A Super Efficient Guide to Visiting Meteora, Greece in 2024

The mountaintop monasteries at Meteora, Greece are a marvel of human creativity. Can you believe people saw these enormous sandstone pillars and thought, “I’m going to live up there!”? That’s exactly what happened centuries ago, and today you can visit the monasteries that are still inhabitied by 60 monks and nuns. Originally there were 24 monasteries, where today only six remain.

Read on for my guide to visiting Meteora, including when is the best time to visit, which monasteries are worth seeing, where to stay, places to eat, and many more tips to make your trip super efficient!

Before you go

Here are a few tips that will make your trip to Meteora in 2024 easier:

  • Entry to each monastery is 3€ – This means that in total, you will spend 18€ per person to visit all six monasteries.
  • Know the (dress) code – Women are required to wear a long skirt and cover their shoulders, whereas men are not allowed to wear shorts. In practice, I saw a few men in shorts but all women were enforced to wear a skirt (which, if you don’t have one, is provided at the entrance to every monastery free of charge).
  • It’s not really possible to “beat” the tour busses – Most monasteries open at 9am, and by 9:30am there are already busses at their doorsteps. The easiest way to avoid the crowds is to travel in the off season or to spend your time at monasteries which are more difficult to access (learn about this below).
  • This region of Greece is subject to a lot of rain! – In an instant, you can go from sunshine to pouring rain. Be prepared by checking the weather report, bringing an umbrella, and being prepared to keep your things (e.g. camera, bag) dry.
  • Stay in Kastraki instead of Kalambaka for easier parking and driving – Driving in Greece can be a little fun and a lot of chaos. If you want an easier time, try booking a hotel or guesthouse in Kastraki. It’s just as close and convenient as Kalambaka with a fraction of the population.
  • You can easily reach Meteora from Athens or Thessaloniki via guided tours . You can go for anything from a full-day trip to a four-day excursion. This particular train tour from Athens is a bestseller with over 150 positive reviews.
Sunrise in Meteora, as seen from our balcony at Hotel Meteora Kastraki .

Looking for a full-blown guide for Northern Greece? Check out my Northern Greece Travel Guide and Itinerary for things to do near Meteora. I’ve also written about how to spend three days in Athens if you’ll be arriving in Meteora from the south.

Interesting facts about Meteora

  • It was used as a filming location for the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only .
  • Meteora also inspired the backdrop for Game of Thrones when Tyrion is being held in the Eyrie.
  • The Linkin Park album Meteora got it’s name from…well, Meteora.
  • During World War II, the Germans occupied Meteora and burned down some of the precious artifacts. In Grand Meteora you can see images of people throwing a Nazi off a cliff from a monastery.

The more you know 🌈 Onto the itinerary!

Meteora Monasteries

Duration 2.5 days Dates visited June 18-20 Recommended accomodation Hotel Meteora Kastraki – Has an unbeatable view, good air conditioning, nice selection for breakfast, and a swimming pool you didn’t realize you needed. And affordable! Recommended dining We enjoyed Taverna To Paramithi in Kalambaka the most during our stay. They even had live, traditional music played by a pair of old Greek dudes with live instruments! Recommended guidebook This Greece travel guidebook was super helpful planning our entire trip through Northern Greece.

Opening hours

Every monastery is closed on a different day of the week, except Fridays where two monasteries are closed. This means that if you want to visit all of them, you need to visit over a two day period of time.

Suggested itinerary for visiting the monasteries

Legend   ♦♦♦ Must visit   ♦♦ Recommended   ♦ If time permits

Great Meteoron (mid-1300s) ♦♦♦

Great Meteoron is by far the largest and oldest monastery, the first to be founded. Like every monastery on this list, it has a katholicon (the part of the monastery where monks pray) with paintings of martyrs being tortured and of the final judgement. You should know that orthodox christians were widely persecuted during the Ottoman Empire, so many of the art references this fact. Some special features of Great Meteoron:

  • Three distinct museums, including a library containing a copy of the Suda , a 10th-centry Byzantine encyclopedia that references many ancient sources that have since been lost.
  • Gallery of art made by a contemporary artist who mimics the style of the period in which the monasteries are founded.
  • Only squat toilets 👎 Head to Varlaam for modern ones!

Holy Trinity (1475) ♦♦♦

  • This is the monastery that was featured in the 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only .
  • The stairs to reach this monastery number over 130! You will definitely feel the burn after climbing all these stairs 🔥
  • Has a great lookout point where you can climb and take some photos of monasteries in the distance.

Varlaam (1641) ♦♦♦

Varlaam is the second biggest monastery in Meteora, and considered one of the nicest. What I liked about this place is that you thought you were finished exploring it, and then you discover a new corner where something is still waiting for you! Here’s what you should know about Varlaam:

  • Has a great, compact museum about the history of Meteora. It’s a great way to frame your trip by starting there and learning a bit about the history of the area and how the first monks came to dwell in the cliffs.
  • First class toilets 👌 As I mentioned, we were surprised to find that Great Meteoron Monastery only had squat toilets and subsequently regretted not taking advantage of the fancy onces at Varlaam.

Roussanou (mid-1500s) ♦♦

Monastery of Rosanau is dedicated to St. Barbara, a women who dedicated her life to Christianity and was subsequently beheaded by her father. Today she’s the patron saint of coalminers, and this nunnery in her name has 13 nuns in residence. According to this blog post about the meteora monasteries , Roussanou is both the most beautiful and least visited of all the monasteries.

TIP : You can access this nunnery from both above and below. Above you get a great view over the valley, and it’s probably shorter to walk, however there is less parking available.

St. Stephen’s nunnery ♦♦

  • This nunnery is one of the busiest we went to! Perhaps owing to how easy it is to access, St. Stephen’s was packed with people and perhaps one of the least comfortable to visit.
  • Very impressive chanedlier and frescos. Lots of similar motifs appear between the different monasteries, including the final judgement and brutal torture of saints from the time of Christ to the Turkish occupation.

St. Nikolaos Anapfsas ♦

Of all the monasteries, I have to say that St. Nikolaos of Anapafsas is the most underwhelming. It’s quite small and for some reason, the stairs to get there were some of the most exhausting! That said, it’s not very crowded, as I’m guessing most tour busses tend to skip it.

Read my article about my travel photography camera kit , which I use to take all the photos you see on the blog!

Best lookout points in Meteora

Almost anywhere you look, there’s an awesome view to be had over the valley. That said, a few places stand out as the best spots to take photos – two main lookout points:

  • Psaropetra lookout
  • Lookout near Varlaam

Both of these lookpoints are marked in the map at the beginning of the article. We also found a great lookout point on our way to the lookout point, which isn’t a lookout point but you can pull over and block the road briefly while you take a photo 😉 That point isn’t on any map but is featured in the image above!

The photo below was taken at the Psaropetra lookout point.

When to go to Meteora, Greece

As I shared above, during the high season it’s practically impossible to beat the busses – they are out in force first thing in the morning. However, even with the tour busses, most monasteries didn’t feel cramped and I only really needed to wait in line for one.

For that reason, I do think that June was a good choice for when to visit Meteora. It’s hot but not sweltering, and the busses are there but they actually had a rather small impact on us.

There are also a lot of gorgeous photos of Meteora in Autumn , so I would certainly love to come back and see the valley in fall foliage.

Where to stay near Meteora

We booked Hotel Meteora Kastraki , which is located on its own road a bit outside of Kastraki. This made parking really straightforward, while driving into Meteora took something like ten minutes topcs. The room are rather basic, but the balcony is huge and you can book a room with a view of Meteora (which makes it really easy to get sunrise photos!). The price was also quite affordable at around 80€ per night when we booked.

Guided tours of Meteora, Greece

Even though we drove ourselves in Meteora, I could definitely see how it would be engaging to have a tour guide explain the history to you as you weave around these majestic rock formations. Sometimes you don’t realize how cool something is until you know the history. Adding a trip to Meteora is a feasible option is you’re planning to visit Athens or will be traveling in Northern Greece .

If you prefer to do a guided tour, perhaps because you won’t have a car in Greece or you just want that personal touch, here are three of the top-rated tours in Meteora.

From Athens: Full-Day Meteora Trip by Train – This is the top-rated and most-reviewed one-day trip from Athens. You get to take the train to and from Athens (included in the price), and then do a full-day tour of Meteora by mini-bus.

From Thessaloniki: Full-Day Bus Trip to Meteora – If you’re traveling within Europe, you can get veeeeery cheap flights to Thessaloniki, making it a great place to start trips around Northern Greece.

Majestic Sunset on Meteora Rocks Tour from Kalampaka – Sunset in Meteora is something you MUST not miss out on. This certified tour goes to 1-2 monasteries interiors and then stops at the best lookout point in Meteroa for sunset.

If you’re considering Meteora as an Athens day trips , I would encourage you to see if it’s possible to stay overnight at least one night. Or, at least, ensure that you’ll be in Meteora for sunset .

Have you ever been to Greece? Where would you like to visit most?

I’ve got an upcoming guide to some off-beat parts of Greece and a northern Greece itinerary, so stay tuned!

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About the author

Hi there! I'm Monica, an American expat living in Germany for over six years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.

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An Easy Guide to Visiting Meteora Monasteries in Greece (2024)

Wondering how to visit Meteora independently? Here is my easy guide to visiting Meteora monasteries in Greece . 

This practical Meteora travel blog includes information on the best time to go, how to get to and around Meteora, which monasteries are worth seeing, where to stay, places to eat, and other handy tips and interesting facts. 

“The beauty of Meteora is intense”. These were the words of my Greek friend who traveled with me to visit the mysterious monasteries perched atop narrow pillars of rock. The otherworldly 60 million years old rock formations with ages-old buildings perched on top looks like a surreal drawing or a CGI of a fantasy movie. 

Indeed, you have to see Meteora to believe it exists. Yet it is hard to comprehend how on earth the monks back in the medieval ages came up with an idea and actually managed to build sacred homes atop hundreds of meters tall vertical rocks. The nature and human work involved are no less than mind-blowing. 

Read this Meteora guide for everything you need to know to efficiently plan your time in one of the most spectacular places on Earth. 

An Easy Guide to Visiting Meteora Monasteries in Greece, sunset rock

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). This helps to keep my blog running and growing by creating more awesome free content for you.

Everything you need to know before visiting Meteora monasteries in Greece

Meteora quick links.

  • CAR HIRE : The most convenient way to get to and around Meteroa independently is by car. Browse the best rental car rates at Localrent or Discover Cars .
  • The Best Meteora day tour : check out this top-rated day tour to Meteora from Athens on GetYourGuide .
  • CHEAP FLIGHTS: Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest and fastest flights to Greece from your location.
  • WHERE TO STAY: Psammites (budget); Dream Nest Meteora (mid-range); Hotel Meteora Kastraki (high-end); Divani Meteora Hotel (high-end).

Tips and FAQ for visiting Meteora

These Meteora travel tips will give you an overall idea of what to expect during your visit:

  • There are 6 functional Greek Orthodox monasteries in Meteora that you can visit during their opening times (provided below in this post). 
  • The entrance fee to each of the monasteries is 3 EUR per person. Budget 18 EUR if you want to visit them all. Greek nationals enter for free. 
  • Each of the 6 monasteries in Meteora is closed on one day during the weekday in the summer season, and some of them a few days a week during the winter season. All of them are open during the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) all year round. 
  • Mind the dress code when visiting Meteora monasteries: you must cover your shoulders and knees to enter monasteries. Ladies must wear a long skirt covering the knees (pants are not allowed for ladies and they are strict about it). All of the monasteries (except Varlaam) provide skirts free of charge at the entrances. 
  • Meteora’s popularity grew exponentially during the past few years. Thus, expect lots of independent visitors and even more tour buses all year round from sunrise to sunset. Visit during winter months for the least amount of people. 
  • Parking is available at each of the monasteries . When it gets full, people park alongside the main road, which is normal.
  • Snacks, water, and soft drinks are available to buy at the entrances to the largest monasteries- Great Meteoron, Varlaam, and Saint Stephen. Yet, bring your own bottle of water if you are planning on visiting smaller monasteries or venturing off the beaten path.
  • It is possible to visit all monasteries in one day on a weekend. However, it may feel exhausting and rushed. 
  • If you can, spend at least one night in Meteora to experience the sunset and the sunrise – the most magical times for photography.
  • It is possible to get around Meteora and visit monasteries by walking if you are game (and fit enough to handle at least 16km uphill and downhill). 
  • 5 out of 6 monasteries are accessible via a number of steep stone stairs (minimum 140 to over 200, depending on the monastery). This should be taken into consideration if a visitor has mobility restrictions. Only St. Stephen nunnery has a flat path with no staircase making it easily accessible to everyone. 
  • Frescoes inside the monasteries are beyond impressive. However, photography is not allowed inside churches (they will spot you through cameras if you try to snap a shot). Yet, there are a few places in a couple of monasteries, where you can take a picture of the beautifully ornated room.

best meteora monastery to visit

  • Located in Thessaly, the central region of mainland Greece, Meteora is reachable both from Athens and Thessaloniki by car, bus, train, or tour.
  • Choose Kastraki over Kalambaka for a more peaceful stay. I found staying in Kastraki a better choice as this town is smaller and quieter than the popular and busy Kalambaka. Also, parking and driving around Kastraki were always easy. Meanwhile, access to monasteries by car is equally convenient.
  • Guided tours from Athens and Thessaloniki are a great option if you are not willing or cannot travel independently. There are one-day , two-day , and even 3-day tours available from both cities. 

Guide to Meteora monasteries in Greece, aerial view of Russonou nunnery in autumn

Just to give you a heads up, Meteora is one of the absolute best places to visit in Greece . After seeing Meteora every other location looks well, just ordinary. That being said, it might be worth leaving the best for the last on your Greece itinerary. 

Also Read: 10 Epic Photo Locations in Meteora .

A brief overview of Meteora and its “suspended in the air” monasteries

Translating as “suspended in air”, the uniqueness of Meteora is simply unmatched. It is hard to find a place on Earth that packs it all- unparalleled natural beauty intertwined with cultural and historical significance. No surprise that Meteora is a UNESCO-protected site since 1988.

The distinct rocks which you can see in Meteora today are a result of the tectonic shift process which took place over 60 million years ago. The clustered smooth soaring peaks of Meteora reach up to 550 meters and are all different in shape making the typography one of a kind. 

guidr to meteora monasteries, varaaam and great meteora drone shots

The cultural and religious aspect comes into play from the 9th century AD when the first monks moved to the area and sought solitude in the caves of Meteora rocks. Historical sources confirm that the first sacred houses atop the steep pillars of rock started to be built by monks in the 11th century.

The technology used back in the Middle Ages required years of scrupulous and hard work to finish each monastery. By the 16th century, there were two dozen Greek Orthodox monasteries. Today only 6 of them remain and are fully functional (2 nunneries and 4 male monasteries). 

Today bridges, staircases, and even funiculars (used by monks for transporting goods) allow easier access to each of the monasteries. Meanwhile back in the day ropes and baskets were the only means available to enter the sacred homes. 

Guide to visiting Meteora monasteries in Greece, the rope basket you can see in this image was used in old days to transport good and even people, Holy Trinity monastery

Did you know that:

  • In Orthodox Christian belief the body remains the temple of the Holy Spirit. Thus, relics of saints are venerated. In every Greek Orthodox church, you will see earthy remains (bone of feet or hand, or part of a scull) embedded in altar tables. 
  • Orthodox Christians were widely persecuted during the Ottoman Empire. This cruel historical fact is reflected in detailed paintings of the frescoes inside the churches. 

Fun facts about Meteora:

  • James Bond’s movie “For Your Eyes Only” was filmed in Meteora and The Holy Trinity appeared in some of the scenes making it the most photographed monastery.
  • Linking Park’s album “Meteora” was named after Meteora in Greece way before it was discovered by many travelers. 
  • Game of Thrones fans may recognize the scenery of the fictional city of Eyrie backdrop of which was inspired again by the same Meteora in Greece. 

Holly Trinity monastery with Kalambaka town in the background aerial view, Meteora, Greece

How to get to Meteora

Positioned in central Greece, Meteora is not the easiest or quickest place to reach. The most convenient way to travel to Meteora is by car. Yet public transport (buses and trains), as well as tours, are also available:

  • Trains offer the fastest connections from Athens and Thessaloniki.
  • Tours offer a hassle-free journey but also limited flexibility.
  • Buses are the most inconvenient way to travel to Meteora.

The closest airports to Meteora are Athens International Airport and Thessaloniki International Airport. 

Visiting Meteora by car

Once in Greece, the most convenient way to visit Meteora is by (rental) car . It gives you full control over your own schedule and also eases moving around the Meteora area. 

It takes 4 hours 20 minutes to drive to Meteora from Athens and 2.5-3 hours to drive from Thessaloniki to Meteora. 

Also read: Renting a car in Greece: 30+ Key Things to Know before Driving in Greece .

Good to know: there are many tolls on the way from Athens to Meteora and you can pay by card or cash at the toll gate. One way we paid around 20 EUR for the tolls between Athens and Meteora. If you are traveling from Thessaloniki to Meteora, expect to pay some tolls as well.

Are you looking for great deals to hire a car in Greece? I use the websites below to shop for the best car hire rates:

  • Browse Greece rental car offers between local providers at  Localrent .
  • Compare the best car rental rates in Greece with international car hire companies at  Discovercars .
  • I also recommend cross-checking the offers with the biggest car search engine  Rentalcars .

Visiting Meteora by train

The following train connections are available from Athens and Thessaloniki to Kalambaka (one of the two base towns for visiting Meteora).

Train from Athens to Kalambaka (or Kalampaka)

  • Once a day direct intercity train from Athens (Larissa station) to Kalambaka, departing at 7:57 AM and arriving at 12:03, trip duration 4:06 hours.
  • Four times a day intercity and regional trains are available with change in Palaeofarsalos

Train from Kalambaka to Athens

  • Once a day direct intercity train is available from Kalambaka train station, departing at 18:22 and arriving in Athens at 22:26.
  • Three times a day intercity and regional trains are available with change in Palaeofarsalos

Athens-Kalambaka one-way ticket price is around 36 EUR, return of 57 EUR.

Train from Thessaloniki to Kalambaka

  • There are 6 times a day intercity and slow regional trains with interchange in Palaeofarsalos town departing from Thessaloniki (Neos Sidirodromikos Stathmos) to Kalambaka. The journey takes between 3 to 6 hours depending on the time of the day.

Train from Kalambaka to Thessaloniki

  • There are 5 times a day intercity and slow regional trains with an interchange in Palaeofarsalos town departing from Kalambaka to Thessaloniki. The journey takes between 3 to 5 hours depending on the time of the day.

Thessaloniki-Kalambaka one-way ticket price is around 27 EUR, return is 34 EUR.

For up-to-date train schedules, ticket prices, and booking tickets to Meteora (Kalambaka) online, visit the national railway website .

Visiting Meteora by Bus (from Athens and Thessaloniki) 

The least convenient, and the most time-consuming option is taking a bus. 

  • From Athens “Liossion” bus station you can catch a bus to Trikala town and then another bus to Kalambaka. This trip due to less convenient schedules can take up to 8 hours. 
  • From Thessaloniki “Macedonia” bus station catch a bus to Trikala and then another bus to Kalambaka. Allow enough time to change buses.

Visiting Meteora by tour

If you do not have your own means of transport and prefer having a knowledgeable guide, and all the logistics sorted, joining a Meteora tour either from Athens, Thessaloniki or Kalambaka is a good idea. Even with limited time, it is feasible to join a day tour and experience the magic of this truly incredible place.

If I was to choose a tour to Meteora, these would be my top picks (based on the ratings and reviews of other travelers):

  • From Athens: Full Day Rail Tour to Meteora – this is an award-winning top-rated day trip from Athens by train. Return train tickets are included in the price. You will be going around Meteora in a minibus with a small group. Check all Meteora from Athens tours here.
  • From Thessaloniki: Full-Day Bus trip to Meteora – if you are based in Thessaloniki, you can join one of the best-rated Meteora day tours with fantastic knowledgeable guides.
  • Kalambaka: Majestic Sunset Meteora Tour – if you are already in Kalambaka or Kastraki, you can join a guided sunset tour which includes visiting a couple of monasteries and will bring you to the best lookout points for sunset- the best time to witness Meteora’s beauty.
  • From Athens: Delphi and Meteora 2-Day Guided Tour – this tour includes a hotel stay in Kalambaka, and is a great option as you will also visit the other important historical site of Delphi.
  • From Athens: 3-Days in Meteora & Delphi with Tours and Hotels – ideal option to experience Meteora at a slower pace, and also visit Delphi on the way back to Athens, accommodation included in the price.

Looking at tourists stepping out their tour bus in Meteora

How to get around Meteora

There are multiple ways to get around Meteora: car, scooter, taxi, electric bicycle, tour, and walking (or even hiking). 

When I was planning my trip to Meteora I couldn’t get a grasp of how big or small the area actually is. The logistics of getting between the monasteries was a mystery as the place itself.

It all became very clear, however,  when I got there and drove one loop from Kastraki over the main road ( Epar. Od. Meteoron-Kallitheas ) leading to monasteries and then back down to Kalambaka. Although Meteora is quite expensive, it is small enough to get around either by car, taxi, or even cycling and walking. 

Map of Meteora

Map of Meteora monasteries

Click here to open and save my Meteora map which shows the exact locations of each monastery and other points of interest mentioned in this Meteora guide.

  • Getting around Meteora by car. The easiest way is to drive around Meteora on your own or in a rental car. There is only one main road with a couple of side roads winding above Meteora rocks and monasteries. Getting lost is impossible. The distances between monasteries are short thus you can drive between them in minutes. Parking is available at each of the monasteries as well as at several lookout points.
  • Getting around Meteora by scooter. You can rent a scooter in Kalambaka and drive around monasteries easily(taken you are comfortable riding windy and hilly roads). Expect to pay around 18-30 EUR per day for a scooter. 
  • Getting around Meteora by taxi. If you do not have your own transport, the other quick way to get to the monasteries and between them is to hire a taxi. One trip costs 5-7 EUR depending on where you are going. If you don’t mind and enjoy walking, you can limit your taxi rides to one or two. Ask the driver to get you to the Great Meteora monastery at the far end on the west side and then visit the remaining on foot. Call the taxi to bring you back to town (Kalambaka or Kastraki, depending on where you stay). Alternatively, return by walking downhill. 
  • Getting around Meteora by e-bike. Another great transport option available for rent in Kalambaka is an e-bike. Rents are available for a duration of a few hours, half-day, to a full day (around 25 euros for a full day). 
  • Getting around Meteora by walking or hiking – the distances between monasteries are relatively small, thus many people choose to walk along the main road or hike the foresty paths between monasteries. Nonetheless, it is around 16 kilometers distance if you do a circular route starting your walk/hike from Kalambaka or Kastraki. Thus, account for a full day if you aim to visit monasteries on walking. 

a man walking along the main road in meteroa with holy trinity monastery in the background

  • Cycling around Meteora . It is also possible to cycle around Meteora but you must be quite fit to tackle all the uphills. Walking is much easier than peddling steep inclines. In fact, apart of one group of mountain bike cyclists venturing the verdant hills above Meteora, we didn’t see many people cycling around. 
  • Getting around Meteora with a tour . For those of you who have limited time, require guidance, and/or aren’t keen on walking, there are plenty of tours available to book in Kalambaka (Meteora). For example, this Meteora sunset tour from Kalambaka is top-rated by travelers.

The best time to visit Meteora

  • For best weather: the best time to visit Meteora is autumn (mid-September to November) and spring (mid-March to May) when the day temperatures are the most pleasant (15-25 °C/83-59 °F).

However, do not expect to be the only visitor. I traveled to Meteora on the last week of October hoping it to be empty, and it was far from that, especially on the weekend. Tour buses were unavoidable, arriving at the most popular viewing points for sunset and sunrise on the dot and then heading directly to the monasteries (which open quite late at 9 am).

  • For the least crowds : the best time to go to Meteora is in winter (December-February). Yet, you can expect snow (it does freeze at night) and quite cold during the day (6-12 °C/42-53 °F)
  • Avoid: summer is possibly the worst time to visit Meteora due to the heat and thousands of tourists. In June-August temperatures during the clear day are an average of 27-33 °C/80-91 °F. It can be way more on clear midday under the sun.

best meteora monastery to visit

How many days in Meteora? 

I would recommend spending a minimum of 1 night in Meteora allowing yourself to experience sunrise and sunset over the Meteora valley. Those are magical times of the day not to be missed.

However, if you are planning on doing some serious photography and want to capture each monastery at its best light, or in general, spend more time properly exploring the area at a slower pace, plan at least 2-3 nights in Meteora .

You could easily spend more as the place is so beautiful and can keep you busy not only with visiting monasteries, but also hiking Meteora, and exploring the surrounding areas if you drive.

Visiting Meteora in one day is also possible but it is tiring and rushed. Even if you are arriving on a tour, try to include at least spending one night in Meteora.

Guide to visiting Meteora- breathtaking scenery near Varlaam monastery at sunset

Make sure to also read my post about 10 Epic Photo Locations in Meteora .

Meteora monasteries opening times

Meteora monasteries have longer opening times in summer (April 1 st to October 31 st ) and shorter in winter (November 1 st to March 31 st ). Refer to the monasteries’ opening times and hours both for summer and winter below.

Meteora monasteries opening days and hours in summer (April 1 st to October 31 st ):

  • Great Meteoron Monastery: 9 AM – 3 PM, closed on Tuesdays;
  • Varlaam Monastery: 9 AM – 4 PM, closed on Fridays;
  • Roussanou Monastery: 10 AM- 4 PM, closed on Wednesdays;
  • Holy Trinity Monastery: 10 AM -4 PM, closed on Thursdays;
  • St. Stephens Nunnery: 9 AM-1:30 PM and 3:30 PM-5:30 PM, closed on Mondays;
  • Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery: 9 AM – 5 PM, open every day.

Meteora monasteries opening days and hours in winter (November 1 st to March 31 st ):

  • Great Meteoron Monastery: 9:30 AM – 2 PM, closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays;
  • Varlaam Monastery: 9 AM – 3 PM, closed on Thursdays and Fridays;
  • Roussanou Monastery: 10 AM- 2 PM, closed on Wednesdays
  • Holy Trinity Monastery: 10 AM -4 PM, closed on Thursdays
  • St. Stephens Nunnery: 9:30 AM-1 PM and 3 PM-5 PM, closed on Mondays
  • Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery: 9 AM – 4 PM, and 9:30 AM – 4 PM on Sundays, open every day.

Which Meteora monasteries to visit?

Which of Meteora monasteries you shouldn’t miss and which ones should you skip? 

Great Meteoron and Varlaam are the largest monasteries, while St. Stephano nunnery is the easiest to access as it doesn’t have steep staircases. All three monasteries are very popular and most of the tour buses head to those.

After reading different opinions and then visiting the monasteries myself, below I share a short overview of each of the monasteries to help you get an idea and make your pick if you can’t visit them all.

Legend:  *** my favorite, **  good to visit, * if you have time.

Note that it is based on my personal opinion and you may agree or disagree with me at the end of your trip. Nonetheless, I hope it will still be helpful should you need to choose which monastery to go to and which one just to admire from afar. 

St. Nikolas of Anapafsas (14th century) Monastery Meteora ***

Rising up from a lonely pillar, at a lower elevation than others, St Nicholas Monastery is the smallest of all six. It is the first monastery you will come across when driving (or walking) a circular route from Kastraki. Or it will be the last when coming down the road from Kalampaka side towards Kastraki. 

Good to know:  

  • St. Nikolas is the least visited monastery. Tour buses tend to skip it, which means it is quieter and less busy than other monasteries.
  • There is a beautiful chapel with some of the best in Meteora 16th-century frescoes depicting Biblical scenes. 
  • There are several viewpoints, with an amazing rooftop terrace.
  • St. Nikolas has the steepest and longest climb out of all Meteora monasteries. Another reason why people tend to skip it.

guide to meteora monasteries, saint nikolas anpafsas monastery drone

St. Nikolas of Anapafsas was the monastery I was going to skip and ended up visiting twice! Yep, I did love it that much. While other people seem to neglect it for not being impressive enough, which I completely disagree with, I felt like Agios Nikolas monastery was the least commercialized and the most secluded. Even my Greek friend felt the same way.

Indeed, the climb to reach the monastery is quite steep with possibly the largest number of steps to tackle. For this reason, many tourists don’t bother climbing, and tour buses carrying big groups skip it. 

To me, the miniature, yet 3-floor monastery felt very homey. The katholikon (the church of the monastery where monks pray) has a special energy, while the rooftop terrace is open to fascinating close-up views of the rocks of Meteora, Kastraki town below, Russsonou, and Varlaam monasteries at a distance.

guide to meteora monasteries, vies from saint nikolaos anpafsas monastery

Roussanou (1529) monastery in Meteora Greece***

Situated within a green forest, beautiful inside out, Roussanou is a nunnery dedicated to Saint Barbara. According to the ancient story, for accepting and promoting Christianity, Agia Varvara (st. Barbara) was beheaded by her pagan father.

Pretty little Roussanou monastery sunset

Today, 13 nuns inhabit Rousannou which is the second smallest monastery among surviving six. Although to reach Russanou you will have to tackle a few steep steps, it is one of the easiest to access. Nonetheless, many tour buses still skip it because due to its smaller size it cannot accommodate large groups of tourists. This makes Russanou a little less visited and it was my second favorite monastery out of six.

And did I mention that Roussannou is one of the most photographed monasteries as it is extremely photogenic and has a variety of wonderful angles to capture it from?

Make sure to also read my guide to The 10 best locations to photograph Meteora and its hanging monasteries .

Roussanou monastery at sunset greece

Holly Trinity (Agia Triada, 1362) Monastery in Meteora***

Boasting captivating views over Kalambaka and surrounding Meteora rocks and valleys, Holly Trinity is a gorgeous byzantine monastery accessible through a sheer stairway cut into the cliff.

