Meteora is unlike any other place I’ve been. When I told my friend I was going to Greece, she said told me I HAVE to make a stop in Meteora. I quickly Googled it and my jaw dropped. It was absolutely unfathomable. For those that don’t know, Meteora is famous for the six operating monasteries perched atop impossibly vertical peaks. One wonders how they transported all those building materials and constructed such fascinating buildings. We made a 3 day stop in Meteora and surrounding Kalabaka and Kastraki while on our way from Athens to Thessaloniki. We took a train from Athens so we were on foot once we arrived at our B&B in Kastraki. Our host was kind enough to drive us up as close as possible to the first monastery where we then hiked the rest of the way up.
Each monastery has its distinct features and charm and you really have to visit all of them to get the full picture. To go from one monastery to the next, you have to completely descend and re-ascend. We found what appeared to be a footpath and asked a tiny old nun with a sense of humor for directions. She spoke only Greek, but gestured a walking motion with two fingers, complete with sound effects that if we were to take that path, we would fall off the cliff!
We followed the road back down and took an alternate footpath up to the next monastery, getting a bit lost and backtracking along the way. We spotted many goats around the hills, with bells around their necks, clearly owned by villagers, but otherwise free to graze and wander as they pleased. We did this for all of the monasteries and whenever we were on the winding roads, cars and tour buses whizzed by, taking them from monastery to monastery, unfamiliar with the toil and sweat experienced by the monks and nuns of the day.
If you want to learn more, NTripping has the best guide I’ve seen to get you excited and prepared for your visit to the Meteora Monasteries!