130 km from Thessaloniki and it has 800 inhabitants.
This is a place that worth to be visited by every visitor that want to have a memorable holiday, in a special place surrounded by sandy beaches and sparkling water. From experience, every visitor will definitely want to come back sometime in the future.
Tourist will have the unique chance to visit the Holy Mountain and especially the Byzantine monasteries.