In this article you will find all the necessary steps and the procedure you need to follow to visit the monasteries of Mount Athos for the first time.
Contact with the Pilgrims Office
First, in order to be allowed to enter Mount Athos, you should contact the Pilgrims Office to issue the necessary Residence Permit, called “Diamonitirion”.
The contact number of the Pilgrims' Office in Thessaloniki is +30 2310 252575 (for Greek visitors), +30 2310 252578 (for foreign visitors) and is located at 109 Egnatias Street P.O. 54635, Thessaloniki. Opening hours: Monday - Friday 09:00 - 14:00 and Saturday: 10:00 - 12:00.
The contact phone number of the Pilgrims Office in Ouranoupoli is +30 23770 71421 and it is located a few meters before the port.
The information requested by the competent office is the following: full name, patronymic, year of birth, identity card or passport number, date of issue and issuing authority.
Your information, the code number, and the exact date you will visit the Garden of Virgin Mary are written in the Residence Permit.
In addition, it is important to know in advance the Holy Monasteries you are going to visit, as you will be asked to declare it. Therefore, you should first contact the monastery where you wish to stay.
Keep in mind that the number of pilgrims allowed daily on Mount Athos is limited, so you should book your entry permit well in advance.
The days of stay are usually set at four (three nights), however, if a visitor wishes to stay longer, he can request an extension from the Holy Monastery that hosts him.
The person in charge of the Pilgrims Office will inform you precisely about all the details necessary for your entry to Mount Athos from Ouranoupoli or Ierissos in Chalkidiki.
How will you receive the Residence Permit “Diamonitirion”
During the process of issuing your Residence Permit, it is important to state which port your departure will be from, either Ouranoupoli or Ierissos.
The Residence Permit is collected from the Pilgrims' Office in Ouranoupoli, Chalkidiki, on the day of departure, upon presentation of the police ID or passport.
The operating hours at the Office in Ouranoupoli are from Monday to Friday 05:30 - 13:00, Saturday from 06:00 - 13:00 and Sunday from 08:00 - 13:00.
Visitors who take the ferry from Ierissos and head to the eastern side of Mount Athos, pick up their Residence Permit from the port of Ierissos, from the Pilgrims Office agent there.
It would be good for visitors to be at the reception area of the Residence at least 1 hour before their departure.
How much does it cost to issue a Residence Permit
The cost at the moment for the issuance of the Residence Permit is:
€25 for Orthodox Christians.
€30 for Heterodox - Non-religious.
€10 for special groups of pilgrims (pupils, students, soldiers, disabled).
Foreigners, non-Orthodox and Orthodox have the possibility to make a reservation six months in advance, by sending a photocopy of their passport or a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.