Things to Do in Athos, Greece
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Mount Athos is a peninsula in the Halkidiki region of Greece. Athos is known as the “right foot” of Halkidiki as well as the “Holy Mountain.” Access to this peninsula is restricted and special permission is required for access. Don’t fret though, there are still things you can do and see in the area.
The nearest airport is located in Thessaloniki. Getting to Ouranoupolis can be done via taxi, car, or bus from the bus station of Halkidiki, which is located south of Thessaloniki. When in Athos, most places can be reached by foot.
Visit the Byzantine Tower of Ouranoupolis
If you’re visiting the area of Mount Athos, you won’t want to miss this piece of history. This Byzantine tower existed in 1344, but may be even older. In May of 1379, the despot (or king) of Thessaloniki was hosted at the tower and he would grant it exempt from taxes. During a 1585 earthquake, it is thought the tower suffered damage that required repair. More repairs would be needed after the tower suffered fire damage, which may have been caused by a fire during the revolution. Make sure you see this historical landmark when you’re in the area.
Grab a Bite to Eat
If you’re a seafood lover, you’re in luck. Around Athos you will find a number of restaurants that serve seafood and other Greek specialities. Vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free? You won’t be left out. Many of the restaurants in the Mount Athos area offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. No matter what your taste buds are craving, you’re likely to find it. Pasta, seafood, meat, Mediterranean, Greek, or European food, you’ll find it all. You can also enjoy coffee or tea at a café. Eating in Athos gives you the chance to try new and exciting dishes.
Hit the Beach
Arsanas Beach lies at the border of Mount Athos, where the old naval station of the Chromitsa Monastery separates the Holy Community from the rest of the area. The small beach of Arsanas provides a great view of Athos. The beach is located under the St. Archangel Michael monastery. The beach of Arsanas features cold, turquoise water and a sandy shore with rocky under the water.
Other beaches in the Mount Athos area include Nea Roda Beach and Stratoni Beach. Both of these beaches are located in the Akanthios Gulf area. If you travel by boat to Ammouliani Island, there are more beaches to explore, plus the added bonus of the view of the mainland, especially that of Mount Athos.
Athos, Greece is a place of beauty. While visiting the monasteries might not be possible for you (only men are allowed and need special permission), there are things to see and do. You can view the monasteries from a distance and get a feel for their importance. If you’re looking for a laid-back vacation where you can relax and move at your own pace, Athos is the place to be.
This post was written by GreekBoston.com