Stone path to Holy Trinity monastery in Meteora, Greece

A windy stone path leads to the foot of the imposing lonely rock which made a base for the 14th century Agia Triada. Being featured in a popular James Bond film, today Holy Trinity is the other most photographed monastery in Meteora, especially by aerial photographers. 

Do not shy away from 145 steep steps and make sure to visit Holy Trinity. To me, Holy Trinity is unmissable, especially for the views over the Meteora valley. 

Holy Trinity monastery, the Hames Bond was filmed here

Great Meteoron monastery (14 th century)***

Established in the mid-14th century, the largest and one of the oldest, Great Meteoron Monastery holds a commanding position on the highest cliff. Due to its many red-roofed buildings, the monastery can be mistaken for a small fortified town rather than a holy place.

Visiting the Great Meteoron monastery and its museums will provide you with good insight into the story of the area and the life of the monastic community. Meanwhile one of the most interesting and rather spooky parts inside Great Meteoron is the sacristy where you can see hundreds of skulls of the monks who have lived there over the years. 

Tip: Great Meteoron monastery is one of the most popular hence it gets very busy during the day. Parking can be packed as well. Thus, it is a good idea to plan to visit the Great Meteoron monastery as soon as it opens. 

Great Meteoron monastery panoramic view

Varlaam Monastery in Meteora (1350) **

Located on a slightly lower elevation, just a few steps away from the Great Meteoron, Varlaam is the second-largest monastery in Meteora.

Varlaam has several great lookout points, including a beautiful courtyard overlooking Meteora valley with Roussanou in the distance. There is also a small museum that briefly introduces the history of the area and some interesting facts about monastic life in the old days.

Courtyard in Varlaam monastery greece

Thus, if you cannot visit Great Meteoron, Varlaam is a good alternative to visit. 

To me, Varlaam, although undeniably beautiful, felt too commercialized (the same applies to Great Meteoron and even Saint Stephan).  The souvenir stalls at the entrance are a bit of a vibe killer. Let alone there are masses of people visiting.

guide to meteora Varlaam monastery from the sky

Thus, in my humble option, it is enough to see one of the two biggest monasteries and spend some more time exploring the above-mentioned smaller ones. 

Good to know: Varlaam monastery does not provide free skirts for ladies. Thus, make sure to bring your own, or purchase one for 3 euros at the entrance (this is separate from the 3 euros entrance fee). 

Saint Stephen Nunnery (14-19 th century)*

At the southern edge of the Meteora cluster, and just a minute’s drive from Holly Trinity monastery, Saint Stephen’s nunnery was first inhabited by ascetic Jeremiah, in the early twelve century. Evolving through centuries, the whole complex was completed in the 19th century.

Due to the easy access over the small bridge, St. Stephen’s monastery is one of the most frequented and can get uncomfortably busy. For this reason, it was my least favorite, yet is worth visiting for its impressive frescoes.

Saint Stephen nunnery, Meteora, Greece

The best lookout points in Meteora for sunset and sunrise

There are plenty of wonderful viewpoints of the monasteries available when following the main road. That being said, a couple of the spots for Meteora photography for sunrise and sunset watching are:

  • Psaropetra lookout/ Sunset Rock (perfect for sunset)
  • Main Observation Deck of Meteora (great for sunrise and sunset)

These two spots are amazing but also very popular. If you want to find out more of the best Meteora photo locations (including fewer known ones), make sure to read my post about the 10 best spots for Meteora photography.

Sunset rock lookout point in Metora

Recommended places to eat in Meteora

  • Meteora Restaurant in Kalambaka – yep, the name is simple and clear- this is a family-run taverna since 1925. The traditional slow-cooked Greek food was delicious (we ate there twice), service is excellent, and you get to choose between sitting in a garden with the views of the rocks during the day or dining inside the dining room excessively decorated with souvenirs and almost a centuries’ old remembrances.
  • Taverna Gardenia in Kastraki – this is a popular and beloved dining spot in Kastraki serving traditional Greek foods.

Recommended coffee shop in Meteora

For the best coffee head to 14oz in Kalambaka. Set on the main road at the entrance to Kalambaka, 14oz had the best coffee I managed to find during my Greece road trip. I love my good coffee and I am very picky with it. I have to admit I struggled with finding great coffee during my fairly short visit, but this coffee shop in Kalambaka did not disappoint. If you love it a little bit chocolaty, try their hot Mochaccino. Don’t miss the homemade granola bar dipped in dark chocolate, yum.

What are the top foods to try in Kalambaka and Meteora?

Moussaka for meat lovers, saganaki for cheese lovers, and stuffed eggplants or stuffed peppers and tomatoes for vegetarians. Also, big white beans are one of the best vegetarian traditional dishes found all over Greece, also available in Meteora’s restaurants.

14oz cafe in Kalambaka

Where to stay in Meteora

There are two towns you can stay in Meteora:

  • Kalambaka -a bigger, more popular town with plenty of restaurants, bars, pastries, and souvenir shops. It would be a more convenient place to stay for those of you who arrive by train or bus as the stations are located in Kalambaka. 
  • Kastraki – a smaller, quieter, cozier, town which is easy to park at and also has a few fantastic places to eat, a great choice for those who drive. 

curch in Kalambaka, one of the two base towns in Meteora

Nonetheless, both towns offer some great accommodation options and are equally convenient for reaching the Meteora complex in a matter of minutes (when driving). Also, Kastraki and Kalambaka are steps away from each other. Thus, if you drive, you can get between the towns quickly. 

Check my top picks of Meteora accommodation below.

Suggested accommodation in Kastraki

best meteora monastery to visit

Dream Nest Meteora $$. We stayed in this cozy immaculately clean and tastefully furnished one-bedroom apartment. This family accommodation has two apartments located in beautiful surroundings at the foothills of Meteora. The host was kind enough to refund one night’s stay on my non-refundable booking when my flight got delayed for a day.

best meteora monastery to visit

Hotel Doupiani House $$. Well-furnished rooms with balconies opening to fantastic views over Meteora, as well as a common terrace area to have excellent breakfast and a drink at an on-set bar in the evening. Saint Nikolas Anapafsas Monastery is located steps away.

best meteora monastery to visit

Hotel Meteora at Kastraki $$$. Set at a higher point of Kastraki this hotel has killer views over Meteora and a large pool to cool off during a hot day. The rooms are clean and simple, but the views are what makes the biggest appeal. Fabulous breakfast is also included.

Suggested accommodation in Kalambaka

best meteora monastery to visit

Psammites $. This affordable and brand-new minimalistic studio apartment offers a comfortable stay in the quiet surroundings of Kalambaka. It also has a patio, a terrace with a seating area, and a garden.

best meteora monastery to visit

Monastiri Guesthouse $$. Located 200 meters away from Kalambaka town center and close to the train station, this guesthouse has a variety of expressively decorated rooms with frescoes and wooden floors, a big garden with a pool open to Meteora views. Great breakfast is also included, and room service is available upon request.

best meteora monastery to visit

Divani Meteora Hotel $$$. This hotel offers a sophisticated 4-star stay experience: spacious rooms decorated by award-winning interior designer feature oak-wood furnishings and wooden floorings, and some rooms have large verandas. The recreational area includes an indoor and huge outdoor pool, sauna, and spa. Breakfast included in the room’s price is very good.

I hope you found this Meteora travel blog useful and that it has helped you to easily plan your visit to Meteora monasteries. If you are planning your trip to Greece, make sure to check out my Greece travel resources as well as browse other posts about Greece on my travel blog (scroll down).

Greece travel essentials & useful links

Here are links to essential travel resources and services I always use when organizing my trips.

  • CAR RENT: The most convenient way to get to and around Meteroa independently is by car. Browse the best rental car rates at Localrent or Discover Cars .
  • ACCOMMODATION: book your perfect stay using Book i ng.com .
  • VISA: apply for a Schengen visa easily at iVisa . Use OneWayFly to reserve dummy flight tickets/hotels if required for your visa application.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: get 5% off your insurance by using my link on Heymondo , a travel insurance provider.
  • GUIDED TOURS: Find the best day tours in Greece on GetYourGuide .
  • eSIM CARD: Stay connected before you land. Airlo offers eSIM card with data up to 10 GB (30 days) data package for Greece and Europe.
  • FLIGHT GOT CANCELLED OR DELAYED? You may receive compensation of up to 600 EUR. Consult and get support from AirHelp or Skycop .
  • AIRPORT TRANSFER: Book a private hotel transfer from Athens Airport .

More articles on my Greece travel blog

  • Browse all of my Greece travel blog posts HERE .
  • 10 Epic Photo Spots in Meteora , Greece.
  • Planning on renting a car in Greece? Here are 30+ Key Things to Know Before Driving in Greece .
  • Would you like to visit Greece off the beaten path? Check my  Guide to Kastoria: the most beautiful lakeside town in Greece.
  • Have your travel to or from Europe been delayed or canceled? Read my guide on How to get compensation for your disrupted journey (my one-week Greece trip was delayed by 22 hours due to flight cancelation).

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Hi! I am a freelance photographer & videographer as well the creator of www.theroadreel.com. Born in Lithuania, and currently residing in the UAE, I have been traveling around the globe independently for over a decade. I created The Road Reel to share my passion for travel and photography through detailed road trips and city itineraries, and hiking guides, along with regular and drone photogragraphy tips.

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Full Guide to Visiting the Meteora Monasteries in Greece 2023

Meteora Monasteries in Greece blog post header

Welcome to this everything-you-need-to-know-guide about visiting the beautiful Meteora Monasteries in Greece.

In our opinion, Meteora is one of the most unique places you can visit in all of Europe, and it surely deserves a spot on any keen traveler’s bucket list.

That being said, we knew absolutely nothing about Meteora until our visit… In fact, we only learned of this incredible UNESCO place a couple of days before our arrival. This means we had no idea about all the important things you need to know before visiting the Meteora monasteries. And let’s be honest… You have to take a couple of things into consideration when visiting a place like Meteora.

So in this guide, we’re going to share EVERYTHING that you should know before visiting the Meteora Monasteries in Greece – such as how to get there, how much does it cost, opening hours, what to wear, hiking trails, sunset spots, information about the monasteries and much more.

We were completely blown away by the beauty of Meteora, and we hope you will be too.

AFFILIATE LINKS DISCLOSURE: Dear Reader, this blog post contains affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here .

How to visit the Meteora Monasteries in Greece

This part of the blog post is going to guide you through all the important things to know before you arrive in Meteora.

About the Meteora Monasteries

First things first, let’s dive into a bit of the history behind the Meteora Monasteries in Greece.

The reason why the Meteora Monasteries gained so much popularity compared to many other religious sites in Greece is without a doubt because of the location. All the monasteries, which you can visit today, are located on top of steep rock pillars.

In fact, the whole area is full of amazing rock formations, which creates some extraordinary landscapes.

The story behind the Meteora Monasteries begins in the 11th century. A lot of monks had flocked to Meteora, and they were now beginning to find ways to ascend these massive rock pillars. Many succeeded and started founding monasteries on the top of the cliffs.

The location of the monasteries was ideal for the monks because it meant that they could live their life in solitude without the influence of political issues around the country. Back then, the only way to get into the monasteries was to climb up a ladder, which the monks could draw up whenever they felt threatened.

Two dozen monasteries were eventually built, but only 6 remains today – all of which are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage sites .

Luckily for us, the monasteries are now open to the public, and we have the opportunity to visit all 6 of them. However, several monks and nuns are still living inside of the monasteries, which means you have to respect the religious conduct during your visit.

Meteora Monasteries landscape picture in Greece

How to get to Kalambaka

Kalambaka City is the gateway to Meteora. So unless you’re joining a day tour from Athens or Thessaloniki, you will have to take the train or bus to Kalambaka Station.

If you’re short on time, then a day tour will probably be your ideal way to visit the Meteora Monasteries.

  • Full day tour from Athens
  • Full day tour from Thessaloniki

However, if you have the time for it, then I would really suggest you to stay a couple of nights in Kalambaka and take your time exploring the area. You can either catch the train or a bus to Kalambaka from Athens or Thessaloniki. We mostly traveled with train around Greece.

  • Related blog posts: Things to do in Thessaloniki & Athens itinerary

Travel by train in Greece

How to get to Meteora Monasteries

There are several ways to explore the Meteora Monasteries in Greece. It’s all up to you how you want to see the area. Here are some suggestions (and my own experience) on how to visit the Monasteries of Meteora.

1. Join a tour

If you’re short on time or if you prefer to have a guide to teach you about the monasteries and the area, then you can easily join a tour in Meteora.

There are several different types of tours that you can join in Meteora, here are the best ones I can find:

  • Electric bicycle tour : A fun and affordable way to experience the Meteora Monasteries while getting a workout. Prices begin at €45
  • Panorama tour by bus : An affordable way to visit 3 out of Meteora’s 6 monasteries. The prices start at €35
  • Sunset tour : I saw one of the best sunsets of my life at Meteora Monasteries. Take a sunset tour to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prices begin at €35.
  • Full day tour of Meteora from Athens : Coming all the way from Athens? Check out this popular full day tour from Athens to Meteora. Prices begin at €123
  • Full day tour of Meteora from Thessaloniki : Coming all the way from Thessaloniki? Check out this popular full day tour from Thessaloniki to Meteora. Prices begin at €60

2. Hike to the monasteries

We met a lot of people who hiked all the way up to the monasteries by themselves. It’s a very beautiful area to walk in (more about that at the end of this blog post), so if you’re a keen hiker, then I’d suggest you go by foot.

Just know that you have to gain a lot of elevation to get to the top of the monasteries, so keep that in mind if you’re not used to hiking. You can also book a guided Meteora hiking tour if you don’t want to navigate the trails by yourself.

3. Rent a car or a scooter

We went around the Monasteries of Meteora by scooter. The absolute most fun way to experience a place! (in our opinion).

We paid €20 a day for scooter rental in Kalambaka. The price was a bit steep for Greece, but the rental place was trustworthy. So if you’re looking into renting a scooter that can take you around the monasteries, then check out Hobbyshop Meteora (located just opposite the Holy Rock Hostel )

You can also rent a car in Kalambaka, but we unfortunately don’t have any recommendations for you since we went on a scooter.

The circuit of Meteora

All the monasteries are located in a circuit behind Kalambaka city. This means you can begin your visit from Kalambaka, then visit the monasteries one by one, and end your day back at Kalambaka. However, we’d recommend you not to try and see them all in one single day since that would put you in a rush.

Ask your accommodation, rental company or tour operator to give you a map over the area. That way you can follow the route and decide which monasteries you want to see.

The road in Meteora is well paved, so whether you’re hiking, biking, or taking a scooter or a car, you’ll be fine.

The road that leads through Meteora Monasteries in Greece

Dress code in Meteora

It’s important that you follow a specific dress code when you’re visiting the Meteora Monasteries.

Like most religious sites, you have to cover your knees and shoulders. However, there are a few extra rules to follow in Meteora.

What should men wear in Meteora Monasteries? At least a t-shirt and long pants. In some monasteries, you can enter while only wearing shorts. But if you want to make sure to get in, then you should wear long pants.

What should women wear in Meteora Monasteries? The official dress code for women is actually a skirt that goes below your knees. You can also wear a t-shirt and long pants, however, you will be asked to cover up your butt… So wear a long skirt/dress or have a scarf ready to tie around your pants.

Sign about the dress code in Meteora

The 6 Monasteries of Meteora – A Complete Visitor Guide

In this part of the blog post, we’re going to talk about all the monasteries in Meteora. So here are some historical facts, information about opening hours and price, and pictures of the 6 monasteries in Meteora.

1. Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Anapafsas (also known as Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas) is the first monastery, which you have the opportunity to visit on your trip to Meteora. It’s located in the beginning of the Meteora loop, right after you leave Kastraki Town.

Like all the other monasteries, it’s beautifully situated on top of a cliff. So it’s hard not to spot it when you’re working your way up the mountain of Meteora.

Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas was founded in the late 14th century, and it’s still unknown exactly how many monks used to live here. Today, Agios Nikolas Anapafsas is only home to one monk.

It’s also unknown what the name “Anapafsas” refers to. But the theories suggest that the monastery was either named after its founder or a benefactor, or maybe because it was a resting place for the pilgrims, who wanted to make it up the hill to some of the higher monasteries. “Anapafsas” supposedly means “to rest” in Greek.

Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery in Meteora, Greece

2. Roussanou Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Roussanou is the second monastery you’ll find on your trip around the circuit of Meteora. Roussanou is located on a tall rock pillar and is accessible by stairs and a small footbridge crossing.

The monastery originates from the 14th century and is dedicated to Saint Barbara. Why it’s named Roussanou is still a mystery, but a good guess is that it’s named after the first monk who established the convent and church.

Today, the Holy Monastery of Roussanou is actually a nunnery, and supposedly more than a dozen nuns live here.

Roussanou is smaller than some of the other monasteries, but it’s also less crowded, which of course has its benefits in a popular place like Meteora.

Roussanou Monastery in Meteora, Greece

3. Varlaam Monastery

Together with the Great Meteoron Monastery, Varlaam is probably the most popular monastery that people visit. Why? Because it’s sooo beautiful!

Apart from the church, museum, and monastery itself, Varlaam Monastery also has a big terrace overlooking the incredible area of Meteora. We really liked Varlaam a lot , however, it was also very crowded with other visitors.

Varlaam Monastery was named after the first monk who ascended the massive rock pillar in 1350 and who afterwards established the chapel.

It still amazes me how these monks managed to climb the big rock pillars so many years ago without any help or safety equipment. I guess that you just need to have faith! ..and not be afraid of heights.

Varlaam Monastery in Meteora, Greece

4. Great Meteoron Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is rightfully named the “greatest” because it happens to be the biggest, the highest, and the oldest one of all the monasteries in Meteora.

Situated on a cliff above the Varlaam monastery, the Great Meteoron is overlooking most of the rock formations in the valley.

The monastery was established in the 14th century by Saint Athanasios, and it’s named “Meteoro”, which means “suspended in the air.”

So now you know why the whole area is named the Meteora Monasteries – basically because they’re all located high in the sky on top of big rock pillars.

The Great Meteoron Monastery really is a must visit on your trip to Meteora! However, make sure to arrive as early as possible since it’s very popular and overcrowded with fellow tourists most of the day.

Great Meteoron Monastery in Meteora, Greece

5. Holy Trinity Monastery

The Holy Trinity Monastery (also known as Agia Trias) is one of the best monasteries to visit in Meteora. In fact, it was my favorite one!

It’s located a bit further into the circuit of Meteora. And it’s more difficult to get to because you have to climb 140 steps to the entrance, which means that you’ll naturally find fewer tourist in the Holy Trinity Monastery.

The monastery has some amazing viewpoints over the valley. From the top of Agia Trias, you can actually see the whole of Kalambaka city. It’s such a beautiful view!

Just like the other monasteries, Agia Trias was also founded sometime in the 14th century by a couple of monks who managed to conquer the steep cliff.

Apart from its beautiful interior and great viewpoints, the monastery is also known for being featured in the James Bond movie, “For Your Eyes Only”.

Agias Trias also known as Holy Trinity Monastery during sunset in Meteora, Greece

6. Agios Stefanos Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Agios Stefanos is the last functioning monastery, which you can visit on your trip to Meteora. It’s located at the end of the loop, just after the Holy Trinity Monastery.

Unlike the other monasteries, you don’t need to climb any steps to get here, instead you just need to cross a bridge. So, if you want to avoid walking up stairs, then this monastery might be the best one for you to visit.

We unfortunately never made it into this monastery, but from what we can find online, it’s supposedly built in the 15th century unlike the other monasteries that are built in an earlier century.

Just like Roussanou, Agios Stefanos is also a nunnery, which means that several nuns are living in a sisterhood here today.

It should be very beautiful inside and it has some great views over Kalambaka, so make sure to visit it on your trip to Meteora. I’ll have to save this one for my next visit!

Agios Stefanos Monastery in Meteora, Greece

Things to do in Meteora (apart from visiting monasteries)

All right! Now that we’ve covered things to know before your trip to Meteora and a small visitor guide to all the monasteries, it’s time to look at what else there is to do in this incredible area of Greece.

So here is a small guide on where to find the best sunset spots and hiking trails in Meteora.

Best sunset in Meteora

Meteora is located several hundred meters above sea level, which means you can find some incredible sunset spots in the area.

The 2 most popular places to watch the sunset are from two viewpoints located on the road between Varlaam Monastery and the Holy Trinity Monastery. You’ll find two massive rocks, which you can walk onto. From here you can find a spot to watch the sunset.

We watched the sunset on the big rock closest to The Holy Trinity Monastery, and it was just incredibly beautiful! (Though it’ll be a bit eerie if you’re afraid of heights like me…)

You can either do a sunset tour from Kalambaka or go by yourself. We went by ourselves on our rental scooter and arrived at the sunset rock about 50 minutes before the actual sunset. Please come early if you want to find a good spot to sit and watch the sunset.

The sunset in Meteora is among some of the best we’ve ever seen! So don’t miss out on this experience.

  • Related blog post: How to watch the sunset in Meteora

Best sunset spot in Meteora, Greece

Hiking trails in Meteora

There are several hiking trails in Meteora. So, if you’re a keen hiker, then you should really look into spending a day on the trails. You can either do a guided hiking tour from Kalambaka or try to navigate the trails by yourself.

We went by ourselves and did a mix of riding our scooter to trailheads and following the trails from a downloaded map on Maps.me. We eventually hiked two different trails in Meteora, both of which we can really recommend.

  • Have a look at our hiking blog posts before your trip: Day hike packing list & Hiking for beginners

Hiking trail in Meteora

Meteora Hike 1: Great Meteoren Monastery to Ypapantí Monastery

On the first hike, we followed a trail starting from the parking lot of the Great Meteoron Monastery to the Ypapantí Monastery.

This hiking trail took us past a viewpoint of some great rock formations, then through a forest, and ended at the incredible Ypapantí Monastery. This monastery is a bit different than the 6 other ones in Meteora because it’s built directly into the cliff.

It was a great short hike that took a small hour to complete.

Ypapantí Monastery in Meteora

Meteora Hike 2: Agias Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery to Monks’ Prison Cave

The second hike we did followed a small trail which began just before the parking lot of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery and ended at the mystic cave named Monks’ Prison.

The Monks’ Prison was an old prison cave where the naughty monks got sent to if they did something bad or if they needed to be reminded of what was proper religious conduct.

We don’t know if you can go deep into the cave. We honestly didn’t try because it felt a bit… creepy. But surely any dark tourist enthusiast must visit this place.

This small hike took less than an hour to complete.

Monks' Prison Cave in Meteora

We really hope you found this guide to visiting the Meteora Monasteries useful. Meteora is honestly one of our favorite places in Greece, and we really want to go back someday and explore the last monasteries and more hiking trails.

If you have any questions about visiting Meteora, then please ask us in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Want to discover more of Greece? Check out:

  • The sunset in Meteora
  • Why visit Greece in 2023?
  • 30 GREAT things Greece is famous for
  • The 20 best things to do in Thessaloniki
  • Things to do in incredible Skopelos Island
  • 3 days in Athens: Affordable & easy itinerary
  • Athens archaeological combo ticket review

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Hi, I'm Cecilie! And I'm the writer behind our travel blog. I only write about places that we've personally been to and want to recommend to you. I'm passionate about creating truthful travel guides, which can help you plan your own trip. When I'm not traveling or writing, you'll find me on a hiking trail, in a coffee shop, or in a shoe store around Copenhagen.

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Hi. May I ask if visiting these monasteries would entail a lot of walking? Your pictures are beautiful and your blog is quite specific and helpful to us future travelers.

Hi Yvette Marie, thank you for your nice comment. Glad to hear my blog is of help! Visiting the monasteries do entail some walking. It’s not a lot, but it’s surely some. You’ll do most of the walking when climbing the steps to the monasteries. So if you’re having trouble with walking, then maybe just choose the easy accessible Agios Stefanos Monastery, so you don’t strain yourself 🙂 Enjoy beautiful Meteora!

I am not really fit, and me and my husband would love to do this. How many steps are involved to see most of the monasteries? I know one has 140 steps, which I don’t think I could do. Is that significantly more than the others or do you have to walk up a lot of stairs to see all of them?

Dear Kaitlyn, thanks for your question. Whether you can visit the monasteries or not, the road is still breathtakingly beautiful, so I’ll urge you to go anyways! Also make sure to visit during sunset when the landscapes are extra beautiful. You can definitely see Agios Stefanos, which has no stairs (it’s even wheelchair-friendly). The rest of the monasteries unfortunately requires you to walk the 140 steps or more. What you could do, is maybe just choose the Great Meteoron Monastery. Yes, there are a lot of steps involved, but once you get there, you have a lot of things to see (it’s the biggest monastery). So if you think you could manage walking up to one of the monasteries, then I would recommend this one. Of course, I don’t know your history and if it’s even possible for you. But I do know that nobody would mind you to stop and take breaks during the ascend. In fact, I saw many people having a hard time with the steps. Best of luck and enjoy Meteora!

Hello. How much time is needed to visit/see each of the monastery starting from walking/climbing up the stairs, seeing the interior, etc.? I’d like to calculate roughly how much time/day(s) I’d need to spend in Meteora. Thank you.

Hi Pauline, that’s a great question. However, I think that how long time you will need differs from monastery to monastery. For example Roussanou Monastery only takes 20-30 minutes whereas the Great Meteoron could take 1-2 hours. I would say that 2 days are enough to see them all without rushing through it. You could actually visit them all in 1 day but it might be a bit stressful. It’s such a beautiful place, so take your time if you can. Thank you for your question and enjoy Meteora! 🙂 Best, Cecilie.

Is there any chance of attending Mass, service, at any of the monasteries? Thank you, Olive

Hi Olive, great question. However, I don’t think I can be of help here. I haven’t seen or heard anything about being able to attend mass in the monasteries. All I can find online is something about attending the Easter ceremonies. My guess will be that you cannot attend mass at the monasteries, but maybe ask some of the locals in Meteora. Best of luck, Cecilie 🙂

The Great Meteoron Monastery… are the stairs very steep and are there handrails? If you cannot make the climb is there a place to sit by the parking lot so you could wait for friends who can make the climb? Thank you.

Hi Karen, the stairs can be a bit steep at times, but you can use the wall as a handrail. There is no particular handrail built into the walls surrounding the stairs. If you’re not up for it, then there is a great little spot to sit at by the parking lot where you can overlook the beautiful monastery. Plus, you can find a truck selling snacks and drinks here as well 🙂 Enjoy your trip! X Cecilie.

Hi Cecilie, thank you for writing this post! May I know if the trail from the Great Meteoren Monastery to Ypapantí Monastery is easy to follow? Are there route markers along the way?

Hi Joy, you’re much welcome! I hope you found it helpful 🙂 There are no markers, no. But we found it pretty easy to follow. You can always download an offline map over the trail. We found and followed the trail on the app Maps.me. Best of luck, Cecilie.

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best meteora monastery to visit

The 6 Monasteries of Meteora | Ultimate Travel Guide (2024)

  • October 3, 2023

Meteora, with its soaring rock pillars crowned by ancient monasteries, is one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes of  Greece .

Having taken a  road trip  courtesy of our  Couchsurfing  host from  Athens  to Meteora and then to the nearby  Delphi , the day went down as one of the best we’ve spent in Greece.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, Meteora is an amazing symbol of the harmonious relationship between man, faith, and nature. 

Are you ready to experience its breathtaking beauty?

Table of Contents

Meteora Travel Guide

Geography of Meteora

In the plains of Thessaly, Meteora’s story begins 60 millions of years ago . Yes, you read that right!

Once covered by a vast sea, the region underwent significant geological changes, leading to the creation of these unique sandstone rock formations. 

These rocks, pushed upwards through a combination of tectonic shifts and erosional forces, eventually sculpted the immense columns we see today. 

The name “Meteora” itself translates to “suspended in the air,” which aptly describes the appearance of these towering rocks. Any Linkin Park fans out there? Now you know where the album got its name from.

Meteora Monastery Garden

History of Meteora

The earliest documented human presence dates back to the 9th century AD when hermit monks began occupying the caves and fissures within these rock towers. 

Seeking solitude and a closer connection to God, these monks led very ascetic lives.

By the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the idea of constructing monasteries atop these almost inaccessible rocks began to take shape. 

Building these monasteries was no small feat and they’re certainly carry a bit of a dramatic flair just like the blue-domed churches of  Santorini .

Materials had to be hoisted up with ropes, nets, and pulleys, and the entire endeavor was purely made up of the dedication and tenacity of these early monks.

The peak of the monastic community’s development came in the 14th and 15th centuries. At its zenith, there were 24 active monasteries. 

During the Ottoman period, these monasteries provided refuge and became centers of resistance. Moreover, their libraries also safeguarded valuable manuscripts.

Today out of the 24, only 6 remain which will be getting to know more about further down below.

What to Know Before Going to Meteora

What to Know Before Visiting Meteora

Ticket Price : Entry to each monastery costs around 3 EUR . If you’re planning on visiting all 6, you can expect to pay 18 EUR .

Religion : Meteora’s monasteries belong to the  Eastern Orthodox  Christian faith ( Greek Orthodoxy ) which is one of the pillars of  modern Greek culture .

Dress Code : For women, skirts that cover the knees and shirts that cover the shoulders are required. For men, long pants and sleeved shirts are recommended. Every monastery provides skirts free of charge if you don’t have one.

Footwear : Due to the rocky terrain and steps, shoes with a good grip will do you good, especially if you’re doing some nearby hikes.

Six Monasteries : The monasteries are quite far from each other so you might not be able to visit all in one day. Prioritize based on your interests.

Crowds : Meteora is most often that not, crowded. Even if you go early in the morning, tour buses will already be there so either opt for low or shoulder season if crowds aren’t your thing.

