Best Lookout Points In Meteora
Almost anywhere you look, theres an awesome view to be had over thevalley. That said, a few places stand out as the best spots to takephotos two main lookout points:
Both of these lookpoints are marked in the map at the beginning of the article.We also found a great lookout point on our way to the lookout point, whichisnt a lookout point but you can pull over and block the road brieflywhile you take a photo ð That point isnt on any map but is featuredin the image above!
The photo below was taken at the Psaropetra lookout point.
When To Go To Meteora Greece
As I shared above, during the high season its practically impossible tobeat the busses they are out in force first thing in the morning. However,even with the tour busses, most monasteries didnt feel cramped and I onlyreally needed to wait in line for one.
For that reason, I do think that for whento visit Meteora. Its hot but not sweltering, and the busses are therebut they actually had a rather small impact on us.
There are also a lot of gorgeous photos of Meteora in Autumn, so Iwould certainly love to come back and see the valley in fall foliage.
St Nicholas Anapausas Monastery
Likely the lowest-lying of the main monasteries, the St Nicholas Anapausas looks almost like it grew from the stone pillar it sits upon. At times its hard to see where the monastery begins and the rock ends. Inside the monastery is an ornate chapel which sadly, youre not allowed to take photos of. Continuing through youll find a little belltower and a rooftop viewing terrace which only really has views of Kastraki and the Roussanou Monastery due to its low vantage point.
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Things To Do In Meteora
Being fully committed to this blog to lift all the veils of ignorance for those who wish to visit Meteora, we have prepared below a list of things to do in Meteora you would never think of. If you are searching to experience a different side of Meteora, youre certainly in the right place! Most of Meteoras visitors will come here to pay a visit to the 6 active monasteries and to enjoy some of the marvelous views of our area. But is Meteora just about a hasty visit to the monasteries and a couple of viewpoints? Most certainly not!
Locals like ourselves always have the advantage of maintaining the best possible insight into the area they live in. And truth is that if you are not one of the rare specimens of people who go to great lengths to dig out every last bit of information posted on the web, in tourist guides and books for each area they intend to visit, then the chances are to be a regular tourist like the vast majority, completely unaware of the hidden gems in each place they visit.
Well, fear not and read the list of 9 things to do in Meteora to gain fresh insight on a side unknown to most tourists:
Church Of The Dormition Of The Virgin Mary Kalambaka
Built around the 4th and 5th centuries, this Byzantine church is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the area. It is famous not only for its age, but also for its many different architectural features that represent 17 centuries worth of restorations over multiple historical periods. Today, it is the only church in the world that features an early Christian pulpit in the center of its nave. Open daily 8:30am to 1pm and 3pm to 8pm. 2/person.
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Monastery Of Great Meteoron
The oldest and largest of the Meteora monasteries, the Monastery of Great Meteoron is an impressive sight. Though it does not sit quite as precariously as the other monasteries, its stone ribbon of stairs and countless buildings make it seem more like a fortified village than a monastery.
Inside this 14th century monastery, youre treated not only to views of Meteora, but also gilded frescos of saints and a museum on Meteoras history. The museum is a great place to start with to get some context on the places youll be visiting.
Hike Through Abandoned Monasteries
If youre taking a trip to the stone forest of Meteora, look out for the Greek orthodox monasteries perched on top of steep rock formations. Located a few kilometres from the northwestern town of Kalabaka, there are six active institutions that host a small number of nuns and monks residing in and around Meteora. Begin your journey at the foothills of the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, which is the oldest and largest of them all, and travel all the way to Holy Trinity, which was one of the filming locations for the James Bond movie For your eyes only. The terrain can be steep, and you can walk on foot or take one of the scenic, winding paths by bike.
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Guide To Hiking In Meteora
As mentioned, hiking in Meteora is perhaps the best way to see the area, as it allows you to see not only the monasteries, but also the landscape in its entirety. The monasteries feel way more remote when you have to actually hike your way up through the forest to reach them. You also get to see all the things the landscape has hidden away within its forests, from trickling streams to small viewpoints. Of our many travel tips for Meteora, hiking here is one of the best.
Walking in Meteora generally means alternating between following the main road that carves through the area and diverting onto trails which take you through the forest to the monasteries. While steep at times, theres nothing overly technical about hiking in this terrain. To give yourself plenty of time to hike, its best to stay at least two days in Meteora.
