Located in the region of Thessaly, Central Greece, Meteora was millions of years ago a large collection of sandstone blocks that had formed under the sea, but over time it has become towering cliffs. Etymologically, Meteora means “suspended in the air”.
During the 14th century, impressive monasteries were built on top of Meteora by monks seeking total isolation and a place to meditate. They were able to reach these monasteries by means of baskets suspended using ropes and pulleys. It was only at the very end of the 20th century that roads and stairs were built, making the monasteries accessible to the public.
A weekend is enough to visit most of the monasteries as many are close to each other. Although there are 24 monasteries in total, only 6 of them are open to visits: Agios Stefanos, Agia Triada, Roussanou, Megalo Meteoro, Agios Nikolaos and Varlaam (the last three are the most popular).
Note that in order to visit the monasteries, you must dress appropriately (no shorts, short skirts or tank tops). Otherwise, the gatekeeper will gladly lend you a long skirt.
Keep in mind the opening hours, especially in winter, as the monasteries close earlier and are only accessible on certain days of the week.
To get to Meteora, there are several transport options. You can take the train from Athens, Larissa station to Kalambaka in Meteora or you can rent a car and drive there. Either way, the journey takes about 4.5 hours. (Book your train tickets right here). Once there, you can get around by foot, by car or by bus tour to the monasteries. You can access different monasteries either from Kalambaka itself, which, by the way, offers a splendid view of the mountains and the village, or you can reach some monasteries from Kastraki, which offers some of the most breathtaking views of the high rocks.
Although Meteora can be done in one day, it’s best to spend a night there to make the most of your stay. Two villages stand at the foot of the site. Kalambaka is more touristic and you’ll find various shops and restaurants there open throughout the year. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more peaceful and local place, Kastraki is the place to go. You will find all types of stays: campsites, guesthouses, private accommodation and hotels. Keep in mind that during the winter period, the majority of establishments are closed.
Check out our green hotels!
- Alexiou Hotel
- Dream Nest Meteora (Kastraki)
- Meteora Hotel at Kastraki
- Tsikeli Boutique Hotel Meteora – Adults Only
Finally, there is a wide choice of restaurants. We recommend eating in one of the many tavernas in both villages to enjoy local specialities such as meze, Greek salads, souvlaki, fried feta topped with honey and tzatziki.
For instance, Fortounis Tsipouradiko offers only typical Greek dishes at very affordable prices. The quality of the products is exceptional and the staff very welcoming. Even in winter, the restaurant’s atmosphere remains warm and lively.
Lisa CHAUVEL and Maelys LE TROTTER