The Monasteries of Meteora Greece Your Perfect Greece Itinerary

The Great Meteoron Monastery Meteora Greece
The Great Meteoron Monastery Meteora Greece

We had finished our spectacular Adventure in Athens, it was much better than we had hoped for.  But now it was time to journey to the northwest to the Monasteries of Meteora.  We were supposed to travel via train.  But you may remember the storms and flooding in Greece in the autumn of 2023. The train tracks were washed out. We had to find a different way.  Well, we did not have to do it. Our in country guide, Ioannis Droseros, made all the plans behind the scenes to get us to Meteora.  He rented a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van and driver for us and off we went.

Google Map of Meteora Greece
Google Map of Meteora Greece

Click here to get the live Google Map of Meteora Greece.

Introduction to Meteora

Nestled in the heart of mainland Greece, the surreal landscape of Meteora boasts a unique blend of nature’s grandeur and human ingenuity. Perched atop towering sandstone pillars, the monasteries of Meteora provide not only a visual spectacle but also a spiritual experience for those willing to make the journey.

Historical Significance

As you ascend, the monasteries gradually come into view, clinging to the cliffs like spiritual sentinels. Meteora’s monastic community dates back to the 13th and 14th century when monks sought refuge in these remote locations to escape political turmoil. The monasteries were initially accessible only by precarious rope ladders and baskets, emphasizing the dedication and commitment of those who sought solace in this elevated sanctuary.

Meteora hosts one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty-four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area.  Meteora was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988 because of the outstanding architecture and beauty of the complex, in addition to its religious and artistic significance.

Meteora Sunset Tour

We checked into our hotel and then off we were for a sunset tour. Our guide was a learned historian and a great communicator.

Assumption of Virgin Mary Kalabaka Meteora Greece

Assumption of Virgin Mary Kalabaka Meteora Greece
Assumption of Virgin Mary Kalabaka Meteora Greece

We visited the Byzantine church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, one of the most important monuments, situated in the old city of Kalabaka. In the walls of this church for hundreds of years, marbles of an ancient temple were hidden. The marbles belonged to the temple of God Apollo. Nowadays that the plaster which covered them is removed you will be able to see God’s face represented as the Sun.

Assumption of Virgin Mary Kalabaka Meteora Greece
Assumption of Virgin Mary Kalabaka Meteora Greece

St Stephen’s Monastery Meteora

St Stephen's Monastery Meteora
St Stephen’s Monastery Meteora

The Monastery of St. Stephen’s is situated at the top of a rocky precipice. Kukulas peak overlooks the monastery.

St Stephen's Monastery Meteora
St Stephen’s Monastery Meteora

The beginning of the Agios Stephanos monastery dates back to the early 12th century and the first hermit monks who settled on the cliff. Centuries later, Hosios Antonios, in the first half of the 15th century, and Hosios Philotheos, who renovated or rather rebuilt from its foundations the old small and elegant Catholicon, the present church of Agios Stephanos, in 1545 are mentioned as its founders.

St Stephen's Monastery Meteora
St Stephen’s Monastery Meteora

The monastery of Agios Stefanos or St. Steven is by far the most accessible monastery, where instead of steps you simply cross a small bridge to reach the entrance. It is ideal for visitors with mobility issues who cannot use the steps and yet wish to have a real experience of a Meteora monastery.

St Stephen's Monastery Meteora
St Stephen’s Monastery Meteora

In 1961, the monastery was converted into a convent.

Sunset View Point

Psaropetra Sunset view point in Meteora
Psaropetra Sunset View Point in Meteora

At the end of the evening tour, we went to the best viewpoint on the rocks to watch the sun setting behind the mountain range of Pindos or according to Greek mythology, we saw the god Helios on his fiery chariot taking his horses to rest. My shots of the evening of changing light painting the landscape in shifting hues of rose and orange sunset at Meteora was a once-in-a-life-time experience.

Psaropetra Sunset view point in Meteora
Psaropetra Sunset view point in Meteora

A perfect end of the day with a stunning sunset at Psaropetra Sunset view point in Meteora.