Meteora and Kalambaka

Monastery Opening Hours

Realistically speaking, you will need at least 2 days to visit all monasteries since each one is closed on a different day of the week. If you only have 1 day, I would avoid going on Friday since 2 monasteries are closed on that day.

The 6 Monasteries of Meteora

Great Meteoron Monastery

1. Great Meteoron Monastery

Perched at the highest point among the Meteora rocks, the Great Meteoron Monastery stands as the crowning jewel of this spiritual ensemble. 

Founded in the mid-14th century by the monk Athanasios the Meteorite , it is not only the largest but also among the oldest of the Meteora monasteries.

The monastery’s architecture is a blend of Byzantine and local elements. Its walls are thick and defensive, which can give you some idea of just how intense the invasions were back then.

Perhaps one of the most captivating features is the main church, or Katholikon. Here, you can marvel at frescoes painted by the renowned Cretan artist, Theophanes the Monk. 

When it comes to amenities, the Great Meteoron does have some restrooms available except they are only squat toilets so beware!

Varlaam Monastery

2. Varlaam Monastery

The second biggest monastery, Varlaam carries with it a history as impressive as the view it provides.

Established in 1350 by an ascetic monk named Varlaam , it was initially just a small chapel and a few cells. However, over two decades later, in 1387, two brothers from Ioannina, Theophanes and Nektarios Apsarades, took it upon themselves to renovate and expand, transforming it into the monumental edifice seen today.

The monastery also boasts a small but comprehensive museum with details on the history of Meteora, so it’s a great way to learn a bit more about the area before visiting the other monasteries.

Plus, Varlaam has very good and clean toilets, non-squat this time!

Rousanou Monastery

3. Rousanou Monastery

The Rousanou Monastery offers a somewhat intimate and tranquil experience compared to its grander counterparts. Its location, though lower than the other monasteries, presents an almost ethereal closeness to the verdant valley below. Plus, the crowds aren’t as hectic here as the others.

Originally founded around the middle of the 16th century, it was dedicated to St. Barbara , the patron saint of coalminers.

Interestingly, Rousanou Monastery transitioned into a nunnery in the 1980s and is currently inhabited by 13 nuns.

Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery

4. St. Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery

St. Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery is distinguished by its remarkable layout, tailored to fit the constraints of its narrow perch.

The origins of St. Nicholas Anapafsas can be traced back to the 14th century, though much of the current structure and its frescoes date from the early 16th century.  While the monastery was abandoned for a period, it underwent restoration in the 20th century.

Due to the limited space on the rock, the monastery is built vertically, with its structures layered on top of each other. The monks back then were quite the architects, wouldn’t you say?

St. Stephan Monastery

5. St. Stephan Monastery

Nestled on a rock plateau, almost seamlessly merging with the surrounding landscape, is the St. Stephan Monastery.

Unlike the other Meteora monasteries that stand dramatically atop towering cliffs, St. Stephan is more accessible, with a small bridge connecting it to the main road . So be ready for some crowds!

Historical records suggest that the monastery was originally founded in the 14th century, but the significant structures and its current form primarily hail from the 15th century onwards. St. Stephan suffered significant damage during World War II and the subsequent  Greek Civil War  but was also renovated in the mid-20th century and is now fully functional.

The interior of St. Stephan houses two cathedrals. The old cathedral, dedicated to St. Stephan, contains a treasure trove of 16th-century icons and ancient manuscripts. The newer cathedral, dedicated to St. Haralambos, possesses a relic of the saint himself.

Just like the Rousanou, St. Stephan has also now been converted to a nunnery.

Holy Trinity Monastery

6. Holy Trinity Monastery

Perched precariously atop a slender rock pillar, the Holy Trinity Monastery seems to defy gravity. 

The monastery’s origins trace back to the 14th century. Among all the monasteries in Meteora, the Holy Trinity Monastery stands out for its distinct Byzantine architectural style .

Fun fact! The Holy Trinity Monastery served as a filming location for the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”.

Where to Stay in Meteora

Where to Stay in Meteora

While there aren’t any accommodations around the monasteries, the nearby town of Kalambaka offers quick and seamless access to Meteora. Here are some recommendations on where to stay:

Best Hotels in Meteora :

  • Meteora Heaven and Earth Kastraki Premium Suites  – with mountain vistas and situated around an 18-minute walk away from Meteora. These suites are equipped with complimentary Wifi, private parking, a kitchenette featuring a fridge and stovetop, a satellite flat-screen TV, a safety deposit box, ironing amenities, a desk, and a cozy seating area. 
  • Meteoron Theasis  –  offers a serene garden with a view. The property features a patio and provides complimentary Wifi and private parking. The apartment is designed with two bedrooms and comes with a bathroom, bed linen, towels, a satellite flat-screen TV, a dining section, and a fully-furnished kitchen. Additionally, there’s a terrace for relaxation.
  • Divani Meteora Hotel   – boasts a large outdoor pool and rooms adorned with oak-wood furnishings, many of which offer views of the Meteora rocks. The hotel interiors, crafted by renowned designer Andre Warwick, showcase rooms with wooden floors and expansive verandas, all fitted with modern conveniences such as electronic key locks, air conditioning, satellite TV, and a mini-bar. Feel free to plunge into the pool, or indulge at the recreational area that features an indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, and a fitness center. 

Best Hostels in Meteora :

  • Nomads Meteora  – features spacious, bright rooms with deluxe mattresses, 24/7 high-pressure hot showers, a cooking area, and much more. Enjoy the added conveniences of lockers, laundry services, a reading room, and even an outdoor garden. Not just a place to stay, but also a hub of fun, Nomads ensures lively adventures by day and energetic parties by night.
  • Meteora Central Hostel  –  offers guests a blend of modern comfort and traditional charm in a building dating back to 1950. This family-operated boutique hostel features newly furnished rooms, individual bed facilities, and a relaxing backyard space.
  • Holy Rock Hostel  – provides a cozy dormitory-style stay right at the base of the Meteora peaks. Housed in a rejuvenated 70s building, it boasts 6 dorms with a total of 28 beds, and offers several communal areas such as a balcony, lounge, and backyard. Benefit from numerous amenities including TV, WiFi, a fully-equipped kitchen, washing facilities, and dedicated parking. Every bed comes with a secure cabinet. 

Meteora Monasteries List

How to Get to Meteora

  • Rental Car: One of the most convenient ways to reach and explore Meteora by  rental car , this allows you to visit plenty of monasteries with major flexibility. From  Athens , the journey to Meteora by car takes approximately 4.5 hours . The route is relatively straightforward, primarily following the E75 and E65 highways.  RentalCars.com  is your friend if you’re looking to drive.
  • Train:  There are daily train services from Athens to Kalambaka, the town at the base of Meteora. The journey takes about 5 hours . Once in Kalambaka, you can join a local tour, hire a taxi, hike or rent a scooter to explore the monasteries.
  • Bus: From Athens, you can take a bus to Trikala and then catch another bus to Kalambaka.
  • Tours: For a hassle-free experience, you can also join this highly-rated tour to Meteora  departing from Athens.

Meteora Monasteries

Best Time to Visit Meteora

For a blend of pleasant weather and nature’s bloom, Spring (Mar – May) and Autumn (Sep – Nov) stand out as the most favorable times. These seasons provide the beauty of verdant landscapes and warm fall hues without the pressing crowds. 

However, if solitude is your primary aim, consider the Winter (Dec – Feb) , with the monasteries framed against snow. 

While Summer (July – August) offers all the facilities in full swing, it also attracts the most tourists. We were there during summer, but still found the crowds to be manageable.

To ensure a smooth journey, don’t forget travel insurance. I recommend  SafetyWing for its comprehensive coverage tailored for travelers all around the globe.

Plan Your Trip to Meteora | Best Travel Resources

Book Your Accommodations

  • Booking.com  – the world’s leading online booking platform for accomodations around the world, they have an extensive amount of available listings with zero booking fees and best price guarantees.
  • Hostelworld  – a backpacker’s best friend, Hostelworld has the largest collection of hostels and guesthouses for affordable prices.

Don’t Forget Insurance

  • SafetyWing  – from Nomad Insurance, an insurance by nomads for nomads. They understand our lifestyle well and have really comprehensive and flexible plans that cater to any traveler.

Find Cheap Flights

  • Kiwi.com  – my go-to for booking and finding the cheapest flights and it’s helped me save tons of money. They do virtual interlining which is connecting flights from airlines that do not codeshare, so you can find routes that you wouldn’t be able to find normally. 

Join Tours & Activities

  • GetYourGuide  – is one of the best places to find unique tours and activities. I found that it’s an excellent way to meet fellow travelers and create fond memories. They are not only limited to tours as they also offer niche services such as skip-the-line tickets or private transfers.

Catch a Ride

  • Rentalcars.com  – nothing beats the freedom of the road, Rentalcars.com is the world’s largest online car rental service. They operate across 160 countries so they’re the perfect partner to work with if you find yourself wanting a ride.


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6 Awe-inspiring Monasteries in Meteora

By Fiona Fiorentino · Last updated on October 3, 2023

Perched on the peaks of towering sandstone pillars formed millions of years ago stand the monasteries of Meteora, most of which were constructed during the Middle Ages. The Greek word meteora means “suspended in the air,” and this phrase aptly describes these remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. As one of the most spectacular sights in Greece, the Meteora monasteries not only offer incredible views of the surrounding landscape but a unique perspective of medieval monastic life as well.

Six of the original complexes are still inhabited by clergy who welcome visitors from all over the globe. The picturesque town of Kalabaka situated at the foot of the peaks serves as a comfortable base camp for treks to the top.

6. St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery [SEE MAP]

St. Nicholas Anapausas Monastery

The relatively small Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas is often overlooked during tours of the monasteries, but the easily accessible complex is definitely worth a visit. The 14th-century monastery boasts some of the finest frescoes in Meteora. The famed Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas adorned the main chapel with lively illustrations of Biblical scenes as well as depictions of 16th-century monastic life. The road from Kastraki takes visitors to the base of the peak where 150 steps lead to the monastery entrance.

5. Rousanou Monastery [SEE MAP]

Rousanou Monastery

Lower in elevation than the other six major monasteries in Meteora, the Holy Monastery of Rousanou is one of the easiest to access, and a newly restored bridge makes the trek over its sheer cliff walls considerably less frightening too. Founded in the 16th century, the monastery became a nunnery in 1988. The friendly nuns who greet visitors at the door stand in stark contrast to the gruesome scenes of martyrdom depicted in the main chapel’s well-preserved frescoes. The pretty courtyards and gardens outside are much more cheerful, and they provide the perfect backdrop for picture-taking.

4. St. Stephen Monastery [SEE MAP]

St. Stephen Monastery

The only monastery in Meteora visible from Kalambaka, the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen has been a place of pilgrimage since the 14th century when Byzantine emperor Andronicus Paleologos visited and subsequently funded the original church. Built in the 1500s, the present church features the skull of St. Charalambos, which is believed to have miraculous healing powers. The monastery suffered much damage in the 20th century: it was bombed in World War II by the Germans while most of the frescoes were defaced by Communist rebels during the Greek Civil War. St. Stephen’s was virtually abandoned until 1961, when it became a nunnery. The 15th-century refectory has been converted into a museum that displays finely embroidered robes and tapestries. The monastery is easily reached by a bridge from the main road. The nuns welcome visitors and sometimes offer their handmade embroideries for sale.

3. Varlaam Monastery [SEE MAP]

Varlaam Monastery

The second largest of the Meteora monasteries, the Holy Monastery of Varlaam offers a glimpse of the difficulties the monks encountered when building their hilltop sanctuaries. It took 22 years to bring all the building materials to the summit. The tower, receiving platform and rope basket used to hoist the supplies are on display in the refectory museum. Until the 20th century, the only way for visitors to reach Varlaam was to be hoisted up as well. Today, 195 steps carved into the stone cliff face lead visitors to the summit. Inside, frescoes cover the walls of the main chapel, including a harrowing depiction of the Apocalypse.

2. Great Meteoron Monastery [SEE MAP]

Great Meteoron Monastery

The oldest and largest of the Meteora monasteries, the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is the highest too, rising more than 615 meters (2,000 feet) above the valley floor. Founded by St. Athanasios, whose disciples included exiled royalty, Great Meteoron has long been considered the most prestigious of the monasteries as well. Visitors who climb the more than 300 steps to the apex gain access to a grand complex that includes a large 14th-century church, a small museum, a wine cellar and a shaded courtyard. For many visitors, the most memorable display is at the sacristy where the skulls of the monastery’s former occupants are lined up neatly on shelves.

1. Holy Trinity Monastery [SEE MAP]

#1 of Meteora Monasteries

Featured as a setting in the 1981 James Bond thriller “For Your Eyes Only,” the Holy Trinity Monastery is perhaps the most recognizable of the Meteora monasteries. Situated atop a lone rocky pinnacle, it’s also one of the most challenging monasteries to reach. From the parking area, visitors first descend 140 steps down a steep ravine, and then climb another 140 steps up to the compound. Most visitors find the hike well worth the effort. With its domed chambers, fully restored 17th-century frescoes and picture-perfect vistas, the Holy Trinity Monastery rewards visitors with an experience that won’t be soon forgotten.

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The Practical Guide to Visiting Meteora and its Hanging Monasteries in Greece

Monastery in Meteora Greece with text overlay

Add the Meteora monasteries to your bucket list, pronto!

Meteora in Greece is hands down the most jaw droppingly unreal and otherworldly destination I’ve ever visited. Hands. Down. Its name means “suspended in the air”, and once you have explored the area you will understand how that came about.

St. Stephen's monastery in Meteora Greece

Located in the central region of Greece, Meteora is home to 6 UNESO World Heritage Site monasteries and nunneries precariously perched atop massive rock pillars.

Sunset view in Meteora Greece

What’s truly amazing is that these 6 monasteries are still active sites of worship, and while car parks and stairways now replace baskets and ropes, visiting Meteora feels like taking a giant leap back in time. If you’re visiting Greece, Meteora is one destination that shouldn’t be skipped.

St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery in Meteora Greece

If you’re short on time, it is possible to spend 1 or 2 days in Meteora exploring the hanging monasteries and sunset viewpoints. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it doable? Also yes. Can you visit Meteora without joining a tour? Heck yes.

Sunset viewpoint in Meteora Greece

Read on for practical travel tips including the Meteora dress code and where to stay to help plan your trip to the hanging monasteries of Meteora!

What you need to know about visiting Meteora in Greece

Viewpoint in Meteora Greece

All the practical information you need to organize your trip to Meteora and the hanging monasteries, including the best time of year to visit, the location of Meteora and how to get there, what to bring, how to get around and what to see in Meteora.

1. The best time to visit Meteora

Rocks in Meteora Greece

The best time to visit is in late spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) when the crowds are less hectic. However, Meteora is manageable in the summer months if you start early and visit the largest monasteries before the tour buses arrive.

2. How to get to Meteora

View from Great Meteoron Monastery in Meteora Greece

Where is Meteora in Greece? Meteora is located near the town of Kalabaka, bam smack in the middle of mainland Greece. Most visitors travel from major cities such as Thessaloniki to Meteora or from Athens to Meteora. Meteora is approximately 230 KM or a 3 hour drive away from Thessaloniki, or roughly 350 KM or a 4 hour drive away from Athens.

Because of the way we designed our Greece road trip itinerary we actually drove to Meteora after a night in Olympia and that was the easiest, most pleasant way for us to stick to our own schedule; the drive was fairly leisurely and took approximately 7 hours, but as you approach Meteora the roads become more narrow as you make your way through the mountains.

In general, driving around Greece is extremely easy (if I can do it, so can you) and cities are well-connected by brand new highways and plenty of rest stops. Just don’t be surprised if every other car zooms past you at 20 km/hour over the speed limit!

Looking for the best prices for rental cars around the world?  Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip.  Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change! We rented our car in Greece from Kosmos for approximately 50 Euros per day.

If you don’t plan on renting a car, there are public transportation options from Athens and Thessaloniki but I would recommend staying at least 1 night in Kastraki or Kalabaka ( sometimes also spelled Kalambaka or Kalampaka ). Click here for more information on how to get to Meteora from Athens by public transportation.

3. How to get around Meteora

Winding roads in Meteora Greece

Once you are in the area, you can self-drive a car (like we did) or rent a scooter from Kalabaka to visit the various monasteries, or alternatively there are plenty of day trip operators that can drive you around to see the monasteries of Meteora in a private car if you do not have access to your own transportation. If you do not plan on driving and would prefer to walk/trek between the sites, I would recommend giving yourself a full 2 days in Meteora.

You could choose to walk to get between the monasteries, but it is sweltering hot in the summer months and there is a lot of ground to cover between the different sites – do not underestimate the distance between the monasteries of Meteora, as well as the trek back into Kastraki or Kalabaka.

I remember driving past some poor souls who were schlepping up the hilly roads in the heat and thinking, “I’m so glad that isn’t me right now”. I would recommend that you do a mixture of driving and hiking to make the most of your time in Meteora.

Monastery in Meteora Greece

Each monastery has (limited) space for parking on the side of the road, and it only takes a few minutes to drive between the monasteries. There are also a few different gas stations in the area so make sure you compare prices as they vary a fair bit.

Looking to visit other incredible historical sites in Greece? Click here for my mainland Greece road trip itinerary!

4. Where to stay in Meteora, Greece

View from Pyrgos Adrachti hotel in Meteora Greece

We spent 2 nights at the family-run Pyrgos Adrachti hotel in Kastraki. The hotel is only 1 kilometer from St. Nikolaos should you wish to walk, or a 5 minute drive away from where the monasteries are located. If you make your way to Meteora by car, there are plenty of parking spaces at Pyrgos Adrachti but I would recommend hiring a small sedan as there are some tight corners and narrow pathways to navigate in order to get to this hotel.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the owners are helpful – they are the ones who told us about the Psaropetra look out! The best thing about staying at the Pyrgos Adrachti is the view from the balcony – make sure you ask for a room with this view. Click here to book your stay at the Pyrgos Adrachti hotel or click here to see other highly rated hotels in Meteora and the surrounding areas!

Looking for more options for where to stay in Meteora? Here are some other alternatives that we seriously considered during the extensive accommodation research process : The Storyteller : This boutique hotel in Kalabaka is a stylish retreat for anyone traveling to Meteora. The rooms are modern and tastefully decorated, and there is parking available for those who are self-driving. Click here to check rates and availability at The Storyteller Boutique House . 1951 Suites : If you’re after a view, check out the rooms and suites at this renovated traditional house in Kalabaka. Reviewers love the location, helpful host and easy on-site parking. Some rooms also have a small terrace. Click here to check rates and availability at 1951 Suites . Tsikeli Boutique Hotel : This adults-only hotel in Meteora offers easy access to the monasteries from Kastraki. Perfect for couples and special occasions, some of the cozy and modern rooms are equipped with hot tubs and private balconies. Parking is also available on-site. Click here to check rates and availability at Tsikeli Boutique Hotel .

5. What to bring and the Meteora dress code

Dress code in Meteora Greece

Bring: Sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, water, a snack, a good camera that can capture photos in low light as the sunsets are spectacular. However, you should know that you cannot take photos within the interiors of the monasteries, and that you shouldn’t take photos of any of the monks or nuns without their explicit permission. Also bring cash as you will need to pay €3 to enter each monastery.

Wear: Good walking shoes. The Meteora monasteries have strict dress codes so women will need to wear a long skirt, dress or sarong. It’s not enough to keep your knees covered so no trousers or shorts. However, all the monasteries have wrap skirts and shawls at the entrances that you can borrow. Shoulders should also be covered but I noticed that they are far more strict about the long skirt.

Men should wear a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt (no sleeveless shirts) and pants but I saw a few people who got away with wearing long shorts that hit just below the knee. Remember that the monasteries are places of worship , so be respectful and conduct yourself properly.

The hanging monasteries of Meteora

Hanging monasteries in Meteora Greece

In this central region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks in Greece, monks settled on these “columns of the sky”, and “Meteora” became the name the monks gave to the monolithic columns that seemingly pierced the clouds and sky. The name, “Meteora”, roughly translates into “suspended in air”. In its heyday, there were a total of 24 monasteries.

Monasteries in Meteora Greece panoramic shot

Today, there are 6 still standing: St. Nikolaos Anapafsas, Great Meteoron, Roussanou, Holy Trinity, Varlaam and St. Stephen’s. They all vary in size and have different visiting hours that change depending on season. If the map below doesn’t load then click here for a map of the monasteries in Meteora .

They are also closed on different days of the week, so it’s important to check the schedule ahead of your visit . The largest and most popular monasteries (Great Meteoron and Varlaam) fill up quickly with busloads of tourists, so its best to start your day early.

Wondering which monastery to visit in Meteora? Here is the rough order in which I would recommend seeing the monasteries: Great Meteoron and Varlaam, Roussanou, Holy Trinity, St. Nikolaos and/or St. Stephen’s.

1. Start by visiting Great Meteoron monastery and Varlaam in the morning

Great Meteoron Monastery in Meteora Greece

Here’s where the walking and hiking part kicks in. Skip St. Nikolaos (the first monastery you will hit on your way up) and drive past the monastery by around 100 metres and park the car on the side of the road. This is where the trail begins to hike up to the Great Meteoron and Varlaam (look for a small, unmarked wooden bench).

Hiking in Meteora Greece

The hike to Great Meteoron will take approximately 45 minutes and is mostly shaded, but the path is uneven and uphill. About 3/4 of the way through you will reach a fork in the road – take the left path to head up to Great Meteoron.

Hanging monasteries in Meteora Greece

The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is the largest and oldest monastery remaining in Meteora, founded in the 14th century by Saint Athanasios the Meteorite. Within the monastery you’ll find a museum and main church, but take some time soaking in the breathtaking views across Kalabaka from its courtyard.

Hanging monasteries in Meteora Greece

Tour the Great Meteoron and after you’re done there, walk a few steps over to Varlaam , the neighboring monastery. Founded in the 14th century, Vaarlam is the second-largest monastery in Meteora and was reputed to house the finger of St. John and the shoulder blade of St. Andrew.

You can easily spend 30-40 minutes wandering around each monastery and exploring the chapels, courtyards, cellars and so on.

Varlaam Monastery in Meteora Greece

Once you have explored Varlaam, take the path on your left (as you’re exiting) to walk back down to where you parked your car. Bonus points for buying a popsicle outside Varlaam to cool yourself off.

Ready to book your Meteora trip? We loved our stay at the family-run Pyrgos Adrachti hotel in Kastraki. The low-key boutique hotel is a 5-minute drive away from the Meteora monasteries. Click here to book your stay at the Pyrgos Adrachti hotel or click here to see other highly rated hotels in Meteora and the surrounding areas! Looking for more Meteora hotel options? You might also want to consider checking out at The Storyteller (an elegant boutique hotel with modern rooms), 1951 Suites (a renovated traditional house offering rooms with a view) and Tsikeli Boutique Hotel (an adult-only Meteora hotel with tastefully-decorated rooms).

2. Drive on to Roussanou and Holy Trinity

Next, drive over to Roussanou (also known as The Monastery of St. Barbara), a nunnery dating back to the 16th century. Today, it is still a working nunnery with more than a dozen nuns who reside there and tend to a church and reception halls. Compared to the other monasteries in Meteora, Roussanou is relatively easily accessible due to its lower elevation.

Holy Trinity monastery in Meteora Greece

Holy Trinity dates back to the 14th century and is not easy to get to as it sits high up on a cliff, so pace yourself as it is only reachable by hiking up nearly 150 steps. Because of its location and inaccessibility, few tour buses stop here so it may be perfect for those looking for a more peaceful opportunity to explore the grounds. In the past, the Holy Trinity also relied upon pulleys and baskets for supplies, but a small funicular is now used to carry supplies to the main building.

Monasteries in Meteora Greece

Once you have visited these two monasteries, head back towards Kalabaka for lunch as St. Stephen’s is shut from 1:30-3:30 pm (1-3 pm in the winter months). On your way back, you can stop at The Monastery of St. Nikolaos as it shuts earlier than the other monasteries. St. Nikolaos dates back to the 14th century and features detailed frescoes painted in the early 1500s; today, it houses just one lone abbot.

3. Next, head over to St. Stephen’s

St. Stephen's monastery in Meteora Greece

St. Stephen’s is the most accessible monastery as all you have to do is cross a bridge. If you have any mobility issues or are traveling with young children or elderly family then you may want to consider heading straight to St. Stephen’s. It suffered a lot of damage during WWII and was abandoned until the 1960s when it was restored as a nunnery – today, it is home to more than two dozen nuns.

St Stephens monastery in Meteora Greece

As you drive from point-to-point, there are plenty of lookout areas that you can stop and take pictures at, just make sure you park safely and out of the way of other vehicles.

Sunset viewpoint in Meteora Greece

Ready to see this incredible place with your own eyes? Click here to book your stay at the Pyrgos Adrachti hotel or click here to see other highly rated hotels in Meteora and the surrounding areas!

My ultimate tip for visiting Meteora

Sunset viewpoint in Meteora Greece

End the day with a stunning sunset at Psaropetra sunset view point in Meteora. Most people swarm to watch the sunset in Meteora from another viewpoint next to Varlaam, so this one tends to be relatively uncrowded. Even when there are more visitors there is still room for everyone to spread out.

Psaropetra lookout map in Meteora Greece

Psaropetra is just past the Roussanou nunnery parking lot. On a clear night you can expect the most mind blowing colours – see why this is probably the best sunset viewpoint in Meteora?

People watching the sunset in Meteora Greece

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

I hope this guide helps you to visit Meteora more efficiently and make the most of your time in Greece. Have you visited Meteora? What are your tips to travelers visiting the area?

Ready to book your trip to Meteora in Greece? I recommend staying at the family-run Pyrgos Adrachti hotel in Kastraki. The hotel is only 1 kilometer from St. Nikolaos should you wish to walk, or a 5 minute drive away from where the monasteries are located. Make sure you ask for a room with a view! Click here to book your stay at the Pyrgos Adrachti hotel or click here to see other highly rated hotels in Meteora and the surrounding areas! Looking for more options for where to stay in Meteora? We would also seriously consider staying at The Storyteller (a stylish boutique hotel with modern rooms), 1951 Suites (a renovated traditional house offering rooms with a view) and Tsikeli Boutique Hotel (an adults-only hotel in Meteora with cozy and tastefully-decorated rooms).

Sunset viewpoint in Meteora Greece

Planning a trip to Greece? Check out my other destination guides!

  • If you are short on time (like we were) you should check out this  mainland Greece road trip itinerary
  • Wandering what to see in Athens?  Here are 7 archaeological sites and museums not to miss
  • Immerse yourself in the history and origins of the Olympic Games.  Read on for what to do in Olympia, Greece
  • Once considered to be the centre of the world, the  ancient sanctuary of Delphi  is a great day trip from Athens
  • Planning a trip to Santorini? Here are the  best things to do in Santorini and tips on where to stay
  • No DSLR camera? No problem. These photos were all taken using my iPhone! Here are my  best tips for taking photos with your smartphone
  • Check out all of my Greece travel tips and guides here

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Woman standing in Meteora Greece with text overlay

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Hi, just out of curiosity why do you suggest a private tour to get around the monestaries?

Just like section 3 I was planning to hire a car and drive to Meteora then presumably drive to the monestaries.

However, you suggest getting a private tour from there. Is it because the roads are difficult to drive? Or you wanted to leverage the tour guides local knowledge?

Hi Lance, we hired a car and drove to/around Meteora so it’s not absolutely necessary to join a tour. That is an option for people who don’t have access to their own transportation (either a car or scooter), apologies if that wasn’t clear. You may have issues finding sufficient parking at the various monasteries if you plan on visiting during the peak season. Enjoy your trip!

Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to being there this summer. I was thinking originally of the train, but now I’m thinking of driving there (from Athens) and maybe renting a scooter (or maybe that’s not necessary with the car). Are the roads good for driving after dark? Was thinking of getting there in the evening and staying in a hotel and getting an early start the next day, then driving back after sunset.

Hi Roger, the roads and freeways are generally in good condition/well-lit, though in my experience you will need to be careful as many drivers do not abide by speed limits in Greece. I would probably recommend that you drive back to Athens during daylight hours, rather than in the evening. Safe travels!

Hi! I am going to Meteora beginning of June with some friend and I am not sure if we should take the scenic train ride or a rental car to Meteora. What would you recommend? Do you know if the train ride is worth it?

We rented a car so I can’t compare it to the train, sorry! However, it was much easier to get around with our own car. Otherwise you’ll have to walk.

Thank you for this post! It reassured me that we can do Meteora on our own & in 2 days. Also really helped me organize and plan. Your photos make me even more excited for the trip!

Hi Erin, thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I’m so happy to hear that you found it to be a useful resource! Have an amazing time in Greece – we loved it!

Hey Flo, Greece is on my bucket list but have kept it after I get hitched 😉 Pictures have turned super fantastic. Flo, have you visited those white houses with blue strips all around which we usually see in pictures. I really love it. Hope to get there soon 🙂

Hi Aanchal, thanks for checking this out! Are you referring to Santorini?

Meteora is just unreal — such a unique destination. Glad you experienced and had amazing weather to take great photos.

The weather was perfect! Cool in the mornings and evenings 🙂

Hola! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

Hi Amy! Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! 🙂

Guess I gotta add Meteora to the list as well. Such spectacular shots and that view at Psaropetra look out is absolutely unreal. Ughh so many awesome places that you’ve shared that I wanna travel to. Now if only I had more vacation days lol!

You have to! Also add Delphi to the list 😉 A post is in the works!

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Travel the Greek Way

Things to Do in Meteora Monasteries in Greece

The Meteora Monasteries are located in mainland Greece, in the region of Thessaly, 347 km from Athens. Meteora is an extensive complex of gigantic sandstone rocks shadowing the local town of Kalambaka.

