Whatever your reasons for wishing to visit, it will be a unique experience.
You do not have to be of the orthodox (or indeed any) faith to visit Mount Athos and stay for a few nights in the monasteries - but you do need to be male!
The only restrictions are (other than gender):
- A maximum stay of 3 nights
- Each night stayed has to be at a different monastery
However, applying for and getting the relevant permit, called a 'diamonitirion', plus booking your overnights, which has to be done separately with each monastery (there is no central reservations system quite yet!), can be time consuming and complicated.
If you are booking a holiday to the area with Sunvil and wish to spend some nights during it at Athos, we can help. We need only a scanned copy of your passport and dates you wish to stay (these may need to be flexible). We will then make the necessary applications on your behalf. if you have any particular monastery in which you would like to stay we will try to accommodate that request. as Athos has a daily quota - only 10 non-orthodox a day are allowed in - we recommend booking as early as possible (but not more than 6 months before).
There are no charges for staying on Athos, although the monasteries always appreciate a donation. However we make a £65 per person administration charge.
Local costs you will incur are:
- Any costs of getting to ouranoupolis (we do not include transfers) - however if you stay at Skites Hotel the only costs you should incur are for shoe leather.
- €35 for the diamonitirion (€25 for orthodox; if you are orthodox but not greek a letter from your priest, bishop or baptismal certificate required), which has to be picked up from the Pilgrim's office in ouranoupolis on the morning of your trip (passport required).
- Cost of ferry ticket from ouranoupolis to daphne on athos (€7.50 one way in 2014; ticket to be bought from the ferry company office in ouranoupolis). Ferry dep. 09.45.
- Any local transportation charges on Mount Athos (max €8.50 each bus journey).
Useful and important websites to see before booking are athosfriends.org/PilgrimsGuide/ and mountathosinfos.gr (see infos and then Pilgrims informations)
We recommend loved ones left behind stay at Skites hotel, where they will be well looked after and which is within walking distance of ouranoupolis. ammouliani or olymbiada are also options by taxi, which the hotels can book.