Meteora Monasteries - Central Greece
An amazing sight of Greek Orthodox Monasteries set on top of Meteora a natural rock formation that was formed over 60 million years ago in the plains of Thessaly.
Meteora means "suspended in the air" and the monks at the time built the monasteries on these rock formations to be "closer to God". These are the remotest monastery complexes in the world, set high on spectacular rocks, and for this reason are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The monks arrived in the 11th century and built up to twenty-four monasteries between the 14th and 16th century. To even get into the monasteries, a labyrinth of ladders, ropes, and nets was used to scale these rocks. Nowadays, it is much easier to reach by bridges, stairs and roads.
There are now only six active monasteries that houses artifacts and paintings which are looked after by a few monks and nuns who call this home.
The only way to reach this picturesque sight is by either travelling via train or car from Athens (4hrs and 15 mins) or Thessalonki (3hrs and 5 mins) so worth visiting for a few days. Either stay in the city of Kalambaka or Kastraki, the closest town to the Meteora.
The best time to visit this area is in May, June, September and October as it is warm and dry, in the summer it can be very hot and very busy.
Things to do:
The Great Meteoron monastery - which is built in the largest rock - is the largest monastery in the area. Visit the museum, wine cellar, dining rooms, artifacts and an ossuary that holds the skulls of monks that lived at the monastery.
Also take a visit to Varlaam Monastery, Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas, Rousanou Monastery, Holy Trinity Monastery (has beautiful frescoes to see) and the St. Stephens Monastery, which is the easiest to reach as close to the city of Kalambaka.
When visiting these monasteries, there is a strict dress code. When entering you must wear long trousers or skirt and long sleeve tops.
Other places of interest are the hermit caves of Badovas (the first homes for the monks before they built the monasteries), the tower of Aghia and St George Madilas.
Lots to see and do in this amazing landscape - worth visiting for a few days - and for the adventurous there are activities such as hiking, rafting and canyoning.
More information about this amazing destination: https://www.visitmeteora.travel/