On top of the megalithic rocks, an average of 300 meters above ground, the awe-inspiring Meteora Monasteries are built. There used to be 24 Monasteries founded and built by Greek Orthodox monks in the 14th and 15th centuries. Today, only 6 of them are working as Monasteries and accept public visits on specific days and times.

A monk in Meteora Monasteries.

The Meteora Monasteries has been a UNESCO World Heritage Monument since 1988 and it is today the second most important monastic complex in Greece after Mount Athos Monasteries in Chalkidiki.

*Some of the links below are affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you click and buy. The commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Meteora Post Info

Find in this post information about the 6 Meteora monasteries, the operating hours and the cost to enter each monastery, and the dress code . I have also added info for people with mobility difficulties , to choose the best monastery to visit, and practical info such as my favorite hotels in Meteora and Kastraki , how far are the monasteries from Athens, and how to get there.

The Six Meteora Monasteries

The monastery of great meteoron.

best meteora monastery to visit

The Monastery of Great Meteoron or Metamorphosis Sotiros is the largest and oldest Monastery in Meteora. It was founded in 1340 AD by Saint (Osios) Athanasios the Meteorite and it houses monks at 534 meters in height.

Inside of Catholicon in Meteora Monasteries.

The main church (Catholicon) of the monastery of Great Meteoron is very impressive with beautiful 16th-century post-Byzantine frescoes.

Trapeza ofGreat Meteoron in Meteora Monasteries.

The dining room (Trapeza) is considered an exceptional sample of architecture, built in 1557. Find time to go through the main Museum of Meteora with invaluable exhibits on display such as handwritten codes from the priests, with the oldest dated manuscript being one from the 9th century, the oldest in Greece.The oldest Byzantine icons of Meteora date back to the 13th century.

Meteora Monasteries Museum in Great Meteoron.

How to Visit Great Meteoron

  • Summer timetable (April 1st – October 31st): Visiting Hours: 09:30 to 15:00. Closed on Tuesdays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 14:00. Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
  • Extra Days that the Monastery is closed: 5,6,7 of August, 30th September, October 1st
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22278, Email:  [email protected]
  • Entrance ticket: €3 per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Greek Local Wine Tip: The Great Meteoron Monastery has a 25-acre vineyard and produces 4 different Greek varieties of excellent wine. Ask them, how you can taste/ buy a bottle of unique wine made by the monks.

The Monastery of Varlaam

Meteora Monasteries Varlaam taken from a drone.

The Monastery of Varlaam, set on a rock across the Great Meteoron at 370 meters, was founded by monk Varlaam in the 13th century but was renovated in 1542 by priest monks and siblings Theophanes and Nektarios. Today just 7 monks live permanently in the Monastery. The Church is dedicated to All Saints and one of the most impressive things to see is the magnificent Catholicon.

Meteora Monasteries frescoes in Varlaam.

The post-Byzantine frescoes that depict the Virgin and Child, the Liturgy of Angels, the Crucified, and the Pantocrator on the dome are masterpieces of art.

Like the Great Meteoron, don’t miss visiting the Clerical exhibits, the old manuscripts, and the other complementary chambers.

How to Visit Varlaam Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 16:00. Closed on Fridays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 15:00. Closed on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22277

You may also enjoy: 30 Best Destinations in Greece

Roussanou Monastery

A beautiful view from Roussanou Meteora Monasteries in a sunny day taken from a drone.

The Roussanou Monastery, a nunnery, was founded during the 14th century but the main Church was built in 1545 and was dedicated to Saint Barbara. The entire plateau of its rock peak is covered by its building complex with a beautiful garden. This is a small monastery, compared to the others but the views are incredible, as you can see 3 other monasteries in one direction.

The entrance of Meteora Monasteries Roussanou.

During WWII all the Meteora Monasteries suffered looting and many invaluable objects were taken or destroyed. However, a priest from Kalambaka, Christos Mpentas, (1883-1979) contributed substantially to the rescue and preservation of the manuscripts, hiding them in crypts or transporting them to safe places.

You can visit the museum inside the Roussanou Monastery with icons and manuscripts from the 13th century. The manuscripts have been transformed into digital docs from Kalambaka Library and you can see them here .

Meteora Monasteries nuns and priests.

The small group of dedicated nuns, besides their monastic work of keeping the Monastery running, welcoming visitors from all over the world, and exercising their religious duties, are also busy with candle handcrafting, sawing, icon painting, and olive oil production.

Meteora Monasteries garden with trees and pots.

How to Visit Roussanou Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 16:00. Closed on Wednesdays
  • Winter timetable: 09:00 to 14:00. Closed on Wednesdays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22649

Agios (St) Stefanos Monastery

Agios stefanons of Meteora Monasteries taken from a drone.

This is the second nunnery of the Meteora Monasteries and the only Monastery visible from Kalambaka due to its lower elevation. It is not certain when exactly Agios Stefanos was founded but it is considered the most peaceful and spiritually uplifting Monastery and offers a sense of tranquility in spite of the crowds.

Inside of Agios Stefanos chandelier.

You really shouldn’t miss this monastery as the chapel frescoes are incredibly done! The exhibits include calligraphed manuscripts, rare vessels, gold-plated amphorae, silver-bound, and carved crosses, as well as the impressive Deposition by Emmanuel Tzane, a work of 1670.

A monk reading at semidarkness.

St. Stephen’s Monastery also has two cathedrals; the old 16th-century chapel and the 18th-century main cathedral that is dedicated to Agios Charalambos and includes his holy relics.

How to Visit Agios Stefanos Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 13:20 & 15:30-17:30. Closed on Mondays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 13:00 & 15:00-17:00. Closed on Mondays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22279

Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery

Monastery  Agia Triada taken from a drone.

The Agia Triada Monastery is built northwest of Agios Stephanos, on a high rock with beautiful views of Kalambaka, the Pinios River, and the high mountains of Koziakas and Chasia.

The Monastery was founded by a few brave monks – like all Meteora Monasteries – in the early 14th century. The Monastery was built in 1438 and the building materials were carried on top for more than 70 years! The main church was built in 1475-76 and today only 4 monks live in it. 

The inside of Agia Triada Catholicon.

The Monastery of Agia Triada became famous as it was featured in the James Bond film, ‘Four Your Eyes Only’. Unfortunately, the monastery was looted during WWII but there are still many valuable objects to see.

Monasteries wall frescoes.

Don’t miss the chapel of St. John the Baptist, a small circular church with a vault, hewed on the rock, or the old copy of the Gospel with the silver cover printed in Venice in 1539.

How to Visit Agia Triada Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-17:00. Closed on Thursdays
  • Winter timetable: 10:00-15:00. Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22220

Agios Nicholaos (St) Anapafsas Monastery

Road sign to the monasteries.

Driving up the road from Kastraki towards the Meteora rocks you will find on the left side the monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas built on three-level vertical planning.

The first monks made it to the top of the rock early 14th century and the monastery was renovated in the early 16th century by St Dionysios Metropolitan Bishop of Larissa.

People climbing the stairs.

The best things to see are the chapel of St Antonios with spectacular old murals, a crypt, and the Catholicon of St Nicholas, from its windows, the visitors can admire murals of unbelievable beauty.

The Catholicon, with the strange shape of the rock, was painted by the famous Cretan painter Theofanis Strelitzias.

How to Visit Agios Nicholas Anapafsas

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-17:00. Open every day
  • Winter timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-16:00. Open every day
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22375

Where Best to Stay in Meteora Monasteries

best meteora monastery to visit

There are hotels with Meteora rocks views in Kalambaka town and the nearby village (2.7 km from Kalambaka) of Kastraki. If you wonder whether it is better to stay in Kalambaka or Kastraki I would say that Kastraki offers more charm and Kalambaka has more commerce.

As I love charm and peaceful villages myself I have singled out my favorite hotels and houses in Kastraki:

A view from hotel Doupiani to Meteora.

Hotel Doupiani House is in a spectacular location in Kastraki, with a panoramic view of both Meteora rocks and the valley. Doupiani House is a very highly rated hotel .

Archontiko hotel at night with stars on the sky.

  Archontiko Mesohori Suites & Apartments is another gorgeous 4-star accommodation in Kastraki surrounded by the imposing Meteora rocks.

If you prefer self-catering and houses then you should stay at the exceptional (9.8 in Booking) Zosimas House great for a group of up to 6 persons.

The house under the rocks of Meteora is a fantastic choice for a group of up to 5 persons.

I highly recommend visiting the  Museum of Geological Formations  in Kastraki to learn more about the natural processes shaping the rocks of Meteora. Entry is free of charge.

Best Lookout Points in Meteora

A woman taking photos on meteora rocks.

Besides visiting the monasteries, one of the top things to do in Meteora is to discover the best lookout points and take some epic photos! Two great spots to check out are:

  • Psaropetra lookout – near Holy Trinity
  • Main Observation near Roussanou

If you are not sure how to find the lookout, there are guided tours that will show you the best photo locations around Meteora, some of which are known only to locals as they are not on the map.

Meteora Monasteries Dress Code

All the monks and nuns of Meteora Monasteries have the vision to keep Orthodox monasticism alive and to hand it over to the next generation of monks and nuns. In this effort, adapting visitors to the rules of entry to the monasteries (modest dress, decent behavior) is particularly important to them, which is not only a matter of discipline but generally of intellectual culture, respect, and politeness of a civilized visitor.

Meteora Monasteries dress code

You will not be allowed into the Monasteries if you wear shorts, and have uncovered shoulders. Please wear blouses and T-shirts with a sleeve. For the women, some of the monasteries may provide wrap-up skirts or shawls. No need to cover your head with a scarf.

  • Please reduce the volume of your cell/mobile ringtone, keep your voice down, and avoid touching the artifacts.
  • Photos/videos are strictly forbidden .

How to Get to Meteora

The Greek national road towards Kalampaka and Meteora rocks.

There are no direct flights from Athens to Meteora or a nearby town. The most scenic way to see the beautiful route to Meteora Monasteries is a road trip in your rental car . If you are not confident about driving in Greece – although the national roads are in fantastic condition, and very easy to navigate – you can take the Trains (OSE) or the KTEL buses.

Alternatively, you can book a guided tour for a 2 or 3-day tour to Meteora, to combine it with visiting other fantastic places in Greece.

How Long do you Need in Meteora Monasteries?

The entrance of Roussanou Monastery and some people.

Many visitors stay for at least one night in Kalambaka, the town at the feet of Meteora Rocks. They often combine the tour with a stop at the Delphi archaeological site on a 2 to 3-day trip from Athens.

General view of 5 out of 6 of the Meteora Monasteries taken from a drone.

Others make a one-day trip to Meteora from Athens or from Thessaloniki. It may be doable and you may only have one day but:

  • You will spend most of your time in the car, driving
  • You will have time to see 1 or 2 max of the Monasteries and that in a hurried fashion because most of the monasteries close by 3 or 4 pm, especially if it is during winter

Meteora Monasteries hiking in a sunny day.

If possible, put aside 2-4 days for the Meteora Monasteries, for hiking opportunities, sunset watching, and photography, and exploring other beautiful sights such as the Paleolithic Cave of Theopetra, Trikala town, and Elati village.  

The visit to Meteora can also be combined with a trip through Zagorochoria, Ioannina towards the western part of Greece and the Ionian Islands ( Corfu , Zakynthos , Kefalonia , Paxos , Lefkada ).

How Best to Visit Meteora Monasteries if you are Mobility-Challenged

Main road from Kalambaka to Meteora Monasteries.

  • Most of the Monasteries have an ascending path that starts from the parking area to the stone steps which have been carved into the rock and take you to the Monastery entrance
  • To get to the Great Meteoron Monastery you will need to walk up 300 steps, and it is one of the less accessible Monasteries. There is no lift.
  • For the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, you can either walk up more than 140 steps or take the cable car that you can use to go up

Great meteoron steps to the Monasteries taken from a drone.

  • The Monastery of Roussanou’s main access is from its northwest side where you get by car. Then you have to walk up about 200 steps and cross a bridge but there are benches for rest.
  • The Monastery of St Stefanos is the most accessible one. There is a small solid bridge leading straight to the entry from the car park and only a couple of wide steps to enter the main complex.
  • Varlaam and Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monasteries have an average number of 140 steps.
  • Many people who can’t walk up the stairs, enjoy driving the loop around Meteora and stopping for pictures. Park as near as possible to each monastery entrance as they are good vantage points and fun to watch the hordes of tourists climbing up and down the many stairs, like lines of ants.

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Did you visit the Meteora Monasteries? Let me know what you think about visiting Meteora in the comments, I’d love to hear whether I managed to get it onto your bucket list! Till next time, Evgenia❤️

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Everything Everywhere

How to Visit the Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

What to say about Meteora, Greece …

This is one of the most photogenic places I’ve ever visited—and I’ve visited a lot of places . The monasteries of Meteora—and those imposing rock formations peeking through the mist—are incredible. When you visit Meteora, you have the chance to see something unlike anything else in the world and this counts as one of my favorite experiences in Greece .

When people think of Greece, they often think of the Acropolis , or of white buildings on islands in the Aegean . The pillars and monasteries of Meteora should also be considered one of the most iconic images of Greece. This spot is one of the nearly 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Greece , recognized for its artistic achievement of extraordinary monastic construction in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Read on for a full guide to visiting Meteora—the best way to get there, history of the monasteries in the region, why monasteries to visit, navigating weather, and more. 

Table of Contents


Meteora is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Greece. This property was added to the UNESCO list in 1988 and is located in Thessaly, Greece. This region’s rock formations are home to the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in the region. Six monasteries that make up the Meteora UNESCO site—all of them are built on hill-like, rounded boulders and pillars that overlook the local region.

These unique columns of rock are located beside the Pindos Mountains in Greece and the rock columns rise from the ground and are among the most unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 The World Heritage inscription for Meteora details more about why the monasteries represent such a fascinating and unique contribution to the world:

‘Suspended in the air’ (the meaning of Meteora in Greek), these monasteries represent a unique artistic achievement and are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation, and prayer. The Meteora provide an outstanding example of the types of monastic construction which illustrate a significant stage in history, that of the 14th and 15th centuries when the eremitic ideals of early Christianity were restored to a place of honor by monastic communities, both in the Western world (in Tuscany, for example) and in the Orthodox Church. … The monasteries are built on rock pinnacles of deltaic origin, known as Meteora, which rise starkly over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain. Chemical analysis suggests that the pinnacles were created some 60 million years ago in the Tertiary period, emerging from the cone of a river and further transformed by earthquakes. The Meteora are enormous residual masses of sandstone and conglomerate which appeared through fluvial erosion. Seismic activity increased the number of fault lines and fissures and hewed the shapeless masses into individual sheer rock columns. Hermits and ascetics probably began settling in this extraordinary area in the 11th century. In the late 12th century a small church called the Panaghia Doupiani or Skete was built at the foot of one of these ‘heavenly columns’, where monks had already taken up residence.

History of Meteora & the Monasteries


Meteora is a nearly inaccessible UNESCO site that was built in the 11th century. These sandstone peaks are home to one of Greece’s most recognizable features and cultural sites. Monks have lived in the so-called “columns of the sky” since the 11th century, and 24 monasteries in total make up the site of Meteora. The geological difficulties of these rock columns are part of the indescribable challenge of building these monasteries.

Prior to the building of monasteries in Meteora, the caves were inhabited about 50,000 to 5,000 years ago. A stone wall that served to block the entrance to Theopetra Cave was the first known man-made structure in the region, constructed about 23,000 years ago. Many believed that the stone wall was built to protect the cave settlers from the cold winds.

The monks first made their way to Meteora in the 11th century and they occupied the caverns in Meteora during this time. The 24 monasteries that stood at the current UNESCO site were not built until in the 14th century. The monks needed a place to hide and live in the face of the Turkish attacks in Greece. During this time, the monks were able to access the monasteries through windlass or removable ladders. Today, steps make access to the monasteries a bit easier—the steps were built in the 1920s.

One of the monasteries of Meteora perched on a sandstone tower.

How to Visit Meteora Monasteries

There are 24 monasteries within the Meteora UNESCO World Heritage Site, however, only six of these 24 monasteries are still functioning today. Even that, however, is precarious as each monastery houses fewer than 10 people. I don’t recommend taking one of the day tours from Athens or Thessaloniki unless it’s absolutely necessary—you should instead spend a minimum of one night in Kalambaka. Once you’re in Kalambaka, day tours to the rock formations and monasteries is a good option here are three you should consider, depending on your interests:

  • Private Meteora Tour with Transport from Kalambaka
  • Group Hiking in Magnificent Meteora
  • Sunset Meteora Photo Tour

Plan to spend at least one full day in the area visiting monasteries and taking photos. I spent three days taking photos, and it was well worth it. The weather was different each day, which made for great photography, and if you’re interested in seeing the range of beauty in different weather, you’ll need the flexibility a few days here will give you. If this is a once in a lifetime trip for you, consider our Travel Photography Academy , which teaches the basics and the advanced of taking better photos.

Below is a list of the six key Meteora monasteries that you will likely want to see and visit from Kalambaka:

Monastery of Great Meteoron

This is the largest of all the six monasteries that are still functioning in Meteora. As of 2015, this monastery only housed three monks. It was built in the mid-14th century and has undergone numerous restorations from the late 15th to the mid-16th century. One building in this monastery is open for tourists as a museum. This is the most popular of all the of monasteries in the area, and it’s surely one that you’ll want to visit. If you’re organizing the trip from Kalambaka, the Panoramic Meteora and all Monasteries Tour from Kalabaka visits the Monastery of Great Meteoron , as well as other key ones.

Monastery of Varlaám

Varlaámis the second largest monastery in Meteora and is just behind Great Meteoron in the number of tourists it receives. In 2015, this was the monastery that had the most number of monks in residence: seven. The monastery was built in 1541 and was decorated in 1548.

Monastery of St. Barbara

Established in the mid-16th century, the Monastery of St. Barbara ( Rousanoú ) was fully decorated by 1560. It’s used as a nunnery and serves as the residence of 13 nuns.


Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

The pretty Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas ( Áyios Nikólaos Anapafsás ) was built in the 16th century and it comes with a small church that was decorated by the artist Theophanis Strelitzas. As of 2015, only one monk resides in this monastery. This monastery is just a kilometer from Kastraki, so you could hike here in the morning one day for dramatic days.

Monastery of St. Stephen

This small church was founded and built in the 16th century—it’s one of the rare monasteries in Meteora that is built on a plain rather than on a cliff, making it accessible by a footbridge rather than steps. The Monastery of St. Stephen ( Áyios Stéfanos ) was turned over to the nuns in 1961 and has been reconstructed into a full functioning nunnery with up to 28 nuns residing here.

Monastery of (Holy Trinity)

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity ( Ayía Triáda ) is located on top of a cliff and was built in the late 15th century. It underwent remodeling in the 17th and 18th centuries. There are four monks that lived in this monastery as of 2015.


How to Get to Meteora

The town of Kalambaka (also spelled Kalabaka) lies below Meteora and this where most people stay when they visit. While cruise ship passengers do venture to Meteora by bus, this isn’t really an easy day trip from anywhere and I don’t recommend taking one. You should not travel to Meteora independently unless you plan to stay overnight, otherwise, it really saves you any money or hassle on a solo day trip, mostly because public transportation only gets you to Kalambaka, which is not Meteora, you will still have to get to the monasteries once you arrive. Meteora day tours from your town of choice are the best option, or you can drive yourself if you’re up for the challenge of driving in Greece.  

By Train from Athens or Thessaloniki

It’s easy to catch a train from Athens to Kalambaka —which is the closest train stop to Meteora—and the journey lasts about four hours and costs 25 to 30 Euros. Trains from Thessaloniki leave from the New Railway Station ( Neos Sidirodromikos Stathmos ), or from If you simply can’t stay overnight in Kalambaka, then I highly recommend not trying to organize this day trip independently as you just won’t get as much out of the experience. Instead, this Athens to Meteora In-a-Day Rail Tour  offers all of the highlights with a guide who will ensure you see the very best on offer. 

By Bus from Athens or Thessaloniki

Buses are an easy way to get to either site, although the train is likely better from both cities (the journey is faster, safer, and easier). It’s three hours each way from Thessaloniki (you’ll have to take a bus to Trikala and switch there to a bus to Kalambaka) and nearly five hours each way from Athens. Again, if you decide to visit the monasteries of Meteora as a day trip then you really should book a tour, otherwise you’ll spend the bulk of your day just trying to figure out where to go: The Meteora All Day Tour From Athens and Meteora Monasteries Day Trip from Thessaloniki are both good options.

Where to Stay Near Meteora

Kalambaka and Kastraki have great accommodation for every budget level. Kalambaka is the main town and has the bulk of everything: accommodation, food, tours, and tourists. Kastraki is just two kilometers away and is a charming conservation village with breathtaking views.

  • Grand Meteora Hotel : A gorgeous spot in Kastraki that won’t disappoint if you have a mid-range budget.
  • Hotel Doupiani House : A mid-range option with a great breakfast buffet.
  • Alsos House : A perfect option in Kalambaka for those on a budget. 
  • Hotel Kosta Famissi : Another budget option full of charm and good views. 
  • Pyrgos Adrachti : More of a splurge budget in Kastraki, but with just stunning views.

What to Pack

  • Guidebook : Fodor’s Essential Greece is the best guidebook choice for most travelers. The Lonely Planet Greece is a go-to for most budget travelers, but the Fodor’s guide does a particularly better job in Greece. 
  • Clothes : Women must wear skirts to enter the monasteries—you can use provided cover-ups if you’re not appropriately attired. Otherwise, bring sturdy shoes since you’ll need to hike to visit most of the monasteries.
  • Travel Adapter : Don’t leave on your trip without a travel adapter. This Glamfield one is my favorite: It features three USB chargers, USB-C, and it works in Greece, and most other countries too! If you’re looking for a lower profile adapter, however, you can’t go wrong with this one (I usually carry both!). 
  • Travel Insurance : Meteora is a remote area, as are many of the top sights you’ll visit when traveling throughout Greece — World Nomads is a top choice and covers medical evacuation, theft of belongings, and so much more.

Read next: Visiting the Archaeological Site of Delphi

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece .

Gary Arndt

Gary began traveling the world in 2007. His travels have taken him to over 200 countries and territories and 400 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. He is a 3x Lowell Thomas Award winner and a 3x North American Travel Photographer of the Year.

The Marvelous Travelers

Meteora Monasteries: A Fascinating Place (+ Photo Guide)

Have you ever heard about the Meteora Monasteries ? No? Don't worry, neither did we!

But this was a mind-blowing experience and one that we absolutely wanted to share with you!

So here it is: our guide for a visit to the fascinating Meteora Monasteries.

Find out how to visit Meteora, how to get to the monasteries, which monasteries are the best to visit and where to experience the most magical sunsets and sunrises .

We even show you the best photo-spots in Meteora!

Where and what is meteora.

In Kalabaka , next to the Pindos Mountains in central Greece, there is this one particular area where giant rock columns seem to rise from the ground: Meteora .

The name means ' lofty ' or 'elevated' and stems from the fact that the area hosts the Meteora Monasteries , built on top of these natural boulders.

As this place is so surreal (look at that satellite view on Google Maps below!!), we spent a total of five days driving up and down the rocks because every single view was incredible .

So incredible that Linkin Park named one of their albums after this place 🙂 

I think I haven't been blown away by a place like this ever since I've been  road tripping through Patagonia a year ago or when I visited my bucket-list-item Easter Island !

Meteora in a nutshell

  • The Meteora Monasteries are on UNESCO'S World Heritage List since 1989
  • There were once 24 monasterie s and hermitages built on several of these rock pillars, formed by water, wind and extreme temperatures
  • Only six monasteries are still in use today
  • Hermits had been using the pillars to isolate themselves since the 9th century
  • Dreading attacks from invading Ottomans in the 14th century, several monks chose to build their monastery in that area
  • The stairs to access the building have been carved in the 1920s ; up until then, the only access was by means of collapsible stepladders and windlasses with nets to haul up people and goods

Where to stay when visiting Meteora?

The town of kalabaka: the popular one.

The rock formations are located in the town of Kalabaka and this is essentially where everyone will stay and from where the tours will start.

While it is strategically the best place to be, especially since some of the tours can't pick you up elsewhere, expect the prices to be accordingly.

There are several options, though, in different price ranges. Take a look at the deals below*:

The village of Kastraki: the better option

We stayed in the little village of Kastraki , right next to Kalabaka. There are only a few small shops and restaurants here.

But the prices are a little better as you get more value for your money and it's a lot quieter than Kalabaka.

While we stayed at this cute little AirBnB run by a family from Kastraki and would have loved to link it to you, they are unfortunately not on Booking. 

But here are some deals that could be interesting in that same area*:

The hosts were so sweet , they came to drop off breakfast every morning on the terrace without waking us. 

And they brought us tomatoes and cucumbers from their own garden .

AND they showed us the best sunset-spots on Meteora!! Read on to get a map and our personal recommendations for these epic sunset-photo-spots !

Balcony with flowers next to a rock at Kastraki

Our cute little balcony with views of the sunset, at the foot of the Meteora Monasteries

*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate-links which means that we earn a tiny commission if you book through our link at no additional cost to you at all - you're just helping us 🙂

How to visit the Meteora Monasteries

Bus, hike or car.

There are three possibilities to visit the monasteries*:

  • Prepare yourself for a hike , either on your own or check out this 5-hour hiking tour
  • Visit them by car at your own pace and follow our guide for the best photo-spots

Or, if you like adventure , take a look at this Scramble Tour which leads you over a via ferrata to the highest point of the rocks!

We didn't have time to do this tour, despite having our own climbing-set from Edelrid in the car!

*Disclaimer: these are affiliate-links which means that we earn a tiny commission if you book through our link with no additional cost to you at all

Important things to know before visiting the Meteora Monasteries

Meteora monasteries in the sunset light

You really want to be prepared to dive into that fascinating world

Get there early

Although we were travelling in Covid19-times , there were still quite a lot of people appearing after 10 am.

Apparently, in normal times, long queues form on the roads leading to the monasteries and the parking spots are full pretty early.

So we would recommend, if the monastery you choose to visit opens at 9.30 am for example ( read on to know why this is important!), get there at 8.30 at the latest.

You won't mind waiting around for a bit as the general scenery surrounding the monasteries is so breathtaking , you won't notice the time passing by.

You probably know by now that we are always early, be it to get the best photo-lighting at the amphitheatre in Pula or seeing the Namib Deadvlei without people spoiling the pictures.

In this case, it's the same thing, haha.

Bring water, snacks and sunscreen

If you plan on staying the whole day, it is essential that you pack lots of water (especially if you hike), something to eat and sunscreen .

While there are little souvenir -trucks outside of every monastery selling water and snacks as well, they are generally totally over-priced .

So get your supplies down in Kalabaka or Kastraki before heading up.

Oh, and in summer it gets super hot up there! And you tend to forget that you're in the blazing sun when gazing at the marvelous scenery: sunscreen all the way!

Dress modestly: no shorts at all, no pants for women

This is something I honestly always struggle with when travelling and visiting 'holy' places.. I'm a scientist and a little feminist .

So yeah, when I hear things like 'women are not allowed to wear pants' (you know, like in pre-Vatican II - times), it always makes me cringing my teeth.

But well, those are the rules they set. So I'm abiding by them. 

In Meteora, this means:

  • Men: no shorts and sleeveless shirts
  • Women: no sleeveless shirts and no pants , skirts below the knee are required

best meteora monastery to visit

Good to know :

In regular times, they have large scarfs at your disposition at every monastery to cover up your shoulders and legs.

In Covid19-times, though, not all the monasteries distribute them.

Opening hours and closing-days are different for each monastery

This is very important, especially when your time is limited and you have a few top-monasteries you absolutely want to visit!

Each monastery has their own opening hours , some even close during lunch-time.

And then there are different closing-days as well. While one might be closed on Thursdays, the other one is on Tuesdays for example. 

Be sure to get all the information at visit-meteora.travel . 

The info on internet is not always up-to-date : be sure to check out the information boards displayed at the entrance of each monastery for the correct information.

And sometimes the monks decide to close the monastery for a few days for whatever reason: you won't find this on the internet either but on a piece of paper at the entrance of each monastery.

The best monasteries to visit in Meteora

Great meteoron or megálo metéoro or metamórphosis.

This is the biggest and most popular one. It's also the oldest monastery, founded in the 14th century by Athanasios the Meteorite .

Being the largest one doesn't mean the most populated one: in 2015, only three monks were registered as residents. 

Transformations occurred in the 15th and 16th century and it hosts a museum with religious artefacts and icons of different eras.

Unfortunately, we encountered the problem I was talking about earlier: while we made sure to check the opening hours on the board at the entrance of the monastery and chose the right day to visit it, we didn't get in.

This was the day the monks decided to spontaneously close for the rest of the week. Exactly the days we were in Meteora.

Oh well, this gives us another reason to come back and check out that monastery! 

Grand Meteora Monastery on a rock

The biggest monastery at Meteora

The Monastery of Varlaam

Built in 1541, it is the second largest of the monasteries. And also the one with the greatest number of monks: seven (also counted in 2015). 

It's foundation dates back to the 14th century, though. Only back then, it was an hermitage , not the monastery it is today.

The museum is very interesting not only because of the artefacts but because it's located in the old refectory (if you like old architecture-styles).

Varlaam Monastery built on a giant rock in sunlight

Varlaam Monastery seen from one of the sunset-spots

Varlaam Monastery inside with red tile roofs and trees and bushes on a courtyard

Inside the Varlaam Monastery

The Monastery of Roussanu or St Barbara

Founded in the 16th century, the monastery had been abandoned by 1940.

In the 1950s, renovation works began and it was converted into a nunnery , the most active today with 13 nuns in residence (counting of 2015, I think I heard something about 15 in 2020).

Very friendly ones, too!

