Who would ever say that deep inside Mainland Greece it is possible to find such a beautiful place, a place that leaves you speechless from any angle you look at it.
Simply by staying in Kalambaka or Kastraki you realize how majestic Meteora are. At the same time we realize how nature and civilization can coexist, enhancing each other.
It is no coincidence that it is one of the most visited destinations of all Greece, included by Unesco in the World Heritage Site.
Here are all theindex and all the information you need to visit Meteora.
The Meteors are beautiful, but visiting them alone means organizing yourself well with movements and times. I want to suggest you some tours that will allow you to enjoy the meteors both during the day, but also and above all at sunset:
- Per 8 km of trekking among the rocks until you reach the monastery of the Great Meteora. maybe the best way to visit the meteors!
- Per a tour to discover ALL the monasteries
- Instead to discover the meteors at sunset, something exceptional! The colors of this place of Mainland Greece they are indescribable.
Kalambaka is the town at the foot of the Meteora and is theideal as a starting point. It is also very good to stay in Kastraki which is simply the next town on the road to the monasteries.
It's not about big countries, yes they are developed from a tourist point of view due to the Meteor industry. Don't expect much entertainment, there are a few taverns and little more.
To eat I was very happy with the Paramithi Tavern while I wanted to recommend a hotel that I think is perfect to start the visit, especially if you want to go trekking.
I'm talking aboutAlsos House . It is a clean hotel with apartments. A paltry price for the size of the accommodations. Among other things, it is located right at the foot of the trekking path that leads to the monastery of Agia Triada.
If you want consider other accommodations in Kalambaka, .
First, let's see the definition of the name itself. Meteor in Greek means "in the middle of the air", or more commonly "suspended in the air". In fact, this is precisely the feeling you get when you arrive near Kalambaka: huge agglomerations of rock that stand out on a considerably lower area.
Regarding how they formed there are of different theories.
The most accredited one believes that once there was the sea and the meteors were nothing but gods stratified sedimentary deposits. Following movements of the earth's crust, the sea emptied and this area took on an even more mountainous hue. The pinnacles of the sediments remained, which in the meantime had hardened and rippled. Over time the atmospheric agents, primarily the wind, have smoothed and given the current appearance to the Meteors.
La second theory he argues instead that they are the consequence of a strong earthquake that has substantially changed this area, thus creating the various agglomerations.
I first hermits they began to inhabit the pinnacles starting from the XNUMXth century. A few centuries later, towards the fourteenth century, the Meteora became very important and the first monasteries were built there. The Turkish raids were frequent, the isolation of the pinnacles pushed the Orthodox religious to build in these isolated places that became the hub of religious activity.
Precisely to maintain and preserve access to it, expedients such as pulleys or removable ladders.
In short, it was not easy to get to the top, but this allowed him to stay safe. Even today it is possible to see some passages used at the time among the rocks. Indeed, it remains very difficult to understand how they could build them in such a pleasant environment, the fact is that a total of 24 were built.
Il best method, in my opinion, is therental car, this will allow you to visit them more independently, dictating the times and stopping at any point that captures your attention.
I arrived from Athens and, as I explained initinerary of my tour in mainland Greece, it takes almost 4 hours by car to reach Kalambaka. From Thessaloniki it is shorter and we are around 2 hours and 40 minutes without stopping.
The alternative is to use public transport. In this regard, I link the section of the local authority Visit Meteora with timetables and ways to get to Meteora, it is very precise and complete.
To be more "relaxed" when traveling, I recommend these tours in Spanish: Day excursion to the monasteries or the Sunset tour
If you want to visit them on your own, proceed with my next tips.
If you have a rental car available, you have the possibility to reach each monastery simply by going along the road of 15 km flowing between the pinnacles of rock. It is a road that starts from Kalambaka, passes through Kastraki, reaches every monastery and finally connects again to the road that leads to the main town. I believe it is the best way to visit Meteora.
Alternatively you can:
- Use the buses: 3 buses depart every day connecting Kalambaka to the Great Meteora stopping at the parking lots of the intermediate monasteries, or 4.
