Day trip to Meteora | We think that one of the best tourist spots in Greece is Meteora. In the very beginning of May 2019 we went for a day trip to the Meteora Region. That included Theopetra. There are plenty of guided tours offered – even day trips from Athens. We opted to drive up ourselves, and then joined a Guided Tour, organized by VisitMeteora.Travel. The weather was good and so was our mood. These were the things we did:
Tourist Attractions in Meteora
Our hiking tour started at Doupiani rock, beneath the old ruins of Pantokrator monastery. We crossed through some huge dark rock formations to reach the northern side of Meteora. It opened a view to the rather hidden monastery of Ypapanti. From Monday to Friday you can enter this monastery. We did our hike on a Saturday. So yeah, this was a little bummer. But even from the outside Ypapanti was worth the hike. Compared to the ones on top of rocks, this monastery is fully constructed inside a large cavity of a rock. In the year 1367 AD, the monks Nilos and Cyprianus founded and the owned it. The walk to this monastery was very simple and pleasant.
We continued our hike towards the ‘poster child’: the Monastery of Great Meteoron. Lucky us, this one was open on Saturdays (9am – 3pm). The Monastery of Great Meteoron is the largest of the monasteries. It was erected in the 14th century. One building serves as the main museum for tourists.
Before you pack your gear, make sure the monastery of your choice will be open. The following tables give you a rough idea:
Summer (from April 1 to October 31)
|Holy Trinity||9:00 – 17:00||Thu|
|St. Stephen||9:00 – 13:30 / 15:30 – 17:30||Mon|
|Varlaam||9:00 – 16:00||Fri|
|St. Nicholas Anapausas||8:00 – 16:00||Fri|
|Rousanou||9:30 – 17:00||Wed|
|Ypapanti||9:00 – 14:00||Sat, Sun|
|Great Meteoron||9:00 – 15:00||Tue|
Offseason (from November 1 to March 31)
|Holy Trinity||10:00 – 16:00||Thu|
|St. Stephen||9:30 – 13:00 / 15:00 – 17:00||Mon|
|Varlaam||9:00 – 15:00||Thu, Fri|
|St. Nicholas Anapausas||9:30 – 16:00||Fri|
|Rousanou||9:00 – 14:00||Wed|
|Ypapanti||9:00 -14:00||Sat, Sun|
|Great Meteoron||9:00 – 15:00||Tue|
Meteora Hiking Map
In Meteora you will never be alone. Busloads of tourists visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site each day. You can avoid them by a certain degree when taking a hike. The following map shows you two hiking trails in Meteora. One goes from the St. Nicholas Monastery to the Ypapanti Monastery. The second one leads you to the Holy Trinity Monastery and further down to the city of Kalambaka.
Byzantine Church of Virgin Mary
Thanks to our tour guides from VisitMeteora.Travel, the Church of Virgin Mary was part of the package. Otherwise we would have completely missed it. The church is situated in Kalambaka. Not yet a major tourist hub, this church is a very early christian building from the 4th century. The church encloses evidence from ancient religions to the Christian period and all the different evolutionary stages of the Eastern Christianity in between for the past 2000 years. For us it was a must-see, because of its age and it’s impressive frescoes. Relics of an ancient Greek temple dedicated to God Apollo have been embedded in the walls. In spots, the original mosaic floor is revealed beneath the current floor. This super old Christian basilica still serves as an active church for the locals.
10 centuries older than the oldest monastery of Meteora, the Byzantine church of Virgin Mary somehow was able to remain hidden in the shadow of those popular monasteries and the rocks. Good job! Visiting hours: 09:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 20:00.
Theopetra Cave Wall
Not sure if you know it: the oldest known man made construction worldwide is the Theopatra Cave Wall. In 2010 a important discovery was made in the Theopetra Cave: Archeologists uncovered a wall which was built 23,000 years ago. It is the oldest known human-built structure so far. We did take a look at it.
On our way up from Athens to Meteora – we stopped in the village of Theopetra. Our destination, the Theopetra Cave, is situated on the northeastern slope of a limestone hill. The cave overlooks Theopetra village, and the Lethaios River. The cave itself is kind of roughly quadrilateral in shape with small niches on its periphery. It covers about 500 sqm (5380 sq ft). The Cave has a large entrance, which allows light to enter abundantly into the interior. The site has been open for public since 2009.
Where to stay in Meteora
As mentioned earlier, we did not book accommodation in this region. If you plan to settle for 1 or 2 nights, here are some recommendations.
Video about Meteora
Last not least we found this welldone video about the Meteora Monasteries on YouTube. Enjoy.
In the video:
Town of Kalambaka (0:04 and 7:31),
Byzantine Church of Virgin Mary (0:28),
St. Nikolas Anapafsas Monastery (1:22),
Varlaam Monastery (1:59 and 4:19),
Great Meteoron Monastery / Megalo Meteoro (3:47),
Roussanou Monastery (2:42, 4:32, 4:59, 8:14),
St. Stephen’s Monastery/Agios Stefanos (6:24),
Holy Trinity Monastery/Agia Trias (6:13, 6:56),
Panagios Valley – St Nicholas (Badovas) Monastery (8:40),
Agios Antonios Monastery (8:59),
Ypapanti Monastery (10:06),
Kastraki village (0:40, 9:31, 10:44).
Day trip to Meteora | By Chili and Chirp | © HuggingHorizons | Visit our Travel Alphabet.