Meteora Greece is famous for its distinctive rock formations and monasteries; Meteora, which is tucked away in the Thessalian highlands, is both naturally & historically fascinating. Use our travel guide of Meteora Greece advice to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
About Meteora Greece
It helps if you first understand what makes Meteora so unique before you can truly understand why it is so amazing. Because it is a significant historical and religious landmark in addition to having distinctive terrain, Meteora is an intriguing location. The interaction of these elements is what makes it such a special place to visit.
Several enormous granite pillars serve as Meteora’s defining features. While some are completely unique on their own, others combine with common hillside features to form valleys, resulting in an erratic landscape. The term Meteora, which loosely translates to “suspended in air,” comes from these erect pillars of rock.
Tourists would be drawn to Meteora for its scenery alone, but what sets it apart is the presence of Middle Ages-era Greek Orthodox monasteries perched on the cliffs of several of these rocks. The monasteries themselves appear to be “suspended in the air” because they were built in such a remote location to evade the invading Turks.
Only six of Meteora’s original twenty monasteries are still in operation today. Visitors travel to Meteora to see these six monasteries and the monks and nuns who reside there.
To truly believe in Meteora, you must visit it. However, it is difficult to understand how the monks managed to design and construct holy residences atop hundreds of meters-tall vertical rocks throughout the middle centuries. The interaction between nature and human labour is mind-blowing.
For all the information you require to effectively schedule your time in one, read this Meteora guide.
1. Getting to Meteora Greece
From this list, you can make your trip to Meteora a little easier, even though it can restrict your options when it comes to getting there. You’re probably going to get there from Athens or Thessaloniki, which are two of Greece’s other main cities.
From Athens, one must take a sluggish regional train to the village of Kalambaka before continuing on to Meteora. Due to its location at the base of the stunning Meteora rocks, Kalambaka serves as the starting point for the majority of travellers. Every day, a direct train leaves Athens for this excursion.
There are also a few slower trains that connect via Palaeofarsalos from Thessaloniki and Athens.
There is a bus that travels between the capital and Kalambaka every day, and it takes about the same amount of time to get there.
2. How to Navigate Meteora
You must consider your transportation options because Meteora is a rather large area.
1. By Tour
A tour is the best option if you just have a short amount of time in the area & want to see the most significant things quickly. There are a wide variety of guided excursions available, ranging from full-day tours of the many monasteries to trips that focus exclusively on the greatest places to catch the sunset. There are also excursions focused on activities like rock climbing, rock photography, and gastronomy.
However, the Majestic Sunset Tour and the Panoramic Meteora & Monasteries Tour are the two most well-liked excursions. The morning tour is the first one, and the evening excursion is the second one. It is in the evening, allowing you to attend both on the same day. You will not only see all the monasteries, but you will also be able to watch the magnificent sunset from the renowned Adrachti Pillar.
2. By Car
There are roads that wind their way all around the breathtaking environment all across Meteora. You may easily travel across all of the major monasteries while driving here. Each monastery provides its own parking lot, and some of the picturesque lookouts have them as well, making getting about very simple.
3. Via hiking or walking
Hiking is advised for exploring this region of Greece, despite the fact that it can be the slowest method of seeing Meteora. There are trekking paths that wind through the countryside down to each of the monasteries from Kastraki and Kalambaka.
3. Best time to explore Meteora Greece
One of the most crucial aspects to take into account while making travel plans to Meteora is the time of year. The country’s central mountain region makes Meteora significantly cooler than Greece’s islands. As a result, its summers are not as hot as those in the South, making summertime hiking bearable. Even so, summer is Greece’s busiest season, so it seems to sense that the tiny monasteries could get very busy.
Alternately, with temperatures that can easily dip below freezing, Meteora can experience very little activity during the winter. Additionally, you could discover that it’s more difficult to find lodging and restaurants during the off-season as many establishments close.
As is frequently the case, shoulder season is one of the best times to visit Meteora. You won’t feel crowded because there are fewer tourists, and the weather should be pleasant. However, nothing beats witnessing Meteora’s environment ablaze with springtime blossoms or autumnal leaves.
4. Accommodations in Meteora
Choose a location that allows you access to more than just the area’s attractions if you intend to spend a night or more there. There are really only two places you may choose from: the town of Kalambaka as well as the nearby village of Kastraki. You may drive or walk from either because they are both located at opposite ends of Meteora’s main monasteries. It’s also important to note that the distance between the centres of each is just approximately 2 kilometres, making it simple to travel between them when necessary.
The larger of the two, Kalambaka, is where the bus and rail arrive and offer more lodging and dining options. On the other side, Kastraki is a tiny village with a charming vibe. There are still many restaurants and lodging alternatives here, but you will need to go there from elsewhere.
1. Tsikeli Inn
A stunning boutique hotel in Kastraki, this newly refurbished three-star establishment boasts a tonne of flair in addition to spectacular views of the area. It is a wonderful mid-range alternative and is situated in a peaceful area of Kastraki, while it is still not very distant from the village’s centre.