- Use a rented bicycle or moped: in the first case wishes, in the second case it can be a good choice if the weather is mild. I recommend the bicycle only if it is your travel prerogative and you want to be part of the experience. Unless you are a professional cyclist, forget about being able to see them all in a single day because, in addition to the km, in your legs you will also have to put the myriads of steps from the parking lot to the monasteries, apart from that of Agios Stefanos which has none.
- On foot: there are several trekking routes that allow you to enjoy the Meteora from points not reachable by car. One route starts from the Great Meteora and goes down to the road and another, which I would have gladly traveled if I had had time, starts from Kalambaka and reaches the monastery of Agia Triada. On the map that you can find in each hotel, they are marked with dotted lines formed by black dots. I think it's a great solution only if you have two days available. The first day you visit Meteora in a conventional way, the second you dedicate yourself to trekking. Walking the paths of the Orthodox monks will also allow you to see hidden monasteries, some of them in ruins.
- By taxi: variable rates, you should ask locally.
A full day is enough to see all the monasteries, as long as you don't want to reach them on foot but use public transport.
Personally I think they are spectacular in every season. Each period of the year has its own peculiarities. For example, I visited them in November, in the middle of autumn. The classic fall colors made them even more beautiful. And in winter with snow… wouldn't they be exceptional even in those conditions? And the summer sunsets?
If anything, the discussion, rather than the season, I would focus on the "tourist traffic" that you can find. From this point of view I recommend you visit the meteors out of season, you will find fewer queues at the monasteries and viewpoints, which will allow you to take great photos.
The only problem concerns the closing days and times. In the season from April 1st to October 31st they close later than in the remaining months of the year. In addition, many during the winter season have not one but two days of closure a week. I would say that in this season I strongly advise against Wednesdays because 3 are completely closed.
It must also be lucky with the weather. I have been extremely lucky.
On the same day I was able to see them in three different situations: with the pouring rain, in a very thick fog and finally with low clouds and glimpses of the sun that made everything of infinite beauty.
Initially I was very heartbroken, the rain does not give credit to the Meteors. It certainly enhances their meaning, namely isolation, but leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. Then the sky opened and created an unforgettable situation, even better than seeing them with the "simple" sun. So, if you are on a tour in Greece without fixed stops, pay close attention to the time, it will greatly affect the perception of these places.
Perched on the meteors they are in total 24, Of these only 6 are open to the public.
All, except Agios Stefanos, the others can be reached via many steps carved into the rock. Having said this, it would seem that the steps are difficult to walk, instead they are wide, low and well defined, probably they have been restructured compared to the "original version".
Parking is free and entrance to each monastery costs 3 euros.
The monasteries structurally have some common characteristics. Due to closing days, I managed to visit 2 and they both left me one deep sense of peace, after all, they were built by people who wanted to stay in meditation. I also noticed that the paintings inside the chapels are very defined and colorful, a symptom that they have been restructured to make them more touristic.
We must keep discreet behavior. It is not possible to take photos inside the churches. There will always be someone to supervise and rest assured that he will be uncompromising, so avoid even trying.
To the monasteries of Meteora, unlike those of Mount Athos, women are allowed to enter as long as their shoulders and knees are covered. In case you wear inappropriate clothing, there are special sheets at the entrance to cover you.
The monasteries that can be visited are:
- Megalo Meteoro -> Great Meteor
- Agios Nikolaos
- Agios Stefanos
- Agia Triada
For timetables you will find updated information at this link.
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For those who love photography, Meteors are a very interesting photographic set. You will want to photograph them from every possible point. There are many panoramic points where you can stop and why not use a tripod to capture these landscapes even better.
Along the 15 km road I want to recommend an exceptional viewpoint
At the crossroads where on the left you go towards Varlaam and the Great Meteora, you turn right towards the other monasteries. After a few curves you will find a parking lot and a viewpoint that will capture your attention for a long time.
I conclude with a warning: however, on the meteors it is necessary to pay close attention, unfortunately the panoramic points have no boundaries or protections. If you are not careful you risk getting hurt. Therefore be extremely careful!