Meteora Monasteries Visit - The Traveller


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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Meteora Monasteries Visit

Meteora Monasteries Visit

Meteora is a rock formation located in Trial's regional unit in Thessaly, Greece. It is located near Kalabaka town at the N-W edge of the Plain of Thessaly, and near the Pineios River & Pindus Mountains. The meaning of the term "Meteora" is “suspended in the air”. This phrase adroitly describes these outstanding Greek Orthodox monasteries.

 The Byzantine monasteries which are perched on top of steep rocks, adorned with mind-blowing artefacts & wall paintings and the amazing landscape — will make you mesmerized. Currently, six monasteries are active and some nuns or monks reside on Meteora. In 1988, these Meteora Monasteries were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The nearest town to Meteora is the Kalabaka. When you visit the place, you will be amazed by the mesmerizing views of the village of Kastraki.

 List of Meteora Rocks:

 Several rocks of Meteora surround Kastraki village & border the north side of Kalabaka city. We have given here the heights of these rocks in feet.

  • Dupiani (1,280 ft)
  • Agio Pneuma (2,000 ft)
  • Kumaries (1,631 ft)
  • Toichos Alpha (1,570 ft)
  • Toichos Beta (1,732 ft)
  • Toichos Gamma (1,770 ft)
  • Toichos Delta (1,742 ft)
  • Eustratius
  • Archangel
  • Chalasma
  • Marmaro
  • Surloti (2,000 ft)
  • Modi (1,918 ft)
  • Alysos (1,928 ft)
  • Pyxari (1,719 ft)
  • Badovas (1,468 ft)
  • Ambaria (1,300 ft)
  • Agia (2,070 ft), called Megali Agia, or "Large Aya".
  • Mikri Agia, or "Small Aya"
  • Adrachti (1,555 ft)
  • Ftelias
  • Dimitrios
  • Kelarakia
  • Psaropetra ("Fish Rock")

Although the term "Meteora" indicates only rocks around Kalabaka & Kastraki, the greater Meteora rock formation has expanded to the northwest into the Gavros and Agios Dimitrios areas.

How to Go To Meteora:

By Train:

After coming to Athens, you can take a train up to Meteora train station (Kalambaka). The trains that serve the north side of Greece depart from the "Larissa station" in Athens. On the other hand, buses which serve this part of the country leave from Terminal B, at Liossion Street.

You are able to obtain train schedules from TrainOSE. Whereas buses are available every two hours. By train, it will take about 3.5 to 4.5 hours, whereas by bus, it will be a journey of about 5 hours. However, there are also train connections from Thessaloniki (near about 3 hours), and Volos (near about 2 to 3.5 hours). You can also get into trains from Larissa and that will be a journey of 1 to 3 hours. Generally, you need to change trains at Paleofarsalos station.

By Bus:

You can find bus connections to/ from Kalampaka from/toTrikala & Larissa. If you are in Athens, Thessaloniki and Volos, then you need to take a bus to Trikala or Larissa. After that, you have to take a bus to Kalampaka. From Athens, buses are available, riding which you can visit Meteora as a day trip.

By Car:

The monasteries are served by good roads which are safe enough. Besides, you can find several lay-bys & free parking spaces located near monasteries.

By Plane:

Take a flight from Central Europe to Volos, Central Greece airport in Nea Anchialos. After that, you need to start a journey by car for about 2 hours to Meteora. It is possible to take the bus or train from Volos to Kalampaka, but it takes too much time.

Things To Do:


Over twenty km of hiking trails ( ranging from easy to challenging ones) are available in Meteora. You can complete your hiking journey in less than 4 hours, and almost every hiking trail goes to the monasteries. Most trails are not marked. Therefore, you will need GPS tools.

You can enjoy the sunset from several vantage points. Make your journey more exciting by climbing the rocks. Over 170 peaks and 600 bolted climbing paths are available here. Hence, it is necessary to purchase 2 guide books where you will find details about almost every route. But you will not find any option to rent equipment. Therefore, people need to bring their own climbing guide or get one.

You can drive the road which connects monasteries.

The Monasteries today:

At present, it has become a preservation ark for the Christian Orthodox creed, which is about 2,000 years old. You can check the map to get a better idea and understand where the six active monasteries are located. Two monasteries (Agios Stefanos & Roussanou) out of six active ones are convents with nuns. The remaining four are male monasteries with monks. Currently, there lives approximately 17 monks and 50 nuns in these active monasteries.

Best Meteora Monasteries to Visit:

Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron:

It is called the Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis or Transfiguration of Christ. This male monastery is the oldest of all Meteora's monasteries.

This one is built on the Platys Lithos or Playtlithos, which is the complex's greatest rock. Before the middle of the 14th century, around 1340, Saint Athanasios Meteorites, who is a scholar-monk of Mount Athos, founded this. The pleasant courtyard and amazing frescoes of this Monastery will make you spellbound.

Holy Monastery of Varlaam:

Varlaam founded this second-biggest Meteora Greece monastery. Although it was abandoned for some period, it was re-established in the 16th century. If you have an interest in photography, you should definitely visit the area near the Great Meteoron Monastery, from where you can see an excellent view of the Varlaam Monastery. However, if you are afraid of heights, you must not go there as the rocks are slippery.

This monastery is named after Varnaam, who built the first church on the rock. Besides, he built a room for himself & a water tank along with three churches in 1350. After his death, this monastery was abandoned for two hundred years as no monk joined him. Two monks, Theophanes and Nektarios Apsaradeslater who came from Ioannina in 1517, refounded it. You can reach the monastery by a bridge. While you can find a small museum here, you will be amazed by the 16th-century paintings.

Holy Monastery of Rousanou:

Maximos and Ioasaph of Ioannina built it in 1545. This meteora monastery is dedicated to St.Barbara. Like other monasteries, at meteora, this one was also looted during the Second World War. You can reach there by a bridge. Currently, this Monastery is run by nuns.

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas:

It was established in the 14th century. This monastery is famous mainly for the frescoes made by Theophanes Strelitzas in 1527. 

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen:

It was established in the 14th century by St. Antoninus Cantacuzene. People believe that he is the son of the Serb ruler, Nicephorus II of Epirus.

Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity:

In the ‘For Your Eyes Only’ movie, Monastery of the Holy Trinity Meteora was used. Among all the monasteries, this one has the most dramatic location. In the year 1458, this monastery was built.


When you visit Kastraki, you can find a lot of restaurants. People willing to have a light meal need to go towards the Ouzeri on the main road, slightly downhill. If you want to enjoy the amazing view of the valley & mountains, Meteora Panorama is an excellent choice which offers open wifi.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Meteora so famous?

24 Eastern Orthodox Monasteries were built by the monks more than 500 years ago at the top of inaccessible peaks in Central Greece. Now, Meteora is popular for its spiritual structures and outstanding geological formations.

  • Who built the Meteora?

Saint Athanasios, who is a monk from Mount Athos, built the Meteora.

  • Is Meteora still active?

Only six monasteries are active out of a total of 24 monasteries.


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