2. Hotel Divani Meteora
This opulent Kalambaka four-star hotel resembles a resort more than a hotel. This hotel is an excellent spot to stay if you’re visiting Meteora because it has many pools and leisure areas, attentive personnel, and neat, trendy decor.
3. Hotel Holy Rock
One of the few low-cost choices available to travellers to Meteora. In Kalambaka, this hostel’s beds are the most affordable. It also offers wonderful amenities to visitors, like a kitchen and social areas.
5. Restaurants in Meteora
You’ll need to refuel so that you can keep going while exploring Meteora. While there aren’t any restaurants or other eating businesses up by the monastery, both Kastraki & Kalambaka have a wide variety of eateries. Due to its size, Kalambaka offers a little more diversity than Kastraki, which often only features traditional Greek eateries.
You can get several Greek favourites in these places, including grilled meats, saganaki, and an abundance of veggies. The finest wine to pair with all of this is Greek wine, particularly some regional selections.
Taverna Xarama, a typical Greek eatery located midway between Kastraki and Kalambaka, is a wonderful spot to visit. The cuisine here is excellent. However, you stand a fair possibility of receiving a guitar serenade from the taverna’s family owners. Another option is Taverna Gardenia in Kastraki’s centre, which serves tasty souvlaki.
6. A Guide to Meteora Hiking
As previously noted, trekking in Meteora is possibly the greatest way to visit the region because it enables you to see both the monasteries and the surrounding environment. When you actually have to trek up into the forest to get to the monasteries, they seem much farther away. Additionally, you get to see everything that the landscape has tucked away in its trees, including tiny vistas and trickling streams. Hiking here is one of our numerous Meteora trip recommendations.
When you walk in Meteora, you often alternate between following the main road that cuts through the region and deviating into trails that lead to the monasteries through the forest. While occasionally steep, the terrain is not particularly demanding for trekking. It’s preferable to remain in Meteora for at least two days if you want to have enough time to hike.
The ideal starting point from Kalambaka is from the northernmost part of the town, where there is a little dirt road. The Holy Trinity Monastery is reached by following this route, which first takes you past olive groves and then climbs. You may reach the St. Nicholas Anapausas by beginning from Kastraki and travelling northeast on the village’s main road.
Although it’s not always obvious where they lead, the hiking trails are typically quite clearly marked. Grab a free Meteora map from one of the many hotels or tour companies to avoid getting lost. Some locations offer more in-depth hiking maps, but you’ll have to pay for them, so they might not be essential. A different choice is to download maps to your phone, which will ensure that you always know where you are.
7. Best Activities in Meteora
It would be impossible to provide travel advice for visiting Meteora without mentioning each of the six active monasteries, as they are the main attraction of the region. Although Meteora has other attractions, you come to see the monasteries & how they blend into the breathtaking scenery. For those who have a little more time to invest, the additional activities at Meteora are really the icing on the cake.
It is possible to see the main attractions in a single day if you are driving or taking a tour. As previously stated, it is ideal for hiking over two days so that you are not rushed and may continue your exploration.
1. Greater Meteoron Monastery
Despite not being perched quite as perilously as the other monasteries, this one has an abundance of structures, a stone ribbon of stairs, and a walled village-like appearance.
The museum is a fantastic place to begin to learn some background information about the locations you’ll be visiting.
2. Monastery of Varlaam
The second largest monastery, Varlaam, is not distant from the Monastery of Great Meteoron. Due to its immaculate construction, this 16th-century monastery that has been preserved beautifully resembles a palace.
3. Monastery of Roussanou
Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the monastery and the rock. Unfortunately, taking pictures inside the gorgeous chapel inside the monastery is not permitted.
4. The holiness of the Trinity Monastery
The Monastery of Holy Trinity is located all by itself on a stone island and is the most remote and difficult to get of the Meteora monasteries.
5. Church of St. Stephen
This monastery is the easiest to enter in Meteora because there are no stairs leading up to it. There are still signs of the damage the Greek Civil War did to this now-convent in the main church and cathedral.
6. Rock formations and additional monasteries
Many of the other monasteries’ ruins can be seen scattered around Meteora’s countryside. None are genuinely reachable today, and those that are are often far farther distant than the well-known ones. Consider the Monastery of Ypapanti, which is really close to visitors but is still clearly clinging to the rock wall.
Visit the picturesque lookout point about midway between Roussanou as well as the Holy Trinity Monastery for a complete panoramic view of Meteora. It is simple to find and has a tiny parking lot just off the main road. It can be challenging to capture all of Meteora’s beauty in one image, but this gives you the best chance.
The Adrachti Pillar is another location where you can go to admire the Meteora rocks and stones. This is one of the Meteora’s skinniness rocks, sitting on a spur that is somewhat difficult to reach between Kastraki and Kalambaka. It’s an ambient location that is surrounded by the local hills and is simple to get to if you head east out of Kastraki through the Holy Tomb of Assumption Church.
8. Set out on Meteora’s Trekking Routes
A hiking trip is one of the most well-liked things to do in Meteora for a reason. A network of hiking pathways that were used by the ancient monks & pilgrims centuries ago survives between the monasteries. One of the easiest ways to explore the area while avoiding crowds is by following these trails.
