Few tips on how to better organize an itinerary for your Meteora visit
Making plans to visit Meteora and you are not sure which is the best itinerary for your travel plans? You are in the right place! Below we have prepared some tips and suggestions on how to better organize an itinerary for your Meteora visit.
One of the first things you need to check are the sights you wish to visit during your stay here. Meteora offers a wide range of sights and things to do, all listed on our website in the “what to see” and the “things to do” sections. Of course, the things that you’ll do and see always depend on the time and energy you wish to spend in each place you visit. So make sure to allocate enough time for Meteora, if that is possible because this is a destination that truly offers a magical and unique travel experience. What most of us would call it a lifetime experience.
The main attraction of Meteora is, of course, this “out of this world” geological marvel and the 6 active monasteries sitting on top of these immense rocks. There is a timetable for visiting hours of the Meteora monasteries that you’ll have to check first. From Monday to Friday one or two monasteries, depending the season remains closed. During the weekend all 6 active monasteries are open to visitors from morning until late afternoon. The timetable and the opening days change with every season. There are 2 main seasons for the visiting hours, the winter period (November to March) and the summer (April to October) and one must take notice of the visiting hours before arrival. Over the years we came across of a lot of visitors who arrive with the impression that it’s somehow possible to visit all 6 monasteries within a day. This is something highly inadvisable, unless you are a person with a near perfect physical condition, or if there is no other way around. 5 out of the 6 monasteries, in order to visit them you’ll have to climb steep footpaths and stairs. With each one of the staircases that lead up to the monasteries to have approximately 150 to 300 steps! The monastery with the easiest access is the monastery of Agios Stefanos that has no stairs at all, a perfect choice for people with mobility limitations.
If you have less than 24h to spend at Meteora then you may plan to visit 2 or 3 monasteries, whether in the morning or in the afternoon hours. Have in mind that in order to visit a single monastery it will take roughly from 45 minutes to an hour minimum, counting from the parking lot outside the monastery. If you are planning to visit Meteora in the winter period via a train and you are planning to depart the same day, then the best and cheapest way to visit Meteora, including some of the monasteries, is to book a “train-to-train” tour. Another option you have is to hire a taxi from outside the train station. If you are planning to drive your own car here, then you can scroll down in our front page near the footer and there you can submit us your e-mail and we will e-mail you back a detailed map of the whole area in pdf format. The map will give you a better idea of Meteora area, parking lots, roads, and routes.
Something else to keep in mind is that you won’t find places for lunch or dinner up on the rocks. There are only 3 cantinees that sell small snacks and soft beverages, that’s all you will find up there. Each one of the cantinees is parked outside of Great Meteoro, Varlaam and Agios Stefanos monasteries respectively. So don’t expect to find any taverns or restaurants inside the site of Meteora. You can have lunch or dinner at a restaurant either in the village of Kastraki or in the town of Kalambaka.
If you are planning to spend few nights at Meteora your choices to make the most out of your visit here multiply exponentially! You can organize your itinerary in many different ways. Below we have prepared for you 2 indicative itinerary examples.
2-days itinerary example
Let us assume that you have a rental car and arrival is scheduled for Monday late afternoon late spring, planned for 2 nights stay with departure due to Wednesday morning. Let’s see an example of an itinerary for 2 nights stay:
If you arrive around 15:00 then, immediately after check-in, take the car and drive up on the rocks to visit Great Meteoro monastery (it closes at 17:00 in the summer period) which is a not to be missed sight. That particular monastery remains closed every Tuesday during the summer period.
Book a Hiking tour and walk the ancient trails of Meteora and include a visit to Varlaam monastery. It’s one of the best ways to experience Meteora. The tour will end at around 13:30, have lunch and then in the afternoon around 16:00 you can either explore the area by yourself, or you may choose to join the Meteora Sunset tour that will take to another monastery Agios Stefanos (except on Mondays) including all the hidden gems of this place. At the end of the day, you get to enjoy the beautiful sunset, sitting on top of a rock in one of the best viewpoints of Meteora.
3-days itinerary example
Now lets’ see an itinerary for 3 nights stay, assuming arrival by train is scheduled for Wednesday 6th, July 2015, departure Saturday 9th afternoon:
Take a taxi and ask the driver to drop you off outside Holy Trinity monastery. That will cost you between 9 to 10 Euros, visit the monastery and then walk down to the town of Kalampaka through the old trail that you will find it on the base of that monastery. It’s a beautiful 40 min walk back to the town.
Join a 4-hour morning tour the Meteora half-day morning tour and visit (between 09:00 and 13:00) two Meteora monasteries (Great Meteoro and Roussanou) learn about the history and the legends plus include a visit to the prehistoric cave of Theopetra, a 130.000 years old site! In the afternoon you may visit the Natural History Museum of Meteora, located in the town of Kalampaka where you will be able to learn about the wildlife and the flora of this place. Late evening take the public bus or walk from Kalampaka to have dinner in the picturesque village of Kastraki. The village is located only a kilometer away from the town of Kalampaka so you could easily walk back. Greece, generally speaking, is a very safe country that you’ll see kids during summer playing outside till midnight! So feel safe here at Meteora to walk freely without fear even very late at night.
In the morning around 09:00 try to catch the public bus to Meteora and reach Great Meteoro. From there visit Varlaam monastery and then from the foothills of the rock where the monastery lies take the ancient trail and walk down in search of the Dragon’s cave, located right beneath the monastery. A bit further down the road, you will find the monastery of St Nikolas of Anapafsas monastery to include a visit. In the afternoon make plans to see the Sunset on the rocks either by joining the Sunset tour or by yourself.
If you wish to experience a small adventure why not to join the hiking and scramble tour of Great Saint. This particular 3-hour hike will take you up on the tallest of all Meteora rocks, some 400 meters above the town of Kalampaka, through an ancient winding path upon the rock of Great Saint. A huge rock complex thousands of years ago used to be an integral part of the ancient fortifications of the town below. This is the kind of activity to remember for a lifetime and the best way to end a memorable stay here at Meteora!
Hope to help you a bit sorting out an itinerary for Meteora. If you still have any questions regarding your visit here don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail or phone, and we will be more than glad to assist you in any way we can!