The closest large city is Thessaloniki. The visitor usually starts from there. The city is located around 130kms to the north-west of the Mount Athos point of entry. It has an international airport with many connections to European cities. The city itself is the second largest city in Greece next to Athens. It is surely worth a visit while being in the “neighborhood”. Visitors usually choose to spend at least one day exploring the city before or after their visit to Agion Oros. Another option is to bring the rest of the family along. The men take their trip to Mount Athos and then they can all enjoy the city, the rest of Chalkidiki or the surrounding area together with the family. There are other places of interest too. You can find more suggestions here. We can arrange all your accommodations and transportations according to your needs and preferences.
The only way to enter Mount Athos is by sea. From Thessaloniki one must travel the 130kms by car, taxi or bus. Most visitors embark on one of the vessels leaving from the port of Ouranoupolis on the south side of the peninsula on the gulf of Siggitikos also known as gulf of Agion Oros. If the weather permits there is also a possibility to enter the Mount Athos peninsula from the small port of Ierissos on the northern side, on Strymonian gulf.
The boats from Ouranoupolis take the visitors to Daphni, the main port in the middle of the peninsula. On the way, they also make intermediate stops on monasteries along the coast. From Daphni one can catch a bus to Karies, the administrative centre of the monastic society and from there other buses to any of the monasteries. Or, from Daphni one can travel even further south up until Karoulia, at the foot of the mountain, by corresponding boats. Alternatively, from the north side the boat stops to all the monasteries on the sea, until the monastery Megistis Lavras, if the weather is kind.
Generally speaking the transportation to and from Ouranoupolis is rather easy going. However the bus routes in Mount Athos are not so easy to arrange and the schedules are very flexible. It is advisable to have our assistance as a local contact to make sure that the visiting plan can be followed.