Visiting the Monasteries of Meteora

by Cristina on June 29, 2009

by Cristina | June 29th, 2009  

hpim1975Perched atop rocks, the monasteries of Meteora have been among the tourists’ preferred placed to visit for years. Their interesting history combined with the incredible views from above, make a day trip to Meteora really worth while.

When to visit

It doesn’t mater much when you plan to visit the monasteries but during winter (December to March) the weather is damp and cold. It’s advisable to plan your trip in spring or autumn . If you are looking for a special experience, try to be here for the Orthodox Easter .

Opening times

Different monasteries are open on different days so that the monks in the still functioning ones have the time to pray and do other chores. Some of the monasteries have been turned into museums. If you plan to visit a certain monastery, make sure to check the schedule in advance.

Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to find information online about the opening times and entrance fees. Holy Trinity can be visited daily from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It costs €2 to enter the monastery. Rossanou Monastery can be visited daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance fee is €2.

Which monasteries can be visited?

While there are many empty, abandoned monasteries on the rocks, the following six can be visited:

  • Great Meteoroon : the oldest monastery; currently a museum
  • Varlaam: the second biggest monastery in size; the old refectory is currently used as a museum
  • St. Stephen: the easiest to reach if you don’t like to hike a lot; the old refectory is used as a museum
  • Holy Trinity: the hardest to reach boasts some of the best views; was featured in the movie “For Your Eyes Only”
  • St. Nicholas Anapausas
  • Rossanou: now functions as a convent of nuns


How to get to Meteora

If you spend your vacation in or around Thessaloniki, visiting the monasteries of Meteora can be planned as a day trip. You can catch a bus or a train from Thessaloniki and stop at Kalampaka. Then you need to take another bus to get to the monasteries.

>>read more about Getting from Thessaloniki to Meteora

If you center your vacation plans in Athens, visiting the monasteries of Meteora is a bit harder to tackle on a day trip. It takes 4 h 30 min to get to Meteora either by bus or train. So it’s better to plan a two day trip and mix other places into your itinerary as well.

>>read more about Getting from Athens to Meteora

If you prefer to book an organized trip, there are plenty of travel agencies (in both Athens and Thessaloniki) which offer day trips to Meteora and other close-by tourist destinations. But you can only relay on these tours during the tourist season.

Steps, walking and general fitness requirements

There are hundreds of steps leading to the monasteries so prepare your knees for long hikes. Make sure to bring appropriate shoes and bottled water. The most accessible monastery is The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen , while Holy Trinity is the least accessible. You don’t need special training to tackle the hikes but the fitter you are, the easier it will be for your body (and the less sore you’ll be the next day).

More photos

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Photos by WhyGoGreece and cannot be used without permission.

{ 3 comments }

Heather Cowling November 17, 2009 at 5:53 am
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Thanks for the information. It was very helpful. We are planning a trip in October 2010 and want to hike to as many monastries as possible. It is hard to find useful information.

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Andrea Kirkby July 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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Hi Heather – I’m just working on a guide to Meteora which I hope will be ready before you head out to Meteora – would you like to trial it?

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Cristina July 18, 2010 at 10:48 am
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@andrea: I’d like to review it , actually; email me at greece@logueit.com to talk abt it.

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