A Hike Up To The Monasteries

A Hike Up To The Monasteries Meteora Greece
A Hike Up To The Monasteries Meteora Greece

One of the most rewarding ways to reach these awe-inspiring structures is by embarking on a hiking adventure, immersing oneself in the rich history, breathtaking scenery, and profound tranquility that define this UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Journey Begins

The adventure begins in the town of Kalabaka, the gateway to Meteora. As you lace up your hiking boots and set out, the trail leads you through ancient pathways and meandering routes that wind their way up the colossal rock formations. You experience the air filled with the fragrance of wild herbs, and the sound of birdsong while you climb.

Breathtaking Views

A Hike Up To The Monasteries
Breathtaking View on Hike Up To The Monasteries

The ascent reveals panoramic views of the Pindus mountain range and the Thessalian plains below. This view creates an intimate connection between the hiker and the natural wonders that surround them. The trail, though challenging in parts, offers ample opportunities to pause, catch your breath, and marvel at the sheer geological wonder of the towering pillars that seem to touch the heavens.

Cave Dwellings Meteora Greece
Cave Dwellings Meteora Greece

Cave dwellings of hermit monks in the Meteora cliffs are unique and puzzling to see. How could anyone ever live that that?  Cave-dwelling asceticism in Meteora was an early form of monasticism, practiced by hermits or recluse monks. These dwellings are known as “sketes” or small friaries in Greek.

Encountering the Monasteries

Encountering the Monasteries Hike Meteora Greece
Encountering the Monasteries Hike Meteora Greece

You get a close-up encounter with the monastic marvels when you reach the summit. Six of the original twenty-four monasteries remain standing, each with its own unique history and architectural splendor. The Great Meteoron, Varlaam, and Roussanou are among the most visited monasteries. Welcoming guests to explore their hallowed halls, adorned with vibrant frescoes and ancient artifacts.

Encountering the Monasteries Hike Meteora Greece
Encountering the Monasteries Hike Meteora Greece

Spiritual Reflection

Spiritual Reflection Meteora Greece
Spiritual Reflection Meteora Greece

The silence that envelopes Meteora’s monasteries is profound, inviting visitors to reflect on the spiritual significance of these sacred spaces. Whether you share the faith of the monks or not, there’s a palpable sense of reverence in the air, fostering a connection between the earthly and the divine.

Spiritual Reflection Meteora Greece
Spiritual Reflection Meteora Greece

The Great Meteoron Monastery

The Great Meteoron Monastery Meteora Greece
The Great Meteoron Monastery Meteora Greece

Also known as the Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis (Transfiguration of Christ), it is the oldest, largest, and most spectacular of all the monasteries not only in Meteora but all of Greece. Saint Athanasios Meteoriti founded the monastery in the early 14th Century.

Hike Conclusion

Hiking up to the monasteries of Meteora is more than a physical journey; it’s a pilgrimage through history, nature, and spirituality. The combination of challenging trails, breathtaking landscapes, and the spiritual aura of the monasteries makes this experience a truly unforgettable adventure. As you descend from the heights, the memories of Meteora’s majestic beauty and the serenity of its monastic retreats will linger. They inspire a sense of awe that transcends the ordinary and connects you to the extraordinary.

Zindros Byzantine Icons Workshop

Zindros Byzantine Icons Workshop
Zindros Byzantine Icons Workshop

Visiting the icon workshop of Kalabaka, Greece can be quite a treat. The display was extraordinary with a very broad range of handmade, hand painted, and hand decorated items. Many with gold leaf by local artisans.  The explanation of the work process was eye opening. It is worth a short visit.

Zindros Byzantine Icons Workshop
Zindros Byzantine Icons Workshop

Your Athens Greece Adventures Await

After all of this, you feel exhausted, but pleasantly so. The history is simply awe-inspiring, and the architecture is fabulous. You will enjoy taking in the city by visiting museums, palaces, cathedrals, and so much more. Start planning your trip to Athens  with these must-see recommendations!

We plan all of our trips with Ted Blank.

Ted Blank Contact Information
ted@tedblanktravel.com
(651) 964-8245
https://tedblanktravel.com
Travel Inspiration

Of course we have a general idea of what we want to hit on our trip. Ted helps us to make the itinerary flow smoothly. Then he works out all the details of transportation, hotels, passes, insurance, etc. I highly recommend working with him when you plan your next trip.

If you have any questions, please to not hesitate to Contact Us, and until next time, get out and capture the adventure.

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
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