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GREECE – Meteora, A Guide to 24 hours in the Wonderful Hanging Monasteries

The Meteora Monasteries are by far the most impressive and breathtaking destinations I’ve seen throughout my trips around the world. It’s not wonder this place was named a UNESCO Heritage site, it combines an extraordinary natural phenomenon and man’s incredible capability to think outside the box.

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

Greece travel guides

 

 

The meaning of the word Meteora is ‘hovering in the air', and that is exactly the sense one gets when looking at the inspiring view. Monasteries placed 400 meters above ground, hanging from the highest of cliffs in an unimaginable, nearly unsensible way. The day Daniel and I spent there felt like we were on a set of a fantasy film. With eyes wide open and a camera in hand, we could not help but be astounded by our surroundings.

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

BUT OUR METEORA EXPERIENCE BEGAN EVEN BEFORE WE GOT THERE….

We decided to travel from Thessaloniki to Meteora in a rented car, and from the moment we got off the highway, the landscapes became especially magical and rural. We drove along winding mountain roads against a backdrop of thick green vegetation, and flowing rivers, and the view on all sides was simply a fairytale! In short, all you need is a good playlist in the car and some snacks 🙂

We realised what an extra-special place we were in, at the entrance to Kastraki, when we saw the unbelievable view of the picturesque buildings atop crazy cliffs.

Let’s just say I had to rub my eyes to be sure this place was really real 😍

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

Click here to watch my Insta-stories published while in Meteora 

 

TIME FOR SOME HISTORY….

 

As you can probably imagine, behind the Meteora monasteries lies an amazing and interesting history. After all, such impressive buildings don’t appear on the peaks of the cliffs in just one day.

It all began in the early 11th century, at the decline of the Byzantine Empire, when the monks feared for their lives, and sought a secluded place to avoid their persecutors and the war.  They decided to settle in caves in the high cliffs, so that it would be difficult to reach them and the climb was available by ropes only. Later, between the 14th and the 16th centuries, the monasteries that stand today were built slowly and patiently, while ropes and baskets were the only way to bring up bricks and construction materials. It was only later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, that the monks decided to build a staircase to ease the pilgrimage to the monastery.

Today, six of the original 24 monasteries are active, due to WWII bombings. After the war, they succeeded to rebuild some of the monasteries that were hit.

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

I MADE THREE OBSERVATIONS FROM THIS PLACE’S HISTORY :

1. The amazing buildings are a wonder of human creativity.

2. Turns out these monks were in pretty good shape 😳

3. I’m amazed every time by how rare historic places like this one are so easily destroyed by war…

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

OK, LET’S GET BACK ON TRACK….

There are three ways to reach the Meteora Monasteries. 1) Climb by foot from the little village of Kastraki, located in the valley beneath the monasteries 2) Take the trail that leaves from Kalambaka, or  3) Drive the beautiful windy road in a rented car, stop at viewpoints overlooking the breathtaking views, and visit at least one or two of the monasteries. They are quote close to each other, driving from one monastery to the next could take between 5-15 minutes {of course walking is a whole other story…}.

We opted for the car – because, come on, I am not in the best shape 🥵🙃

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

WHEN IS BEST TO VISIT METEORA?

 

Like almost every destination {aside from the far east}, during July and August it’s the high season in Meteora. Despite the typically high temperatures of those months, I read that in Meteora the weather is pretty tolerable, and so a relatively large amount of tourists make their way over there.

To enjoy a quieter and less crowded visit, you should show up off-season from mid-May to the end of June, and from September to mid-October. The weather is often nice, and there are still tourist buses, though much less than in the summertime. We were there at the end of May and it was just perfect!

Less recommended would be to travel there between December and March, because of the cold weather and rain.

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

A POSTCARD HOTEL

 

After quite a few deliberations, we decided to extend our visit in Meteora and stay in the area overnight instead of going back and forth the same day – and we are so glad we did so!

My parents visited Meteora few years ago and my mom couldn’t stop raving about Hotel Meteora at Kastraki, a poolside hotel at the ideal location with a view of the amazing Meteora. The hotel itself is not the best out there, pretty dated, the rooms are basic, and the breakfast not amazing {to say the least}, but the amazing view and the fun pool make it all worth it.

We did do some online scraping before booking a room at Hotel Meteora at Kastraki {you know me… 😅} and though we found there were some nicer boutique hotels, we decided to go with this one for its ravishing view.

If you do book a room at this hotel, don’t forget to book a room overlooking the pool! 🙂

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

AND FINALLY, 5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL VISIT TO METEORA…

 

1. Plan ahead of time – If you would like to visit the monasteries {which is a must!}, don’t forget to check opening hours on Meteora’s official website {certain days are closed for visitors}.

2. Keep in mind the entrance to the monastery costs 3-4 Euro.

3. It is important to remember to dress appropriately as this is a holy place – women are required to cover their shoulders {good to have a jacket or large shawl with you} and preferably wear a long skirt. If a long skirt isn’t your thing, you can get a wrap around at the entrance to each monastery. Men are required to wear long pants.

4. Find the way to avoid all of the tourists – OK, so there will always be a tourist bus at the entrance to the monasteries. Most of them open at 9:00 am, and according to what I’ve read, the most of the tourist buses arrive about half an hour later. So if you’d like to experience the place by yourself, try to get to your monastery of choice at the precise hour it opens. Like I said, we visited Meteora at the end of May, right before the official start of the season, so although there were still tourists around, we didn’t feel crowded and enjoyed our trip between the monasteries very much {and taking pictures of course!}.

5. Soak up the full Meteora Experience – If you want to experience this magical place perfectly, do not pass up on staying the night. This way you can really experience the amazing sunset from one of the observations and wake up to the breathtaking view of the wonderful nature {especially if you choose to stay at this hotel}.

 

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

Greece travel guide - 24 hours in Meteora | מטאורה, יוון

 

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Know about more interesting things to do in the area? Leave me a comment below! ♡

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7 Responses

  1. מה זה המקום המושלם הזה תגידי??? באמת נראה כמו משהו פרה-היסטורי. חולה בכללי על התמונות בבלוג שלך ועל איך שהכל נראה אחיד מבחינת הצבעוניות והעריכה

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