Rolling hills and floating monasteries perched on century-old rock formations. Thatâ€™s what Meteora has to offer and more!
Whilst most only head to the greek islands, I assure you that Meteora, in central Greece should be next on your bucket list.
Otherworldly, magnificent, mystical and jaw-dropping are words often used to describethis location, a place that can only be fully experienced in the flesh.
So why is Meteora a must during your time on earth?
- Unique UNESCO world heritage site
Meteora, which means suspended in the air, is a natural masterpiece illustrating the grandeur of this world and the genius of man. In short, imagine infinite fields and luscious hills surrounding natural sandstone pillars that reach the skies and where man decided to build a refuge which can still be visited today.
Meteora is listed as a world heritage site and recognised for its history, geography, culture, art and architecture. Those visiting this unique site often spend half a day to 4 days because thereâ€™s so much to see and do. A spiritual refuge for monks and a treasure trove for explorers, Meteora has got you covered.
Some say the rock pillars were shaped by earthquakes whilst others believe they’re a result of erosion by rivers and winds. Whichever way, it is a beautiful landmark which will create unforgettable memories.
- Monasteries and caves you can visit
Dating back from the 14th century, there were once 24 monasteries in the region. Six of these monasteries are still open today and can be visited for a small fee of approximately 3 euros. Monks and nuns still live there and it’s not hard to see why. If you can only see one monastery, the Great Meteoron is where you need to go as it is the oldest and the biggest.
What’s also fascinating is that monks actually started settling there in the 11th century, carving out caves within the rocks, many of which can still be seen. Overtime, the monasteries were built on top of the rock pillars as they were seen as a safe and isolated place for refuge because they were so inaccessible. This very fact meant that the monasteries were built with ropes and baskets and the only way up was by climbing and using rope ladders. Legend has it that one boy once asked how they knew when to replace the ropes to which the response was ‘when they break!’.
Thankfully stairs and roads have now been carved into the rocks, which makes it very accessible to all.
- Outdoor activities aplenty
Meteora is simply heavenly if you love being outdoors and what’s great, is that there’s something for all levels. If like me you’re an amateur adventurer, you can take a very chilled approach by exploring the short trails that connect some of the monasteries, explore the gardens and forests, find cool spots to relax and enjoy the view, and drive on to the next monastery or viewpoint.
Equally, there are hiking trails from 9km to 20km as well as options to go rock climbing or even white water rafting.
- Unmatched scenery, architecture, museums and food spots
The views are incredible whether you’re peeking through the windows of the monasteries, on top of a cliff looking at the fields and surrounding rock pillars or exploring the gardens where monks and nuns also venture out.
In addition to this you can see churches within the monasteries, shrines within the rocks, caves or museums such as the natural history museum of Meteora and mushroom museum.
And whilst you will need snacks when you’re exploring the network of monasteries, there are many restaurants serving great local food when you head back down to the foothills of the mountains. The perfect way to end your adventure methinks!
Top tips for your trip
How to get there
You can get to Meteora by train which is a 4.5hr journey from Larissa station in Athens or 3hrs from Thessaloniki station in Thessaloniki. You will get off at Kalampaka which is the city below Meteora. You can book your tickets on
Alternatively you could drive there and follow the suggested route by google maps â€“ this is how I got there and the road signs were very easy to follow.
Finally, you could book an organised tour which is a popular option amongst tourists.
How much time do you need
The views are one of the main draws to Meteora â€“ half a day would therefore be the minimum you should plan to spend there and â€˜sight-seeâ€™. However if you would like to see all the monasteries, hike, visit museums and do other activities 2 to 3 or 4 days would be better for an immersive experience.
Where to eat
Whilst visiting the monasteries youâ€™ll need to bring your own snacks as there are no eateries on site. But if you choose to spend some time in Kalambaka, the city below Meteora, there are multiple options with Greek Tavern Skaros and Taverna Gadernia recommended as some of the best options in the area
Best time to go
May to October are the best times to visit to maximise your chances of good weather
Getting to Meteora may cost a bit depending on your chosen mode of transport. However, once there, and provided youâ€™ve brought some snacks, you will only need around 3 euros for each monastery you visit. As the monasteries look quite similar, visiting a couple should give you a good enough feel for them. Should you chose to extend your stay and go out for dinner, you will of course need a larger budget
What to wear
Wear comfortable shoes to explore at will and modest clothes for visiting the monasteries
Meteora is a place like no other and by exploring the area you will experience one of the gems of this world whilst being immersed in history, culture, the arts and nature. Are you ready to plan your next trip?