From Kalambaka, the best route to start with is from the northernmost point of town where there is a small dirt track. This track takes you out past olive groves before climbing up to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. When starting from Kastraki, youll take the main road leaving the village to the northeast which will bring you to the St Nicholas Anapausas.
Visit The Monasteries Of Meteora
Top of most peoples list when it comes to visiting Meteora with kids, is to see the monasteries! Each one of the monasteries has its own story and history, which you learn about when visiting.
The best way to get a greater understanding of the monasteries, monks and history of the area is by taking a guided tour with our family-friendly guides. They will also be able to take you to the best places guaranteed to give you the most spectacular views and photos! Find out more about our family tours of Meteora here.
Attend A Sunday Service On A Monastery
How about seizing the chance to take a trip back in time to trace some of the splendor and majesty of the Byzantine Empire? The best way to do that is to attend a Sunday service on a monastery of Meteora and immediately within the liturgy you will realize that you have just taken a trip back into the Byzantine period of the Middle Ages. Keep in mind that a lot of the monasteries were originally founded when the Byzantine Empire was reigning still. The beautiful Byzantine hymns, the absence of artificial lighting, the priests dressed with elegantly decorated byzantine cloths, the walls of the church with centuries-old frescoes, the candles and the smell of incense, all that create an imposing mystical atmosphere full of the centuries-old Byzantine tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Make sure to arrive at the monastery of your choice early in the morning because the service will begin roughly at 05:30 am and will end at 08:30 am.
Natural History Museum Of Meteora & Mushroom Museum
Source: Chrysaetus / Wikimedia
Back in Kalambaka theres a great museum that opened in 2014, examining the wildlife and botany of the region.
This is done with well-presented dioramas placing taxidermied animals in simulated environments.
There are over 350 species of mammals and birds in these showcases, with accompanying information about their behaviour and diet.
On the second floor, the museums other department is centred on mushrooms, a culinary speciality of Meteora.
There are models of the 250 different species of mushroom that grow on the Thessaly Plain, showing each one in three different stages of its lifecycle.
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Take A Hiking And Scramble Tour Of The Great Saint
Conquer the Great Saint via Ferrata: Great Saint or Agia as the locals call it isnt just the highest peak of Meteora, its also the end-point of the most epic ascent available to the more active visitors. The Great Saint via Ferrata hiking and scrambling route rises some 430m above the town of Kalambaka, following a hidden trail through rock pillars, cracks, and crevices that require a guide and specialist equipment. Its an exhilarating adventure activity, stopping at a stronghold of an ancient city and enjoying breathtaking 360 views of the area, including the village of Kastraki, Kalampaka town, and the plain of Thessaly. Very few people know the way or the history of that place. Once you reach the top you will enjoy unparalleled breathtaking views that you will remember forever! Undoubtedly, one of the most adrenaline-filled things to do in Meteora.
Where To Stay In Meteora
We stayed at the Divani Hotel Meteora Part of the Divani hotel luxury group of Hotels in Greece, we have stayed at this chain several times and it is spectacualar.
This hotel is located right beside massive rocks that tower over the hotel. It has full amenities, pool, and spa.
And these are all the things to do in Meteora. It is a beautiful destination in Greece that requires at least a few days to visit. So when planning that dream trip, be sure to add Meteora onto your travel itinerary.
Read more about Greece travel:
Travel Planning Resources
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.
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Seeing The Monasteries On Your Own
: Having a car in the Meteora can be both a benefit and a liability. Due to narrow roads and limited parking space, expect some traffic jams and difficulties finding parking during high tourist season outside of the most-visited monasteries of Great Meteoron, Varlaam, and Agios Stefanos, especially between 10am and 2 pm. Arrive at these monasteries before opening hour, if possible.
Take advantage of the freedom that having a car brings and drive up to the Monasteries about an hour before sunset, after most monasteries have closed. Many excellent view points will be peaceful, quiet, and all but deserted and excellent for photos.
: Local buses run three times per day between Kalambaka, Kastraki, and all 6 Meteora Monasteries. A single ticket is 1.80, a full-day ticket is 5.50 tickets are issued on the bus or at the Kalambaka bus station.
Stops are as follows: Holy Trinity St. Stephen
Buses depart from the Kalambaka bus station at 9am, noon, and 2:30pm returning buses depart from St. Stephen monastery at 11am, 2pm, and 4:30pm.