From the settlement of Kastraki, there are various routes that lead to the Holy Trinity Monastery, and there is one that goes to the rock at Agio Pnevma (Holy Spirit) and its well-known “hermit caves.” One of the caverns, thought to have been home to a monk in the 10th century AD, has a chapel erected inside it that is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.
9. Learn more about the renowned Meteora Monasteries
The first monks came to the region in the fourteenth century with the purpose of establishing monasteries, and this is when Meteora’s monastic community initially emerged. Six of the 24 Meteora monasteries that were active in the 16th century are still in operation today: the Holy Trinity Monastery, Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Agios Stefanos, the holy monastery of great meteoron, Hermit monks, Roussanou monastery of great meteoron, ancient monasteries of meteora and Agios Nikolaos.
Each has a distinct atmosphere, and all offer breathtaking views and fascinating history. In addition to these, visitors can also visit the monasteries of Agios Antonios & Agios Nikolaos in Badovas, along with the Monastery of Ypapanti, having just undergone repair.
10. Try Climbing Rocks
The first monks in Meteora were among the most well-known rock climbers. However, they weren’t Meteora’s first rock climbers. The people taught the monks how to climb rocks and assisted them in establishing the monasteries we so appreciate today. Thus, it makes sense that Meteora has developed into a popular rock-climbing destination today. And not just for professionals. Even if you’re a novice, you’ll be given all the knowledge and equipment needed to get started at one of the most amazing rock climbing locations you’ll ever see.
The Great Saint, or Agia as the locals call it, is Meteora’s tallest mountain and the culmination of the most challenging ascent open to more adventurous travellers. A hidden trail through granite pillars, fractures, and crevices leads to the Great Saint via a ferrata climbing and scrambling route, which rises around 430 metres above the village of Kalambaka. This route requires a guide & specialised gear.
Stopping at a bastion of an ancient city and taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including the town of Kastraki as well as the plain of Thessaly, is an exciting activity.
11. Enjoy a tour of cuisine and Wine Tastings
Not only is Meteora a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site, but it’s also a fantastic vacation spot for foodies. Take a stroll through Kalambaka if you want to sample foods and regional goods. The monks’ baked pies and honey are wonderful. There are also local vineyards you can visit by yourself or as part of a food and wine tour, where you can also taste grilled meats, local cheese, and organic salads as part of a farm-to-table lunch.
12. Go truffle-hunting and have a dinner in the Forest
You have the chance to both hunt for seasonal truffles & mushrooms in the lush forests surrounding Meteora and have a lunch prepared on-site using the produce of your labour.
There are truffle dog adventures where you may learn the skills of finding and bringing back priceless fungi. Then, a chef will assist you in preparing a feast that features truffles and mushrooms outside in the forest. To cap off your day, visit Kalambaka’s Meteora Natural History & Mushroom Museum for a wealth of facts.
13. Explore Kastraki & Kalambaka
The two settlements at the foothills of the Meteora mountains, Kalambaka and Kastraki, are both well worth a visit.
You were pleasantly surprised by how big Kalambaka (sometimes called Kalampaka or Kalabaka) turned out to be. This is due to the fact that the majority of blogs and articles You read prior to your trip referred to it as “a tiny community.” In actuality, Kalambaka has 12,000 residents and is home to numerous restaurants, pubs, bakeries, travel companies, gift stores, and other small enterprises.
The best things to do in Kalambaka include taking a leisurely stroll down Trikalon, the city’s main thoroughfare, discovering the local cuisine, or relaxing with a drink while people-watching. The Boulevard is bustling with both locals and tourists on weekends.
14. Explore the region on E-Bikes
Renting e-bikes is the best alternative if you want to see the monasteries in Meteora but don’t want to rent a car, go on a tour, or go all upwards from the rocks. It gives you the freedom to manage your own schedule and the flexibility to pause anywhere you choose to take in the scenery. If you wish to climb to the rocks and watch the sunset over Meteora, having e-bikes is also convenient.
For one day, we hired e-bikes at Kalambaka, rode them all the way east along Meteora’s main road down to Kalambaka (about 16 km), and then explored the Great Meteoron monastery & Varlaam monastery. One of the nicest things to do in Meteora is to ride the e-bikes along winding mountain roads when surrounded by the amazing “rock forest.” A guided e-bike trip is another option for seeing the area.
That roughly sums up our advice for visiting Meteora Greece. You should be well-equipped by this point to travel to this fantastic location and develop your love for Greece. The enormous rocks of Meteora, as well as the centuries-old monasteries, perched hundreds of metres above the ground, leaving one speechless.
However, when you take in the UNESCO-protected landmark, you’ll also be mesmerised by the scenery, one of Greece’s most inspiring pursuits like cultural tours, hiking trips, river rafting, and truffle hunting. You’ll enjoy everything there is to do at Meteora, which is just 3 hours by car from Thessaloniki & 4 hours from Athens but has an air of another planet about it.