One of my greatest motivators for visiting Greece (apart from Athens), was to visit Meteora. I had seen the photos of these magical monasteries built along the cliffs of the rock face and so it wasn’t really a case of if, but how do I get there? The first thing I had to decide was whether I wanted to squeeze everything into one day, two days, or more. After deciding to do this tour on my own by bus, I knew that given the departure times, two days would be the way to go. More than that just seemed a bit too much
Getting to Meteora
Like I said, I decided to get to Meteora via bus as opposed to an organized tour. But you can also take the train which is a bit easier albeit more expensive and more limited departure times but i will outline how to get here by train too
From Central Athens you’ll want to take the metro to Liosion Bus Terminal. Easiest way to do this is
- From any metro line, change at Monastiraki station and get into Green line heading to Kifissia.
- Get off at Kato Patisssia station and either walk about 1km to the bus station or get a taxi to get you there. The taxi should cost 3.20 Euro plus any extra charges for arriving at a bus station but it won’t go over 5 Euro.
- If you are going to get a taxi then you should tell the driver to get you to Liosion Station and not Athens bus station.
At the bus station, you should get a bus to Kalampaka. The bus timetable is listed here. The cost of a return ticket is €48
From Central Athens you’ll want to take metro line 2 heading toward Anthoupoli and get off at Larissa Station (Athens main train station). At the train station board a train heading toward Kalampaka (spelled Kalambaka). You can find the timetable here. The cost of a return ticket ranges from €40-60
What to do in Meteora
If you’re spending more than a day in Meteora, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in Kalampaka as this is where you’ll find all the hotels and restaurants. More than that though this is a small town worth exploring for a couple of hours. Wander through the cobblestone alleys, or pop into some shops, it’s a quaint little town.
The main reason anyone comes to visit Meteora is to see the famous monasteries. The best way to see them is on foot. There are two main hiking routes, the Eastern Trail (starting at St. Stephan Monastery).
The trail continues down into the valley into the town of Kalambaka and you should be able to complete it in a couple hours at a leisurely pace. It’s a fairly easy if not a bit rocky hike down.
The Western Trail is for more adventurous hikers. It’s not particularly difficult but it will take a full day to complete. However, you will go through many more sites such as the Great Meteoran Monastery, the Holy Monastery of Varlaam, the Monastery of Roussanou, the Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, and Kastraki village.
Watching the Sunset (or Sunrise)
There are few places as spectacular as Meteora for viewing and capturing an unforgettable sunset. There are two main viewing points are high up and have panoramic views into the valley. They are both well market by parking signs
- Sunset Rock This is without a doubt the most popular place to catch the sunset and depending on the time of year you decide to visit, you might have a lot of company all vying for the same spot. Luckily there is no bad view to be had here
- Varlaam Monastery This is a bit harder to reach than sunset rock but it is well worth trekking from in the dark. I visited Varlaam for sunrise which was beautiful, however it would definitely be more amazing for sunset.
Visit the Great Meteoran Monastery
If there’s one monastery you should visit it’s this one. It is Meteora’s oldest and largest monastery. Founded in 1340, it sits perched on top of the rock at 613m. In order to get to the monastery you need to ascend 115 steps (take your time if you need to. It’s not that bad I promise). Once you’re inside you can roam around and marvel at how the monks actually built this. It is open daily from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. except Tuesdays. Admission is €3
Where to Stay in Meteora
Meteora Central Hostel By far the best option for budget travelers and the best hostel in the area. Close to the train station, all rooms are clean and newly refurbished, and wifi is included. Dorms start at $28
Doupiani House Hotel This is a great moderately priced hotel. The views are amazing, the rooms are clean and spacious, breakfast and wifi is included. Rooms start at $130
Where to Eat
Mikel Coffee Company A great place for a cup of coffee with a vibrant patio and some pretty good pastries/desserts
Greek Tavern Skaros Inexpensive traditional Greek food on the heartier side. Amazing mixed grill
Taverna Panellinion Moderately priced Greek food. Very fresh and light options. Moussaka was amazing! Very warm and cozy interior
Hope you have a great trip. Let me know if you’ve been here and have any tips to share!