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Visit Meteora

Meteora is a magnificent area of beautiful monasteries perched on top of huge pillars of rock. It is found in the central part of mainland Greece and is best visited from the town of Kalabaka.

Explore Meteora

Greece can sometimes surprise you beyond all imagination, which is the part of the charm and magic associated with the country. Even nature seems to have gifted Greece with wonders that are more unique and spectacular than the rest of the world.

Such a place is the group of Eastern Orthodox Monasteries located on the top of the natural sandstone mountain pillars near the Pindus Mountains and the Peneios River in mainland Greece.

Meteora

'Meteora' means “suspended rocks”, like the meteors in space! Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The monasteries were built in the Middle Ages, a remarkable feat of building given the sheer height of some of these rock pillars. There were originally twenty four monasteries and six remain and welcome visitors.

The Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen and the Holy Monastery of Roussanou are home to a group of nuns and the others are occupied by monks though there are only small numbers in each site.

The monastery of Great Meteoron is the largest of the Meteora monasteries. Built in the 14th century, the Great Meteoron attracts the most tourists and has a church, a museum and a shady courtyard. It is the oldest of the monasteries. It is reached by climbing 300 steps.

One of its unusual features are the shelves of skulls of former monks in the sacristry.

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It is closely followed in popularity by the Varlaam Monastery, which was built in the 15th century and features a church dedicated to All Saints. It took 22 years to build this monastery with building materials hauled up the cliff face in baskets. It is now reached via 195 steps.

Its chapel contains frescoes including vivid scenes of the Apocalypse.

The Holy Trinity Monastery is probably the most famous as it featured in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only’. It is one of the most difficult to get to as you have to decend 140 steps into a steep ravine and then climb up another 140 steps into the compound.

Once at the top you are rewarded with the beautiful monastery buildings and fully restored 17th century frescoes as well as the splendid views.

The Saint Stephen monastery is the only one visible from the town of Kalabaka where you will want to be based for your visit. Sadly this monastery suffered damage both during the Greek Civil War and from German bombing in World War II.

Its refectory has now been converted into a museum of embroidered robes and tapestries and you can buy embroideries made by the nuns in residence here.

This is one of the easiest monastery to reach and you can get to it across a bridge from the main road.

Meteora

The Holy Monastery of Rousanou is another easy one to access and there is a bridge across to its sheer walls. This monastery was built in the 16th century and is on a smaller rock pillar than the others.

The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapausas is also quite easy to visit and has some excellent frescoes by the Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas.

As well as the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" Meteora has been the centre of attention in many works of art and literature. These include as the inspiration for the 'Eyrie' in Game of Thrones, as the name of the 2003 album by Linkin Park, the 2012 film Meteora, a place of refuge in the zombie World War Z novel by Max Brook and scenes from Tintin and the Golden Fleece.

Meteora is definitely one of those places that should be on your bucket list. It is one of our top favourites along with Oia on Santorini island.

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Photos of Meteora

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Map of Meteora and places to visit

 
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...or see all our recommended places to visit in Central Greece

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