The Monasteries of Meteora rest upon the Meteora rock formation in central Greece and is home to one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries and second in importance only to Mount Athos. It is named after the specificity of its appearance, with many calling it the wonder of floating rocks halfway between heaven and earth.

The first traces of settlement within the Meteora date between the 9th and 11th century when the first hermits, whom were monks, appeared here and sought peace among these vast rocks. These early hermits lived in caves and crevices of rocks where they devoted themselves to praying and studying early Orthodox texts. In the 14th century the monks began the construction of the monastery with the use of nets and scaffolding made of beams bolted into the cracks of rocks and later the scaffold was replaced by the very long hanging ladder. Today, a staircase leads to the monastery, which in 1922 was carved into a rock facade.

The Monasteries of Meteora have been characterized by UNESCO as a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage and they form one of the most important locations on Greece’s cultural and historical heritage map.

By the 14th century there were over twenty monasteries at Meteora. Currently only six have survived and are all open to the public.

- The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is the largest monastery of the complex. The main church is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Lord and was erected in the mid 14th century. The Great Meteora Monastery houses the relics of St. Joseph and Jovan Uros Nemanjic who was buried here in 1371. In 1423 St. Joseph died in peace, he was the last male offspring of the Nemanjic lineage. You can read more details here

- The Holy Monastery of Varlam is the second largest. The main church of the monastery is dedicated to all the saints. It was constructed between 15411542 and was painted in 1548. The Three Bishops Chapel was built in 1627 and painted in 1637.

- The Holy Monastery of Rousanou is a woman’s monastery dedicated to the Transfiguration. It consists of a three-storey complex. It was founded in the middle of the 16th century and was painted in 1560.

- The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas. It is the first to meet on our way from Kastraki to Meteora. The main church is dedicated to St. Nicholas and was built at the beginning of 16th century. It was decorated by the Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas or Bathas, in 1527.

- The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen is a woman’s monastery and is one of the most accessible as we don’t have to cope with innumerable stairs to reach it. The monastery includes two cathedrals; the small single-nave church of St. Stephen was built in the middle of 16th century and was painted around 1545, and the 18th century main cathedral that is dedicated to St. Charalambos and includes his holy relics.

- The Monastery of Holy Trinity is the most difficult to reach with 140 steps, making it the most inaccessible of all monasteries in the Meteora complex. The church was built in 14751476 and the iconography most recently updated in 1741. This monastery is the third oldest at Meteora.

There are many ways to get to Meteora. You can rent a car and drive yourself to Meteora from any town around Greece. You only need a GPS or google maps enabled on your smart phone. There are a number of one day to multiple day excursions available from Athens and other major cities in Greece that include Meteora.

You can take the train from Athens and other big cities in Greece to the nearest town of Meteora called Kalampaka. For more information regarding the routes and timetable checkhere.

You can take the bus from many cities around Greece like Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos, Ioannina, Patras, Delphi to Trikala and then change the bus to Kalampaka. For more information regarding the routes and timetable check here

Once you arrive at the town of Kalampaka you can take a taxi to the monasteries, hike or book one of the everyday tours available to Meteora. If you are a fan of organized excursions, know that there are a number of one-day and several-day excursions from Athens and other major cities in Greece which include Meteora tours. Most popular resorts from the Thessaloniki and Olympic regions, across the Ionian coast as well as on all Three Fingers of Halkidiki offer organized tours of Meteora. We suggest that if you are traveling through an agency, inquire and pay with your travel guides for details and know that Meteora tours are offered by every tourist agency, both local and Greek.

However, if you decide to embark on a journey of adventure to the magical rocks on your own, we recommend that you plan your trip wisely. The monestary is 355km from Athens and 228km from Thessaloniki. If you want to make a visit as a part of an already existing holiday, these are some of the distances from popluar resorts: Nei Pori 137km, Kavala 378km, Nea Mudanja 301km, Parga 187km, Preveza 193km and Stavros 302km. A visit to Meteora may be of particular interest to you if you are flying on the Ionian Coast, since Meteora is only 60km from Metsovo, which you certainly pass by.

When planning a visit to Meteora, speciall attention should be paid to the working hours of the monastery. Based on personal experience, we recommend that you set aside at least one hour for each of the six monasteries, or select several priority monasteries in advance. For this reason and many others, such as high temperatures during the summer, a large number of stairs to individual monasteries which require some physical fitness, etc. We advise you to arrange a visit as early as possible during the day.

If you want to visit the whole complex in detail, we suggest taking a few days to explore Meteora in full. The accommodation is very easy to find at the foot of Meteora, in Kastraki, where many accommodations provide a direct view of the rocks and monasteries. This place is small and peaceful. It is only 1km from the monastery and doesn’t have any tourist facilities. Unlike Kastraki, at 3km from Meteora is Kalampaka, a very nice and comfortable place with a promenade which is especially pleasant for evening strays. Aside from walking, you can also stay here because like Kastraki, ther eare a large number of accommodations specifcally designed for Meteora visitors.

Here are some more important details to know before arriving at Meteora:

- You need to pay a fee to enter each monastery: the entry fee is 3€ and you have to pay with cash at the entrance of each site;
- Dress code is important when visiting the monasteries: women have to cover their shoulders and wear a long shirt/dress and men cannot wear shorts. At the entrance of every monastery service skirts and long scarves are available for free.

Source: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greece

VISITING HOURS - November 1st to March 31st
The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron 09:00 – 14:00 closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
Holy Monastery of Varlaam 09:00 to 15:00 closed on Thursdays and Fridays
Holy Monastery of Rousanou 09:00 to 14:00 closed on Wednesdays
Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas 09:00 to 14:00 closed on Fridays
Holy Monastery of St. Stephen 09:30 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:00 closed on Mondays
Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity 10:00 to 16:00 closed on Thursdays

VISITING HOURS - April 1st to October 31st
The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron 09:00 to 15:00 closed on Tuesdays
Holy Monastery of Varlaam 09:00 to 16:00 closed on Fridays
Holy Monastery of Rousanou 09:00 to 17:00 closed on Wednesdays
Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas 09:00 to 16:00, Sundays 9:30 to 16:00 closed on Fridays
Holy Monastery of St. Stephen 09:00 to 13:30 and 15:30 to 17:30 closed on Wednesdays
Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity 09:00 to 17:00 closed on Thursdays