Under the Mediterranean sun lays the enchanting European archipelago that attracts tourists from all over the world. Greece, the land of Greek gods and the founder of the Olympics, has always held appeal for travelers seeking ancient history and archeology, fascinating beaches, peninsulas, cliffs, as well as luscious food, and the best parties. However, Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, and Mykonos are not the only wealth of Greece. The country has its own hidden gems, and Meteora is one of them. Situated in the mountains of Thessaly, Meteora, the splendid pillars of rock formation, offers a mesmerizing landscape and hosts one of the largest Greek Orthodox monasteries built during the Middle Ages. These helpful guiding tips will allow one to see the best of Meteora during a two-day tour of the valley.
Here's How To Get To Meteora In Greece
Centered in the middle of Greece, Meteora is not the easiest destination to get to because it is far from other main destinations. Therefore, the travelers have to go to Athens or Thessaloniki and pass by Kalambaka to reach its destination and have to choose between taking a train or a bus. Both means of transport means work on a daily basis and need approximately the same amount of time, 5 hours, to get to Meteora. However, tourists have also the choice of renting a car which is the fastest way to arrive at their destination and draw their itinerary.
Once there, the visitors shall determine the time they want to spend in town and the way they desire to explore Meteora.
- By tour: Tours are recommended for people who have limited time and who want to visit the most significant places in the easiest way. Excursions may vary from sightseeing in different monasteries with a guide to trips that are limited to the best sunset places. Another type of tour is available also and includes photography, climbing, or culinary activities.
- By car: Tourists will discover streets that squirm their way around brilliant scenery and religious monasteries all through Meteora.
- By hiking: Whereas it may be the slowest way to see Meteora, hiking is the best way to visit the sites. The trails start from either Kastraki or Kalambaka and pass by each of the monasteries. Walking will allow the tourist to see and discover more of Meteora than any other means.
This Is The Greatest Time To Take A Trip To Meteora
Time of year is one of the most important factors to consider when arranging a trip to Meteora due to its location. The site's summers are milder than those on the Greek islands, making hiking a great option. Nevertheless, during the hot season, small monasteries can become very crowded. On the other hand, Meteora is very calm during the winter season since it becomes very cold and temperatures can drop below zero Celsius.
Therefore, many businesses temporarily close during this time of year, and it can be more difficult to find housing and restaurants. The best time to visit Meteora is during spring or fall. During these seasons, The number of tourists will be limited, places will not be as crowded, and the weather will be enjoyable. Moreover, visitors will have the opportunity to see Meteora, full of vivid colors.
Here's What To Do And Where To Stay In Meteora
Basically, tourists have two options; either staying in Kalambaka or in Kastraki. The former has more housing and restaurants than Kastraki and can be reached by both train and bus. To get to Kastraki, the visitors have to use these transportation options by booking them from Kalambaka.
As for dining out, there aren't any places near the monasteries to eat. However, Kalambaka provides a variety of restaurants to the tourists, while most of the eateries in Kastraki serve traditional Greek staples and wines.
Must-Visit Monasteries In Meteora
The oldest monastery in Meteora is the Monastery of Great Meteoron, built in the 14th century on a cliff. It is also the biggest in the area and includes a museum that showcases Meteora's history and gilded frescos of saints.
Another interesting place to visit is Varlaam Monastery, built in the 16th century and looks like a palace due to its pristine architecture. It is the second-largest monastery, with most of the monks of Meteora living there. Moreover, It includes a refectory, church, and chapels ornamented with religious icons.
Roussanou Monastery was rebuilt after World War II. It is situated in the center of all the other monasteries and is photographed most for its strategic and astonishing location.
A trip to Meteora is incomplete without witnessing the medieval St Nicholas Anapausas Monastery, built at the end of the 14th century. It is the first monastery tourists encounter on their way to the region. From there, tourists can only see Kastraki and the Roussanou Monastery because of St Nicholas Anapausas Monastery's lower land.
It would be a great idea to head to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, built in the 15th century on an island of stone on its own. This monastery is the most isolated and challenging to access. Nonetheless, it has magnificent views of Kalambaka, and this is why it's worth the visit.
The easiest monastery to reach in Meteora is that of St Stephen due to the absence of stairs. Symbols of the Greek Civil War are preserved in this monastery's main chapel and cathedral.
- Fee: Main monasteries have an entrance fee.
Another unique spot for sightseeing is Adratchi Pillar, one of the thinnest rocks of Meteora, bordered by marvelous hills.