On Foot:There are many hiking trails to and around the monasteries that can be accessed on your own or as part of a guided tour . The best hotels in the Meteora that are close to hiking trails are Guesthouse Vavitsas in Kastraki and Guesthouse Mythos in Kalambaka.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
Tour The Monasteries Of Meteora
It is hard to believe that monks built these monasteries by hand above massive monoliths. They had to pull themselves up with ladders and ropes just to get to the top of rocky spires reaching 300-500 meters in the air.
But once they were tucked away high in the air, they were safe and sound to live a life of peace and solitude.
These are the monasteries you must visit in Metora.
- The Great Meteoron Monastery is the largest monastery in Meteora. built-in the 14th century by Saint Athanasios, it is also the oldest monastery to visit.
- The Holy Trinity Monastery is the most recognizable monastery in Meteora. It is not only the most photographed, it was also featured in the 1981 James Bond Movie, For Your Eyes Only.
- The Varlaam Monastery is the second largest monastery in Meteora and is fittingly right next door to the Great Meteoron Monastery.
- The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas
- St. Stephen Monastery St. Stephens dates back to the 12th century and was used a monastery for centuries. In 1961 the sisterhood of nuns took it over and there are still living in it today.
- Holy Monastery of Roussanou Roussanou is located at a lower elevation that the other monasteries making it one of the easier ones to visit.
Read more about the Monasteries of Meteora
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The Best Meteora Tours
- Meteora Morning Sightseeing Tour: Sees all 6 monasteries, and visits 3. 4 hours.
- Meteora Evening Sunset Tour: Sees all 6 monasteries and visits 1, plus a historic Byzantine church. Amazing photo opportunity. 4 hours.
- Meteora Hiking Tour: Beautiful hike through the rocks and forest, visits 1 monastery. The only way to see the Monastery of Ypapanti, which cannot be reached by car. 5 hours.
- Monastery Tour from the Kalambaka Train Station: Picks up from the Kalambaka train station in the and sees all 6 monasteries and visits 3 before returning to the train station in late afternoon. 4.5 hours.
- Meteora Private Full-Day Tour: Personalized tour visits all 6 monasteries, visits 2 or 3. 6 hours.
- Meteora Cliff Scramble Experience: Hike/scramble along secret paths up one of the tallest Meteora rocks to amazing views at the top. 3 hours.
- Meteora Truffle Hunting Excursion: The Meteora Natural History and Mushroom Museum offers this unique opportunity, which also includes past and wine tasting and a museum visit. 3 hours.
- Meteora Train Tour from Athens: Visits 3 monasteries, plus hidden hermit caves with pre-booked train travel from Athens and train station pick-up in Kalambaka. 14 hours.
The abandoned monastery of Ypapanti is not accessible by vehicle. It can only be seen on a hiking tour, or by hiking on your own.
Pair Wine With History On A Tour Of The Theopetra Vineyard
A monastery in Meteora sitting atop a rocky peak
Theres a growing appreciation for Meteora wines, and the vineyards here enjoy special privileges under the Protected Geographic Indication tag. Loudas, one of the finest and most recommended regional blends, can be found in most restaurants and taverns to pair with your food or take it back with you as a souvenir. If you are moving towards the east of Meteora, the Theopetra vineyard offers tours and tasting experiences for visitors who want to learn about the winemaking process and spend a day in the foothills exploring the prehistoric caves that surround the farm.
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The Monasteries Of Meteora
At their peak in the sixteenth century there were 24 monasteries at Meteora in Greece. They were created to serve monks and nuns following the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Much of the architecture of these buildings is Athonite in origin. Today there are six still functioning, while the remainder are largely in ruin. Perched onto high cliffs, they are now accessible by staircases and pathways cut into the rock formations.
Experience A Sunset You Will Never Forget
As incredible as they look, photographs of Meteora come nowhere near to matching the real thing. You truly have to experience it with your own eyes to fully appreciate it. But for the ultimate visual treat, you have to witness the rocks and monasteries of Meteora at sunset. Sitting on the edges of cliffs you will feel the evening cool breeze blowing through giant cliffs rising above the valley. Allow your senses to explore moment by moment the dimming of the light as the sun sinks behind the mountains. It will be a perfect way to end a beautiful day at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Meteora with an awe-inspiring Sunset tour to be remembered forever!
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Enjoy Local Life In Kalabaka
Kalabaka is the main city of Meteora that is set within the monoliths. We stayed in this city allowing us to walk around and enjoy the friendly Greek and local culture. We enjoyed beautiful views of the monoliths from Meteoron Panorama Restaurant as we savored gastronomical delights.