Roussano Monastery surrounded by rock pillars with valley in the background

Roussanu Monastery from above

Roussanu with trees and an elevator

View on the elevator

View from Roussano on the surrounding valley

View from Roussanu

The Monastery of St Stephen

It is known as the ' royal ' one, as the byzantine emperor Andronikos III visited it in 1333 and gifted them lands and money because he was so touched by their sympathy.

Founded in the 14th century, this monastery is also a nunnery today with 28 nuns in residence in 2015. 

This monastery/nunnery is actually the only one that's accessible to people with disabilities as there is a bridge crossing from the parking to the entrance. 

The whole site has been adapted accordingly with elevators at every level-change.

The valley with Kalabaka seen from the St Stephen Monastery and flowers on the left

Views on the valley from St Stephen Monastery

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity

The 15th century Monastery of the Holy Trinity is the least accessible of the inhabited ones.

You actually have to walk down a path several hundred meter, before climbing up the 146 steps (I counted!) to the entrance of the monastery.

It has several icons on display and they kept the windlass with the net in place which shows how the monks used to be hauled up before there were stairs.

This is also the most famous one in Hollywood , as it served as a set for the 1981 James Bond 'For Your Eyes Only' with Roger Moore (I must admit, not a huge fan of these JBs - give me Sean Connery!!).

Old windlass with ropes and net

This is the windlass with the net they used to haul up people and goods at several 100 meters high!

Valley with Kalabaka town with red roofs with rocks and mountains seen from Holy Trinity Monastery

The views from Holy Trinity Monastery are epic as well

Monasteries that are closed to the public

There are a few monasteries that have been restored in the last few years but serve as true hermitages nowadays.

If you google them, the official info will probably be that they are still in ruins . That's because even Wikipedia hasn't updated their page yet...

They are closed to the public but we wanted to cite them nonetheless as it is worth checking them out from the outside.

Monastery of Saint Nicholas Badovas

Founded in the 14th century, this monastery is officially known as still being in ruins although it has been renovated. 

It is not inhabited , though. Anyone up for some isolation-time? The views from up there must be incredible! 

The monastery is located in the canyon between Kastraki and Kalapaka and has been built into a cave in the rock. 

Monastery built into a cave in the rock with balconies and ladders

We didn't get closer than this as the path to get there seemed to be private

Ágios Andónios Monastery

Located right next to Saint Nicholas Badovas, this monastery is a dependency of the Holy Trinity Monastery.

It is said to be in ruins and uninhabited but we did see people on the balconies...

Monastery built into the rock at Meteora with balconies surrounded by trees

See? There's someone sitting on the balcony... it looks pretty inhabited

Ypapanti Monastery

While the official site states that it is indeed open to the public while being the least accessible one, we were standing in front of closed doors after the 30 minute long walk .

And the information board actually stated that the monastery would remain closed . No opening days anymore.

This monastery founded in 1367 has also been restored to its original state but remains uninhabited .

It belongs to the Great Meteoron Monastery and would have been really cool to visit...

Ipapanti Monastery in the rock with lots of trees in front

Too bad this one was closed, that would have been super interesting!

The best photo-spots in Meteora


We usually take pictures with our Iphones and our dsrl , the Nikon 5600 . All pictures were taken with the AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm lens and for the couple shoots, we used this tripod *.

Check out what other travel gear we packed for our road trip through Europe!

Our AirBnB-host gave us great tips in where to find the best spots and his parents were so kind to lead us to the best one and indicate the other - this is great hospitality!

Just like we did for our Dubrovnik-guide , here's a map with our best photo-spots in Meteora!

We did both sunsets and sunrises and tried several spots at different times.

So here's our personal ' Meteora sunset tour ': click on the yellow photo-icons on the map to see the sunset -views you get from each spot.

The two red spots were our favourites for the sunrise . This meant getting up there at 6 am but it was obviously far less crowded and the lighting totally different.

Plus: we brought our mugs and a jar of coffee , so this was pretty cool.

And here are the pictures in full quality (okay, slightly resized for upload-purposes):


This is the most famous one and, naturally, the most crowded one as well. Especially at sunset!

It is still the best spot to get the full view of the valley with several of the Meteora Monasteries in sight!

Meteora Monasteries surrounded by rock pillars and trees at golden hour

One of the absolute best views

This is what people call the ' sunrise-rock ' although we didn't actually take pictures at sunrise as the view was not THAT great.

It's still beautiful, though! But I'd say this is a good alternative if Spot 1 gets too crowded at sunset.

Holy Trinity Monastery seen from the other side with rocks and valley in the background

Looking to the East from spot 2

Green trees, giant rock pillars and foggy valley

Looking to the West from spot 2 (you can see spot 1 on the far right)

This is a very cool one as well as you get a great view on the Holy Trinity Monastery , perched on a lone pillar with the town in the valley behind.

It really looks like it's floating ! 

Holy Trinity Monastery on a lone rock pillar with valley and town Kalabaka behind

The Holy Trinity Monastery floating above the valley

We did this spot twice, once at sunset (pictured here), another time in the morning .

It gives you a beautiful view on the Varlaam Monastery and there's usually nobody there. 

Varlaam with marvelous travelers Cyn and Sebi holding hands on a rock in front of it

Us taking in the grandeur of the site

This is from the parking lot at the foot of the Roussanu Monastery . 

It gives you an impressive view from below to the two biggest monasteries but also a nice one on the St Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery , the only one we did not visit.

St Nikolaos Monastery with giant rocks next to it, a clouded sunset and evening fog

The sun going down behind St Nikolaus Anapafsas Monastery


It's the exact same one as the first of our sunset-spots.

Only the light in the morning is so different and there's nobody here!

So we couldn't help taking a few silly pictures on the rocks as well, haha!

Marvelous Sebi posing on a rock with Varlaam Monastery in the background

Okay, this was already later in the morning - but you get the idea, right?

Meteora Monasteries in the sunrise with marvelous Sebi standing on a rock

This is the mood on Meteora at sunrise

And this is almost the same as the Sunset-spot nr 4 only a bit further down below.

Sebi had to climb a pretty high rock to get that angle! So that's only for the daredevils among you, haha.

Marvelous Cyn in red coat on a rock in front of Varlaam Monastery at sunrise

That morning glow is pretty spectacular as well

Another view on Meteora

If you drive past St Stephen Monastery to the East, you get some really nice views on the surrounding area besides the rock pillars!

There's not much more to see except for a few restaurants that advertise 'magnificent views ' (it's true, though! But we didn't eat there so we don't know about the food quality) but it's worth the little detour as it gets you another view on Meteora.

Trees and yellow grass with a foggy valley in the background

Can you spot the rock pillars in the distance?

And here we are again: this is it!

Our guide on how to visit the magnificent Meteora Monasteries !

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best meteora monastery to visit


Love the post Thanks for sharing Chalkandcheesetravels.com

best meteora monastery to visit


Thank you so much!! This place is truly amazing!

Balcony with flowers next to rock at the foot of the Meteora Monasteries in Kastraki

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Home | How To Visit the Meteora Monasteries in 2024 – Organized Tours or Self-Guided Visits?

How To Visit the Meteora Monasteries in 2024 – Organized Tours or Self-Guided Visits?

by Violeta Matei | Greece Travel Planning , Mainland Greece

#1 top pick

Meteora by sunset

Majestic Meteora Monasteries Sunset Tour

  • ? See all six of the monasteries of this UNESCO World Heritage site & visit inside 1 or 2
  • ? Enjoy personalized attention from your guide on a small-group tour
  • ? Round-trip door-to-door transfers from Kalabaka and Kastraki
  • ? Visit the Byzantine Church of Virgin Mary in the old city of Kalabaka, the Hermitages of Badovas and the secret caves
  • ? Duration: 4 hours
  • ? Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (177 reviews)

Check availability and price

#1 top pick: Private 2-day tour from Athens

meteora monasteries

Private Meteora All Inclusive 2-Day Tour from Athens by Train

  • ? Easy to plan: accommodation, transport and meals all organized in advance
  • ? Fully-personalized private tour with professional guide and expert photographer
  • ? Learn how to get the most out of your camera with personalized tutorials and guidance
  • ? Leave the rental car behind: travel from Athens with included train tickets
  • ? Duration: 2 days (approx.)
  • ? Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (9 reviews)

Meteora monasteries are simply fabulous. Their architecture and the way they are perched on those giant rocks will impress any traveler, no matter how experienced. This religious orthodox complex, which is located in central Greece, boasts one of the most wonderful and intriguing landscapes on Earth. You can’t but admire these man-made constructions that defeat nature in such a way.

The Meteora monasteries complex is the second most important orthodox site in Greece, after Mount Athos. Unlike Mount Athos, though, Meteora monasteries can be visited by women. Well, for reaching some of them you have to be in good physical shape, as you’ll need to climb lots of stairs to get there.

The good news is that many of these monasteries are fairly easy to reach, even though they seem inaccessible at first sight. They are also highly photogenic. Pair your photos with some quotes about Greece and you’re set to amaze your friends and social media followers.

Meteora Greece visiting tips and advice from an expert in Greece travel

Meteora is a Unesco Heritage site in two categories: art and nature. This is one more proof that the natural landscape in majestic and surprising. These sandstone formations are amazing just as they are. When you add the beautiful monasteries on top of these rocks, the landscape becomes surreal. I’ve been fascinated with the seamless way the monasteries “grow” on these cliff tops as if they were natural and not man-made.


Contents of How To Visit the Meteora Monasteries in 2024 – Organized Tours or Self-Guided Visits?

Where in Greece Is Meteora?

What is meteora, how to get from athens to meteora by train, how to get from athens to meteora by bus, how to get from thessaloniki to meteora by train, how to get from thessaloniki to meteora by bus, what is the best time to visit meteora, st. stephen’s convent (agios stefanos), great meteoron monastery, varlaam monastery, roussanou monastery, the holy trinity monastery, st. nikolaos anapafsas, where to sleep in meteora, organized tours to meteora or self-guided trips, is meteora worth visiting.

The monastic complex at Meteora is located in Thessaly, in Central Greece, very close to Kalabaka (other common spelling variants of this name are Kalambaka or Kalampaka) and Trikala. It is very close to the Pindus Mountains and the Pineios river.

The asphalt road that leads here is very good, although curvy and rather narrow. Nonetheless, you don’t need an off-road vehicle to get to Meteora. Any car would do just fine, as long as you don’t fear driving at high altitude on the edge of the abyss. You don’t even need a car, as you can get here by either train or bus. Public transport offers you the great benefit of not having to take a look to see where in Greece is Meteora, as you’d only need to take a train or a bus to get there.

If I didn’t have my own car, I would have chosen a private tour from Kalabaka to see the rocks in the sunset, during the golden hour , or this 5 hour hiking tour of Meteora .

According to the German geologist Filipson, the huge rock formations at Meteora are the result of natural erosion caused by the river which supposedly covered what is today the Thessaly plain. Orthodox monks were too smart to allow all sorts of enemy hoards spoil their serenity. After living in caves for a while, the ascetics built the 21 Meteora monasteries on top of the sandstone megaliths, thus securing a life free from intruders. Most of these rocks on which the Meteora monasteries were built average 1,000 feet (300 m) in height, but there are some that reach 1,800 feet (550 m).

You’ll feel very small as you’re going to stand there, on the edge of the road, looking up to the walls of those monasteries which seem to have been born from the rock itself.

How To Get to Meteora, Greece?

Getting to Meteora from Athens: you can take the train or the bus, or you can rent a car. If you go for a car rental, you may want to stop by Delphi on your way to Meteora, to see the ruins of this ancient temple. Make sure you have at least one hour for Delphi, because the site is huge and you’ll need to climb to get to the top of the hill. There will be tourist buses, so the place will get crowded. Nonetheless, only a small percentage out of all people climb to the ancient stadium on top of the hill. Get there for a cool panorama of the valley.

If you don’t want to drive, the train is perhaps the best option to get to Meteora from Athens. You need to take the Athens Metro Red Line to Anthoupoli, and get off at Larissa Station. If you come straight from the Airport, you’ll be on the Blue Line, and you’ll change at Syntagma. If you are in the center of Athens, just get to Syntagma Square and take the Red Line metro directly.

From Larissa Station, you have to take the train to Kalabaka. I’m not sure how they spell it in Greek, but you should know it is the same as Kalampaka or Kalambaka. Once you’re on the train, you can relax and even take a nap, because Kalabaka is the end of the line. Keep in mind that the train ride takes almost five hours each way, so make sure you have snacks and water with you. They should serve some refreshments in the train, but I’m not very sure, so you’d better be prepared.

Check out this full day train tour from Athens to Meteora Monasteries, and book it here at the price of today, [todaysdate]. You’ll travel by train by yourself, meet the guide and the other members of your group in the Kalabaka train station, and get on a luxury minibus for a 3.5-hour tour of the Meteora Monasteries. You’ll visit all 6 clifftops, but you have to keep in mind that not all monasteries are open every day, so you may only visit one or two inside. Anyway, the most spectacular thing about Meteora is the scenery with buildings on clifftops and huge rocks carved by water and winds.

If you want to take a bus to Meteora, you need to take the Metro (Green Line) to Kato Patissia station. You can take the Green Line Metro at Monastiraki, and you need to head towards Kifissia on the Green Line. At Kato Patissia station, you have to get off the metro and either walk or take a taxi to get to the Liossion Bus Station. The distance is of 1km, so walking shouldn’t be a problem, unless you’re in a hurry or you have physical constrains.

At Liossion Station  you’ll take a bus to Trikala, which is the big town nearby Kalampaka and Meteora. From Trikala, you have to take another bus to Kalampaka. All these are a bit tricky, as you need to change too many buses to have a comfortable trip. As there are over 400 km from Athens to Kalampaka, you can expect the travel to take 4-5 hours, without taking into consideration the waiting time.

If you are a group of maximum 7 people, you should check out this private tour from Athens to Meteora, here at the price of today, [todaysdate]. The driver will pick you up from your hotel, and you’ll embark on a full-day trip that includes also a delicious Greek lunch.

There are many flights from various cities in Europe to Thessaloniki. While Thessaloniki is a beautiful city, the best part are the day trips you can take from here. Getting to Meteora from Thessaloniki by train is easy. Trains depart from the New Railway Station, or “Neos Sidirodromikos Stathmos” which you can reach by public bus or by taxi. You’ll need to take a train to Kalampaka, which is the last station on this line. As most trains from Thessaloniki to Kalambaka switch at Palaeofarsalos, you’ll need to stay tuned until you pass this point Also, the return train timetable in advance, so that you can plan your visit to the monasteries.

The bus is a great option to get to Meteora from Thessaloniki. You have to get to the KTEL bus station in Thessaloniki. There are many city bus lines that take you there, so you won’t have a problem with that. From this bus station, hop on a bus to Trikala, and then take another bus to Kalambaka. Should you be willing to spend one night in Kalambaka or Trikala, you can take an evening bus from Thessaloniki (I think the last one leaves at 9pm. The journey takes about 2.5 hours.

If you’re keen on traveling by train, you can buy your tickets in advance here . If you prefer the bus, you’ll pay your fare to the driver. If you are by car, keep in mind that some portions of the travel are on toll roads. I found it funny that they charge you 2 Euro every few kilometers instead of letting you go as far as you need and charge you the total amount when you exit the motorway.

Click here to book your spot on this bus tour from Thessaloniki to Meteora . You won’t have to bother with anything, just relax and enjoy your guided tour.

Peak season is between July and October. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can visit Meteora, Greece, in the beginning of June or mid-October. Nonetheless, you should keep an eye on the weather forecast, as it can get quite rainy during these months.

I’ve been to Meteora twice: once in June and the second time in September. I’ve been blessed with good weather both times. Although in June it was overcast, it didn’t rain a lot, so I had a great time visiting the monasteries. Unfortunately, most photos from that tour came out dull. However, if you’re lucky to get to Meteora on a sunny day, you’ll experience one of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine. Late fall could also be a great time to visit, as the foliage changes from green to a rainbow of warm colors, creating an epic scenery.

When I visited Meteora in September, I arrived just before the sunset. Watching the sunset on the rocks is a wonderful experience. The photos of the monasteries and of the mountains came off pretty good, as well.

Meteora Greece landscape

This is the town of Kalambaka –  view from Meteora

As the winter opening hours are different from the summer ones, you should check the schedule before planing your trip to Meteora.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken on my second trip to Meteora, in early September, on a lovely weather.

Meteora by sunset

The Meteora Monasteries

Out of the 21 Meteora monasteries, only six are still erect today. Two of them are nunneries, the other four being inhabited by monks. If you want to visit all of them, you’ll need 2-3 days. The trail between the monasteries is quite long. Besides, not all monasteries are open every day, so you won’t be able to see them all in one day, even if you forget about hiking and go by car. There are also other interesting landmarks in the Kalambaka area such as the Byzantine Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary and the prehistoric cave in Theopetra.

Located on the southern edge of Meteora, Agios Stefanos is the closest monastery to Kalabaka. The access is very easy thanks to the stone bridge that connects the monastery with the main road. Nowadays the bridge is permanent, as opposed to past times when it was mobile. The easy access, with no stairs to climb, makes the Saint Stephen Monastery accessible to travelers with walking problems.

Meteora monasteries saint stephen

The Agios Stefanos monastery is closed on Mondays.

The Great Meteoron is the biggest of the Meteora monasteries. Easily accessible by car and bus, it is almost always packed with tourists. I’d suggest you either get there before 9am or skip it altogether. We were there, on the mountain around 8:30 am and we already saw at least three buses stopping by the Great Meteoron.

Great Meteoron Monastery

The Great Meteoron Monastery is closed on Tuesdays.

For some reason, Varlaam is my favorite monastery in Meteora. Its history goes back in time to year 1350, when the priest and monk Varlaam built a small church and a few dwellings on top of this rock which served him as home. Unfortunately, after his death, nobody took care of those constructions, so they eventually collapsed.

About 200 years had to pass until the brothers Nectarios and Theofanis climbed this rock and built another church on the ruins of the old one. Today, Varlaam monastery has three churches. It shelters some beautiful frescoes, ancient pottery and various holy items. This Greek monastery also boasts a big library.

water storage in Varlaam monastery, Meteora Greece

Water storage in Varlaam monastery, Meteora Greece. I was sure they used it for wine, but the books say it was water all the way.

The Varlaam Monastery is closed on Fridays.

If you want a station point for stunning images of Meteora and of Varlaam and Metamorphosis monasteries, Roussanou is the place to go. Located on a relatively smaller rock, this monastery is easier to access than many others.

Roussanou Monastery in Meteora Greece

If you get to the Holy Trinity monastery a few minutes before 9am, you’ll be able to see the cable car in motion (and take some cool photos). Unfortunately, the cabin is completely closed and made from metal, so there’s nothing spectacular about it other than the fact that it slides on those ropes. Nonetheless, this is one of the best places to start your tour from.

Although the monastery seems very difficult to get to, don’t let yourself intimidated by that. The stairway is carved into the rock and it isn’t too steep. If you don’t have any disabilities, you should be able to climb it without problems. I’ve seen a lot of seniors doing it.

Holy Trinity monastery with cable car moving on wires

The Holy Trinity is closed on Thursdays

As it is the first one to access when you come from Kalambaka, this monastery is hard to miss. If this is your first time to Meteora Greece, you’ll probably stop for photos, as you’ll be impressed with the dramatic scenery. I don’t have any good photos of Saint Nikolaos Anapafsas, but I’ll be there in less than one week. Meanwhile, keep an eye on my Facebook page where I’ll post photos from my road trip across mainland Greece.

This holy monastery is closed on Fridays.

If you want to have a good choice of hotels and restaurants, you should get accommodation in Kalambaka. If you want to be even closer to the monasteries, you should try to find accommodation in Kastraki (Kastrakion), the village nearby Meteora.

I’ve been reading on some websites that Kastraki caters mainly to those who love a rural style accommodation. However, I found it to be quite developed, so I’d say it is for all types of travelers. You’ll find accommodation with panoramic view to Meteora monasteries in both Kalambaka and Kastraki.

Kalabaka by sunrise with view to Meteora

How would you like a room with a view like the one above? That was the view from my room in Kalambaka, hotel Kosta Famissi – find the current rates and book a room here .

If you want to stay in Kastraki, take a look at Kastelia , a guest house that offers room with kitchen and private bathroom. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to hike or get to some of the Meteora monasteries by foot.

This is a tough one. On one hand, getting to see the Meteora monasteries with a guide will enable you to find out lots of details and historical facts, while also enjoying the breathtaking views of this place. On the other hand, doing your own thing enables you to stop wherever you like and to customize your tour as you wish.

Here are a few Meteora tours you may want to take a closer look at. Even if you don’t book any of them, they can serve you as planning guide, as they can help you understand how much time you need to visit each monastery and what else to visit in the area.

My answer is a big YES. Meteora is one of the must-see places in Greece, even if you have to take a day trip from Athens. If possible, try to spend at least one night in the area, in order to enjoy the sunset on the cliffs.

Meteora Greece visiting tips and advice from an expert in Greece travel

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visit meteora

updated January 2024

Are you ready to explore some of the most amazing and unique geography that Greece has to offer? Whether you’re on your first Greek holiday, or you’re now planning to visit after many years of Greek Island hopping , the mainland of Greece should not be overlooked. When you visit Meteora you will experience one of the most prized cultural and historical landmarks in the country, and in fact in all of Europe.

There is nothing quite like Meteroa anywhere in the world!

Often described as stunning works of architecture set in a landscape that is as unique as it is breath-taking, the six monasteries of Meteora are visited every year by many tourists yet still seem uncrowded and completely accessible.

They also represent an important part of Greek history and the link between the early formation of Christian doctrine and the Turkish occupation of Greece during the 11th century AD.

best meteora monastery to visit

How to get to Meteora

There are two ways to get to Meteora: either by signing up for one of the numerous guided Meteora tours from Athens or Thessaloniki or by using your own means of transport and staying a night or two in the city of Kalambaka or the village of Kastraki, and visiting the monasteries at your own pace.

  Book a Meteora Tour

The great thing about joining a Meteora Tour is that you don’t have to plan much of anything, and the itinerary you follow takes into account when each of the monasteries is open.

There are a number of tours you can consider, such as the 3 day Rail Tour , the stunning Meteora Sunset Tour or the 3-day coach tour.  If you’re in a hurry, you can even consider a quicker tour like the Half-Day Sightseeing Tour which only takes about four hours plus travel time.

The tour we recommend the most involves staying overnight in the area. This means you can see Meteora at sunset (and sunrise if you are really keen) which really is the best time to see it in all its glory. The colours of the sky behind the extraordinary rock formations is truly something to behold!

This tour is done by a private driver who picks you up in Athens and includes a guide for your time at the Monasteries. You will also stop off at Thermopylae , the battlefield for the ‘ 300′ Spartans in their legendary fight against the Persians. The price is for two people and increases with more people. By using this link you will also  receive a 10% discount!  

Important tips for visiting the Meteora Monasteries!

1. Most of the Monasteries have a lot of stairs! The Grand Meteoron Monastery has the most with over 300 steps, so it does require a reasonable level of mobility and fitness.  Rousanou, Varlaam and Saint Nicolaos have an average number of 140. St. Stephens is the most accessible with only a couple of steps and a small footbridge over to the entry.

2. Not all monastaries are open every day – see the opening times further down in the article. Most people visit two or three monastaries, although they can all be admired from the outside of course.

3. It costs 3 euro per person to visit each one. Children under 12 are free.

4. It is a requirement of all religious sites in Greece to dress modestly. This means covered knees and shoulders. It is good to dress appropriately but if you forget they can rent you scarves/wraps to use for a small fee.

5. It is illegal to fly drones over religious sites in Greece without a permit.

Visit Meteora independently

It is also quite easy to visit Meteora yourself by driving or using public transport. Once there you can either drive yourself around the Monasteries or join a local tour such as this tour from Kalambaka.

Driving to Meteora

To get to Meteora from Athens, you have to travel northwest of the Greek capital and keep going through the Greek countryside until you reach your destination. The roughly 358km trip can be completed in 6-7 hours.

Hiring a taxi or renting a car is a popular choice among foreigners since it provides a more personalized approach to the trip and to the route that you can take. Although more expensive than a bus or a train, this is a good way to visit Meteora, especially if you want to stop at a few other destinations along the way.

If you wish to discover the country at your own leisure,the best option is to hire a car.

To get to Meteora from Athens by car, take the freeway E75 and head to   Lamia-Karditsa-Trikala-Kalambaka.   It will take around 4 hours and 30 minutes (375 km away).

Parking at Meteora

There is plenty of parking at each of the Monasteries and overflow parking at some of the bigger ones. It can get busy between April and October from about 11 am when tour buses arrive so try and get there early or late.

The ring road delivers you quickly and easily from one to the next and is very well kept and maintained. Far from being a hair-raising road experience as is sometimes the case in Greece, this is a very easy place to drive even for novices.

How to get to Meteora by Train 

If you plan on taking the train from Athens, the nearest stop to Meteora is Kalampaka ( see below).

This is a very long day with over 9 hours of traveling and limited time in Meteora. It’s a pleasant enough journey but you won’t be able to stop and see anything else along the way.

There are several trains that depart from Athens (Larissa Railway Station) to Kalambaka every day.   The direct train leaves at 8:20 am and takes 4 hours and 50 minutes. The price of a one-way ticket costs between €15 and €20. The direct train back to Athens departs at 5:22 pm and gets to the capital at 10:12 pm.

For more information check out the Hellenic Train Website (you can usually only book tickets about a month in advance).

If you do want to visit Meteora by train it’s a good idea to do an organised train tour as that way you are managed door to door. You will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the train station, assisted when changing trains, collected at Kalambaka train station, and taken up to see three Monasteries and then return again. 

Announcement! In 2023 many train tracks were badly damaged in the September floods and  some trains have been suspended until further notice. Part of a train trip to Meteora may involve a bus service instead.

Visit Meteora by Bus

It is possible to visit Meteora by bus from many locations including Athens, Volos, Ioannina, Thessaloniki or Patras as well as numerous small towns along the way.

For more information check out the KTel website.

E-Bike Tours of Meteora

This is a relatively new way of getting around the Monasteries and is great for people with some e-bike experience. Once you arrive by car, train, or bus you can rent a bike or join an e-bike tour. It’s especially nice to do this on a sunset tour when the weather is much cooler and the sunset is breathtaking. The Monasteries are still magnificent to see even when closed and the background is simply stunning.

Obviously, these can be weather affected, however.

Hiking in Meteora

Hiking up to the Monasteries is a popular activity. From Kastraki it is possible to do a short hike to two of the monasteries but a serious hike can get you to all of them, as well as the hermit caves. There are several routes and a number of guided tours you can do too. Be mindful of the dress requirements for the Monasteries as stated above.

Fly to Meteora

There is no airport at Meteora nor in the surrounding towns. Athens airport is over four hours away by car. You can however fly from Athens to Ioaninna and hire a car as we have done in the past. This is a very easy and pleasant drive that takes about 90 minutes and there is some stunning scenery along the way.  

Weather in Meteora

Summer is the driest time, storms occurring all year round especially at higher altitudes.

Average monthly temperatures are;  

weather in meteora

Where to stay – which Meteora hotels are best?

meteora accommodation

Do NOT stay in Trikala or anywhere else many of the booking sites will have you believe are in Meteora. They are not. Don’t get me wrong they are nice towns and if you have a few spare days they are really worth some time but not if your objective is to stay near the Monasteries of Meteora.

Kalambaka Hotels

Kalambaka is a nice town of roughly 12,000 inhabitants. The city’s architecture, culture, and fascinating history make it worth a few days or even longer here.  There are a number of places of interest here including the Natural History Museum of Meteora and Mushroom Museum as well as the Church of Dormition of the Virgin Mary ( see other Things to Do below).

Hotels in Kalambaka that we recommend are Hotel Kaikis and Epavlis Hotel.

If you don’t have a car you can join a tour from Kalambaka.

meteora accommodation

Kastraki Hotels

Kastraki is a small and quite charming Greek village that has a number of excellent tavernas and some really picturesque scenery.

It is quiet and peaceful and there are some truly stunning views from some of the hotels especially at sunset and sunrise. You can even walk up to the Monasteries from here if you are fit and adventurous.

We really enjoyed our stay at Doupani House which is a traditional hotel with very friendly service and absolutely breathtaking views. It’s a great choice for a Meteora Hotel. If this is booked out then we recommend Hotel Kastraki which is just around the corner or Tsikeli Hotel for an adults-only experience.

If you are travelling in a group and would like to stay in the area a while ( which I strongly recommend!) then then check out Zosimas House which has 2 bedrooms, can sleep 6 people and has amazing views. For something even bigger then Vista delle Rocce has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 8.

If you would like to join a tour to visit the monasteries this tour will pick you up from either Kalambaka or Kastraki.

kastraki meteora

Where to eat in Meteora

The fertile plains of Thessaly are the food bowl of Greece and grown a multitude of crops year-round that feed the country and other parts of Europe.

As a result, the food on offer at cafes and tavernas is first-rate and has to be some of the most delicious, and best priced, in the country.

If you are able to drive around the area you will see many food stalls selling fruit and vegetables such as berries, apples, walnuts, figs, and grapes as well as honey and smallgoods. Wine in this area is very good and it is possible to visit some local wineries.

Every meal we had in Kastraki and Kalambaka was excellent but these 3 places are exceptional; 

  •   Tavern Ouzeri Pappas, Kastraki
  •   Taverna Bakaliarakia, Kastraki
  •   Meteoron Panorama, Kalambaka

Visit Meteora Monasteries

Each of the six Meteora monasteries have their own stories to reveal and are steeped in history and intrigue. They are all unique and impressive, filled with spiritual wisdom, serenity and the promise of a remarkable travel experience you will never forget.

Opening hours for Meteora Monastaries

Each monastery has its own visiting days and hours, and while one monastery might be open on a certain day, others might be closed. If you’re not following a tour, and you plan on visiting Meteora by taxi, by car or by train, it’s important to plan ahead and consider avoiding the times when the monasteries you are interested in are closed.

