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The Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

Updated on March 6, 2015

The amazing Byzantine monasteries of Meteora are perched atop pillars of rock and look like something from a fantasy novel. The vast columns of heavily eroded sandstone have captivated people for hundreds of years and have developed a mystique associated in part with the long-standing Christian significance of the area. This area can be very crowded with coach tours and other tourists, which can mar what could be a very spiritual experience and one of awe at the power and majesty of nature. The monasteries themselves are very interesting and worth visiting in spite of the crowds, but the true wonders of Meteora are only experienced by journeying off the beaten track and following other paths, sometimes very neglected and overgrown, through the spectacular landscape.


itinerary

show route and directions
A markerVarlaam -
Varlaam 455 00, Greece
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B markerMeteora -
Meteora, Kalabaka 422 00, Greece
get directions

C markerVarlaam -
Varlaam 455 00, Greece
get directions

Meteora once had 24 monasteries and nunneries, though now only 6 remain active. They are, deservedly, a world heritage site. These are:

Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron: the largest of the Meteora Monasteries, now used as a museum.

This may be an incredibly popular tourist destination, but going off-piste as it were, it is still easy to find real adventure and thrills in the Meteora region. Take your time to seek out a guide if you are worried about getting lost, and even serious, experienced walkers should make sure that they are well prepared. This region, with its sheer rocky cliffs and steep slopes, is not the place to come if you are worried about health and safety. But if you are a keen hiking looking for somewhere to walk that is a bit different to anywhere you've been before, then this alien landscape could be an excellent choice.

Founded in the 14th century by a monk from Mount Athos

More Monastery of Great Meteoron

The Great Meteoron was established around 1340 by St. Athanasios Meteorites

Monastery of Great Meteoron

Monastery of Varlaam

A markerVarlaam -
Varlaam 455 00, Greece
get directions

Holy Monastery of Varlaam: second largest. This monastery is home to a museum and a parekklesion of the three bishops which dates from the 17th Century

More Varlaam

Varlaam

Holy Nunnery of Rousanou

Holy Nunnery of Rousanou: this monastery is honoured to Saint Barbara but dedicated to 'the Transfiguration'. It was founded in the 16th Century.

More Rousanou

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas: This is the first monastery you come across when visiting Meteora from Kastraki.

A good walk to try is the dramatic one up from Kastraki to Holy Spirit Rock, then through a pass between towers to see the Rousanou Nunnery on its impossible looking spire in the distance. From there, you drop down into a beautiful valley with moanstery topped pillars rising all around you, before rising up once more towards St. Nicholas Anapausas.

Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen: this is the most accessible monastery and you don't have to climb lots of stairs to reach it.


A good hint for avoiding the crowds almost entirely is to use tracks and trails to the northwest, and to the east of the Meteora. These trails are not well signed and not mapped, so take care not to get lost. You may have to fight your way through the vegetation but the routes can be exciting and the views, breathtaking.

Holy Monastery of St. Stephen

Monastery of Holy Trinity

Monastery of Holy Trinity

Monastery of Holy Trinity: This monastery is far more difficult to get to than the others, making it a good choice if you prefer to keep the crowds to a minimum. You have to cross the valley and go up through the rock before you eventually reach its entrance.


Monastery of Holy Trinity

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    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi KevvoDeverson

      Thank you very much highly appreciated :)

      Thanks

      Lee

    • KevvoDeverson profile image

      Kevin Deverson 3 years ago from Leyland, UK

      Lovely work shared on my facebook

    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi Peggy W,

      Thank you very very much really glad you like my work highly appreciated :)

      Thanks

      Lee

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It must have been quite a feat building those monasteries high atop those amazing looking rocks. I really enjoyed learning about them and seeing the photos and that video of the largest one. Sharing this with HP followers, tweeting and pinning to my new Greece board.

    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi katiecianni

      No problem

      Thanks

      Lee

    • katiecianni profile image

      Katie Cianni 3 years ago from Cheshire

      Thank you Lee :) Love your Hubs!

    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi katiecianni,

      Great question i found this on wikipedia Hope that helps,

      ''The caves in Meteora, Greece, had inhabitants for fifty millennia, but due to raids, “hermit monks” moved to the safety of sandstone rock pinnacles in the 9th century and began building monasteries.''

      Thanks

      Lee

    • katiecianni profile image

      Katie Cianni 3 years ago from Cheshire

      Wow wonder why they are always so high?

    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi emmaouthworth

      Thank you for your kind feedback Highly appreciated

      Thanks

      Lee

    • emmaouthworth profile image

      Emma Southworth 3 years ago from Manchester

      Beautiful work x

    • traveleze profile image
      Author

      Lee John 3 years ago from Preston

      Hi Thomasjames1992

      Thank you

      Lee

    • Thomasjames1992 profile image

      Thomas James 3 years ago from London

      Loved reading this again! Shared this on Facebook as i have some religious friends

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