Cruise to Mount Athos from Ouranoupoli
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Cruise to Mount Athos. Departure from Ouranoupolis
We start our journey at 11:00 from the port of Ouranoupolis, a small village at the edge of the frontier between the Holy Mountain and the rest of the world. After about 5 minutes of sailing we meet the borders of the monasterial city which are defined on the ground by an imaginary line that starts from the location "Fragocastro" in the west coast and reaches the cape "Arapis" in the opposite end. From this point we enter into the region of Mount Athos and you can feel the spiritual aura of this place even as you stand on the deck of our boat as we sail along the coastline of peninsula and come face to face with the impressive monasteries clinging to the cliffs.
After 15 minutes we see the first Russian skete "Thivaida" and about 20 minutes later the "arsanas" of the Serbian monastery of Chilandariou. (Arsanas means a building used like a small port connecting an inland monastery with the sea.)
Next following two more inland monasteries, the Bulgarian monastery of Zografou and the Greek one of Konstamonitoy.
The first monastery which is down on the coast and we get clear views is Dochiarioy and after a while along the coast is Xenofontos.
The next coastal monastery is the hugely impressive Agiou Panteleimonos which is characterised by the green onion domes of churches standing above the red-roofed buildings.
Further on is Dafni, the main port of Mount Athos where monks and pilgrims come ashore and take the bus for the inland monasteries. Just before Dafni perched on the hill side is the monastery of Xiropotamou, about 500m above the sea.
After passing the small Russian Skete of Agios Modestos we reach one of the most impressive sights of our journey. The monastery of Simonos Petras is truly breathtaking, something that many of you have seen before but up until now only on postcards. An imposing building of 14th century, consists of seven floors and located on top of a rocky ridge.
Afterward is following the monastery of Osiou Grigoriou, also on a clifftop and after 10 minutes is Agiou Dionysiou perched 100m above the sea.
The last monastery of our trip is Agiou Pavlou, which is nestling below the Holy mountain of Athos.
At this point as we start to turn round and head back for Ouranoupolis you can see "Nea Skiti" and "Skiti Agias Annas", two of the most famous sketes of Mount Athos.
And if all of these are not enough for you, our cruise is not ends here...You can feed the seagulls or enjoy a company of dolphins sailing with us under our bow and if you are lucky enough you will spot one of the 2-3 Mediterranean monk seals living here, leaving you with precious moments and lasting memories.
During our way back you have enough time to drink a cold refreshment or a glass of ouzo with Greek appetizers, to do your shopping onboard, to visit our boat's bridge and take photos of yourselves with the Captain or just to enjoy our free wifi network.
In the main deck of our boat except the bar for drinks, cold food and coffees there is also a small art shop where you can buy original souvenirs from Mount Athos in very competitive prices.
We're back in Ouranoupolis at 14:00.
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