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The word, meteora, quite literally means “suspended in the air”. Once you visit, you’ll understand exactly why. I spent three days in Meteora, which I found to be a solid amount of time to see what this region of Greece is most famous for: the Meteora Monasteries.

A Meteora monastery perched on the cliffs in Meteora

Meteora, Greece

While some may plan their trip to Greece around a visit to Athens and the islands, Meteora provides a very different view of the country that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you appreciate nature, love to hike, and are looking to add a UNESCO World Heritage Site to your travel bucket list, I highly recommend adding Meteora to the itinerary.

Where is Meteora?

Meteora is a breathtaking spectacle located in Thessaly, Greece. This geological marvel is nestled just north of the quaint town of Kalabaka (also spelled Kalampaka or Kalambaka), south of the village of Kastraki, and east of the Pindus Mountains, in the valley of the Pineiós River.

Meteora History

As you peer out at miraculous peaks rising into the sky, you’ll see elaborate monasteries built right into them.  These have been home to monks for centuries, who sought complete isolation.  To read more about the history of the Meteora Monasteries, click here.

There are currently 6 active monasteries, two of which I was lucky enough to visit on a hiking tour and sunset tour of Meteora.
woman looking at out Meteora and its monasteries

Best Time to Visit Meteora

While Meteora can be visited year-round, the summer months are sure to be busy with tourists. If you're seeking a quieter experience, consider visiting outside of the peak tourist season. I visited in mid-May and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t very crowded and the temperature was perfect, especially for hiking.

view of the Grand Meteora Monastery

How to Get to Meteora

Meteora is easily accessible by both train and car.  If you’re coming from Athens, you can use the Hellenic Train site to search for all possible train options or read more about how to get to Meteora by train.  

I had rented a car during my stay in Greece and was able to get from Meteora to Athens in approximately four hours.  Keep in mind, there are a lot of tolls on the highways in Greece, so be prepared to pay.  Luckily, they take credit cards.

Meteora Travel Guide and Tips

Where to Stay in Meteora

There are two main towns in Meteora:  Kalabaka and Kastraki.  You can find many hotel options as well as apartment rentals.

I had the pleasure of staying at The Grand Meteora Hotel, which was a little more serene and removed from the towns.  I awoke to stunning views of the cliffs each morning and was still able to easily make my way to some of the more populated areas for dinners and tours.

view of the Grand Meteora hotel with the cliffs in the background

Solo Travel in Meteora

If you’re a solo traveler, you’ll feel incredibly safe in Meteora. The locals are kind and there are so many tour options you can select from that will allow you to meet others while you explore. This is the perfect place to visit if you’d like to get out of Athens for some time with nature.

photo of a hiking group overlooking Meteora

Dining in Meteora

Meteora is known for its Vlach cuisine, which offers an array of traditional dishes that are cherished by the locals and a gastronomic adventure for visitors. 

From delectable meze options like leek-infused sausage, kokoretsi, and kebab, to mouthwatering pies filled with wild greens, cornmeal, and feta cheese, you’ll definitely leave the tavernas pleasantly full. 

As for desserts, Thessaly is not only known for its Farsala Halva but also for a delightful delicacy known as spatula – a pie filled with walnuts, cream, and almonds. This dessert, with its distinctive combination of tastes and textures, is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. 

I had two delicious dinners during my trip here.  

At Yamas Taverna, I enjoyed a refreshing glass of their local house wine along with a pork tenderloin, flanked by french fries and a salad.  

the sign for Yamas Taverna in Kalambaka Greece
a table is shown with a plate of pork tenderloin with french fries and salad.  A basket of bread, olive oil, glass of white wine and bottle of water is shown at Yamas Taverna in Meteora Greece

I pulled out all of the stops when I dined at Taverna Gardenia.  I started with a very simple, but tasty, green salad to offset the fried cheese (called saganaki) that I had as an appetizer.  For a main course, I ordered chicken souvlaki, accompanied with a side of fries.  My favorite detail was the lemon slice that showed up on each dish, adding a bit of sweetness to each savory item that I devoured.  To close out the meal, I was treated to both a piece of portokalopita (a dense orange piece) and a glass of ouzo to cleanse my palate.  This meal was my idea of perfection.

