Meteora gets a lot of day visitors wanting a glimpse of its famed monasteries, however, if there’s one thing I learned during my visit, it’s that this place has so much more to offer.
The monasteries may be the main draw, but if you give yourself a few extra days, you’ll discover breathtaking landscapes that lend themselves well to all sorts of sports including hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting and more.
We also can’t forget the towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki, which make an excellent base to explore Meteora, and offer their fair share of local markets, museums, and restaurants worth checking out during your visit.
What to Do
First things first, let’s talk about the monasteries. Seeming inaccessible to the naked eye, these monasteries were built by monks looking for a secluded way of life, so they created structures that required the use of ropes, ladders, and a whole lot of upper body strength to reach the top.
Today only six active monasteries remain; these are: Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Holy Trinity, Roussanou, St. Nikolaos Anapafsas, and St. Stephen’s. The Great Meteoron is the most famous of them all seeing as it is the largest and oldest of the six monasteries, so you won’t want to miss it.
Another way to experience the natural beauty of Meteora is by going on a guided hiking tour. Visit Meteora runs guided hikes that take you on an off-the-beaten-path walk through the gigantic pillars that make up Meteora’s Rock Forest. Not only is it an incredibly scenic journey, but you also get to see ruined and abandoned monasteries that are completely hidden from the main road and are only accessible on foot.
Lastly, when it comes to adventure, there is no shortage of activities in Meteora. The landscape lends itself to adventure sports, and that means you can try your hand at mountain biking, rock climbing, river rafting, or even walking a via ferrata.
Where to eat
Being an avid foodie, one of my personal highlights was getting to sample a wide variety of Greek dishes in the town of Kalambaka. Meal times usually featured saganaki, a fried cheese cooked in a two-handle pan and then served with lemon; kolokithokeftedes, zucchini fritters served golden and crispy; and moussaka, a multi-layered casserole made with sautéed aubergine, spiced minced meat, potatoes, and a thick topping of cheese and béchamel sauce. Here’s a look at some of the restaurants I most enjoyed:
Restaurant Meteora – A family-run restaurant with a walk-in kitchen, where you can have a look at what’s cooking and choose what you’d like to eat. They also have a really eclectic decor made up of swords, paintings, decorative plates, coin collections, and photographs.
Meteoron Panorama – This is a great restaurant if you want to enjoy a romantic dinner for two. The restaurant has a large outdoor terrace right at the foot of the rocks and it boasts some of the most impressive views in town.
Paramithi Restaurant – This particular restaurant was a cozy little spot that would be easy to miss, however, they had some incredibly friendly staff and live music that ended with half the restaurant on its feet.
Where to sleep
Kalambaka has a wide range of accommodations available, ranging from budget to luxury. While in town, I stayed at the Divani Meteora Hotel, which had a nice contemporary feel with a dash of luxury. I would recommend asking for a rock facing view – there’s nothing quite like opening the bedroom curtains in the morning to see Meteora’s Rock Forest right before your eyes.
Have you been to Meteora?