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Meteora

The area of Meteora is located in central Greece, in the north-western edge of the plain of Thessaly, near Pindus Mountains. Just to give a geographic idea, Meteora is closer to Volos and Thessaloniki than to Athens. So …. it’s quite a long trip to do ….. if you are located in Athens

Some info about Meteora  – ελλ. Μετεωρα

First of all you should know that the  monasteries in Meteora are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List – and when you get there you can easily imagine the reason behind it ……

Meteora is surrounded by magnificent rock formations with on top of them several monasteries – that have been built during the 14th and 15th centuries

It is one of the most religious place in Greece with lot of history to tell ….. actually once inside the monasteries, the visitor can appreciate many Byzantine relics and great frescoes, which were also praised by the UNESCO. Most of them have been completely restored… and the colours are simply amazing !

The name Meteora means “suspended in the air” and  this word perfectly describes this holy place since  all monasteries are “suspended” on top of natural stone pillars. Hermit monks build them during the Ottoman Occupation in order to be safe – since those were inaccessible. Only in last centuries stairs to access the monasteries have been built.

Nowadays each one of these monasteries (main important are 6 ) has less than 10 inhabitants, although they are visited by tourists. The entrance ticked is of 2 euros per person and women have to wear like a pareo in order to enter and visit them (you will find them at the entrance).

As stated before – a visit to Meteora means a quite long trip to do – since there is no airport near it. From Athens there are buses that bring you there – the trip is about 6 hours. With the car it takes you about 5 hours of trip – but it worth

Let’s go to my trip

A couple of weeks ago my husband suggested me to spend a weekend in Meteora – and since that was a place I always wanted to visit … I immediately booked our hotel and started planning our wonderful weekend in this amazing place ! Some search in google, got my Lonely Planet guide, TripAdvisor suggestions and booking.com for booking the hotel.

Since we  have a cat – Pepe – and we cannot leave him for too much a long time – we decided to leave early in the morning on Saturday – instead of Friday afternoon – in order to be back on Sunday. I know … this kind of trip can kill you but anyway we had no choice ……

So … we left Athens at around 7.30 in the morning …. and at 12.00 we arrived in wonderful Kalambaka / Meteora.

Our hotel was our first nice surprise ! actually it is one of the few in the old town, located in a very quiet place and with amazing view to Meteora ! Nice, simple, cozy (nice breakfast) and the owner came to explain us where to go and what to do … I strongly recommend it – good value for money :)

http://www.hotel-adrachti.gr/home_eng.html

so …. we left our luggage, we wore comfortable pair of shoes and started our visit to the monasteries.

First we went to Megalo Meteora – Great Meteoro that is actually the biggest one and the one where more tourists go.  It was founded in the middle of the 14th century by Holy Athanasios the Meteorite at the largest rock (Wide Rock). From this monastery I strongly suggest to take a lot of pictures to all Meteora because it is located in the highest place and have amazing view.  There is also a section of the monastery – actually a museum – dedicated to the Second World War, since it seems that Meteora played a strong role at that time for the defense of Greece.  There are also vignette of Mussolini – very funny – and pieces of articles of Italian press talking about what was happening in Greece.

Then we visited the Holy Monastery of Varlamm, that is opposite to Great Meteoro. There is a very nice wood bridge to cross in order to reach it. From there you can say something and thanks to the echo it will be amplified – nice :)

Last monastery of the day – and maybe the most difficult to reach – was the Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Quite a long and sharp stair to do but beautiful ! before getting there we saw some Spanish tourists that told us …”guy, good luck !!!”

Comparing to the previous 2 monasteries it was much smaller – still beautiful with the paintings and frescoes  inside the church, the small yard and amazing view to Kalambaka and all the valley.

After all this strolling around It was already 5.00 pm and we were like zombies  ….  we woke up early and visited 3 monasteries going up and down …. and we decided to have a quick  “late launch” and at evening we went to Kalambaka for dinner.  I might say … what a beautiful day !!!

The day after we woke up quite late – enjoyed our amazing breakfast (fresh cakes, tiropitakia ecc .. ) with the amazing view of Meteora …. collected our stuff … spoke with the owner of the hotel about several topics – Meteora, his wife that is from Australia and had to adapt to leave in Greece … the economic crisis and  … at  11.00 we started our tour – in order to visit the last 3 monasteries ! We still had lot of things to do … before coming back to Athens :)

First one and actually also the first one you will find on the road, on the left is The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicolas Anapafsas.

Then we visited the very  cozy Holy Monastery of Roussano – our first female Monastery ! and you can see it from the inside decorations and .. also from the colours of the pareo. In order to get there you need to cross a very nice small wood bridge. Once up to the monastery you can enjoy amazing view, nice flowers and a very friendly atmosphere

Last one and the easiest to reach  was the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen that first was male, but since 1961 there has been a sisterhood. In this monastery you will also find a huge shop with all souvenirs – in case you want to buy postcards, Saints ecc …

All those monasteries are beautiful ! I really liked not only the location but also visiting them, inside, it has been a strong experience ! most of the painting and most of the frescoes  have been restored, the chapels are simply beautiful, the yards full of flowers with amazing view ….. you need to visit all of them ! don’t just stick to 1 or 2

I include a link where you can find more details about each of the monasteries – I didn’t want to bore you … so if you have time I strongly suggest to read it :)

http://www.kalampaka.com/en/meteora/monasteries.asp

 

I strongly recommend to visit this place because it’s unique! There are no other placse like Meteora …. really!