That said they are all good and you can still view all of them from the outside, which is arguably the best vantage point anyway.

In 2024 the opening hours for Meteora Monasteries are:

Great Meteoron   09:00-15:00 closed Tuesdays, and Nov 1 to March 31 09:00 – 14:00  closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays Holy Trinity   09:00-17:00 closed Thursdays, winter is 10:00 to 16:00 Varlaam   09:00-15:00 closed Tuesdays, and Nov 1 to March 31 09:00 – 14:00 closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays Roussanou   10:00-16:00 from April 1 to October 31, and closed Wednesdays. November 1 to March 31st  09:00-14:00  closed Wednesdays St. Stephen   09:00-13:30 and 15:30-17:30 closed Mondays, 09:30 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 17:00 in winter St. Nicholas Anapafsas   09:00-17:00, closed Fridays and Nov 1 to March 31 closes at 17:00 with Sundays being 09:30 to 16:00

The Great Meteoron Monastery

meteora monastery

The Great Meteoron Monastery is the oldest, largest and most famous of the monasteries. It is located at an impressive 615 meters above sea level, and it towers above the other monasteries atop a giant and highly imposing stone pillar.

More like a small village than a single Monastery the complex is made up of a series of different buildings.  There are numerous icons and artifacts dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as a museum, a kitchen and a wine cellar. 

The main cathedral in the central courtyard is embellished with beautiful 16th century frescoes. 

Roussanou monestary

meteora monastery

The beautiful wall-paintings of the Catholicon were executed in 1560, when the priest-monk Arsenios was the abbot of the monastery.

Today the Roussanou monastery is inhabited by nuns and has been since 1988. It is set on a lower rock, so you can access it quite easily via a bridge, and inside you’ll find some interesting frescoes.

meteora monastery

Varlaam Monastery

visit meteora

Founded around 1350 by a monk named Varlaam, the Varlaam Monastery has a fascinating history, having been abandoned at one time for more than a century. It is the second biggest Monastery and is located across from Great Meteoron.

The elegant monastery Catholicon was built in the honour of Agioi Pantes in 1541-42, by two brothers from Ioannina, the priest-monks Hosioi Theophanes and Nectarios the Apsarades.

Renovated in 1512, it now houses a famous ecclesiastic museum and a barrel that could at one time hold up to 12 tons of rainwater. Varlaam gives you the best insight into the design, engineering and construction of the monasteries and how the Monks operated for many centuries without modern science or amenities.

You can still see the original winches and nets the monks used to haul goods and indeed, each other, up and down the rock face as well as original wine barrels and food storage.

Other buildings in the Monastery include a kitchen and a small hospital as well as a bibliographic workshop and workshop of equisite gold-embroidery

best meteora monastery to visit

The word Anapafsis translates to ‘resting’ from Greek so it is thought this monastery is so named as a place to rest before the more arduous journey up to the other monasteries beyond.

The site is small and construction would have been very challenging.  At the entrance of the Monastery lies the Church of St. Anthony and the crypt where the codes and the monastery’s heirlooms were previously stored. Each level is them built vertically and is accessed by a narrow staircase.

Also, you’ll find some prized artwork inside, including the frescoes of the well-known painter, Theophanes Strelitzas.

St. Stephen’s monastery

meteora and surrounds

If your accommodation is in Kalambaka, chances are you can see St. Stephen’s monastery all the way from there, as it’s the only monastery visible from the city.

This monastery is now also inhabited by nuns rather than Monks. Visiting St. Stephens is quite a treat as you will be greeted by the hospitality of the nuns and the unique pieces found in the religious museum inside the monastery, as well as their beautiful gardens. 

St. Stephen’s Monastery also has two cathedrals; the old 16th-century chapel which was severely damaged during WWII and the consequent Greek Civil War , and the 18th-century main cathedral that is dedicated to Saint Charalambos and includes his holy relics.

The monastery is the most accessible and is the best Meteora monastery for people with mobility issues . There is a small solid bridge leading straight to the entry from the carpark and only a couple of wide steps to enter the main complex.

The gardens are really quite impressive as are the amazing views of the entire Valley of Thessaly and the mountain ranges beyond.

Holy Trinity Monastery

meteora monastery

Famous for being featured in the James Bond movie, Four Your Eyes Only, the Holy Trinity Monastery, also known as Agia Triada,  is set on a very steep rock and is the most difficult monasteries to access. Close to the Saint Stephen’s Nunnery it has been an organized Monastery since 1362.

Visitors have to follow a pathway that directs them initially to the foot of the rock before they climb 140 steps. Once upon a time, it was only accessed by ropes!

According to its tumultuous history, the monastery was looted during WWII by the Germans, and only a few of the once-prized treasures housed there still remain to this day.

Most popular is the chapel of Timios Prodromos (St John the Forerunner), a small circular church with a cupola, decorated with wall-paintings of fine art dating from 1682.

Other things to do in Meteora and surrounds  

Holy temple of dormition of the virgin mary.

byzantine church kalambaka

Apart from the Monasteries of Meteora the Byzantine Temple of Dormition of the Mother of God is the most important monument in Kalabaka.

It was erected between the 10th and 11th century on the ruins of an early Christian Royal. It has a three-aisled basilica and, unique to Greece, a central Pulpit.

Part of the floor mosaic is intact whilst the walls are covered in restored paintings and frescoes from the 12th to 17th centuries.

Nowadays the church is still used as a place of worship although a small entry fee is charged for visitors outside service hours.

There are rarely many tourists and it is quite a remarkable place to see and feel the sheer age and gravity for yourself.

byzantine church kalambaka

Trikala is the capital of Thessaly and is a pretty town less than an hour south of Meteora by car and centrally located on the Thessaly plains. It sits by the Lithaios River and has had a colorful history since antiquity.

There is quite a lot to see and do in the area and you can do many of them as a day trip from Kalambaka or Kastraki whilst visiting Meteora or stay a night or two to dig a bit deeper.

The main sites include:

  • Trikala Byzantine Castle
  • Osman Shah Mosque
  • the archaeological site of Asklepieion of Trikke
  • The Old City of Trikala – built between the 17th and 19th centuries 
  • several Stone Bridges ( see below)

The stone bridges of Trikala

stone bridge meteora

Sarakina Bridge

One of the largest of the Greek Stone Bridges at 123 meters long this bridge was originally built in 1520 and sits over the river Peneus near Trikala. It was built by Bishop Varrasion of Larisa and originally had six arches.

During the  famous battle in 1878 between local Chieftains and the Turks here there were several casualties in the Turkish defeat. The bridge of Sarakina is approximately 1 Kilometer north-west  from Sarakina village and served the transport  route to Diava. 

Because of its impressive shape and stability Sarkina Bridge is consider a significant monument, not only for the Thessaly Plain, but also for the wider Greek and Balkan area.

Palaiokarya Stone Bridge  

stone bridge trikala

This bridge is quite hard to find and we almost gave up after several wrong turns. I’m very glad we persevered however as it is incredibly beautiful, and due to its hidden nature, devoid of visitors!

The bridge was built at the beginning of the 15th century by the owner of the nearby Dousiko Monastery, Saint Bessarion.

It was built on a rocky trough above the riverbed bridging the Palsiokarites River and aided the Pylis community with their farms and water supply. The dam behind it was not built until 1975  which better helps to irrigate the surrounding valley. As a result, there are two waterfalls that make the bridge quite unique and very special.

To visit Palaiokarya stone bridge you continue west from Pyli and Pyli Stone bridge to Stournareika. Just before you reach Stournareika village you will see a sign for Ropotos village, you continue straight. After a few meters, you will come across the signs for “Ano Palaiokarya”, “Mesi Palaiokarya” and “Palaiokarya”.

Continue on and you will come across the sign below and you turn left on a dirt road. You will come across the bridge in about 100 meters and there is plenty of room to park. There are no shops or facilities here however there are a few good tavernas in the nearby village of Ropotos.

trikala stone bridge

Stone Bridge of Pyli

The Stone Bridge of Pyli is located two kilometers west of the village Pyli and about 20 minutes away from Trikala. It is fairly easy to find and is right on the main road that heads into the mountains. The bridge sits over the Portaikos River and until 1936 this bridge was the only way to get from Thessaly to Epirus.

It was built in 1514 by Saint Bissarion and is the second-largest arch bridge of Thessaly. It has a high stone semicircular arch that is 29 meters wide and 13 meters high and is constructed of limestone and sandstone. The total length is 65 meters.The bridge was restored in 1968 and 1983 and again in2006.

The area around the bridge is lush and green with many big trees and is a lovely spot for a picnic.

There is a large car park  and a number of small shops and stalls selling fruit, snacks, and drinks and is a great stopping off point if you are planning on heading up to the villages of Koziakas, Elati, Pertoyli, Neraidohori and the larger area of Aspropotamos including the ski fields.

bridge near trikala

The Cave of Theopetra

Considered to be one of the most important prehistoric sites in Greece this cave is home to the oldest known man-made structure in the world, a wall that is believed to be 23,000 years old. It is also where the oldest human footprints in Europe have been found, thought to be from four children.

The site is believed to be over 130,000 years old and numerous artifacts including tools, animal remains and other relics have been found here.

Archeologists believe this is where Modern Humans first evolved from Neanderthals and later transition to farmers after the Ice Age. This truly is the birthplace of farming!

The Cave can be found just outside the village of Theopetra which is 5 kilometres south of Kalambaka/Meteora.

Check the official page for opening hours. 

visit meteora

Final thoughts on visiting Meteora

As you can see there is a lot to see and do when you visit Meteora and it’s not just limited to the Monasteries.

Its a truly extraordinary part of the world and is one of the most most beautiful regions we have ever visited anywhere. The Monasteries are comparable to visiting somewhere like Petra for their sheer grandeur and impressive architecture and engineering and the geology of the area only adds to the awe.

The surrounding valley and mountains are lush, green and provide a real contrast to the dry and sometimes desolate islands many tourists will only see and the area provides great insight into agriculture, farming and other industries based on nature and the environment.

Many people rush this part of the world in a single day or perhaps an overnight trip but in reality, it really is a destination that will continue to impress you even more if you invest a few days into it.

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best meteora monastery to visit


9 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do at the Metéora Monasteries

Written by Jane Foster and Carri Wilbanks Updated Dec 26, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Rising from the Plain of Thessaly in mainland Greece, Metéora is a mesmerizing group of vertical rocks, reaching up to 300 meters high, which time has twisted into bizarre and beautiful formations. And perched atop these rocks are the monasteries of Metéora, constructed from 1356 onwards, which appear to hang in the air above the rocks, and are some of the most fairy-tale, magical places to visit in all of Greece.

There were once 24 monasteries, but that number has dwindled over the centuries, and today there are just six monasteries that are still occupied.

One of the best ways to explore these sacred sites, which have been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site , is on foot, hiking between them. Just remember, while this experience may be one of the top things to do in Greece for tourists , for the monks, these structures are places of peace, prayer, and meditation, and respect is paramount. Plan your experience touring these unique attractions with our list of the top things to do at the Metéora Monasteries.

1. The Great Meteoron Monastery

2. monastery of varlaám, 3. monastery of ayía triáda (holy trinity), 4. monastery of áyios nikólaos anapafsás (st. nicholas), 5. monastery of rousanoú (st. barbara), 6. monastery of áyios stéfanos (st. stephen), 7. hiking the meteora monasteries, 8. kalambáka, 9. kastraki, where to stay in metéora for sightseeing, map of attractions & things to do at the metéora monasteries.

Great Meteoron Monastery

The biggest and most visited of the remaining monasteries, The Great Metéoron was founded by Athanasios the Meteorite in 1356 and enlarged in the second half of the 14th-century by his disciple and successor Ioasaph, son of Serbian King Simeon. It is in a wonderful setting, with stunning views across the surrounding landscape. The tombs of both Athanasios and Ioasaph are in the frescoed church here.

There is also an on-site museum, which besides displaying religious icons and books, highlights the role of the Orthodox church in Greece's struggle for freedom from the Turks. It also illustrates the Greeks' resistance to the Germans in WWII.

Monastery of Varlaám

Perched atop a 373-meter cliff and reached from the other side by climbing 195 steps, Varlaam is the second biggest monastery, after the Great Metéoron . The monastery was founded in 1517 on the site of the old hermitage of the hermit Varlaam (from whom it takes its name).

The monastery was built by two brothers, Theophonais and Nektarios Apsaradas, who were monks. They also enlarged the original chapel, and in 1548, Byzantine iconographer Frangos Kastellanos decorated the monastery.

Inside, you can visit the serene 16th-century church complete with frescoes, many of which were painted by Kastellanos, and the old refectory, which houses a small museum. There is also a second church on the north side of the grounds that is dedicated to the Three Bishops and is referred to as the Chapel of the Three. It has a square-shaped cross on its roof and was constructed in 1627.

Monastery of Ayía Triáda (Holy Trinity)

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity is probably the most visually dramatic monastery and is approached by climbing up 140 steps. If it looks familiar, it was featured in the hanging-basket scene of the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only (1981). It's one of the most difficult to access of the Meteora monasteries due to the steepness of the trail and the steps. But once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas over the Plain of Thessaly and Kalabaka about 300 meters below.

Founded in 1438, its main church is much newer, dating from 1798. In 1909, a group of Greek archaeologists surveying the grounds discovered a crypt with 47 rare parchments and ancient codes. The monastery was heavily damaged during WWII but extensively renovated in the 1970s.

Monastery of Áyios Nikólaos Anapafsás (St. Nicholas)

The closest monastery to the village of Kastraki at just one kilometer away, St. Nicholas makes for another super dramatic photo. It is approached by climbing a steep hill, followed by a flight of steps. Founded in 1368 and enlarged in 1628, it is much-loved for its tiny church, decorated with incredible frescoes painted by the Cretan artist Theophanes in 1527, the most memorable depicting "Adam naming the Animals."

Monastery of Rousanoú (St. Barbara)

The Monastery of Rousanoú stands boldly perched upon a slender pinnacle of rock. Dedicated to the "Transfiguration" but honored to Saint Barbara, Rousanou was probably built in 1288 and renovated as a monastery in 1545. The monastery was heavily damaged in WWII fighting but restored in the 1980s. It became a convent in 1988, and is inhabited by nuns who tend its lovely, small garden.

The monastery is comprised of one main building that takes up the cliff's whole surface area, giving it the impression of being carved out of the rock. In an effort to increase interior space, the building was built in three levels.

Monastery of Áyios Stéfanos (St. Stephen)

The most accessible of all the monasteries, St. Stephen's is approached via a footbridge and requires no climbing of steps. In an awesome setting, with spectacular views over the valley (from the balcony), it stands close to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. The nuns who live here are welcoming and keep it in perfect order, with a beautiful chapel adorned with frescoes and ornate golden details.

Hiking in Meteora

The best way to explore Metéora is on foot, hiking from monastery to monastery. This allows you to really immerse yourself in the scenery and experience of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll want to wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water.

If you aren't up for hiking on your own, or you want to get some perspective on what you are seeing from a local guide, join an organized hiking trip. Companies like Visit Meteora Travel offer small-group, half-day guided hiking adventures to the monasteries that include transport.


The most convenient base for visiting the Metéora monasteries, thanks to its choice of sizeable hotels, guest houses, and restaurants, the town of Kalambáka (Kalampaka) (Kalabaka) caters to groups of tourists and pilgrims, and thrives primarily on tourism.


More authentic than Kalambáka (which lies just two kilometers away), the unspoilt village of Kastraki is built into a hillside below two massive rocky pinnacles and is an attraction in itself. Made up of mid-19th century cottages with terra cotta tile roofs and wooden window shutters, Kastraki is a conservation village, so new building is restricted. From here, a marked footpath leads up to the monasteries.

There is accommodation in the villages around the Metéora monasteries, like Kalambaka and Kastraki, although options are limited – you aren't going to find any five-star hotels here. That said, the guesthouses and hotels recommended here offer easy access to sightseeing in this magical destination.

Luxury & Mid-Range Hotels :

  • There are no true luxury hotels here. But for amazing views from large balconies in comfy rooms, friendly owners, and an excellent free breakfast, try the 3-star Pyrgos Adrachti in Kastraki.
  • The family-run Hotel Kastraki , with comfortable rooms and beautiful views, is another excellent option.
  • Also try the mid-range choice, Doupiani House Hotel , in larger Kalambaka, which features old-world style, panoramic views, a wonderful breakfast buffet, and comfortable beds.
  • The Delles Boutique Hotel is another mid-range option, which is popular with families. Breakfast is included.

Budget Hotels:

  • Alsos House offers budget-friendly rates in a traditional guesthouse. It has great customer service and a friendly house cat, and rooms with kitchenettes are available.
  • Also in the budget price bracket is the Kosta Famissi Hotel , which offers clean rooms with great views.

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The 7 best monasteries to visit in meteora, greece.

Author: Janice Vazquez | Last updated: November 22, 2023

Monasteries situated on rocks and lots of forest

Meteora is a region in central Greece, near the town of Kalambaka in the region of Thessaly. It is known for its stunning natural rock formations and monasteries built on of them. The name “Meteora” comes from the Greek work “meteoreos,” which means “suspended in the air” or “up high”. 

The monasteries were constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries and were designed to be inaccessible to outsiders as a means of protecting the monks. At one point, there were two dozen monasteries across Meteora; today only 7 monasteries remain active and open to the public. One monastery is not open to the public, but you can view it from a distance. Read on to learn about the best Monasteries to visit in Meteora, admission, location and the Meteora monasteries visiting hours.

People walking up to Holy Monastery of Grand Meteoron in Meteora, Greece

1. Holy Monastery of Grand Meteoron

  • Admission: 3 euros
  • Visiting Hours (Summer): 9 AM – 15:00 PM
  • Visiting Hours (Winter): 9 AM – 14:00 PM
  • Closed: Every Tuesday (Summer), Wednesday, Thursday
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Y7vf5v2viEKcHTSJ6

Overview: The Holy Monastery of Grand Meteoron is the largest and oldest of the monasteries at Meteora. Monk Athanasios Koinovitis built the monastery in the 14th century. Building this monastery was a difficult and dangerous task, but Athanasios and the others were motivated by their deep religious beliefs and a desire to establish a place of solitude and worship. Fun fact: The name comes from the size of the monastery with great manuscripts. Visiting: The monastery was accessible by walking across a bridge and then climbing up 300 steps. Inside, we saw the church (no photos or videos), the ecolastical museum (downstairs), the museums of history and folkore, and manuscripts and newmartyrs exhibition hall.  Time Needed: 1 hour

Fog in fron of Saint Stephan Monastery front entrance in Meteora, Greece

2. Saint Stephan Monastery

  • Visiting Hours (Summer): 9 AM – 13:30, 15:30 PM – 17:30 PM
  • Visiting Hours (Winter): 9:30 AM – 13:00, 15:00 PM – 17:00 PM Closed: Every Monday
  • Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/PqvqFfaRKMQXiJYt8

Overview: Saint Stephan’s Monastery was built in the 14th century and has undergone several renovations. It is known for the architectural style, which combines both elements of Byzantine and post-Byzantine design. Fun Fact: This is the most self-sufficient nunnery with 33 nuns doing all of the tasks. Visiting: The monastery was easily accessible by a small bridge. Inside, we saw a church and a museum. Time Needed: 40 minutes

Sun beams on top of Monastery of Varlaam in Meteora, Greece, which stands on a rock

3. Monastery of Varlaam

  • Visiting Hours (Winter): 9:00 AM – 14:00 PM
  • Closed: Every Tuesday (Summer), Wednesday and Thursdays
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EtrJhb1z4tK7sUow6

Overview: Saint Varlaam, monk from Serbia, came in the year 1350 and gathered materials to build a small shelter. It took him 23 years to build the chapel; he carried all the materials with his hands. After his death, the monastery was abandoned for almost 200 years. Then, two rich brothers came and donated their money to expand the church. They also built another church dedicated to all of the saints. 

Visiting: The monastery was accessible by walking across the bridge and then climbing up 140 steps. We paid 3 euros a person to enter. Inside, we saw the church, the wooden barrel (contains 12000 liters of wine), the net (transportation device), the exhibition, and the museum.

Time Needed: 50 minutes

Holy Trinity Monastery in Meteora, Greece roof can be seen beyond the valley

4. Holy Trinity Monastery

  • Visiting Hours (Summer): 9 AM – 17:00 PM
  • Visiting Hours (Winter): 10 AM – 16:00 PM
  • Closed: Every Thursday
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xi7VWGa3nZyaTPk57

Overview: The Holy Trinity Monastery was built in the 14th century by a monk named Dometious. It has the best view and is the most authentic monastery because it doesn’t have any exhibition or museum. It’s the same monastery as it was 100 years ago. The monastery was featured in the James Bond 007 film ‘For your eyes only’. The Holy Trinity is considered to be the most iconic monastery in Meteora. Fun Fact: Currently, only one monk lives inside the monastery. 

Visiting: The monastery was accessible by walking down the hill and then climbing 300 steps. It took about 10 minutes to reach the entrance. Inside, we saw the church, courtyard, and panoramic views of Meteora. 

Time Needed: 1 hour

Holy monastery of roussanou - saint barabara (bottom-left) in Meteora, Greece

5. Holy Monastery of Roussanou – Saint Barbara

  • Visiting Hours (Summer): 10 AM – 16:00 PM
  • Closed: Every Wednesday
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/AkPXxDa24HsDCZBJ9

Overview: The Holy Monastery of Roussanou – Saint Barabara was built in the 14th century by a monk named Roussanou. The monastery is the only nunnery and houses 15 sister nuns.  Fun Fact: Follow the trail from this monastery to a panoramic viewpoint.

Visiting: The monastery was accessible by walking up the hill and then climbing 140 steps. It took about 5 minutes to reach the entrance. Inside, we saw the church and court yard. 

Time Needed: 45 minutes

Monastery of Saint Nikolas in Meteora, Greece peaks out in the distant fog

6. Monastery of Saint Nikolas

  • Visiting Hours (Winter): MON – SAT: 9:30 AM – 16:00 PM, SUN: 9:30 AM – 16:00 PM
  • Closed: Every Friday (Summer)
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NFwzi4k6q1FHAfdT8

Overview: The Monastery of Saint Nikolas was built in the 14th century. It was most likely used for pilgrims as a resting place before continuing on. Out of the 6 monasteries, this was the smallest, but had a magnificent view of Varlaam Monastery, rock formations and a panorama view of Kalambaka. 

Visiting: The monastery was accessible by walking up the steep hill and then climbing up 140 steps. It took about 10 minutes to reach the entrance. Since we walked so much the day before, I was out of breath when I made it to the top of this monastery. Inside, we saw the church, exhibition hall, and transportation cart.

Fog sits over the Monastery of saint Adonis in Meteora, Greece, which is enclaved in the mountain

7. Monastery of Saint Adonis

  • Location: Kastrki Village, next to Hermit Caves of Badova
  • Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PaeVmv7xjTjiWzKa6  

Overview: The monastery was built in the 14th century into a natural cave. Currently a monk, whose 80 years old, lives there alone. Unfortunately, this monastery was closed to the public, so we could only take pictures from the outside.  Visiting: Not open to the public

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Home > Meteora Monasteries Greece Guide

Meteora Monasteries Greece Guide

Post author Gabi

Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

The following Meteora guide will help you answer questions such as whether is Meteora worth visiting, which monasteries of Greece you can visit, how to get to Meteora monasteries, and more. 

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Meteora Monasteries

The worldwide famous Meteora in Greece is located near the imposing Pindos Moutain in Kalambaka, in continental Greece .

These famous monasteries in Greece stand among and on top of enormous dark rocks and give life to the second most important monastic community in Greece  after Mount Athos.

Its name was given by the founder of the Megalo Meteora Monastery, Saint Athanasios Meteoritis, who gave the name of Meteoro to the giant rock where the monastery was then established. Meteora means high up in the air.

The following Meteora guide will help you answer questions like, is Meteora worth visiting?, which Meteora monasteries of Greece can you visit , how to get to Meteora monasteries, and more. 

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Things To Know About Meteora Monasteries Greece

Winter in Greece - View of the mountains and monasteries of Meteora

Meteora is a complex of 30 different Byzantine monasteries, although only six of them are still functioning.

All the Meteora monasteries in Greece are living museums housing icons and other remarkable historical relics.

The Meteora complex is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments list . Hundreds of pilgrims visit Meteora all year round since the place is not hard to visit Meteora tours from Athens, the Greek capital. 

How To Get To Meteora Monasteries From Athens


It’s possible to take a 1-day tour to Meteora by train, bus or car. However, it is also a valid idea to tour Meteora joining a trip departing from Athens . There are also tours from Halkidiki and Thessaloniki.

Getting To Meteora By Bus

To visit the imposing location, the first thing to do is to travel from Athens to Kalambaka. To do so, you will need to reach Trikala and, from there, catch another bus. People departing from Athens need to board the KTEL bus that departs from the Liosion bus station.

Getting To Meteora By Car

It’s also a great idea to visit Meteora in a rental car . The route to take is the National Greek Road Athina – Livadia – Lamia, following the direction to Kalambaka.

Getting To Meteora By Train

This is probably the easiest and most beautiful way to visit Meteora. Trains depart from Athens, Thessaloniki , Larisa, Livadia, and Paleofarsalo. The closest train station is in Kalambaka and, from here, you can get to Meteora either by car or by taxi.

If you’re taking the train from Athens, remember that the Meteora trains depart from Larissa station.

Where To Stay In Meteora

All of the Meteora monasteries in Greece make an excellent day trip idea , but to get to know the monasteries the best and at a more relaxed pace, the best thing you can do is spend one or two nights in the area. You will not regret it. 

The following hotels have been divided according to different budgets , so you can easily find the best place to stay in Meteora.

Meteora Monasteries Map

Budget hotels in meteora.

  • Host El Greco: Budget accommodation in Kalambaka. This stone-built with place features comfortable rooms with a terrace or balcony and serves homemade breakfast daily. There’s a cozy communal kitchen for guests. Bike hire is available, and car rental can also be arranged.
  • Meteora Central Hostel: Set in Kalabaka, 2 km from Meteora Central Hostel, it offers accommodation with a bar, free private parking, a shared lounge, and a garden.
  • Pyrgos Adrachti: This is a 3-star hotel set in one of the highest points of Kastraki village with fantastic views of the Pindos Mountains. From each balcony, guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of the famous rocks of Meteora and the green forests of pine trees.

Mid-Range Hotels In Meteora

  • Hotel Doupiani House: Along with amazing views of the Meteora, this hotel offers cozy and well-furnished rooms and a delicious buffet breakfast. This hotel is very close to the Meteora Monastery – Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas.
  • Petrino Guesthouse: A gorgeous property, this 1845 original stone building has been recently restored. It features modern accommodations with breathtaking views of Meteora. Some rooms have a fireplace, one features a spa bath, and one is disabled-friendly.
  • Hotel Kastraki: This place is in the traditional village of Kastraki, offering comfortable rooms with an open balcony. There is also a Meteora restaurant serving Greek cuisine and a bar. Some units enjoy views over the Meteora Rocks. Free private parking is available.

Luxury Hotels In Meteora

  • Hotel Xenion tou Georgiou Merantza: The place is surrounded by theTzoumerka Mountains, not far from Meteora mountain monasteries. Rooms are comfortable, and the property also features a swimming pool, a sun terrace, and a traditional restaurant.
  • Meteora Boutique Villa A: A beautiful accommodation for a comfy stay in the area; the villa is in Kalabaka. Enjoy the garden, terrace,  and nearby activities, including cycling and hiking .
  • Tsikeli Hotel Meteora – Adults Only: This place is just 100 m from Kastraki’s center. The rooms enjoy brilliant views of the area. Guests can enjoy a rich breakfast next to the fireplace in the shared lounge in winter or the garden during the summer, with magnificent Meteora views.

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How to get around in meteora greece.

You can book many alternative trips and tours once you get to Meteora if you don’t want to rely on your own navigation skills to go from one Meteora monastery to the other on your own.

These organized tours take you to see the monasteries of Meteora, Greece, in a private car or minivan.

Some travelers choose to rent a car in the area, and it’s a great idea if you love adventure. Each monastery has a parking area close to the road, and it’s not hard to go from one Meteora monastery to the next one by car.

Alternatively, it’s a good idea to rent a scooter in Kalambaka; however, remember that many tourists choose this option, so book in advance to find the kind of vehicle you want.

Some pilgrims choose to hike or walk from the sites. In this case, try to devote at least three full days to your trip to do it at a more relaxed pace.

Meteora Monasteries To Visit In Greece

Meteora Monasteries_Monastery of Varlaam on the rock, the second largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Meteora, Greece

Although many more monasteries were open in the past, today you can visit six, which are still standing and open to the public; the following Greece monasteries on cliffs are open and ready for you.

Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas

  • Great Meteoron

Roussanou Monastery

  • Holy Trinity Monastery

Agios Stefanos

  • Varlaam Monastery Meteora

Some of them are smaller and others bigger, and they all have different visiting hours according to the season and the liturgical calendar.

The most remarkable ones are Great Meteoron and Varlaam, which are often the most visited and crowded. It’s a good idea to visit these two Meteora monasteries early to avoid crowds .

Holy Monastery Of Great Meteoron

Meteora Monasteries_Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, the largest_Greece

The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron is one of the oldest Greek Orthodox monasteries in Meteora and the biggest of them all; it dates back to the 14th century, and once inside, you can also visit the museum and the main church.

Opening hours: April – October from 9 am to 3 pm (Closed on Tuesdays). November – March from 9 am to 2 pm (Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.)

Ticket: 3 euro.

Varlaam Monastery

Varlaam is the second biggest monastery in the area, and it dates back to the 14th century, it was founded by a monk named Varlaam, and he was the only one to live on the rock. Once he died, the monastery was abandoned until 1517.

