Any Greek or foreign Orthodox Christian who wishes to visit Mount Athos must first get in touch with the Pilgrim Bureau in Thessaloniki (tel. (++30) 2310 833 733) or Ouranoupoli, Halkidiki (tel. (++30) 23770 71 423) in order to obtain the Diamoneterion (visitation permit) which is valid for four calendar days.
Foreigners of other religious affiliations must apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Churches, 2, Zalokosta St, Athens, (tel. (++30) 210 362 6894) or the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, Directorate of Political Affairs, Plateia Diikitiriou, Thessaloniki, (tel. (++30) 2310 270 092) in order to obtain an entry permit for Mount Athos.
A maximum of 120 Orthodox Christian visitors are allowed per day, whereas foreigners of other religious affiliations are limited to 14 per day. These limits do not include persons that have explicit invitations from the monasteries.
Mount Athos is accessible by boat from Ouranoupolis or Ierissos. From Thessaloniki, one may reach Ouranoupolis by private automobile or public transportation (KTEL buses of the Prefect of Chalkidiki, 68 Karakasi St., Thessaloniki (tel. (++30) 2310 924 444). There are daily departures to Ouranoupolis and Ierissos at 06:00, 08:30, 10:30, 14:30, 16:30, 18:30. The journey is approximately two hours long.
From Ouranoupolis (tel. (++30) 23770 71 248) there are daily freight and passenger boat trips at 9:45 to Daphne, the sea port of Mount Athos and to the monasteries of Zographou, Docheiariou, Xenofontos and Saint Panteleimon. Visitors to the monasteries of Simonos Petra, Gregoriou, Dionysiou, Saint Paul and the skete of Saint Anne change boats at Daphne. Finally, for the monasteries of Esphigmenou and Vatopedi in particular, the visitor may depart from Ierissos ((++30) 23770 22 576).
Transport from Daphne to Karies, the capital of Mount Athos, is by bus (35 minutes). From Karies visitors may reach monasteries and sketae by 4WD mini buses or monastery vehicles. (tel. (++30) 23770 23 266, cel phone (++30) 6944 302 451).