Once you are in Athos there are two ways of getting around. One is by riding the local buses. They run between monasteries and Karies, the administrative centre, but their schedules are not well planned so you can’t really depend on them unless you have prearranged such a transportation for yourself.
The other way is on foot. Although there are bulldozed forest roads crisscrossing the peninsula, we should not forget that for centuries all communication and transportation was on foot and with the help of donkeys and mules. Nowadays many of the old footpaths are abandoned and covered by the rich vegetation. However many still exist, often coinciding at parts with the forest roads. Walking in Agion Oros is a wonderful experience. The nature is largely unspoilt. There is very little traffic and so the only noise that the visitor hears is the singing of the birds. The distances between monasteries vary from a few minutes to several hours. On the way you may find quite a few fresh water springs. It is a wonderful moment when after walking in the forest or next to the sea for a couple of hours to see a monastery behind a rock . Even if you do not plan to spend the night there, the door always welcomes the visitors. Usually you can find a beautiful wooden kiosk at a lovely location so you can catch your breath before entering the monastery yard. There you can rest, have a treat, a cup of coffee and a glass of cold water. Athonites are renowned for their hospitality. The staple treat for guests includes water, raki (a grape distillate), fruit preserves and/or Turkish delight. It is geared to the needs of wayfarers making their journey on foot, providing them with water to stop dehydration an sugar to replenish energy. Raki acts as an anti-perspirant. You can visit the church and be on your way to the next destination. Apart from the monasteries we should also mention that it is possible to reach the summit of mount Athos at 2030 meters high. The climb is neither easy nor steep. The climber has to start from Saint Anna’s Skete and can make it to the top after a few hours.
Swimming is not allowed in Mount Athos.
For the nature lover there is no better way to enjoy Agion Oros in full.
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