There is no accommodation in Athos. We slept one night in Hilandar. It's custom there that visitors stay in monastery they vist one to three nights for free. Also, food is for free but, if you want, you can give some money (it's the custom) like a donation for the Monastery. There are two meals per day and you will eat with them in the same room. They are not eating meat, but there is wine with every meal.
The monks are more than happy to leave you stay at their monasteries. Most monasteries have special rooms (cells in the greek terminology). The rooms are clean and you usually share them with others.
Food lovers: Be prepared. You are not going to Spain, Italy or even Cyprus where you can enjoy great meals. There is only one meal at 18:00 every day and some tea in the morning. NO MEAT at all of course. Remember, the first step to clean the soul is by cleaning the body.
Also note that there are no baths. I think I saw couple in one monastery which is consider to be to be the most luxurious ( vatopedi). I won't get into more details but for some this might look weird but you don't need a bath.
Not much to do. That's the whole point after all. Just relaxing, praying if you like and enjoying conversation with other visitors and monks.
Everybody, except women, can stay for "free" in three different monasteries each night, given the fact he has paid for his "visa" to the Agios Oros area. In my case it was 18Euros. One gets to eat for free too. Menu is healthy and accompanied by wine that you might never have again.
I did not sleep very much because I had to get up at four o'clock for the morning prayer.
Dormitory room with bathroom on the same floor. There was no view of the outside ravine but a close look of the inner courtyard.
If you intend to sleep in the monastaries, as most people will do most of the time on Mt. Athos (other than that there are only a few guest rooms in one or two hotel-like places in Karyes for example), make sure that you call the monastary beforehand and make a reservation.
The stay is free, although donations for the churches are appreciated.
Some monastaries struggle to provide accomondation for everybody interested. Therefore making arragements makes it easier for the monks and is appreciated. Some monastaries take also about everybody in who asks, making hallways look like camps sometimes.
If you don't know where you want to stay, arrange the accomondation around mid-day (best time to reach someone at the moonasteries, 10am - 2pm) always for the following night at least by phone.
Some monastaries will rigorously reject you, if they are full already and you don't have a reservation. If you walk a lot, it might make a difference to mention where you have come from on foot! today or how long you have been walking. Suddenly they might have a bed for you again.
- simple accomondation
- various room types, from sleeping room with 30 beds to two-bed room everything might happen to you, depending on the monastary.
There are lots of hotels in Ouranoupolis, before you get in Mount Athos or after even leaving your family for holidays, cheap and good hotels(avoid high season for this). We usually stay in pensions that we find in the village and eat at Kritikos, with local and Mount Athos recipes. It could be a custom after you visit Mount Athos.
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