Things to Do in Meteora

Meteora Monasteries

Visiting one of the six active Meteora monasteries should be at the top of your list on your Meteora itinerary. You can find out more information about the monasteries on Visit Meteora’s website along with their schedules.

I was lucky enough to visit the Great Meteoron Monastery on a hiking tour as well as St. Stephen’s Nunnery during a sunset tour. Both of them were quite a spectacle and absolutely beautiful from both afar and the inside. I even saw several monks at the Great Meteoron Monastery.

Meteora monastery

Meteora Guided Tours

There are so many various tours and experiences that you can book for your visit to Meteora.  Visit Meteora has everything from multi-day rail tours to individual experiences including hiking, sunset tours, monastery tours, and wine tastings.  You can find their full list of tours here.

Hiking in Meteora

If you’re into the outdoors, I highly recommend the hiking tour that I went on with Visit Meteora.  It was the perfect combination of physical activity and history that kept me engaged the entire time.  

My guide, Evan, was delightful, knowledgeable, and also funny as he told us the origin of the name “orchid”, which (naturally) comes from the Greek language.  You can google that one if you want to know.  Haha!  

We spent a couple hours making our way uphill, stopping every so often for Evan to give us some historical information about the region (and for some of us to catch our breath).  My favorite stop was at a large area that had an endless view of the countryside below, the cliffs, and even a monastery clinging to the side of one of them.  

Once we got high enough, we stopped at The Great Meteoron Monastery, where we had an hour to visit inside.  I was amazed at how updated and well-kept every inch of it was.  After we explored, it was time to make our final trek; this time it was all downhill and a bit more steep.  

Overall, this hike was the highlight of my time in Meteora and I have to give a huge shoutout to Evan for his enthusiasm, knowledge, and kindness to all of us.

Sunset Tour of Meteora

The second tour I had the pleasure of experiencing was a sunset tour. This was much different from the hiking tour in that it required a lot less physical activity. We had a small bus with a guide, Maria, who told us an in-depth history of the area and monasteries. She was so much fun and I loved her energy. We made several stops to take photos and see some impressive landmarks.

In the middle of our tour, we were given time to visit St. Stephen’s Nunnery, which was just as beautiful and well-kept at the Great Meteoron Monastery that I saw the previous day. 

The tour concludes at sunset with a stop at a large cliff that has a remarkable view of Meteora. This was the highlight of the tour for me because it was peaceful, relaxing, and made for some epic photos. We didn’t have the best sunset view because of the cloudiness, but that didn’t take away from the experience at all. I highly recommend going on the sunset tour.

If you’re in the process of planning a trip to Greece, I can’t recommend a visit to Meteora enough.  Along with its natural beauty that has added it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Meteora is a fantastic destination for those looking to enjoy the outdoors.  This historical region, that is much less crowded than the ever popular islands and capitol, is ideal for solo travelers looking for a break from the masses.  I hope you consider adding it to your Greece travel itinerary.

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About the Author

Hi! My name is Terry and I'm a former elementary school teacher. After 13 years in the classroom, I decided to take my side hustle of creating educational resources full-time.

Now, I work remotely and have the time and flexibility to do what I've always wanted to do more of: TRAVELING. I've created an online space where I can share my adventures along with tips for anyone who has had the desire to seek adventure, but may have things holding them back. Whether it's financial reasons, or you simply don't have anyone to go with - I'm here to help you get inspired to just go for it and book the trip!

If you're looking for that push/motivation, follow along with me! Make sure you check me out on TikTok and Instagram, too!