Nestled in the foothills of the Pindos mountain range in central Greece, this majestic complex of enormous rock formations is nothing less but an awe-inspiring experience and certainly can’t be missed. ‘The ones that hover above the ground’ is the exact translation of the Greek word ‘Meteora’ and you can soon discover why.
On top of these impressive sandstone-made rocks, you may see the monastic orthodox complex, nowadays counting six monasteries, fully operating. They once used to be thirty, but vanished over the centuries.
The remaining six are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as of 1988. And you probably got it right: Monks (and nuns) live here, and have been residing here since well before the 11th century. Fascinating, no? The place served as a great shelter for the monks due to its wild and inaccessible nature.
- The rocks of Meteora were formed over 60 million years ago by earthquake and weather conditions.
- Part of them was featured in James Bond movie ‘For your eyes only’.
How to reach Meteora
If you wish to approach and get an up-close look at those holy rocks, you first have to reach the city of Kalampaka. From there you have two options: either by private car, taxi or by foot. Luckily, you don’t have to use a ladder or curl yourself inside a net (!) to be pulled up, as the monks used to do back in those days.
For the adventurous souls
The hiking. It’s not as hard as you might think! There are two hiking trails to reach the six monasteries and they only require a small previous experience in hiking. Just imagine walking through these imposing rocks.
Rock climbing. Another great form of exercise. Choose one of the hundred uninhabited rocks or the seven hundred routes to start climbing; no worries, it’s ideal for both newbies or advanced climbers.
Biking. Yes, possible! Rent your mountain bike and explore the hidden treasures of Meteora while following different routes according to the degree of difficulty. Expert guides are there to help you out if needed.
Rafting. Well, you are in Greece, so of course, a river will be somewhere nearby. Hop on the boat for this 8km distance at Ionas river, while enjoying the splendid views of the riverside plane tree forest as well as the rocks of Meteora.
- The monasteries are open year-round, but make sure to ask in advance about timings or schedule changes. It is advised to cover shoulders and legs, as a sign of respect.
- Try to hike up to the top during sunset time; the crowd is gone and you are left to admire the greatness of nature, feeling like a king.
- Avoid the rainy days for hiking since the rocks are rather slippery, and you are on a holiday, not a mission impossible.