Seeing the Eastern Orthodox monasteries of Meteora sitting atop huge rock pillars definitely rank up there with Santorini as our Greece’s best travel experience.
After an overnight ferry and a 7-hour train ride, we thought we’d feel a little exhausted. But as soon as we reach our room and looked out the window, we were instantly re-energized.
We were glad we chose to stay in the Kastraki village area instead of Kalabaka, because if that picturesque view of a traditional village embellished with orange clay roofs at the bottom of gigantic rocks didn’t make make us want to go out and explore, nothing ever would.
And so we went out, strolled a bit and couldn’t help but marvel at the numerous geological wonders assaulting our senses.
“It’s unbelievable… how do they build all those monasteries up there??!”
Words have it that the hermits who inhabited this area were seeking for spiritual isolation. They first started by building caves on these rocks, going up solely with ropes and small sticks as ladders! Eventually, they started building these monasteries.
Not content with a short walk, we instantly booked a sunset tour ’cause we were definitely ready to see more that day!
There are 6 monasteries in total: the prominently seen Varlaam (pictured above), the dramatic Agia Triada, the biggest one in Great Meteoron, the most easily accesible St. Stephen which is just a bridge cross away, St. Nikolaos Anapafsas which is hidden inside the forest, and the scenic Roussanou as seen below.
We visited the town of Kalabaka briefly—where we visited the Byzantine Church of Virgin Mary, St. Nicholas (Badovas) and St. George Madilas—before going up to a viewpoint to appreciate the grandeur of the monolithic cliffs from the other side.
The entire region is beautifully-shaped as a result of over 60 million years of tectonic movements which raised the seabed up before natural elements and erosion craft them into the jaw-dropping rock pillars they are today.
Our afternoon ended with a beautiful sunset overlooking 5 of the monasteries with a view of the lush green jungle down below. Despite the sky being slightly cloudy, the view remained spectacular and it’s definitely among the Top 5 best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.
The next morning, we took a hike to discover the different faces of Meteora not seen from the regular pathway. The ancient monks’ trail revealed gems such as Doupiani Rock, Ypapanti and St. Dimitrios ruins (the latter two of which are pictured below).
Finally, the hiking ended with a grand view of the Great Meteoron, which we visited before finally departing on our way to Athens.
We had a great time here and thought whatever we saw fully lived up to the hype. No one should miss the Meteora experience!
What are the most jaw-dropping sights you have ever seen?