The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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The Footpaths of
Mount Athos

The Footpaths of Mount Athos: From Pantokrator to Vatopedi via Kolitsou

Distance: [9] km      Journey Time: [2½ - 3 hours]      Version 0.5

WARNING: This description is still under development – distances in square brackets are very approximate.

Note also that the footpath between Kolitsou and Vatopedi contains a very steep ascent of about 2 metres that the less agile may find very difficult.

This alternative to the more usual route to Vatopedi avoids the need to climb almost to the top of the ridge and may be closer to the usual historic route, although little is now kalderimi. Initially, it follows a track northwards roughly along the coast as far as the shore below Kolitsou (or Kultsum). From there, a combination of path and track leads further up the coast to pick up a historic footpath which traverses the hill to meet the main road above Vatopedi.

Note: All distances given (in metres) should be taken as approximate. The route described is liable to unpredictable change: for example, forestry work, road or track construction and plant growth may alter the route, or its appearance. Signposts may disappear or new ones appear. The Friends of Mount Athos strives to keep this description correct and up to date but cannot take responsibility for its accuracy.

Abbreviations: L = Left;      R = Right;      KSO = Keep straight on;
FP = Footpath; K = Kalderimi (stone-paved FP or mule track)
Description of Route:
Walk (m) And then . . .
0 Leave Pantokrator Monastery by main gate (facing the kiosk). Turn immediately R and R again following K road.
40 Ignore L turn (down to harbour). KSO on level kalderimi road.
70 Fork R off K onto non-K road just after building on R.
100 Ignore road joining from back R. KSO, now on main road, initially with Monastery behind and soon with remains of aqueduct on R. Road makes a long curve to L until the monastery is on L.
270 At junction, turn hard R onto smaller road, signed Vatopedi.
[1500] At junction, fork R off road through pole gate and chain onto track, initially downhill (signed Vatopedi). This track follows the line of the coast. After passing quarry it becomes less used.
[2500] Track ends. Turn R down steep bank onto rough FP, marked with orange tape. FP zig-zags steeply down through trees.
Caution: Steep descent.
150 FP emerges from trees at bay below Kolitsou and meets another FP at T junction. Turn R towards sea.
Alternatively: Turn L here uphill to reach in about 1200m the Kellion of Agios Georgios and the grave of Elder Dionysios at Kolitsou. To continue to Vatopedi, leave the Kellion by the main road to rejoin the route at below.
30 Pass between buildings to reach shore. Turn L along beach.
60 Just before reaching building at far end of beach, turn L and follow level grassy area away from sea.
60 Grassy area ends with FP ahead and to L. Continue along FP which soon begins to climb up northern side of valley, roughly towards Kolitsou tower.
1000 KSO, now on track climbing less steeply.
150 At fork with track to kellion under shelter ahead, bear R, uphill, soon passing above kellion with small bell tower on L and then below smaller kellion on R.
‡ 300 Shortly after passing second kellion, track ends at road with kellion ahead (being restored in 2014). Turn R along road, uphill.
Note: L along road leads to the Kellion of Agios Georgios and the grave of Elder Dionysios at Kolitsou.
250 At junction where main road bears L, uphill (leading to the main Karyes - Vatopedi road), turn R onto track, soon descending and curving L until sea is on R.
Note: To visit the Kolitsou tower, turn R about 30m after junction. Then retrace steps.
350 At fork, with kellion ahead, bear L, uphill. (R is to kellion.) After passing kellion, bear L.
350 Track reaches open area with olive trees. KSO with olive trees to R and strange rock formation ahead.
60 At corner of olive grove, track bears R, downhill and is blocked. Watch out for and take FP on L, signed Vatopedi, into woods .
Note: Any ropes (or wires) across the path are to deter animals. Any associated notice means “Do not remove rope”.
80 FP becomes more obvious and begins to zigzag uphill.
120 Top of hill, with dramatic viewpoint to R, over rocks to the sea. Bear L, initially downhill into woods. Due to local earth movement, the path then becomes rocky and uneven in places.
90 FP arrives at steep and difficult ascent of about 2m, caused by earth movement. Take great care.
900 FP ends with steep climb up bank to reach main Karyes - Vatopedi road. Turn R, downhill along road.
700 Pass crossroads with tracks R and back L (signed to Karyes and Pantokrator). KSO on main road.
300 At T-junction bear L (signed Vatopedi). Then KSO, downhill, ignoring two turnings to L.
200 At junction beside olive grove, fork R onto K.
150 At T-junction turn R, following K, soon passing covered well on R.
200 Arrive at the gate of Vatopedi Monastery.

This information is produced and maintained by The Friends of Mount Athos, a charitable organisation which, among other activities, works with monasteries to keep footpaths on the Holy Mountain, open.

The condition and signing of paths and tracks on the Holy Mountain are subject to continual change. The Friends of Mount Athos strive to keep this information correct and up to date but cannot take responsibility for its accuracy.

Copies of footpath descriptions are available, free, from the Friends website, and in a number of places on or associated with the Holy Mountain.