The traditional Byzantine daily schedule observed on Athos is somewhat disorienting. On the northeast side of the peninsula the “12 o’clock” position on monastery clocks indicates neither noon nor midnight but sunrise, whereas on the opposite side of Athos it coincides with sunset. Yet Vatopedhíou, the largest monastery, keeps “worldly” time, as do most monks’ wristwatches, and in many monasteries two wall clocks are mounted side by side, one showing secular, the other “Byzantine” time. However, the Julian calendar, a fortnight behind the outside world, is observed throughout Athos. Bedtime is shortly after sunset and in the small hours your hosts will awake for solitary meditation and study, followed by órthros, or matins. Around sunrise there is another quiet period, just before the akolouthía, or main liturgy, that precedes the morning meal. The rest of the day is devoted to manual labour until the esperinós, or vespers, followed immediately by the afternoon meal and the short apódhipno, or compline service.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Greece features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for travelling in Greece

11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many r…

02 May 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right