Opening hours: April – October from 9 am to 4 pm (Closed on Fridays). November – March, from 9 am to 3 pm (Closed on Thursdays and Fridays).

Holy Monastery of Roussanou

Next in your itinerary , check Roussanou Monastery, also known by the name of Agia Barbara. This beautiful building is a nunnery dating back to the 16th century. Opening hours: April – October 31 from 9.30 am to 5 pm (Closed on Wednesdays). November – March from 9 am to 2 pm (Closed on Wednesdays).

Holy Trinity Monastery Meteora

The Holy Trinity Monastery Meteora also dates back to the 14th century and is not easy to access. The building is high up on a cliff, and you will need enough strength to hike up nearly 150 steps.

Opening hours: April – October from 9 am to 5 pm (Closed on Thursdays). November – March from 10 am to 4 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

After checking the Holy Trinity, the following remaining monasteries to visit are Agios Nikolaos and Agios Stefanos.


The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas dates back to the 14th century and features ancient and beautiful frescoes.

Opening hours: April – October from 9 am to 4 pm (Closed on Fridays and Sundays). November – March from 9 am to 2 pm (Closed on Fridays).

Agios Stefanos is quite accessible. The monastery was built back in 1400 AD. The religious building was heavily damaged during WWII, but it has been restored and currently hosts a nunnery.

Opening hours: April – October from 9 am to 1.30 pm and from 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm. (Closed on Mondays) On Sundays, it opens at 9.30. November – March, from 9.30 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 5 pm (Closed on Mondays).

When To Visit Meteora In Greece

Meteora Monasteries - Agios Stefanos

The area can be sweltering in summer and relatively cold in winter; therefore, the best tie of the year to visit is spring (March-May) or fall (September-November).

Besides better weather, you’re bound to find fewer crowds and better accommodation prices.

Best Photo Locations In Meteora

Meteora is full of stunning photo spots where to take the most memorable pictures of the high rocks and the monasteries.

One of the most popular places for pictures is Psaropetra, where sunsets are among the most beautiful in the region.

Also, near Varlaam Monastery, there are breathtaking places to capture unique pictures of the high, dark rocks.

Day Trip From Thessaloniki To Meteora

If you’re visiting the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki , you’re probably wondering how to get to Meteora from Thessaloniki. It is possible to reach Kalambaka by train to see some of the Greek monasteries on a day trip.

You can either take this trip on your own or book a tour that includes the tickets and entrance to three of the six museums.

If you plan to visit all of them, it’s a good idea to spend the night in Kalambaka, since one day won’t be enough for all the sightseeing.

It’s also possible to join a bus tour departing from the center of Thessaloniki to Meteora. Different organized tours can take you to the Monasteries of Meteora and then drive you back to the center of Thessaloniki .

What To Wear At Meteora Greece

First, you should remember to carry comfortable walking shoes , such as hiking boots in winter or hiking sandals in summer. Also, wear sunglasses and sunscreen lotion in summer.

Remember that the monasteries have a strict dress code regarding the clothes to wear. Women will need to wear a long skirt, dress, or sarong.

Don’t worry much; all the monasteries have wrap skirts you can borrow at the entrance. Also, shoulders should be covered.

Men should wear long pants , although it can be possible to access the monasteries wearing pants that hit below the knee.

What are the Meteora Monasteries?

The Meteora Monasteries are a complex of monasteries situated on towering rock pillars in central Greece . They are known for their stunning natural beauty and religious significance.

How many monasteries are there in Meteora?

There are currently six active monasteries in the Meteora complex. These monasteries are inhabited by monks and nuns who follow the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition.

When were the Meteora Monasteries built?

The exact construction dates of the monasteries vary, but they were mainly built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The challenging location was chosen by monks seeking solitude and spiritual elevation.

How can I visit the Meteora Monasteries?

You can visit the Meteora Monasteries by traveling to the town of Kalambaka in Greece. From there, you can take guided tours or hike up to the monasteries. Make sure to check the visiting hours and dress code.

What is the significance of Meteora Monasteries?

The Meteora Monasteries are of great religious and historical significance. They have served as centers of spirituality and monasticism for centuries and are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Can I take photographs inside the monasteries?

Photography rules may vary from one monastery to another. In general, it’s best to ask for permission before taking photos inside the monasteries, and some may charge a small fee for photography.

Is there an entrance fee to visit the Meteora Monasteries?

Yes, there is usually an entrance fee to visit each monastery. The fees help with the maintenance and preservation of these historic sites.

What should I wear when visiting the monasteries?

Visitors are expected to dress modestly when visiting the monasteries. This means covering your shoulders and wearing long skirts or pants. If you’re not appropriately dressed, some monasteries may provide shawls or skirts for visitors to borrow.

Are there any restrictions for visitors to the monasteries?

Visitors are expected to be respectful and quiet when inside the monasteries. Additionally, there may be restrictions on certain areas or buildings within the monastic complex. It’s essential to follow the guidance of the monastery staff.

What is the best time to visit the Meteora Monasteries?

The best time to visit Meteora is during the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are smaller. However, the monasteries are open year-round, so you can visit at any time of the year.

Now you are ready to head to Meteora, Greece; which of these Meteora Monasteries will you visit first?

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Comments (2)

How feasible is it to get around the monasteries using the local bus from Kalambaka? It is supposed to depart from the KTEL bus station in Kalambaka and stop at all the monasteries. We have trouble walking long distances and are concerned abut finding parking spots with a rental car, so we were thinking of using either the bus or taxi to get from one monastery to another.

Very Nice Blog…Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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Jen on a Jet Plane

Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

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The Monasteries of Meteora are one of the world’s best kept secrets. Just five hours north of Athens you’ll find a real-life Game of Thrones location, with 6 working monasteries built on top of impossibly shaped rocks. This is Meteora, Greece.

The landscape may seem familiar, having served as the motivation for the fictional city of Eyrie, but very few people are actually aware that Meteora exists. This is because the resident monks are doing their best to keep the site a secret. After all, their numbers have gone from 24 working monasteries to 6, since it’s nearly impossible to live a monk’s lifestyle while dealing with an influx of 3,000 to 4,000 visitors a day.

There’s no escaping it–the secret’s out. And interest in the area has been growing exponentially since UNESCO declared the rocks a World Heritage Site in 1988.

Once I saw a picture of this place, I knew I had to visit. The decision was an easy one given that I visited Athens in January, so an excursion to the Greek islands was out.


If you’re interested in seeing this amazing, once in a lifetime location, here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit!

How to Get to Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

You can reach Meteora by car, bus or train. The cheapest and only non-stop option from Athens is the train, which you can purchase online here . I highly recommend booking in advance as the trains sell out quickly and have limited departures. Trains leave from Larissa Station and arrive in Kalambaka, the town at the foot of the monasteries of Meteora.

You can choose your seat online, they’re all basically the same coach seating with space for your luggage overhead or in luggage racks at the entrance of the trolley. There are bathrooms on board but they’re not always well stocked so bring your own toilet paper and soap if possible.

I left from Athens at 8:27am and arrived at Kalambaka (the town at the bottom of the rocks of Meteora) at approximately 1:40pm, taking a little over 5 hours. Note that while the departure time is strict, the arrival estimate is usually delayed by at least a half hour.

Also, while a taxi into Larissa Station only cost me €4, leaving I paid €20, with the driver citing an alleged hike of prices for taxis leaving from the train station. Given the influx of other passengers disembarking and waiting for a taxi and my desire to check into my AirBnB apartment at then 11pm at night, I acquiesced to the price hike.

You also have the option of driving yourself to Meteora with a rental car, which allows you to see other stops along the way like Olympia and the Oracle of Delphi. This is the best option if you’re looking for flexibility since it’ll be hard to take public transport to those areas from Kalambaka.

Your last and least convenient option is the bus. You leave from Liossion bus station in Athens and connect in Trikala before ultimately arriving in Kalambaka. Tickets are purchased at the bus station with cash and the bus schedule can be found here .

Where to Stay in Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

There are two towns at the base of Meteora with options for lodging at all price levels–Kalambaka and Kastraki. Both are easily accessible and immediately adjacent to each other, with Kastraki being slightly closer to the rocks.

I stayed in the Grand Meteora Hotel in Kastraki for the view (pictured above), and I was not disappointed. Everything about the hotel was comfortable. Seemingly endless hot water, a plentiful breakfast buffet and the chance to snuggle up by the fireplace in the main lobby. Not to mention, the staff was polite and accommodating.

How to Get Around Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

Getting around here is easy. If you have a rental car, there’s really only one main road and a ton of signs so you can’t get lost, drive your heart out. If you’re on a budget, like me, there’s taxis for €5-7 a trip depending on where you’re going, and you can plan it out such that you don’t have to take more than 2 taxis a day.

Where to Eat

Monasteries of Meteora

Panellinio. Panellinio. Panellinio ! I cannot say this enough, hands down the best food I had my entire time in Greece. The moussaka came straight from heaven and they served the most amazing, melt-in-your-mouth lamb I’ve ever tasted. I went back here twice, that’s how good this place was!


They have an open kitchen, so you can see the chefs working away, and I had a chance to meet them. They are hands-on, no catered or frozen meals here. Everything is authentic and fresh, just trust me and go, your taste buds will thank you.

Visiting the Monasteries of Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

There are 6 working monasteries in total, 2 of which have nuns. Of course, the monastery run by females is the most decorative and well maintained of the bunch, so don’t miss a stop at St. Stephen’s monastery if you’re limited on time. You can’t see all 6 monasteries of Meteora in one day because they alternate day that they close, so if possible go for an overnight trip.

Women will need to wear skirts to enter the monasteries, and cover ups are they’re provided at the entrance if you are not appropriately attired. The fee to enter is €3 per person and is not included in most tours. It’s cash only and small change is highly encouraged.

The two biggest monasteries that draw the greatest number of visitors are Great Meteora and Varlaam. The names of all six working monasteries are as follows:

  • St. Stephen’s Nunnery
  • Great Meteoron Monastery
  • Roussanou Monastery
  • Holy Trinity Monastery
  • Varlaam Monastery
  • St. Nikolaos Anapafsas

Their schedules vary depending on the season (winter or summer) and they close on different days. You can see the full schedule here.

If you’re short on time I recommend the Great Meteora monastery, Varlam and St. Stephen’s nunnery to get a good mix of the highlights.  

Tours of Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

There are currently two tour groups operating in Meteora– Visit Meteora  and Meteora Thrones. Simply by means of having come across them first, I went with Visit Meteora and booked their winter special for two consecutive trips. Half price, as if you needed another reason to visit in the off season!

I don’t have anything to compare them to, but my experience was pretty out of this world in both instances.

First, I signed up for the sunset tour at 2pm. Recall that I told you the train arrived late at 1:40PM–by the time I got to the hotel to check in it was 1:55pm and they showed up early. So off I went without freshening up, hence my less than stellar appearance in some of these photos.

That said, these guys are experts at capturing the scenery of the location and know the best spots to pose given the light and time of day. Even better, they will gladly take dozens of photographs of you upon request. If you’re looking for social media friendly shots of the monasteries of Meteora, this is the tour for you.

I took all these photos in this post with an iPhone 6. While I wish I’d had a DSLR camera for the trip, I was amazed at the results on my camera phone alone.

In addition to being great photographers, the guides were also storytellers and regaled us with tales of the tradition behind a rock climbing competition in the city with a scarf as the prize. Up for grabs? The chance at eternal love. You’ll leave the monasteries of Meteora with not an appreciation not only for the nature and surroundings, but local culture as well.

Hiking in Meteora

Monasteries of Meteora

If you’re even moderately fit, I recommend hiking the area in the morning. You can do this yourself as the trails are well carved out, but I would highly recommend going with a guide as they’re familiar with the rocks and can offer insight that going alone will not provide. Our guide grew up hiking and playing on these mountains and knew them inside and out. He showed us how the monks built the monasteries of Meteora with limited tools and manpower and even showed us a spot where we could step inside a 600 year-old hollow tree.

Unique Souvenirs

Monasteries of Meteora

Don’t forget to support the monasteries and do a little shopping before you leave . There are so many reasonably priced items available, including handmade soap with Greek olive oil, hand-stitched linens and even rock jewelry so you can take home a rock from Meteora, all for under €1o.

Do you have questions or thoughts about the monasteries of Meteora? I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time, safe travels!


Liked this post? Pin me below!

Everything you need to know to visit Meteora, Greece, a UNESCO World Heritage site!

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

Hi Jen, OMG this is so useful and exciting. I will be there at the end of August/beginning of September and can't wait to see this place first hand. Thank you for sharing your experience and I already save the place to eat.

Hope J Smith

Monday 10th of June 2019

Is there an email where I can write to you? I have a few more questions on this trip I am going in August of this year.

Jen on a Jet Plane

Friday 14th of June 2019

You can reach me at [email protected] :)

Saturday 30th of June 2018

Brilliant piece on Meteora, best one I have read so far. Will definitely be following all your tips when we visit next year.

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Thank you Penny! I hope you have a great visit, let me know if there's anything else I can help with in your planning process!

Tuesday 18th of July 2017

Oh it looks so stunning! Greece us on the bucket list for sure thanks for sharing

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Frequently Asked Questions

You may have a few questions about your upcoming trip to Meteora, so we’ve collected and answered the most important ones for your convenience. Or, if you want to know more about our processes and payment details, check out our FAQ page .

What are the visiting hours and days of the monasteries

The opening hours often change from year to year, so beware when relying on information provided in guidebooks or general web sites. We will try to do our best in keeping the timetable of visiting times and days of monasteries up-to-date. Check the opening hours of Meteora monasteries  here .

What is you cancelation policy?

We offer a very flexible cancelation policy which is Full Refund Available up to 24 Hours Before Your Tour Date for the day trips and 48 hours for the multiday tours. 

How many monasteries can I see in one day?

Before we answer this question we have to specify that everything should be taken into account. It depends on how fit you are, the transportation and time available, weather conditions ect. Most people are able to visit between 2 to 4 monasteries per day. The few visitors who visit all 6 of them within one day are missing out a magical, more slow-paced adventure. We recommend at least 2 days stay in Meteora.

Is there a dress code to enter a monastery?

Appropriate clothing for everyone is required to enter the monasteries. Sleeveless clothing and shorts over the knee for men are prohibited and you‘ll be denied access if dressed that way. For ladies skirts and shawls are available to borrow or buy at the entrance of monasteries in case they don’t have such clothing to cover themselves.

How many stairs for each monastery?

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Great Meteoro are the less accessible (over 300 steps). Rousanou, Varlaam and Saint Nicolaos have an average number of 140. Some of the monasteries apart the staircases requires uphill walking in paved paths. The Holy Monastery of St Stephen is connected with a walking bridge, thus making it more accessible than any other monastery.

What is the Entrance fee for the monasteries?

In each monastery there is an entrance fee of 3 euro per person. Kids up to 12 years old they don’t pay entrance fees in the monasteries.

Should I take the car to drive to monasteries or is better using other means?

There are many reasons not to want to drive while exploring Meteora — like if you’re not confident driving on the opposite side of the road, your spouse is a terrible copilot and you just want to have fun instead of arguing; or if you want to enjoy the scenic road and not to feel stress about the narrow and curvy roads. Lack of parking space outside the monasteries is especially frequent phenomenon during the pick period in the summer. So by joining one of our tours might save you a lot of headaches and unwanted distractions.

Can i find parking for my car outside the monasteries?

During the pick period from May till late October be prepared to face issues with finding parking space or brief traffic jams outside the monasteries of Great Meteoro , Varlaam , and Agios Stefanos ; even more during the rush hours between 10:00 am to 14:00. This happens due to the limited width of the roads and the limited parking spots available outside those monasteries.

If possible, try to be outside those monasteries way before 09:00 am to avoid any big crowds. Or you might consider leaving your car in the hotel and join one of the many tours offered by the locals.

Are pets allowed?

Pets, with the exception of service dogs, are not allowed inside the monasteries.

Is there any lab at town to have a PCR test?

If you are looking for PCR test or antigen test you can find few labs at Kalampaka town, located few meters away from our offices. For more details come by our office or send us an email or use the instant messenger. 


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Amazing Day Trips From Thessaloniki For Everyone!

Thessaloniki, Greece’s vibrant second-largest city, is not only a treasure trove of history, culture, and culinary delights but also a perfect gateway to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions of northern Greece.

Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or adventure seeker , the surrounding areas offer a variety of captivating day trips from Thessaloniki that promise unforgettable experiences.

Here are eight of the best and easiest day trips to take , including the stunning site of Meteora, the majestic Mount Olympus, the magnificent peninsulas of Chalkidiki, and more!

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)

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Renowned for its  surreal rock formations topped with ancient monasteries , Meteora is one of the most  stunning landmarks in Greece and a popular destination for day trips from Thessaloniki.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is located a 3-hour drive away and the easiest to reach via car or guided bus tour from Thessaloniki .

At Meteora, you can explore six active monasteries , each offering unique historical and architectural insights.

Highlights include the Great Meteoron Monastery , the largest and oldest, and the Monastery of Holy Trinity, known for its stunning views and role in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only.”

Meteora - Day Trips From Thessaloniki

Entrance fees are modest, typically around €3 per monastery .

Make sure to wear appropriate clothes: long pants for men and skirts for women. Don’t worry if you’re not dressed properly, skirts are provided at the entrance .

The area also offers various hiking trails and viewpoints that provide spectacular views of the monasteries and the surrounding landscape.

Recommended Experience: Full-day bus trip to Meteora from Thessaloniki 🚌

2. Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus, an iconic symbol of ancient Greek mythology , is another great day trip destination from Thessaloniki, located about 100 kilometers to the southwest .

This majestic mountain is Greece’s highest peak, standing at 2,917 meters . It is part of the Olympus National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve renowned for its biodiversity, including rare flora and fauna.

You can explore numerous hiking paths , some leading to stunning waterfalls and caves, such as the Enipeas Gorge.

For those not keen on hiking, the area also offers picturesque villages like Dion , where you can visit ancient ruins and archaeological sites .

best meteora monastery to visit

Getting to Mount Olympus from Thessaloniki is pretty straightforward.

You can drive via the E75 highway , which takes about 1.5 hours, or take a train or bus to Litochoro, a charming town at the foot of the mountain. From Litochoro, various trails lead into the national park , catering to different levels of hiking experience.

Alternatively, you can opt for a tour combining the Archaeological Park of Dion and Mount Olympus .

Tours you might find interesting :

3. Pozar Thermal Baths

Around 110 km northwest of Thessaloniki lies the town of Loutraki Aridaias which is home to the Pozar Thermal Baths.

The Pozar Thermal Baths are popular for their therapeutic hot springs , naturally heated to a soothing 37°C (98.6°F).

You can enjoy the rejuvenating effects of the warm waters in both outdoor and indoor pools while being surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the Macedonian landscape .

The complex also offers private baths for those seeking a more intimate experience, along with wellness facilities such as saunas and hammams .

Entrance fees are quite affordable, typically around €3–5 per person for the public pools , while private baths can cost around €15 for a 30-minute session.

Best Day Trips From Thessaloniki

Apart from the baths, the area boasts hiking trails , waterfalls, and the scenic Agios Nikolaos canyon , perfect for exploring before or after your soak.

The journey to Loutraki Aridaias takes around 1.5–2 hours by car and the easiest route is via the E90 highway , leading you through picturesque landscapes.

Traveling by train or bus requires some additional transfer in Edessa increasing the total travel time to between 2–3 hours.

Moreover, you can join a guided tour to the Pozar Thermal Baths & Edessa from Thessaloniki .

4. Museum of The Royal Tombs of Aigai

The Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai, located in Vergina , is another great day trip destination from Thessaloniki.

Situated about 75 kilometers west of the city, the journey by car takes roughly an hour via the Egnatia Odos highway.

Alternatively, you can take a bus or train to Veria and then a short taxi ride to Vergina.

The museum, built around the burial site of the ancient Macedonian kings , offers a fascinating glimpse into Greece’s rich history. Most notably, it houses the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great .

Upon entering, you can explore the underground museum, which showcases the royal tombs and an array of artifacts, including exquisite gold jewelry, weapons, and ceremonial items .

The tombs themselves are incredibly well-preserved , offering an insight into ancient burial practices and Macedonian culture.

Entrance fees are €15 for adults , with reduced rates of €8 for students and seniors. The museum is open year-round, with different seasonal opening times . Check the official website for up-to-date opening hours.

5. Sithonia

Recommended by Ossama of Awesome Traveler

Sithonia, a peninsula and part of the larger peninsula of Chalkidiki, is 120 km from Thessaloniki, which takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes by car .

Sithonia is especially known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. One of the best activities to enjoy is horseback riding on a beach , for example, Lagomandra Beach, Sarti Beach, or Kalamitsi Beach.

You can rent a bike to cycle around the Sithonia circuit. There are many places waiting to be discovered and you’ll find lots of great photo opportunities in this area. It’s also possible to rent a mountain bike , so you can discover the isolated parts of Sithonia.


For an even more fun adventure, rent a boat and roam around Diaporos Island in Vourvourou. It’s a beautiful island with rich flora and fauna where you can find good snorkeling spots and discover its marine ecosystem. 

Make sure to take a stop at its many isolated beaches for a picnic or swim and stay there until the evening to witness an amazing sunset.

Recommended Experience: Sithonia beaches & scenic villages tour 🏝️

6. Kassandra

Recommended by Lavina of Continent Hop

It is worth including Thessaloniki on your  Europe itinerary  as it is one of the most underrated places in Europe.

Once here, plan a day trip to  Kassandra Peninsula  from Thessaloniki, and you will be in for a day marked by powdery sand beaches , a coastline dotted with beach bars, happening nightlife, and quaint villages . 

Reaching Kassandra from Thessaloniki is easy. Buses leave every two hours from the KTEL Chalkidikis bus stop . The regular ticket costs €10.20, and it takes around two hours to go from Thessaloniki to Kassandra.

You can also choose to drive yourself, book a taxi, or opt for a private day trip tour .


Take a leisurely stroll through the charming stone-paved lanes of Athitos village , a place that has preserved traditional Greek charm. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Folklore Museum of Athitos , a treasure trove of local history.

Kallithea village and the picturesque Lake Mavrobara are also must-see sites on the peninsula. 

Agia Paraskevi is known for natural thermal springs that are believed to have healing properties. If you visit Thessaloniki in summer, Siviri is the place where the Kassandra Festival will entertain you with cultural performances and art events . 

Recommended Experience: Scuba diving for beginners in Kassandra 🐠

7. Mount Athos

Looking for other day trips from Thessaloniki? Start your day early and head to  Mount Athos .

You can take a bus to Ouranoupoli , which is around 130 kilometers away from Thessaloniki. The bus ticket is €13.70 per person , and it usually takes a little more than two hours to cover the distance. 

Ouranoupoli is known for its historic Byzantine Tower of Prosforion and the ruins of the Monastery of Zygos. From this port, you can take a cruise to Mount Athos.

best meteora monastery to visit

Keep in mind that Mount Athos is a male-only destination , and female travelers are not allowed on the mountain.

There are several cruise tours that take tourists around Mount Athos to give you a glimpse of the magnificent Monastic Republic of Mount Athos. 

Spend some time strolling along the sandy Ouranoupolis beach before heading back to Thessaloniki. 

Recommended by Maria of MapAndCamera

Kavala is located approximately 150 km east of Thessaloniki .

The most convenient and fastest way to reach Kavala is by car on the A2 Egnatia Odos highway. The trip will take you 1.5-2 hours , depending on the traffic.

If you don’t have a car or are on a budget, you can take a bus from Thessaloniki to Kavala . Buses run all day between the two towns and the trip takes 2.5-3 hours .

Visit the fortress of Kavala, which sits on a hill above the town. In addition to immersing you in the city’s medieval past, the fortress offers fantastic views of Kavala and the Aegean Sea .

Best Day Trips From Thessaloniki

On the way to the fortress, you will pass through Panagia, the old town of Kavala with narrow streets and houses with traditional architecture.

Head to the Ottoman aqueduct , built in the 16th century, and if you like museums, don’t miss the Archaeological Museum. It has artifacts from different eras , from the Neolithic to the Roman period.

When it’s time for a break, sit down at one of the restaurants on the promenade and end the day with a typical Greek dish and a glass of cold white wine as the sun sets over the harbor .

Check out: 16 Best Things to do in Thessaloniki For First-Timers Where to Stay in Thessaloniki – Elisabeth Boutique Hotel 20 Beautiful & Famous Landmarks in Greece Worth Seeing

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best meteora monastery to visit

Do you want to travel like me? Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:

Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals! Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then. Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without one. I use the simple and flexible one from SafetyWing that protects me against unforeseen events. Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide . Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.

best meteora monastery to visit

Hey and welcome to my blog! I’m Alina, an Austrian travel addict and vegan food lover who has a passion for exploring new destinations and trying out the best plant-based food around the world. Come and join me as I share exciting bucket list experiences and provide helpful travel guides for your own adventures!

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best meteora monastery to visit

10 Five-Star-Rated Activities For First-Timers Visiting Greece

G reece is a place of unfathomable beauty, with idyllic beaches, pleasant weather, and archeological ruins that have been left behind to preserve memories of an intriguing past. Because every traveler wants to experience this stunning paradise at least once, Greece is the country to visit. Rich in ancient mythology, tourists can enjoy archeology, art, history, and philosophy, along with the best ruins in Greece that date back to ancient times.

Made up of a collection of picturesque islands surrounded by azure waters and covered with tiny white buildings, it is a perfect destination. Greece offers a kaleidoscope of many experiences and environments, including pulsating cities like Athens, the ancient Greek city , and a slower pace of life in tiny and beautiful Greek beach towns and villages by the sea . It is also one of the largest open-air museums in the world.

All that said, even the most famous attractions in Greece don't always get five-star ratings. To help first-time visitors pick the best things to do in Greece (that have genuinely been tried and tested and thus received glowing reviews), here is a handful of five-star-rated activities in Greece that actually do boast five stars on Tripadvisor (hence there are a few lesser-known activities in Greece on this list as well!).

Related: Why Tiny Delos Island Is One Of The Most Important Sacred, Archeological, & Mythical Sites Of Ancient Greece

Tour The Monasteries Of Meteora & Learn About Greek History

The monasteries of Meteora, which are perched on soaring rock formations , are fabulous and famous. Eastern Orthodox monks lived in the vicinity and fled to Meteora from the Turkish army invasion . Although there are just six monasteries in Meteora, there used to be over 20 , making it one of the most impressive religious and top-rated sites in Greece.

As one of Europe's most eerie and stunning environments, Meteora is home to several ancient boulders and monolithic pillars. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightfully earns its place among the top-rated attractions in Greece (that also happens to have five-star ratings on Tripadvisor ).

  • Opening hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Entrance fee: $3.24 (3 Euros)

To get to Meteora, tourists should take a 4-hour train from Athens to Kalampaka, or they can book a day trip. Given that this is one of the top five-star attractions in Greece, booking transport or tours early is advised.

Go To The Delphi & Explore Some Of The Best Ancient Ruins In Greece

Delphi is renowned for several matters , including being both one of Greece's top tourist destinations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Delphi, which is located on Mount Parnassus's flanks, was formerly a well-traveled pilgrimage site for people who came there to pay respects to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of healing, light, music, and prophecy .

Nowadays, tourists can discover temples, a spectacular stadium, a theater, and charming historical remains, which are considered some of the top archeological ruins in Greece. Followers would travel here to seek wisdom from the Oracle at Delphi.

If first-timers want to leave the city and discover another region, Delphi is an excellent spot to travel because it is only 180 kilometers (111.8 miles) from the capital city of Athens.

  • Entrance fee: $12.96 (12 Euros) per visitor

Climb The Legendary Mount Olympus & Enjoy One Of The Best Hikes In Greece

If tourists are a fan of Greek mythology, Mount Olympus should not be skipped from their schedule; it's the ultimate among the best activities in Greece with five-star ratings and is likely one of the most famous mountains in the world. If they wish to climb it, they must go to Litochoro, from which they can choose to hike just a portion of the way up or the entire route, depending on their degree of fitness and skill.

As they ascend, tourists might picture the legends associated with the mountain as they tour Mount Olympus, which is recognized in Greek mythology as the location where Hades controlled the Underworld and where Zeus sat on his throne.

  • Hiking the entire Mount Olympus duration: 2 hours

Related: Mount Olympus: Is It Real, And How Can You Explore The Mythical Mountain?

Hike The Fira – Oia Trail In Santorini & Take In Some Of The Most Beautiful Views In Greece

When visiting Santorini, tourists' bucket lists must include the climb from Fira to Oia . One of the most breathtaking short walks in the world is the 10.5-kilometer (6.5 miles) stroll around the caldera's edge.

Every step of the trip will leave hikers breathless, and it is one of the few spots on this magnificent island where they may truly feel alone.

  • Duration: 3 to 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Book A Full Day Tour From Athens To Zakynthos – One Of The Best Islands In Greece For Beauty

On a 5-star rated day trip to Zakynthos , tourists may take a break from the monumental and busy Athens by visiting one of the best and most beautiful Greek islands.

Tourists should meet their tour guide at the dock to go to the island via boat and then ride in a private minibus to see the attractions. Views of the entire island may be seen from Navagio Panagioti Beach, Enetiko Kastro Bochalis, and the Church of St. Dionysius.

  • Cost: $301 per person

Visit The Greek National Football Museum In Crete & Discover The Country's Love Of Soccer

While this is definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Greece, it's a fun stop for those in Crete. An expert suggestion for all football enthusiasts vacationing in Crete is to visit the national team of Greece's football museum in Chania. Visitors may view the uniforms of well-known athletes, the authentic soccer balls from significant games, tickets, pennants, and much more.

The display is organized by the museum's owner using personal cash. In the center of the city, on a retail strip, is where visitors will find the Greek National Football Museum . Most likely, it was formerly a store. Nikos Flekkas, the proprietor of the museum, greets visitors cheerfully as soon as they arrive at the exhibit.

