The “Men Only” Area of Greece

If you’re female, you may want to stop reading now. Mount Athos — the “Holy Mountain” — is the ultimate “male only” destination. Even the animals and kept birds are male. Inevitably, there are the odd exceptions that nobody can control, which includes insects and wild birds. Apparently, a few years back a woman disguised herself as a man and made it ashore. Unfortunately, he ploy was discovered. One monk was so mortified at this breach to the sanctity of the place that he committed suicide. Mount Athos is a 129-square-mile self-contained Orthodox spiritual center that has been in existence since 1054. It’s under Greek sovereignty, but has been self-governing since Byzantine times. Only accessible by sea, the region has been described as a religious sanctuary. Since the 20 monasteries, 12 cloisters, and 800 cells provide accommodation for 2,200 monks, the description fits. If you are a male and want to visit Mount Athos, be prepared to go through a rigorous identification process. A permit is required for both individuals and groups.