Meteora, Greece: 6 Best Places To Visit
When you hear about Greece, bustling mainland Athens or the islands of Santorini and Crete in the Aegean Sea might be the first attractions that come to mind. But on the Plain of Thessaly lies Meteora; a majestic group of rock formations that house a large group of monasteries. Meteora roughly translates to “suspended in the air” – indeed, its views are something straight out of a fairytale. In this article we share 6 of the best places to visit in Meteora.
Where is Meteora and how to get there?
Meteora is located in the center of mainland Greece. It has been a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1988, and its structures were constructed from 1356 onwards. Because it isn’t highly urbanized, it can be harder to reach than most sites. To get to Meteora, you can travel by bus or train from Athens to the nearest town, Kalambaka. There’s also the option to rent your own vehicle. From the town, you can choose to take a guided tour, drive around, or take your time exploring the surrounding area.
Best places to visit on Meteora in Greece
We consider Meteora and its remaining six monasteries a must-visit for those who seek solace in their travels. So, with that in mind here are six places to visit in Meteora, Greece.
Kalambaka will be your first stop when you visit Meteora. In this town, you’ll find small hotels, guest houses, and a number of restaurants that thrive on tourism. This book excerpt highlights how Kalambaka itself holds many symposiums, conferences, and cultural activities that can help you learn more about the history of Meteora. From here, you can take a guided tour to see the monasteries and the rest of the landscape.
2. The Great Meteoron Monastery
The majestic Monastery of the Great Meteoron is the oldest and largest among the six remaining occupied monasteries and is visited first on tours. Although it’s not as highly situated as the others, the monastery is so large that it resembles a fortified village. It also houses an on-site museum that tells the role of the Orthodox church in the country’s struggle for freedom from the Turks and the Germans.
3. Monastery of Varlaam
Get ready to climb 195 steps to get to Varlaam – the second biggest monastery perched on top of a 373-meter cliff. Built by two monk brothers, Theophonais and Nektarios Apsaradas, and decorated by Byzantine iconographer Frangos Kastellanos, its interior is a sight to behold. You can also visit the 16th-century church adorned with frescoes painted by Kastallanos, and the Chapel of the Three to see its iconic square-shaped cross.
4. Monastery of Ayia Triada (Holy Trinity)
The Monastery of Ayia Triada, or the Holy Trinity, is probably the most visually dramatic, and the most familiar, too. A feature on exploring Greek locations through cinema and pop culture notes that it was used as a location in the twelfth James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, as well as the inspiration for The Eyrie of Vale from Game of Thrones. It’s one of the most difficult to access, but it provides the most majestic views.
5. Monastery of Agios Stefanos (St. Nicholas)
The Monastery of Agios Stefanos was first inhabited in 1191-1192 and reconstructed in 1545. It’s well known for its tiny church decorated with frescoes, which the Cretan artist Theophanes painted using a traditional byzantine iconography technique. The monastery is also the most accessible from the village of Kastraki, and is reached by climbing a steep hill and a flight of steps.
Kastraki is an idyllic town just two kilometers away from Meteora, and is a good alternative from staying in Kalambaka. The town itself is picturesque as it is a conservation village where no new buildings can be built. Surrounding the town are two massive rocky pinnacles, and the town is made up of mid-19th-century cottages. Here, you can find a few restaurants and accommodation options as well.
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More Helpful Info About Meteora, Greece
If you still need more information about things to do in Meteora, make sure to check out these other great articles below:
9 top-rated attractions in Meteora by Planetware
Things to do in Meteora by the Planet D
Why you should visit Meteora in Greece by the Culture Trip
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