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Things to Know Before you Go to Meteora | Greece

THings to Know Before you Go to Meteora, visit meteora

THings to Know Before you Go to Meteora

Metcora is one of those top jaw-dropping sites I’m glad I visited.  For me, it’s right up there with the first time my mouth went agape stepping foot off the plane into Ladakh or when I saw entered Hong Kong‘s night only to witness  a endless paths of apartment light leading straight to the heavens . Jaw… drop…ping is the only word inspiring vocabulary and I’ll use it superfluously!

As alien karst mountains go, it’s reminiscent of Halong Bay and the slow riverboat ride through Northern Laos, with the exception that it’s on dry land and the rocks carry the whispers of an ancient monastic and cave-dwelling people, aspiring towards strict asceticism and spirituality.

If you haven’t read my post Mystical Meteora, I suggest you do so for a quick primer about why you’ll want to put this on your bucket list for Greece !  Next to the Parthenon or Santorini, it was one of my greatest highlights.

Things to know before you Go

  • Stay:  Stay at least 3-4 days.   I stayed two and a half days  and I hadn’t covered as much as I wanted to nor gotten hiking in.
  • Activities: Meteora is a great place for rock climbing and hiking.  Mostly, you’ll be walking a lot.
  • Be prepared to walk a lot.  Not only can Meteora be visited on foot, but unless your accommodations are near to the town center, you may have to walk to find nearby restaurants and cafes.
  • Bring:  Good shoes, water, snacks and sunscreen (if it’s cold or rainy, pack a windbreaker jacket).  The trail is a long one.  Maybe you might want to order a souvlaki and pack it to go for a picnic on the rocks.
    Additionally, bring a good map.  If you’re hiking and hoping to detour from the paved road to find one of the woodsy or hidden trails up to the monastery, you’ll need a trail map or good directions from a guide or your guesthouse.
  • Monasteries:  Check monastery hours.  There are six monasteries and each day a different one is closed.  Schedule here.  Dress is conservative. No short sleeves or shorts,  You’ll be given a long skirt or shawl to wear if you don’t meet proper dress standard.  Monasteries are your bathroom opportunities. Admission:  3 Euro.
  • The monastic order has a strong hold on the UNESCO site and towns.  In order to preserve the historical value and peace of their sanctuary, they’ve prevented the area from getting too touristy or developed.
Things to KNow before you go to Meteora

Things to KNow before you go to Meteora

Things to Know Before you Go to Meteora, visit Meteora

Things to Know Before you Go to Meteora

visit Meteora, Things to Know Before you Go to Meteora

Things to Know Before you Go to Meteora

Best way to see Meteora

For tourists, taking a tour offers a lot of information.  Yes, you can easily see all of Meteora without a tour, but to understand its historical value is key.  While I don’t always appreciate the strict regimen of tours, a half day  tour  it enhanced my understanding of the history of the rocks and the lives built around them.  It also pointed out all the hermit caves and I personally,  found that more interesting than the monasteries.  Maybe it’s the solo traveler in me.

Most travelers get around Meteora on foot. The trail which splits east and west.  It’s almost impossible to visit all monasteries in one day, so you might want to split up your itinerary by days or decide which monasteries you’d like to see.

Along the winding road, you can see rock conglomerates, visit the monasteries and find hiking paths to the monasteries .  The road is a paved one, which you’ll share with tour buses.  There is an entry from Kalampaka and Kastriki.

Map of Meteora

Map of Meteora

kastraki

entrance/exit to Meteora from Kastraki

kastriki

Kastraki: Village at the base of Meteora

Where to Stay in Meteora

There’s two towns nestled next to Meteora– Kalampaka and Kastraki.

Kalampaka is more frequented by travelers, as it’s central to hotels, guesthouses, shops, restaurants, the bus stop and train station.  It’s still a small town however and one shouldn’t expect fallback clothing shops if you forget clothes or athletic equipment.

Kastraki village is more residential with residing guesthouses and camping grounds.

