Ever since Carlo showed me a picture of Meteora that our friend Gianni had taken, I was super excited to get there.
A quick Google search made me even more excited about the prospect of heading north of Athens and checking this place out.
The history behind this region of Greece is so fascinating and the landscape looked like something out of a fairytale so I couldn’t wait to explore the area.
We visited late April, the 22nd to the 25th to be exact, and let’s just say that this place did not disappoint. It was just as impressive as I hoped it would be.
I love writing about places that I genuinely enjoyed visiting and this is definitely one of them so without further ado, here’s the round-up of our visit to Meteora with some info that I hope you’ll find useful for your trip.
How to get to Meteora from Athens
You have 3 options to choose from:
- By Train
- By Bus
- Rent a car and drive
Train from Athens to Meteora
This is the option we went for and I’d highly recommend you do the same. Just head to the main train station in Athens (Larissa Station) and you’ll be looking for tickets to Kalambaka, which is the town that’s closest to Meteora.
The train journey from Athens to Kalambaka takes between 5 and 6 hours. There’s only one direct train that leaves every morning at 8:27am. We took this one and the train was comfy and the journey was really smooth with some beautiful scenery along the route.
The tickets cost 16 euro each and we booked them the day before our departure to secure our seats.
There are other trains to Kalambaka that requires a change of trains. You can see here for more info on departure times etc.
Bus from Athens to Meteora
This is a little trickier than getting the train from what I’ve read.
The bus leaves from Liossion Station and you should be looking for a bus that goes to Trikala, which is a big town close to Kalambaka.
Once you get to there, you can then get another bus to Kalambaka. See here for more info on the bus times from Athens to Trikala.
Rent a Car in Athens and Drive to Meteora
Renting a car in Greece is a pretty straightforward process. Having said that, you must be an experienced driver to tackle rush hour traffic in Athens if you do choose to drive to Meteora.
It’s a 4 and a half hour drive (approximately) and remember to have a GPS system to rely on if you’re not familiar with the roads along the route.
Where to stay in Meteora: Kalambaka or Kastraki?
This confused me when we were booking accommodation in Meteora.
Kalambaka? Kastraki? I thought we were going to Meteora I said to Carlo!
Well, it’s simple and you need to understand that Meteora is the name given to the actual region. Kalambaka and Kastraki are towns within the region, and you’ll have to chose which one to stay in.
Kalambaka Vs. Kastraki
Which area you choose to stay in should depend on your preferences.
Kalambaka is by far the bigger of the two towns, and I’d go as far as to describe Kastraki as more of a village.
If you prefer a busier setting with lots of variety when it comes to restaurants, hotels, shops, and nightlife, Kalambaka is for you.
If, like us, you prefer a quieter area with great restaurants, a small few shops, less people and more stunning views, Kastraki is for you.
We choose Kastraki purely for the more superior views and the following guesthouse that we found online.
Where we stayed in Kastraki
We stayed at the beautiful Guesthouse Sotiriou. It was built in 1845 and as it’s built into part of a huge rock that overlooks the village of Kastraki, it offers the BEST views in Meteora.
With its stonewalls and arches and wooden ceilings, staircases and trap-doors, it completely won us over.
It was so peaceful there and waking up to the views like the one in our snapchat video (make sure to watch it below!) was literally one of the highlights of our entire 5 and a half-month trip.
The traditional breakfast was also yummy and I find myself dreaming about the homemade apricot jam every so often, even though it’s been weeks since our stay. I wonder would the kind landlady send me some!?
Things to do in Meteora, Greece
From rock-climbing and hiking to biking, sunset tours, rafting and a natural environment that will make you not want to put your camera away, there are so many things to see and do in Meteora.
Based on how we spent our time there, here’s what we’d recommend:
Make sure you see ALL of the monasteries
Meteora is known throughout the world for its impressive monasteries that are built on top of huge rock formations.
Without going into the fascinating history of the monasteries, there are 6 that you need to see and they are:
- The Holy Monastery of Varlaam
- The Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus the Great Meteoro.
- The Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen
- The Holy Monastery of the Holy Trinity
- The Holy Monastery of Roussano
- The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicolas Anapafsas
Dating back to the time period of the 14th to the 16th century, these monasteries are now listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
While you do need to see them all, you don’t necessarily have to go inside each of them, especially if monasteries/churches aren’t high on your list of interests.
We went inside the Monastery of St. Stephen as it’s accessible from the parking area and we only had to climb a few steps to get inside. To gain access to all the other monasteries you must climb 100+ stairs so keep that in mind.
Rent a bike/scooter in Meteora
We opted for the latter (lazy sods!) and we absolutely loved zipping around the winding roads in Meteora on a scooter that we rented from a place in Kalambaka.
The price was €25 for a 24 hr. period and it was so worth it.
Renting a bike is also an option but the scooter will give you more time to take pics and explore so that’s why I’d recommend a scooter. The roads are also quite steep in places so only rent a cycling bike if you’re fit enough to climb those hills.
Do take a sunset tour
We did a sunset tour with Meteora Thrones and we recommend that you do the same. It cost us €25 each and it lasted for 4 hours.
These guys, Dimitris and George, are the best in town based on what we read and the tour offers insane value for money considering the price vs. the experience that Dimitris provides his guests.
Due to heavy cloud cover, the sunset wasn’t as amazing as it would be on a clear day but it was still pretty spectacular. The view from the sunset point is just wow regardless of weather conditions so be sure to have plenty of space left on your SD card!
Meteora is most definitely one of the most scenic places we’ve ever been.
After a few days in our little sanctuary in Kastraki we left with lots of epic photos and memories that make us want to return and recommend this place to ALL other visitors to Greece.