Ouranoupolis is the closest village to the border of the Athos monastic republic, this is why it is often called the "gate of Athos". This is a quiet place with wonderful nature, away from the city noise and trendy resorts. You will have the opportunity to see historical sights, take a cruise around the Holy Mountain, and what is most important — to relax the mind and get a powerful charge of positive energy.

Located not far from the narrow neck of Athos peninsula in Halkidiki, Ouranoupolis is 130 kilometres from the city of Thessaloniki. The resort is popular with travelers all year round — from the port of Ouranoupolis, ferries go to the monasteries of the Holy Mountain, as well as cruises along the peninsula start from here. Vacation in the village is a great opportunity to set yourself up spiritually for a trip to the Holy Mount Athos. Since women are strictly banned from visiting the Athos monastic republic, many male pilgrims leave their families here before starting a pilgrimage tour to the monasteries of Athos.     


The name of the village is translated from Greek as "city of heaven". Ouranoupolis received this name from the Alexandrian city founded by Kassandr’s brother Alexarhos in the 4th century BC. It was built on the ruins of the colony of Sani, which was destroyed by Philip II.   

On the ancient coins that were found, there was an inscription "Uranio Poleos", as well as Aphrodite Ourania was depicted sitting on a ball on one side of the coin, and the sun with eight rays was depicted on the other. 

The first monasteries began to appear on Athos peninsula in the 10th century. One of them was the castle of Zygou, which was discovered near Ouranoupolis. Now it is an inactive monastery, which can be visited by women. At the beginning of the 14th century, a Byzantine tower was built by the Vatopedi monastery for the protection of the metohi. This tower is still standing high above the village to this day. 

In 1922, 50 families of refugees from Asia Minor reached this area and found shelter in the tower, nearest buildings and tents. Athos provided them with land; each family got a one-room house, an arid plot of land and 10 sheep. However, the village was isolated from the outside world, without even a road connecting it with the rest of the peninsula. In 1947, local residents took shovels and laid an earth-road, which led after a while the first tourists to the village. 

A church and school were built in the village, and a community called Prosphorion was organized. Later, the village was called "Pyrgos" ("Tower"). In 1960, the settlement received its final name "Ouranoupolis" and began to develop as a tourist attraction. 

Thanks to an Australian Lock married couple, who had come to the village and stayed there to live, local residents began to use the art of carpet weaving applying the drawings that were copied from monastic books. This laid the basis for production, which gave jobs to many families. 

When tourists began to arrive here in the 1960s, the improvement of the village evidently started to develop: by this time roads had been built, streets had been completed, later the electricity was provided and the first hotel was built.

How to get

You can get to Ouranoupolis from Thessaloniki by bus. The bus No.79A runs from the “Macedonia” airport to KTEL Halkidiki bus station. The buses run from the early morning until the late evening. If your trip to Ouranoupolis starts from the Thessaloniki railway station, take the bus No.45A, which terminates at KTEL Halkidiki bus station. On this station, you need to change to a regular bus to Ouranoupolis. You can see the current bus timetable here

If for some reason you can't or don't want to get by public transport, a taxi will help you out. You can find a car with checkers at the exit of the airport terminal though this type of service will not help you to save the budget, as the taxi driver can practice upon your inexperience and add a certain amount to the cost of the trip. 

No less profitable service in terms of cost and comfort is a transfer from the airport. If you book it in advance, you can be sure that by the time you arrive, the car will already be waiting for you at the exit of the terminal, and an experienced driver will not only help with your luggage, but also take you to your destination quickly and comfortably.

Those who do not trust their journey to anyone, rent a car. This is probably the best way not only to get from the airport to your destination, but also to determine your own travel route and geography of sightseeing tours.

How to move?

Ouranoupolis is quite a small village, so you can easily reach the places you are interested in on foot. You will enjoy the nature and silence and watch the culture and life of local residents during your walks.

What to see?

Despite its small size, this resort village has prepared several valuable attractions for its guests. 

The Tower of Prosphorion. The Byzantine tower, which gave the first name to the village many centuries ago, has survived to the present day. Moreover, it is also considered to be the architectural landmark of Ouranoupolis, as well as the largest and best-preserved tower on Halkidiki peninsula. The Athos monks built it in 1344 on the foundation of another previously existing structure to protect the territory from enemy raids. Nowadays, there is a museum in Prosphorion Tower where you can see the finds of archaeologists from different parts of the Athos peninsula, as well as see the things related to the Lock couple, who had been living in the tower for a long time.

Zygou Monastery. This is one of the oldest monasteries on the Athos peninsula. It had been founded in the 10th century, and was destroyed just two centuries later. The archeologists discovered it only in 1984. The building was impressively magnificent — it was a five-sided castle, fortified with ten or eleven towers, which were built during just one century. Due to unknown circumstances, in the 12th century the monastery was abandoned, and at the beginning of the 13th century a frank-lord settled there. This fact gave it the title of a Frankish castle, and you can find the name Frangokastro on the maps of those times.

The border of the Athos monastic republic. The conventional line that separates the possessions of Mount Athos from the rest of the peninsula runs through its entire territory. Ouranoupolis is located just 1 kilometre from this border. Police posts are set up along the entire line, as well as signs indicating that women cannot enter the territory of the monastic republic, and men need to provide a diamonitirion — a special visa that allows them to visit the Athos monasteries.

