Meteora is the biggest and most important group of monasteries in Greece after those in Mount Athos. We can locate the first traces of their history from 11th c. when the first hermits settled the area between Thessaly plain and Pindos mountains.
The rock monasteries have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage and they form one of the most important stations of cultural map of Greece.
The most important monasteries of Meteora are:The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron. It is the biggest of the Meteorite monasteries. The church ‘Katholikon’, honoured to the Transfiguration’ was erected in the middle of 14th c. and 1387/88 and decorated in 1483 and 1552. The old monastery is used as a museum, nowadays.
Other 5 Monasteries are The Holy Monastery of Varlaam, The Holy Monastery of Rousanou, The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen and The Monastery of Holy Trinity.
The best way of visiting Meteora Monasteries is to join one of the ,,Visit Meteora,, tours. One of the best tours is Sunset tour. While all the masses of tourists are long gone, join an amazing sunset tour that undoubtedly will become the highlight of your entire Meteora visit.
This tour will take you on a late afternoon visit to discover the hidden gems of this place. Allow the locals to guide you through the winding narrow roads of Meteora to places away from the beaten tourist paths. Sunset tour begins with a visit to one of the 6 active monasteries of Meteora, Agios Stefanos or Roussanou. Then we will guide you to the oldest standing monument of our place, the Byzantine church of Virgin Mary located in the old town of Kalambaka. A church made in the early Christian period with ancient marbles embedded on its walls, telling the town’s long history of 27 centuries.
And as the sun slowly begins to descent, getting ready to touch on the mountain ridges tour will bring you high up on the rocks of Meteora, on a magical spot to enjoy the most captivating sunset views. Up there, sitting on the edges of cliffs you will feel the evening breeze blowing through these giant cliffs. Allow your senses to explore moment by moment the dimming of the light as the sun disk sinks behind the mountains. This will be a perfect way to end a beautiful day at Meteora with an awe-inspiring tour to be remembered forever!
The second day, I have joined on Meteora Hiking Tour whichis one of the best ways to enjoy this unique geological phenomenon and to learn the history of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By joining this morning hike you will walk through hidden trails that only locals know. Tour take you on a journey back in time following the footsteps of the first monks who arrived here more than 15 centuries ago. Experience nature at its best and enjoy great views other visitors will never get to see! Join this amazing guided hiking tour and walk among the gigantic rock pillars of Meteora to enjoy truly breathtaking views.
The hike begins from the foothills of Doupiani rock, beneath the old ruins of Pantokrator monastery. It then crosses through the immense rock formations to reach the northern side of Meteora. Over that side, you’ll discover the hidden monastery of Ypapantiand the ruins of St. Dimitrious. Listen to the stories and the legends behind each place you pass along the trail and the thousand years of history will become alive through the exciting narrative of our local mountain guides. You will get to enter the hidden monastery of Ypapanti (Monday to Friday only) which opened for hikers. Afterwards, you will visit the monasteries of Great Meteoron or Varlaam and then you’ll walk down the old footpath the monks used for centuries before the construction of roads for the last part of this marvelous hike.
You cannot see all of the splendor of Meteora monasteries and nature in one day, so the best possible way is to sleep over in one of the villages in Meteora region. Plakias Guesthouse in old village of Kastraki has the best possible location in Meteora region for tourists that are interested to visit monasteries and make hiking trails.
Beside rooms and appartments for resting after hiking and visiting monasteries, they are offering the best Greek home made cousine in their Taverna, just outside of the Guesthouse.