Meteora in Greek means “place suspended in the air”, a phrase that explains perfectly what this site is. Meteora is a group of large sandstone rocks that were formed below the sea level over 30 million years ago. This fascinating formation chiselled throughout the centuries was made visible when the seabed was pushed upwards.
Meteora is not only famous for its large slabs; what makes it even more fascinating are the various monasteries that were built on top of its peaks. The height of the rocks and its impressive views were the reason why many monks believed that these monasteries were the best place to meditate. Nowadays, thirteen monasteries, out of the initial twenty-four, are still standing. Six of these are open to the public.
The first cloister, the Great Meteoron Monastery, was founded in 1336 by Saint Athanasios Meteorites. The abbey crowns a 536-meter rock. At the entrance of the monastery, is a cave where the monk Athanasios first dwelled.
How the various monasteries were built still remains a mystery, although there are several theories, including one of the most popular that relates that the stones were brought up by comets. Until paths and a road were built, the only way to climb to the top of Meteora was by ropes, pulleys and chairlifts.
Visitors must spend at least one night in the surrounding areas and spend two full days to get an idea of this impressive zone. It takes approximately five hours to get from Athens to Meteora.
The closest villages to Meteora are Kastraki and Kalambaka. Both villages, but especially Kalambaka, are enjoyable and are close to the road that leads to Meteora.
Check out our search engine to find the best hotels in Kalambaka:
You’ll find the opening times and days of each monastery when you get to your hotel. Normally, at least two monasteries are open.
How to get to Meteora
You can book a day trip by train online, or if you would like to get there under your own steam, these are the best ways to get to Meteora:
Book a day trip
Taking a day trip is a way of visiting Meteora in comfort, without missing a thing. As it's quite far from Athens, tours tend to take two days at least:
To get to Meteora from Athens by car, take the freeway E75 and head to Lamia-Karditsa-Trikala-Kalambaka. It will take around 4 hours and 30 minutes (375 km away).
There are several trains that depart from Athens (Larissa Railway Station) to Kalambaka every day. The direct train leaves at 8:20 am and takes 4 hours and 50 minutes. The price of a one-way ticket costs between 15€ (US$16.5) and 20€ (US$22). The direct train back to Athens departs at 5:22 pm and gets to the capital at 10:12 pm.
For more information, check out the Trainose website:
If you prefer to travel by coach, you can travel to Meteora from Athens. The buses depart from Terminal B bus station (260 Liossion Street) between 7 am and 9 pm.
To get to Terminal B, the best option is to take bus number 024 from Amalias Avenue, next to Syntagma Square.