The magnificent landscape around Ouranoupolis is a great chance to enjoy communication with nature. And the proximity of Ammouliani island, which is the only inhabited island close to the coast of Halkidiki peninsula, will allow you to make a short trip on a cruising launch to its picturesque beaches. Here you can do a variety of water sports, take a ride on a boat with glass bottom and have a delicious meal in one of traditional taverns.

What to do?

Ouranoupolis will seem to be a boring place for those who prefer noisy holiday and a resort life that is full of various events. The village is perfect for relaxing walks, pleasant evenings in local taverns and for admiring the sunset on the beach.

Active rest

Can you imagine a vacation by the sea without visiting the beach? Of course, it is impossible! Especially when it comes to Ouranoupolis. Its beach can be considered to be the village’s pride: the five-kilometre coastline starts from the port of Tripiti and stretches for all the way to Ouranoupolis. It is not difficult to choose a suitable place to relax — both the central part and the small bays that are hidden from prying eyes are covered with golden sand with a small amount of pebbles. The beach has all the conditions for fun activities: you can rent diving equipment, practice surfing, rent a boat or catamaran and go for a sea trip or even go fishing.


Ouranoupolis is not rich in shopping centers and boutiques, but you can buy religious souvenirs here: icons, beads, books about Athos and about the lives of saints, incense, flags, and even wine made from grapes grown on the peninsula. In addition, the shops of Ouranoupolis offer famous handmade carpets with Byzantine designs, goat hair carpets, jewelry made from natural raw materials, as well as local products — olive oil, honey, tsipouro, oregano and various kinds of tea.

Vacation with children

Families with children will highly appreciate the main advantage of Ouranoupolis — the silence. During the day, there is no banging music on the beaches, and in the evening, the noise of resort discos will not interfere with the baby's soft sleep. The sea is also perfect for safe children's swimming: the entrance to the water is gentle, during the summer season the water warms up well. The convenient location of the village contributes to the calmness of the sea, storms are not common here


Ouranoupolis is the starting point for cruises to Mount Athos. Ferries leave the port daily. Men take the ferry to Daphny, where their pilgrimage tour begins, and women can only see the monasteries of the Holy Mountain from the sea, from a distance of 500 metres. For this purpose, a large ship sails every day from the port of Ouranoupoli, making a walk along the shores of Athos.

You can take a sea cruise to the coast of the island of Ammouliani, in order to enjoy the atmosphere of island resort holiday. Alternatively, you can visit the blue lagoon of Halkidiki — the Drenia Islands with perfectly clear water, where you can go snorkeling, diving or just swim in the sea water of amazing color.

Where to stay?

Every guest of Ouranoupolis will succeed in choosing the accommodation according to the taste and possibilities. There is a large number of apart-hotels, apartments, hotels and villas located in the village and its surroundings.


The Hotel Macedonia. Despite the 2 stars of the service level, this hotel offers all the necessary conditions for a relaxing holiday: double, triple and quad rooms, including the ones with sea view, convenient location close to beaches, shops and restaurants and courteous staff.

Konaki Hotel. A small hotel for family rest with rooms ranging from standard to duplex suites is located near the Tower of Prosphorion. Modern interior with all the necessary comfortable conditions.

Ouranoupolis Princess Hotel. It is located at the entrance to the village. The rooms are well-equipped, with balconies and views of the sea or of the mountains. 

Eagles Palace is a wonderful sort of accommodation for those who prefer to the first-class relax. This five-star spa hotel offers luxurious rooms, a private beach, a swimming-pool, spa and a tennis court.


There are not many villas in the area of Ouranoupolis, but it is quite possible to rent a villa that will fully meet your requirements. Consider the town of Nea Roda and the Kumitsa area near it. There are very decent options, and by car it is very close to Ouranoupoli.

What to taste?

There are many cozy restaurants along the main road and the coastline where you can spend nice time enjoying the masterpieces of Greek chefs. Ouranoupolis is a corner of Greece, where you can taste a variety of dishes from the freshest fish and seafood, served not only in specialized fish taverns, but also in other restaurants of the village. Among these dishes, “risotto” with mussels and “saganaki” with mussels are worth of your special attention. As in all Greek towns, you will find many fast food outlets here — the main dishes of the Greek fast food “gyros” and “souvlaki” are definitely worth trying.

In the morning, you can have breakfast in one of the cafes or set out for traditional fresh flavourous pastries. It will be good to have lunch in a Greek tavern, choosing the favorite soup of the Greeks “fasolada” or no less popular in hot weather “fakes”. Among the salads, choose the well-known choriatiki ("the Greek salad").  In the evening, you can visit the restaurant or ouzo bar, where Greek musicians perform. Order lamb ribs “paidaki”, meat on the bone “kleftiko” or beef chops “brizola”, be sure to try moussaka, if you still didn’t have a chance to taste this delicious Greek pie. You can choose red or white Greek wine to combine the flavour of meat dishes.

Useful info

  • A relatively short distance from Ouranoupolis is the Chilandar Monastery. The monastery itself is located on Mount Athos, so not everyone can get there. However, the courtyard is accessible to visitors without a special visa.
  • Remember that the dishes in the taverns are served in large portions. Therefore, if you decide to try something new from Greek cuisine, divide the list of desired dishes for a few days or take 1 portion for two in order to avoid overeating.