If you come to Meteora don’t foget to visit Pyli, and go to Elati – very nice locations on top of the mountain – nice valley and delicious food

Ciao !

Filakia

11 comments to Meteora

  • Lucia

    Ciao, sto impazzendo alla ricerca degli orari del treno da Volos a Kalampaka…mi aiuti per favore? grazie

    • ursula

      Ciao Lucia
      hai provato a dare un occhio alle ferrovie greche ?
      ecco il link
      http://tickets.trainose.gr/dromologia/
      ecco una legenda per la tua ricerca – non penso ci sia la traduzione in inglese
      Αναχώρηση = partenza
      Βολοσ = volos
      Καλαμπάκα = kalambaka
      αλλάγεσ = cambio

      prova magari a contattare anche una agenzia di viaggi – magari ti possono essere di aiuto, ti possono prenotare il treno ed hotel – e non avresti lo stress della traduzione
      http://www.greeka.com

      ciao !
      ursula

  • Daniel

    Hi,

    Which is the best way to get from Athens to Kalambaka? Train vs. Bus in terms of cost and duration?

    Also do you know if there is a train or bus to from Kalambaka to Igoumenitsa? I plan to go to Italy by ferry after visiting Meteora.

    Thank You!
    Daniel

    • ursula

      Dear Daniel
      concerning your questions I guess that the best solution would be with bus.

      Please have a look at my post “Travel to Greece ” and go to Bus long distances, you will find the link to KTEL with telephone number you can dial to get all info you need

      Ursula

  • Fabrizio

    Salve, ti scrivo da Milano per qualche info su Volos e Meteore.
    Se mi puoi aiutare, sto organizzando un viaggio di 8 giorni a fine luglio 2013.
    L ‘ idea è un volo per Salonicco,noleggio auto, un po’ di mare, meteore, volos con riconsegna auto e ripartenza per Milano da Volos.
    Siamo una coppia e non ci interessa ne caos e ne discoteche o luoghi affollati… Naturalmente tenendo conto che è alta stagione non pretendiamo i miracoli…
    Mia moglie è Sarda e per ciò non pretendiamo il mare bello ( che troveremo rientrando in Italia)ma solo dei posti carini dove fare tappa tra una visita e l ‘altra per non appesantire la vacanza… Troppe richieste..?
    Un cordiale saluto e buone feste.
    Fabrizio.

    • ursula

      Ciao Fabrizio,
      innanzitutto grazie per aver lasciato un commento nel mio blog.
      Bel viaggio che avete in programma ! Salonicco e’ una citta’ molto elegante, le Meteore sono talmente belle da togliere il fiato ed …. il mare greco ti assicuro non ha niente da invidiare a quello della Sardegna – non vi deludera’:)

      Avrei due itinerari da suggerirvi
      1. Atterraggio a Salonicco e visita della Calcidica – secondo dito, per poi scendere a Meteore e ripartire da Volos
      2. Atterraggio a Volos – visita della Penisola di a)Pilio per mare oppure b) 3 giorni a Skiathos, visita a Meteore eppoi partenza da Volos.

      Se riuscissi a fare 10 gg direi che sarebbe perfetto ! Per visitare bene le Meteore hai bisogno di almeno 2 giorni pieni – e sarebbe un peccato non visitare o la Calcidica, o la Penisola di Pilio oppure la bellissima Skiathos.

      Ho scritto di queste destinazioni nel mio blog dove trovi informazioni anche su dove eventualmente pernottare.

      Buona Vacanza
      ursula

  • Fabrizio

    Gentile Ursula, sono ancora Fabrizio e ti disturbo ancora per qualche consiglio utile.
    Il mio programma di viaggio è cambiato, la partenza sarà il 25 aprile per Salonicco e ripartiamo il primo maggio da Volos.
    Le tappe saranno Salonicco- Paralia Katerinis-Kalampaka-Afissos Volos.
    Sto seguendo il tuo blog e la mia richiesta è se ricordi nei tuoi viaggi qualche ristorante/taverna da consigliarmi.
    Grazie ancora e cordiali saluti.
    Fabrizio.

    • ursula

      ciao Frabrizio, ahime’ non ti posso essere di aiuto .. effettivamente la qualita’ del cibo e’ quasi sempre ottima :) quindi non ti preoccupare ! anzi sappi che se volessi “fare un salto” nelle cucine per visionare il cibo / scegliere il pesce qui in Grecia e’ ben accetto !
      ciao

  • Grazie lo stesso della tua risposta, devo dire che sto trovando notevoli difficoltà a trovare indirizzi utili di ristoranti,a parte qualche info su Tripadvisor, andremo ad intuito direttamente lì sul posto.
    Ancora un cordiale saluto.
    Ciao.

  • Loved your photos! It is almost impossible to catch the mood of Meteora on film (or sensor!).
    Meteora is a must see for anyone in continental Greece. This place is awe inspiring and so spiritual at the same time. In case you want a tour from Volos to Meteora, we will be glad to help! Check http://www.volostaxiservice.com/Meteora.html

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