There are different types of accommodations from Trikala to Kalampaka.  From 7 Euro/night Camping/RV grounds to 25 Euro+/night guesthouses and hotels.  I stayed in Kalampaka at Also’s House (Read my review here).  For other recommended accommodations, click here.

view Meteora, visit Meteora

View of the towns from the Meteora rocks

souvlaki

Souvlaki to go?

Best times to visit Meteora

The best times to go are during fall and summer. 

  • Weather : Check weather conditions before going.  July to October are peak seasons and expect crowds. December to March can be cold and rainy.  I went in October on freak days when the weather decided to be miserable. It was rainy, cold and foggy. Visibility was difficult and in Meteora, you definitely want to see the rock tips and then monasteries that sit on them.
  • Avoid :  National holidays  the trains are crowded and only standing room is available. Also, business hours are shorter and many aren’t open.  When I went on Greek Independence Day, most shops were closed .
meteora

View on an overcast foggy day

Getting to Meteora

Getting to Kalampaka by bus via Athens

I took a bus from Larissa Station in Athens to  Trikala bus station. At Trikala, transfer to the local Kalampaka bus.  You’re dropped off in the middle of the town. Check the Visit Meteora website

Getting there by train to Athens

There’s a direct train operating between Athens and Kalambaka, so on the way back, I took the train.  I booked my ticket the same day, but if you’re traveling during a holiday or weekend, you might want to book in advance. Check the Visit Meteora website.

Related Posts

Travel Guide to Santorini
Taking the Ferry from Athens to Santorini
Meteora : Greece’s Best Kept Secret

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11 Comments

  1. Kk says:

    Going there tomorrow. It is promising rain and what not but I think that rainy Meteora is better than no Meteora at all! 🙂

  2. Bill Blue says:

    Hello!!!
    I read your article and watched your video just now…
    And I think they’re quite impressive!!! Great I may say…
    And that’s because you highlighted the beauty of that place, despite the fact some people in there and/or in Athens want it hidden…
    I strongly recommend, however, visiting Kalampaka and Meteora in mid-spring or late spring… All the “renewed” green trees and the blossoming flowers will show you why…
    I also think that you should see the festivities that take place in Kalampaka during the Easter period, such as the “epitaph procession” by the four churches in the city and the Saint George’s “Headscarf” custom (Google this for more: St George the Mandilas)…
    I hope I gave you a reason to visit this special place one more time…
    Bye!!!

  3. J Marc says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience of this magical place.

    Do you know if it is possible to hire scooters there? Looks like that would be great means to get around the area.

  4. kostas says:

    Hi!saw your video for Meteora and was very nice. Have to mention though that Meteora was never a “hidden place” for tourists. It received major advertise in the 80’s through James’ Bond film “For your eyes only” with Roger Moore. The thing is that most international tour guides send all the tourist packs in islands because Greece is synonym to sea-sun

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Kostas : I don’t think it’s hidden for Greek tourists. But for foreign travelers, it’s not widely known (or much at all) and that is sad because it’s a natural gem… like “Holy WOW, why is this not taking up space in tour guide books or placed on a “top 100 places to see before you die ” list”!

      There’s a story that the Orthodox monks tried to sabotage ‘Bond’ filming to keep Meteora silent (and to themselves). They didn’t want Meteora to be a magnet for tourists (who disrupt their peace). In the end, because the monks made filming so challenging, the scenes of Meteora are partially recreated (or reconstructed) through movie magic. I just linked to that story in my blog and it’s an important one to help put things into context. It’s something I was told by a couple of locals… Meteora isn’t booming with a strong tourism economy, largely its said, due to the authority the Orthodox priests have over the area, they also try to keep Kalampaka from developing … so as not to attract strong tourism. Some locals are not happy with that situation, for obvious reasons of local economy. It’s a complex situation it seems.

  5. annechung says:

    Thanks, Christine. I’m going to Meteora. You convinced me.

  6. Frank says:

    Excellent tips … I’ll be making good use of them this summer … can’t wait to see this with the lowered Euro!

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