The Floating Monasteries of Meteora

Meteora, (meh-teh-or-ah) which in greek means suspended in air is the name of a group of mountains which formed during tectonic mosh pits of rock (pun intended) and mantel. Extremely high pressure compressed much harder rock types with shale and sandstone. By the time humans found them, wind had eroded the softer shale and sandstone leaving sporadic separated rock formations. Hermit monks first ascended the area, then christian monks later used them to escape wars and eventually founded up to 24 monasteries at one point. There are only six active today, the rest are in ruins.

You cannot take transportation directly to Meteora. From Delphi, we needed to take a bus to Lamia. But without warning, changed buses in Itea on the way. Then another bus from Lamia to Trikala and then on another bus got dropped off in the square of Kalambaka. We easily found our way because everywhere in Kalambaka seemed to have free wifi. Luckily our hotel was not far away. Now, there are two cities that are your jumping off point to visit Meteora. Kalambaka & Kastraki. They are so close together that it doesn’t matter which one you use as your launch point. But depending on what you like as your base, here are the differences.

Kalambaka:

The bigger of the two. Most incoming and out going transportation takes you to/from this town. It has more amenities such as a super market & a place to rent a scooter.

Kastraki:

Much more picturesque. There is no bad view of Meteora but you could argue this one has a bigger view of more of the mountians.

How to visit the monasteries:

  1. Rent a scooter for 15€. I recommend not doing a tour.  It’s too rushed.
  2. If more than two people, rent a car.
  3. Hike it. Lots of people do it. You can probably fit 3-4 monasteries in. A bus leaves from Kalambaka town square at 8:00am.
  4. Do a tour, I don’t like say it but if it’s your only option it’s still way better than missing out on the site.

The Grand Meteorian Monastery is now more of a museum. If you can get an early start, beat the crowds (of tour buses) here and you’ll have a much better time exploring. Each monastery costs 2€ to enter and there is a dress code in effect. Each dress code is posted on the sign for each individual monastery and unfortunately is geared more towards women covering up. Though when we were there, we didn’t see any consistancy. The hours vary by monastery as well. But most open at 9am and close at lunch or early afternoon. Then reopen until approx. 5pm. Also important to note is that of the six active monasteries, one is always closed on a particular day during the week. This is so the monks have a place to go and do their tasks and rituals away from the noisy tourists.

Words cannot do much to describe how overwhelming, enchanting and inspiring the views are.

More pictures here!

3 Responses to The Floating Monasteries of Meteora

  1. wow..the photos of the monasteries look amazing! This is quite a place isn’t it!

    Amer November 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm Reply
    • Indeed they are, a new favorite place for sure.

      Shaun November 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm Reply
  2. Pingback: Shaun's Cracked Compass 2012 best posts | Shaun's Cracked Compass

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