Have you heard of Meteora yet? If not, please do yourself a favour and google it. It is a slice of heaven on Earth. I saw a photo of Meteora in 2017 and made it my computer screensaver. A- because I’m big on the manifesting vibe, and B – because its stunning. A different stunning than Santorini and other Greece destinations, but when I say stunning, I mean the best kind. Up in the sky with the angels, watching the sunset, praying in the monasteries. It’s a vibe.
And, you want to get here sooner than later, because I have a funny feeling that Meteora will be overrun with tourists in the next 10 years. Even just being there, they went from 0 travel and tourism offices to 5, in just the last year.
Meteora is about 4 hours North of Athens. There are many day trip options, where you can go and come back same day, or in a 2-3 day trip. You can also get to Meteora from Athens by train, which you can likely get same day or just a few days prior. I went with the more self guided option and rented a car. There are tons of rental car options in Athens, either from the airport or the city center, and the drive was straight and easy.
If you are in the city center most of the car rental companies have offices on Syngrou Avenue. We actually got a car the day of, during the busiest time of the year (August), so booking ahead is at your discretion. Or perhaps if you are a bigger group, book the vehicle ahead. We were just two people, so we didn’t care what size car we got.
TIP: Remember to get an International Drivers License ahead of time. We did NOT have the International License so we had to walk shop to shop until we found a place that would rent a car to us without one. We finally did find a company that would rent to us anyway, but paid a premium to rent a car without the International Drivers License.
You can get it your IDL in about 2 hours online HERE: https://www.e-ita.org/idp/greece/
ARRIVING IN METEORA:
The drive there is very easy, no crazy mountains or terrain to get through. Those parts of Greece are past Meteora, which by the way, I highly recommend exploring if you do rent a car! When you are arriving by car, or even with a bus/trip, there is a straight highway to Meteora and when you get close you can start to see the monasteries and rock formations from a distance. They are breathtaking!
WHERE TO STAY:
There are two main areas to spend the night if you are staying in Meteora; Kalambaka (which is the main street and area) and Kastraki (which is a smaller village nearby). We chose Kastraki because we had a car it was a very quick 5-10min drive to Kalambaka for dinner and more action. Staying in Kastraki, we had a direct view of Meteora and the monasteries, and preferred the quieter vibe for our time there.
If you are coming during low season, I would stay in Kalambaka so you have easier access to the town, as many things are closed in Kastraki during the low season. If you are visiting in high season, Kastraki is the way to go.
TIP: Get a place and room with a view of Meteora. Such a nice experience waking up with the view.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Sunset and Sunrise
This is of the number 1 thing to do in Meteora, and like I said, you want to do this NOW because one day I guarantee you will be sharing the views with hundreds instead of just a few more people. You can take a “Sunset Tour” (which we did) just for convenience after the long day of driving, or you can head up to the mountains and pick a spot to sungaze yourselves. Right now there are a few great sunset spots, up really high, with no ropes at all. So it is a free for all. Grab some wine or a few beers, and head up to catch the most glorious sunset of your life. Peaceful, calm, something really special.
We booked our sunset tour with Viator, here: https://www.viator.com/tours/Meteora/Sunset-Meteora-Tour-from-Kalambaka-Including-Badovas-Hermitages/d28822-6575WALKBADOVAS
2. Visit the Monasteries
There were once 24 Monasteries in Meteora, and now only 6 of them are still functioning. All 6 are accessible, but not every ay of the week. So, you will need to look into which ones are open on which days.
PRO TIP: Do your monastery visits during the day, as most of them close at 4 or 5pm. So if you are planning on combining with the sunset, you will have a few hours in between. May as well do the monasteries in the morning, then head back down for lunch/dinner, and go up with plenty of time for the sunset.
I am not a typically a fan of group tours, but a tour here was really enticing. Why? Because the history of Meteora is so fascinating and still not as well known. So rather than research myself, I took a tour and learned all about the mountaintop monasteries, churches, and unique hermitages. I would recommend doing the same.
4. Take your time here
This is not the most typical “to do”, but we only spent 2 days and 1 night in Meteora, and I could’ve stayed forever. Meteora is a UNESCO site for a reason, the charming villages and the mystical mountaintops are so captivating. Just relax, take breath and spend a few days relishing here. The locals are so happy to have you (for now!) and the business owners are eager to teach you about their home in the mountains.
*Theres also a cute place to get green juice in the morning in Kalambaka. I am not sure the name, but it is just past the main square on the right hand side!
What I’d do differently next time:
I would’ve stayed longer for sure. I also would’ve packed more snacks/picnic to bring during sunset in the mountains!
- You’ll do lots of walking here, and can opt for some hiking, so make sure you have comfortable shoes.
- There aren’t really any functioning restaurants or stores when you get to the mountaintops, so pack a picnic, or some snacks if you are heading up for an afternoon or sunset.
- When visiting the monasteries, dress conservatively. If you do have shorts or tanks on though, it is okay – you can “rent” sarongs. However, out of respect, stay away from the crop tops here.
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