All in all, this is a wholesome place to learn about the Greeks' love for soccer and is among the lesser-known attractions in Greece that deserves more visitors.

  • Entrance fee: Free of charge

Related: 14 Greek Islands To Consider For Your Very First Time There

Savor Authentic Greek Wines By Wine Tasting At Lyrarakis Winery

The Lyrarakis Estate is a family-run winery that has been making premium wines since 1966 with a strong emphasis on developing single-variety wines and unusual local varietals.

The five-star-rated winery provides its visitors with the chance to appreciate nature and learn about local varietals and wines defined by the singularity of their origin and history, all while being surrounded by the picturesque backdrop of the vineyards and the Lassithi mountains.

  • Location: Alagni, Heraklion, Crete 703 00, Greece

Tour The Astrikas Estate Biolea & See How Greek Olive Oil Is Made

A 5-star-rated family-owned business called Biolea specializes in making organic olive oil by hand utilizing presses and millstones. All of their goods are bottled and manufactured on an estate. At Biolea, they do their best to achieve excellence via the integration of innovation and tradition, upholding environmental responsibility, and fostering sustainable tourism as an ethical obligation.

They actively encourage proactive communication between customers and food producers. Additionally, their olive mill is built to welcome both domestic and international guests all year long.

  • Tour duration: 1 to 2 hours

Book A Private Five-Star Rated Tour Of Santorini

Tourists can enjoy one of the most beautiful Greek islands to the fullest by taking a private tour of Santorini with a five-star-rated operator . A driver can take them on a road tour, so they can see the entire island at their own speed. They can also take in the expansive vistas, swim at picturesque beaches, and unwind over lunch at a restaurant by the water.

Additionally, they will discover famous sites, including a monastery, marketplaces, and a lighthouse. They will be able to customize their program from starting point to the road they want to take.

  • Tour duration: 5 to 6 hours
  • Cost: $217.41 per person

Related: These Are The Lesser-Known, But Just As Delicious, Greek Foods You Must Try

Tuck Into Some Of The Best Food In Greece On A Food Tour Around Athens

There is no better place to sample the best Greek cuisine than in Greece itself, which is often regarded as having some of the best food in the world. As such, this five-star-rated activity is a must. Greece offers different delectable gourmet tours, and on the Greek traditional food tour in Athens , tourists will have the opportunity to see one of the best cities in Greece to the fullest (and taste its delicious and authentic offerings).

Tourists will discover the city's many neighborhoods on foot while learning about the culture and way of life of today. To enjoy Greek specialties, visitors can stay away from tourist traps and visit their favorite neighborhood markets, delis, and family-run tavernas. After their tour, they can enjoy a meze meal and wine in a classic restaurant in Athens.

  • Traditional Greek food: Moussaka, Pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Spanakopita, etc.
  • Cost: $70.24

10 Five-Star-Rated Activities For First-Timers Visiting Greece

The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

26 of the Best Places to Visit in Greece in 2024

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: March 11, 2024

What are the best places to visit in Greece anyway? It’s a huge task to decide where to go in Greece. It could take a lifetime to discover all of its beautiful islands and astounding archeological sites. Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world with something to suit everyone’s needs. Beach lovers and foodies, culture seekers, and history buffs will all fall in love with Greece.

best places to visit in Greece Dave and Deb

Table of Contents

Beautiful Places to Visit in Greece

Dating back to 2000 BC, Greece is known as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of western civilization. Some of the most beautiful places in Greece are the Greek Islands but the mainland houses rugged mountains and fascinating historic sites as well. So we are here to help you decide where to visit in Greece on your next holiday.

From whitewashed villages to its mountains, Greece is a land made for the Gods. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Greece that it really is impossible to show them all, but we are going to give it the old college try. So are you ready to discover Greece with us?

1. Santorini

best places to visit in greece santorini

Santorini is one of the best places to visit in Greece for a Honeymoon or romantic getaway. Of all the places in Greece, this island is certainly the most famous. With its whitewashed villages and blue domes sitting high on sea cliffs, Santorini is postcard perfect. The turquoise waters glisten in the caldera below as the sun sets over the Aegean Sea.

This island paradise with awe-inspiring views overlooking the caldera has it all black-sand beaches, red-sand beaches, and golden-sand beaches. It truly is the most beautiful of the Greek islands and our favorite place to visit. But make sure to pull yourself away from its infinity pools and stunning views to see the cultural side of the island and the archeological site of Akrotiri that dates back to the 16th century BC. Read more: 25 Best Things to do in Santorini, Greece

Where to Stay in Santorini

best places to visit in greece santorini accommodation

Where to stay in Santorini – We recommend staying on the west coast of Santorini in the town of Oia or Imerovigli. Two hotels that we recommend are Iconic Santorini in Imerovigli and Adronis Luxury Suites in the town of Oia. We have an entire post dedicated to Santorini hotels. Read more: Where to Stay in Santorini

How to Get to Santorini from Athens – We flew to Santorini from Athens and there are flights daily, but you can also take the Blue Star ferry from the Piraeus ferry port just outside of Athens. It’s about 20 minutes from the city.

best places to visit in greece meteora

Meteora is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Greece that is gaining in popularity. Located in central Greece, this awe-inspiring place is a sea of 9th-century monasteries built atop massive rock monoliths . The Monasteries of Meteora are so impressive that Meteora is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Massive sandstone spires reach 400 meters into the sky. Forming 60 million years ago, the landscape of Meteora is one of the most unique and beautiful we’ve ever seen. Monks built monasteries at the top of these mountains as a hidden retreat where they lived in seclusion and safety scaling the walls with ropes and ladders. Read more about Meteora in our post – Things to do in Meteora Greece – More than Monasteries

Where to Stay in Meteora

best places to visit in greece meteora hotels

Where to stay in Meteora – Stay at  Divani Meteora Hotel situated in the town of Kalabaka right at the base of the massive Meteora Rocks. It has a swimming pool, spa and fantastic view.

You can book this top-rated two day tour from Athens that explores Meteora Monasteries and the Delphi Archaeological Site if you don’t have the time to stay in Meteora, but we recommend at least two nights in this magical part of Greece.

How to Get to Meteora – Meteora can be reached from the city of Athens by Bus, Train, and Car. We recommend renting a car as the best way to see Meteora is to drive around to its many lookouts. Going early in the morning before the tour buses is a must.

best places to visit in greece athens

When visiting Greece, make sure to give yourself 3 days in Athens before heading off to the golden beaches of the islands. The capital city of Greece has a blend of ancient archaeological sites fitting in harmony with the everyday lives of the people. Few cities can compete with the wonder of Athens. The ancient Acropolis towers over this beautiful city with The Parthenon, built between 447-432 BC standing at its center.

best places to visit in greece athens at night

Athens has it all. Tasty cuisine, culture, history, and vibrant nightlife. Athens is one of the best places in Greece for a blend of history and excitement. From the Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, and the Temple of Hephaestus to its stunning rooftop patios and delicious food, it is a must-stop on any Greece Itinerary. Read more: The Best Things to do in Athens, Greece

Where to Stay in Athens

best places to visit in Greece Athens Accommodation

Where to Stay in Athens – We’ve stayed in several neighborhoods around Athens, but recommend staying near Syntagma Square or Monasteraki Square.

For luxury accommodations, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Grand Bretagne . This Ultra-luxury hotel with a rooftop restaurant/bar/pool and full-service spa has some of the best views in Athens. Check out Availability & Prices  Trip Advisor  /   Booking.com

This past summer found an affordable hotel with beautiful views of the Acropolis at the Astor Hotel . But we have a full article breaking down Where To Stay In Athens – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods

Best Places to visit in Greece Epirus

One of our favorite places in Greece just so happens to be one of the most recent places we visited. Epirus is located in northwestern Greece, bordered by Albania and the Ionian Sea. This is a huge region of Greece that is perfect for nature lovers. We suggest spending at least a week in Epirus as there is so much to do. Read all about it at Places to Visit in Epirus – The Best Kept Secret in Greece

This incredible region is filled with mountain villages, stunning landscapes, and beautiful beaches, this is a fantastic destination that has yet to be discovered. Making a base in the city of Ioannina we explored the stunning Stone Arch Bridges of Zagori to the most impressive monastery outside Meteora, the Kipina Monastery.

For our adventures all around Epirus, we used  Alpine Zone  which is the leader in adventure tourism around Epirus.  Check out Alpine Zone  to book your own Epirus, Adventures.

5. Ioannina

best places in greece Ioannina

The capital of Epirus is the City of Ioannina and this city will surprise you. It is filled with Byzantine history, beautiful monasteries and museums, and lively nightlife. The most important place to see in Ioannina is the seven monasteries on the Island of the Lake.

The Monastery of Philanthropists which dates back to 1204 is one of three very important monasteries in Greece including Meteora and the Mount Athos Monastery. But there is so much more to Ioannina making it a must-visit on a Greek vacation. Read more: Things to do in Ioannina – A Little-Known Greece Escape

How to Get to Epirus : It is a 1h 15 min flight to the capital of Epirus, Ioannina (pronounced, Yo-ah-nah-nah) from Athens or you can rent a car. It is only a 4h 30min drive from Athens to Ioannina and getting to see the Greek countryside is a real treat. We know, we’ve done it!

Where to Stay in Ioannina

best places in Greece Ioannina hotels

Ioannina is a great place to make a base to explore Epirus. Rent a car and do day trips to the surrounding villages and attractions.

Hotel du Lac is one of the best places to stay in Ioannina located within walking distance (20 minutes) of Old Town. See it on  TripAdvisor  /  Booking.com

The Lake Hotel is also a popular conference center with a beautiful pool overlooking Lake Pamvotida. Check rates and availability on  TripAdvisor  /  Booking.com

How to get to Ioannina: You can fly directly to Ioannina from Athens International Airport. There are daily flights to and from Athens. There are also buses from Thessaloniki which is just 3 hours away and long-distance buses from Athens.

best places to visit in Greece Parga

This region of Greece has everything from beaches that rival the Cyclades Islands to the Old Town of Parga complete with traditional whitewashed houses and bright blue waters. We fell in love with the town of Parga and were surprised to see that it is one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece!

Parga rivaled the best of the Greek Islands without the over-tourism. Read more: 21 Best Greek Islands to Visit

The main attraction of Parga is Parga Castle where you can hike up for beautiful views of the colorful buildings lining the beach. Parga is located on the mainland, but it certainly feels like a Greek Isle, so even if you don’t make it to nearby Corfu, you will get your feel of what a Greek Island vacation feels like in Parga.

Top places to visit in Greece Valtos Beach

Nearby Valtos Beach which is often named one of the best beaches in Greece and Sivota, Preveza and Plataria have beautiful beaches as well. Make sure to relax at a beach bar to enjoy the local seafood, this part of Greece is famous for its gastronomy, which says a lot since Greek food, in general, is so amazing!

How to get to Parga: The closest airports to Parga are Aktion National Airport in Preveza (65 km) and Ioannina National Airport (103 km). From one of these airports, we suggest you rent a car to explore the area, or  Prime Transfer Services is a superb company owned by our friend Vasili who can get you around from place to place in safety and comfort.  Visit his website  to book day tours and transfers around Epirus, Greece.

best places to visit in greece vikos gorge

Zagori is located just outside of Ioannina and if you have a car it is an easy day trip to enjoy the adventure capital of Epirus, but we suggest making a base in the mountainous village of Metsovo.

There is the Katogi Averoff Hotel and Winery and the beautiful Averoff Gallery to see. It makes for the perfect base to enjoy all the things to do in Vikos from its scenic hiking trails to historic monasteries.

best places to visit in Greece Zagori

Zagori is most famous for its stone bridges, but the Vikos Gorge is not to be missed. This is one of the natural wonders of Greece and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest gorge in the world. With hiking trails, scenic lookouts, and rich flora, this picturesque region of Greece is not to be missed.

8. Zakynthos (Zante)

best places to visit in greece Navagio Beach Zakynthos

While each and every Greek Island is beautiful, Zakynthos (also known as Zante in Greek) in particular, has a beautiful beach. Navagio Beach is a stunning scene of white sand, with chalky white sea cliffs reaching up from the deep azure waters. Perhaps the most famous beach in the Greek Islands, Navagiao Beach, aka Shipwreck Beach is surrounded by high white cliffs surrounding turquoise waters.

Shipwreck Beach is accessible only by boat tour making it even more pristine. You can book a small private excursion directly to the smuggler’s cove. Zakynthos is also one of the best islands for scuba diving in Greece. If you want to enjoy the water this is the island to do it.

Where to Stay in Zakynthos

places in greece zakynthos where to stay

Where to Stay in Zanynthos – On the East Coast of Zakynthos is the town of Zante. It is a good place to stay for nightlife and ease of getting around.

Located in the Ionian Sea, Zante is one of the seven Ionian islands. It is known as one of the best places in the Greek Islands for nightlife. But the island has so much to offer with ancient history, some of the country’s best beaches, and fantastic traditional Greek food. Read More: Things to do in Zante Greece

How to Get to Zakynthos – Ferries run to Zakynthos Island from Peloponnese. There are also flights to Zakynthos.

best places to visit in greece crete

There is nothing better than island hopping when visiting Greece, and the beautiful island of Crete is a must stop on any Greek Vacation. Crete the largest island of all the Greek Islands and it certainly has the best beaches in Greece. You’ll also see the traditional villages and whitewashed houses that we’ve all come to know of the south.

This island has it all with high peaks, deep gorges, and pristine sandy beaches, Crete is the perfect destination for your next Greece adventure! Don’t miss taking a hike through Samaria Gorge, it is certainly one of Greece’s Natural Wonders. This national park is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. And be sure to see Elafonisi Beach which is often considered the best beach in Greece. Read more: 23 Unique Things to Do in Crete

How to Get to Crete – We took a very pleasant ferry ride to Crete from Santorini. There are ferries from Athens to Crete, but it is 7 hours long. I would recommend flying to Crete as there are regular short flights to Heraklion.

10. Knossos

best places to visit in greece knossos

One of the best places on the island of Crete is Knossos. Make sure to get out to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site with your own eyes. This archaeological museum contains the palace of King Minos.

We rented a car to see this and highly recommend being mobile on your Greece Holidays. We always found that having a car rental allowed us to see the everyday life of Greek residents and to get off the beaten path. Compare prices here

Knossos is a 2000-year-old ancient site that dates back to the Minoan civilization. This large bronze age archeological site is one of the best preserved in Greece and is considered one of the best museums in the country.

  • This private tour is an excellent way to see the best of Knossos and Heraklion City. Take a guided tour of Knossos, see the highlights of the main city of Crete, tour the old Heraklion, and try some traditional Greek food.

How to get to Crete from Athens – Crete is a long ferry ride from Athens being 5 hours. But if you break it up while you visit other islands in Greece like we did, taking the ferry is a great way to get around. There are also daily flights from Athens to the island of Crete.

best places to visit in greece pelion

Pelion is a beautiful region of Greece, located on the Pelion Peninsula of mainland Greece. Located between Athens and Thessaloniki Pelion is filled with picturesque villages that you must visit including Tsagarada, Makrinitsa, and Milies. Read More: Pelion Greece – Visiting the Unknown Paradise of Greece

Also, if you want to visit the locations of the movie Mama Mia, this is the place to be. Much of the movie was filmed in the coastal village of Damouchari. The coastal city of Volos is a beautiful city was home to  Jason and the Argonauts if you love ancient Greek mythology, this is a must-stop.

Where to Stay in Pelion

places in greece pelion accommodations

Where to Stay in Pelion – We stayed at the 12 Months Luxury Resor t in Tsagarada. There are local shuttles that take you around Pelion if you don’t have a car and this was a beautiful retreat.

How to Get to Pelion: If you are flying, the main hub for Pelion is Volos. It is a five-hour scenic drive north of Athens en route to another major Greek City, Thessaloniki in Northern Greece.

12. Skiathos

best places to visit in greece skiathos

Skiathos was a surprising destination that takes you off the beaten path in Greece. With beautiful beaches and a thriving nightlife, Skiathos is popular with local tourists. With our car, we had a chance to explore the island and a highlight was visiting the Evangelistria Monastery founded in 1894.

Located in the northwest Aegean sea, in the Sporades archipelago, Skiathos feels like what Crete or Santorini would have been 20 years ago. This island has the same lovely whitewashed houses, sandy beaches, and the same vibe as the more popular Greek islands.

The best evenings we had in Skiathos were spent relaxing in a beachfront tavern sipping sparkling wine while eating traditional Greek food followed by spectacular sunsets while strolling along the waterfront.

Where to Stay in Skiathos

best places in greece skiathosaccommodation

Where to Stay in Skiathos – We stayed at La Piscine Art Hotel. It was very central to everything.

How to Get to Skiathos: Ferries depart daily from Volos and Agios Konstantinos. You can take your car, (like we did) on the ferries and it is a great way to get around the island to explore its hidden beaches and beautiful villages.

13. Skopelos

best places to visit in greece skopelos

Skopelos is a gorgeous island with the typical whitewashed houses with blue doors and terracotta roofs, picturesque monasteries clinging to its coast and stunning beaches. Skopelos wasn’t at the top of our list of wonderful places in Greece until we had the chance to visit this gorgeous Greek island.

Located just a hop skip and a jump from Skiathos, Skopelos is another Mama Mia destination filled with incredible scenery. . There are 360 monasteries and churches, blue waters made for diving and snorkeling, and impressive beaches with white limestone cliffs.

best places in greece skopelos where to stay

Where to Stay in Skopelos – The Skopelos Holidays Hotel & Spa was a lovely 5-star hotel in the main town of Skopelos where we enjoyed scenic views of the hills and bay.

How to Get to Skopelos – Ferries depart mainland Greece to Skopelos from Thessaloniki and Volos. There are also several ferries a day leaving from Skiathos. We suggest combining a trip with Skiathos, Pelion and Skopelos.

14. Costa Navarino

best places to visit in Greece costa navarino

While the Greek islands are considered one of the best places to visit in Greece for beaches, we feel that Costa Navarino in the Southwest corner of the Peloponnese region on mainland Greece rivals the best of them. Located on the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea in Messinia, few tourists visit this amazing place in Greece.

Messinia is a destination unto itself with luxury resorts, olive groves, and picturesque villages making it one of our favorite places to visit in Greece. People know of the ancient ruins of Athens, but the city of Messene in the Peloponnese is just as impressive with fewer tourists. Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece

Where to Stay in Costa Navarino

best places to visit in greece costa navarino resort

Where to stay in Costa Navarino – The Westin Costa Navarino Resort

How to get to Costa Navarino – Costa Navarino is a 3-hour drive from Athens. We rented a car from Athens and it was a great way to have the freedom to explore its historical sites on our own

15. Voidokilia Beach

best places to visit in greece Voidokilia Beach

Not far from Costa Navarino is Voidokilia Beach, the most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen. Shaped like the Greek letter Omega, Voidokilia Beach is the place of legends. Homer referenced this beach in the Odyssey and it was believed to be used by King Nestor, the ancient king of Pylos. Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Costa Navarino, Greece

16. Messene

best places to visit in greece Messene

While everyone knows of the ancient ruins of the Acropolis, Temple of Apollo, or the Temple of Poseidon, not many have heard of the ancient city of Messene.

This well-preserved city of ancient Greece is a must-visit to see its ancient stadium and have it all to yourself. Messene is one of the Best Places in Greece Free of Crowds and Filled with centuries of history, it withstood many sieges by both the Macedonians and the Spartans.

best places in greece messene View

It is not nearly as visited as other ancient destinations in Greece but it was definitely one of our favourites. We had the chance to visit Messene free from crowds, walking through the Hellenistic agora, theatre, and stadium with nobody else around. If you visit Costa Navarino, be sure to add the Ancient City of Messene Greek travel list.

Where to stay in Messene – We stayed at the Westin Costa Navarino and took a day trip to Messene, but there are plenty of places to stay nearby. You can browse them all here on TripAdvisor .

17. Kalamata

best places to visit in greece kalamata

The port city of Kalamata is also the capital city of Messinia. This is a great place for fans of theatre and the arts to visit. That’s because the main draw here is the Castle of Isabeau. The International Dance Festival is held here annually. 

This site is a massive amphitheater that offers a view of the entire city. You will also get to see the various influences both the Venetians and the Turks had on the architecture of the structure. And of course, there are plenty of museums to visit while you’re here as well. Therefore, you should be sure to take your time exploring this city.

18. Thessaloniki

best places to visit in greece Thessaloniki

While we are in the area, be sure to keep driving to visit Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is the capital of Greek Macedonia in Northern Greece. It has a feel of being in Turkey with Turkish Baths and monuments from the Byzantine and Roman eras.

Be sure to walk around the old town to see ancient sites like the Roman Market, Hammams, and Byzantine Churches. Don’t miss the White Tower which is the symbol of Thessaloniki, the 15th-century tower reaches 33 meters into the air.

Where to Stay in Thessaloniki

Where to Stay in Thessaloniki – Electra Palace is a luxury hotel overlooking Aristotelous Square, facing the Thermaikos Gulf.

How to Get to Thessaloniki – The international airport of Macedonia welcomes flights from several countries around the world. Being a major city in Greece, it is easy to get to Thessaloniki by air, train, bus, and ferry. It is also a popular cruise destination in Greece.

19. Mount Olympus National Park

best places to visit in greece Mount Olympus

When we hiked Mount Olympus, I couldn’t believe that we were actually on this mythical mountain. Located in Thessaly, Mount Olympus stands 2,917 m (9,570 ft) high and its natural beauty is not to be missed. Passing through waterfalls and dense forests, the mythical mountain feels worlds away from civilization.

Even if you only climb a portion of the Mountain of the Gods, do it. A good place to start is at the nearby town of Litochoro. We entered at the Prionia trailhead and walked down from there on this lovely day trip in Greece. If you are a fan of ancient Greek mythology, you must see Mount Olympus with your own eyes.

How to Get to Mount Olympus – As you have probably guessed, we feel that the best way for getting around Greece is by car and highly recommend a car rental . But you can also get there by public bus from Thessaloniki and Athens.

How to Get to Messene – You can take a bus from Athens which is approximately 3 1/2 Hours. Buses also run from Kalamata and Costa Navarino organizes day tours to Messene.

20. Mykonos

Top Places to Visit in Greece Mykonos

Mykonos belongs to the Cyclades Islands group in the Aegean Sea and has long been one of the most popular places in Greece for twenty-somethings getting away from it all.

It is the second most visited place in Greece right after Santorini and with good reason. This beautiful island is world famous golden sand beaches falling into crystal clear waters attract people to its shores for beach time and nightlife. Read more: 22 Best Things to do in Mykonos, Greece

But there is more to the island than partying and nightlife. There are many historic places. Be sure to visit the archaeological site of Delos the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

best places to visit in greece mykonos

Mykonos is best known for its beautiful windmills lining the shore which have become the symbol of the island. Built by the Venetians in the 16th century, they are incredibly well preserved.

It is fitting that the town of Alefkandra is known as Little Venice. With its charming wooden balconies hanging over the sea, it was once home to rich merchants of Venice .

How to Get to Mykonos – Like all the Greek islands, it is easy to get there by ferry from the other islands. It is possible to take the ferry from Athens as well. You can also fly directly from Athens or your home country.

Top Places to Visit in Greece Rhodes Island

Known as Knights Island, Rhodes is a Greek Island on the Aegean Sea that is draped in history and natural beauty. Inhabited since prehistoric times a visit to Rhodes offers the perfect blend of history and beautiful scenery. The medieval town of Rhodes and its ancient ruins makes Rhones one of the best islands to visit in Greece for History

Notable in Rhodes is the Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes Old Town, Palace of the Grand Master, and relaxing at Lindos Beach (aka Limanaki Agios Pavlos). Rhodes was an important location for the Trojan War in 1184 BC where the Dorians were. It has survived centuries of earthquakes and wars making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Greece. Read more: 21 Best Greek Islands to Visit

Combined with ancient history, great beaches, and nightlife, it is also one of the most popular places to visit in Greece. A part of the Dodecanese Islands, Rhodes (like many other Greek Islands) has golden sandy beaches and crystal clear azure waters.

How to Get to Rhodes – Piraeus port Airport on Rhodes is one of the busiest airports in Greece and regular flights fly to Rhodes from several destinations. Regular ferries from Athens Piraeus port to Rhodes.

Best Places to visit in Greece Corfu

Corfu is hardly a hidden gem, and, in peak season, the island does get a little swamped by mass tourism. However, Corfu is one of the best Greek islands to visit if you are visiting off-season or in the shoulder seasons.

Corfu is Greece’s greenest island. It also has lots of historical sites dotted around the island. Corfu Town is perhaps the epicenter of history in Corfu and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ionian explorer video

How to Get to Corfu: Corfu International Airport is situated within a short taxi ride (or half an hour’s walk) of Corfu Town, and it has regular flights from many major European cities.

Beautiful places to visit in Greece Delphi

Delphi Archaeological Site is a famous place to visit in Greece. This ancient temple located at the top Mount Parnassus dedicated to the Greek God Apollo is awe-inspiring. The ancient Greeks, revered Delphi s their center of worship.

One of the best things to see in Greece is Delphi. Why? because of its history and setting. With the Temple of Apollo standing all at is center. Delphi dates back to the 8th century BC and is one of the top destinations in Greece for beauty and history. The ancient temple complex of Apollo sitting atop the high mountain makes for an incredible scene.

Book this highly rated private day tour from Athens to Delphi where you’ll explore the UNESCO-listed Delphi Archaeological Site and marvel at ancient statues of the Charioteer and the Sphinx of Naxos at the Delphi Archeological Museum

How to Get to Delphi – Delphi is a popular day tour from Athens that you can organize an easy excursion to. You can also take a bus to Delphi. It is 3 hours from Athens. We highly recommend renting a car.

24. Halkidiki

Best Places to visit in Greece Halkadiki

Halkidiki is an area located in the northern part of Greece . It is famous for its three peninsulas known as “the three legs” – Kassandra, Sithonia, and Mount Athos. One of the most interesting places in Halkidiki is Mount Athos Monastery. Mount Athos Monastery is one of the three important monasteries in Greece. The others are Meteora and Ioannina in Epirus.

Halkidiki is probably one of the best places to visit in Greece that you’ve never heard of. Compared to the thousands of islands in Greece, tourists have yet to discover Halkidiki. It is popular with neighboring Bulgaria and Romanian sunseekers but it will soon catch on with the rest of Europe I am sure. Read more about Halkidiki here .

How to Get to Halkidiki – From Thessaloniki,  a car transfer  can be arranged to the hotel or even a car rental. Once you get to your hotel there are several options to rent a car in the main resorts, but probably it is better to get one at Thessaloniki airport. You will need it anyway to explore the area!

25. Athens Riviera

best places to visit in greece athens riviera

If you are visiting Athens and don’t have time to make your way to the islands, the Athens Riviera is a great place to visit in Greece. We spent a long weekend enjoying the stretch of the Athens Riviera just a short drive outside the city. You can hire a taxi from Athens or rent a car. Our hotel the Vincci Ever Eden Hotel offered discounted transfers from Athens International Airport.

26. Poseidon’s Temple – Cape Sounion

best placse to visit in greece poseidon's temple

Even if you don’t stay overnight on the Athens Riviera, a day trip from Athens to see Poseidon’s Temple is a must. It took us several trips to Greece before seeing this imposing temple on the shore of the Ionian Sea and it is worth the trip.

The ancient world loved honoring its Greek Gods and Poseidon’s Temple is the most impressive simply due to its location. You can book this day tour from Athens.

Where Should You Go in Greece for the First Time?

best places in greece athens

When visiting Greece for the first time, we suggest flying into Athens and spending three days exploring the ancient ruins, the Acropolis, and National Archaeological Museum and enjoying its fun nightlife. After getting acquainted with Athens, we then suggest moving on to Santorini, Mykonos , or Crete to enjoy a taste of the Greek Islands.

What are the Most Beautiful Places in Greece?

Most Beautiful Places in Greece

There are many beautiful places in Greece from the monasteries of Meteora to the rugged beauty of Epirus , but we think that the most beautiful place in Greece is Santorini.

This beautiful island lives up to the hype with traditional whitewashed villages lining the slopes of the high seacliffs overlooking the caldera. While it is very busy with day tours and cruise ships in peak season, we suggest spending 5 days to a week in Santorini in shoulder season to really get a feel for this Cyclades Island.

best places to visit in greece video

And these are the best places to visit in Greece. We love exploring this incredible country and going back to Greece again and again, so we want to know where to go next. Where have you been in Greece? Is there a place we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.

With each visit to a new destination in Greece, we are mesmerized by its beauty. There are so many places in Greece, it could take a lifetime and we are okay with that. We look forward to going back to Greece again and again.

Plan Your Next Trip to Greece With These Resources

  • 25 Interesting and Fun Facts About Greece
  • Best Greek Islands to Visit
  • Ultimate Greek Food Guide – Traditional Dishes to Eat in Greece
  • Halkidiki Greece – The Complete Travel Guide
  • Things to do in Zakynthos, Greece
  • The Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World
  • Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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6 thoughts on “26 of the Best Places to Visit in Greece in 2024”

I’m surprised you left out Hydra. The town is quaint and car-free so pedestrian and donkey travel is it (unless you can take a water taxi there). It’s very beautiful! We loved it on our trip in Sept.

A very informative read. Thank you for this good quality knowledge, great work done. I will tweet your post and share this information with the world.

This is a precise, clear, and yet informative read. Thank you for this, Cudos to you for this information,great work done.

Santorini and Mykonos are beautiful places. They have been on my bucket list for so long. God knows when wil I get the chance to visit them.

Evia Island – the second largest island in Greece. It’s about an hours train ride from Athens. Beautiful place.

The guidelines of train schedule is very awesome and really helpful to me about the Greece


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