Meteora was my favorite part of Greece. It was absolutely stunning. Not only that but it had such a sense of fearlessness.
There are several ways to get to Meteora and we chose to take the train from Athens to Kalambaka. It turned out to be a great option. We stopped by Larissa Railway Station the day before leaving to purchase our tickets. We paid about 35 Euros a piece round trip. The tickets we purchased required us to make no transfers.
The next morning we arrived back at Larissa 30 minutes early to catch our train. We are so glad we purchased our tickets the day before because the ticket line was really long and slow when we arrived. The train was right on time and we hopped on and found our seats.
The train ride was about 5 hours and very rickety, but also very scenic. There are restrooms and a snack bar on the train so it wasn’t too bad of a ride. Once we arrived in Kalambaka we took a 10 minute taxi ride over to Kastraki which cost us 6 euros. We chose to stay at Ziogas Rooms. Our room was only $45 US dollars and had an amazing deck over looking the cliffs. If you want any sort of night life I would suggest staying in Kalambaka. Kastraki is much smaller and while they do have the essentials and a few restaurants there’s not much. As soon as we checked in we changed and set off to see the first monastery. The walk was hot… and I mean really hot. We finally reached the steps to St. Nicholas but when we reached the top huffing and puffing they turned us away. The monastery closed at 4pm and we got to the top at 3:50pm. Bummed and exhausted we hiked back to Kastraki and got some dinner.
We decided it was too hot to walk to all the monasteries so we booked a tour with Visit Meteora. It was a half day tour to see two monasteries and a pre-historic cave. Normally we don’t do group tours but we welcomed the thought of an air-conditioned van driving us around with a knowledgeable guide.
The next morning we were picked up right on time for our tour and driven to Grand Meteora monastery which is the largest of the monasteries. From there we climbed 300 steps and it was worth it. The views were stunning. The monastery itself was beautiful. There was even a room with skulls inside. The monasteries are really unbelievable when you stop to think that stairs were only added a few decades ago and the monks originally had to rock climb to get to them.
From there we went to St. Barbara monetary or actually nunnery. This was the smallest monastery. The windows had the most amazing views. It really made you think how dedicated these people were and are to sustain such an unsustainable building.
The tour bus picked us back up and drove us to the best lookout where you can see 5 of the 6 monasteries. They were patient as we took photos and offered to take some for us.
Next we went to the prehistoric cave. It was mind blowing. There were children’s footprints from over 130,000 years ago. It was hard to even wrap my head around the history in that place.
We learned so much more haven taken the tour instead of going by ourselves. For instance there is a cave right above Kastraki with colorful scarves hanging. We learned that every year teenagers and young adults climb to that cave with no safety measures to place a scarf in the cave. By doing so they will have good luck in finding a husband or wife.
When the tour was finished we were dropped right back off at our hotel. We grabbed our bags and grabbed a taxi to Kalambaka since we were leaving on the train that night. We ate lunch and used the local visitor information center for free wifi and a place to relax until it was time to catch the train back to Athens.
Meteora made my top 5 favorite places I’ve traveled too. Don’t miss it on your trip to Greece.