Meteora in a weekend
Meteora is an extraordinary place.
My heart stopped when I got off the train in Kalampaka. I looked up towards the immense, solid rocks and I remember exclaiming: “Is this place real? You have got to be kidding!”
The astonishing Meteora rocks hanging over the town of Kalampaka, is a sight beyond every imagination. I had never seen anything like this before – and I’ve been around a lot!
I took my beloved train from Larissa Station, the central train station at around 8:30 on a Saturday morning and 5 hours later, I was in Kalampaka.
Note that, despite it being a long train ride, it was a pleasant one with breathtaking views of the nature, picturesque villages, tunnels, different sceneries and colors.
Arriving in Kalampaka, I found the VisitMeteora.travel team waiting to show me around. They are a group of locals, greatly in love with their birth place, passionate about it.
Meteora Half Day Tour
Vangelis, the co-founder of Visit Meteora was my guide in this 3-hour long ride on the team’s van. He showed me around, patiently stopping in every turn of the road for me to take photos and shared his knowledge on this magical place with me.
Although I was not intending to visit the Meteora Monasteries, he talked me into it and I finally decided to visit some of them.
The Meteora Monasteries are the following 6:
Great Meteoron Monastery
Holy Trinity Monastery (where Jame’s Bond fim ‘For your Eyes Only” was filmed)
St.Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery
St. Stephen’s Monastery
Εven if you’re not interested in the religious part of Meteora, it is worth exploring some of the Monasteries to discover the life of hermits and monks.
Walking by the little alleys and yards, you’ll feel the serenity of this magical place. The view from above is truly breathtaking – it is inspiring how man can live harmonically with his surroundings it never seizes to amaze me.
During the tour, I had the opportunity to admire a few more, non-accesible monasteries. These are only accessible to equipped climbers. If you are one, I urge you to try rock climbing in Meteora.
Some of the old ruined monasteries are: St. Nicholas Badovas (a monk still lives there, I think), St. George Madilas and the Ypapanti Monastery.
Meteora Sunset Tour
When most visitors will be enjoying their lunch in Kastraki or their afternoon coffee in Kalampaka, it is the perfect opportunity to stay hugh up on the rocks of Meteora and watch the mesmerizing sunset from above. The Visit Meteora team will guide you through the hidden gems of this place to capture the magical colors of the sunset or enjoy a cup of hot coffee while watching the sun go down.
As the sun begins to descent, the mystical atmosphere of the captivating landscape dressed in orange hues, will take your breath away. The spiritual character of Meteora intensifies during the magic hour – the monasteries and steep Meteora cliffs look out of this world under the last rays of daylight.
It was, without doubt, the most intense moment of my weekend in Meteora.
Meteora Day Tour and Hiking
If you love hiking and exploring the off-the-beaten tracks, the 3-hour guided hiking tour with Visit Meteora is made for you! You will love exploring this unique geological phenomenon. Not to mention, that you will be following hidden trails only locals know!
The hike begins from Kastraki village, from the foothills beneath the old ruins of Pantokrator monastery and crosses to the other side of the Meteora rocks to the Ypapanti monastery and the ruins of St. Dimitrios.
The hike continues with visits to the monasteries of Great Meteoron and Varlaam.
You’ll climb down using the old footpath of the monks, returning to Kastraki village.
As for me, I only did part of the hike. Kostas drove me around in the team’s van and shared his vast knowledge on the place’s thousand-year old history. I absolutely loved taking photos from every single rock we encountered along the way – I just couldn;’t get enough of the view!
The greatest thing about locals is that they share the most interesting stories you wouldn’t otherwise hear. Such was ‘Stefanos’ story: the cute dog’s story of how he always waits for food outside the canteen in St. Stephen’s monastery. The only days he skips his meals is when he’s looking after his owner’s sheep!
Enough with words. The imges and the following video are worth a thousand words. The rich history and the breathtaking beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site speaks for themselves. I higly recommend you visiting Meteora to experience the unique sight with your own eyes and just like me, exclaim to yourselves in awe: “Is this place real?”
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