Meteora is spectacular in both its landscape and its incredible history, and that’s how long it will take you to see this ancient Greek land.
Under the Mediterranean sun stretches the enchanting European archipelago that attracts tourists from all over the world. Greece, the land of the Greek gods and founder of the Olympics, has always attracted travelers in search of ancient history and archeology, fascinating beaches, peninsulas, cliffs, as well as delicious food and the best parties. However, Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete and Mykonos are not the only riches of Greece. The country has its own hidden gems, and Meteora is one of them. Located in the mountains of Thessaly, Meteora, the splendid pillars of rock formation, offers a spellbinding landscape and is home to one of the largest Greek Orthodox monasteries built in the Middle Ages. These helpful tips will ensure you see the best of Meteora on a two-day tour of the valley.
Here’s how to get to Meteora in Greece
Centered in central Greece, Meteora is not the easiest destination to get to as it is far from other main destinations. Therefore, travelers have to go to Athens or Thessaloniki and pass through Kalambaka to reach its destination and have to choose between taking a train or a bus. Both means of transport operate daily and need about the same time, 5 hours, to get to Meteora. However, tourists also have the choice of renting a car which is the fastest way to arrive at their destination and plot their route.
Once there, visitors will determine how much time they want to spend in town and how they want to explore Meteora.
- On tour : Tours are recommended for people who have little time and want to visit the most important places in the easiest way. Excursions can vary from visits to different monasteries with a guide to limited trips to the best spots for sunset. Another type of tour is also available and includes photography, climbing or culinary activities.
- By car: Tourists will discover streets that wind their way around brilliant landscapes and religious monasteries throughout Meteora.
- On a hike: While this may be the slowest way to see Meteora, hiking is the best way to see the sites. The trails depart from Kastraki or Kalambaka and pass through each of the monasteries. Walking will allow the tourist to see and experience more Meteora than any other way.
This is the best time to take a trip to Meteora
The time of year is one of the most important factors to consider when planning a trip to Meteora due to its location. The site’s summers are milder than those of the Greek islands, making hiking a great option. Nevertheless, during the hot season, the small monasteries can become very crowded. On the other hand, Meteora is very quiet during the winter season as it is very cold and temperatures can drop below zero Celsius.
As a result, many businesses temporarily close at this time of year and it can be more difficult to find accommodation and restaurants. The best time to visit Meteora is in spring or autumn. During these seasons, the number of tourists will be limited, the places will be less crowded and the weather will be pleasant. In addition, visitors will have the opportunity to see Meteora, which is full of vivid colors.
Here’s what to do and where to stay in Meteora
Basically, tourists have two options; staying in Kalambaka or Kastraki. The former has more accommodation and restaurants than Kastraki and is accessible by train and bus. To get to Kastraki, visitors must use these means of transport by booking them from Kalambaka.
As for restaurants, there are no places near the monasteries to eat. However, Kalambaka offers a variety of restaurants for tourists, while most restaurants in Kastraki serve traditional Greek dishes and wines.
The unmissable monasteries of Meteora
The oldest monastery in Meteora is the Great Meteora Monastery, built in the 14th century on a cliff. It is also the largest in the region and includes a museum that showcases the history of Meteora and golden frescoes of saints.
Another interesting place to visit is Varlaam Monastery, built in the 16th century and resembles a palace due to its pristine architecture. It is the second largest monastery, with most of the monks of Meteora living there. In addition, it includes a refectory, a church and chapels adorned with religious icons.
The monastery of Roussanou was rebuilt after the Second World War. It is centrally located to all the other monasteries and is mostly photographed for its strategic and amazing location.
A trip to Meteora is incomplete without witnessing the medieval monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, built at the end of the 14th century. It is the first monastery that tourists encounter when traveling to the region. From here, tourists can only see Kastraki and Roussanou Monastery because of the lowlands of St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery.
It would be a good idea to head to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, built in the 15th century on a stone island in its own right. This monastery is the most isolated and the most difficult to access. Nevertheless, it offers a magnificent view of Kalambaka, and that is why it is worth a visit.
The easiest monastery to reach in Meteora is that of St Stephen due to the lack of stairs. The symbols of the Greek civil war are kept in the main chapel and the cathedral of this monastery.
- Costs: The main monasteries have an entrance fee.
Another unique place for sightseeing is Adratchi Pillar, one of the thinnest rocks in Meteora, surrounded by marvelous hills.
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