The Monasteries of Meteora
Welcome to our new Blog! As we are local experts, we feel duty-bound to pass on our knowledge to you, our customers, and also give you more details about the amazing place that you are visiting. We don’t just offer transfers, we also offer day trips to interesting local sights.
One of our most popular trips is to the Monasteries of Meteora, close to the town of Kalambaka.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this really is one to tick off the bucket list. Breathtaking, mystical and a testament to human spirit, strength and Christian faith.
Built between the 14th and 16th centuries, these magnificent monasteries and convents are actually a piece of living history, as well as a historical site. To this day, there are still small numbers of monks and nuns living and working at the site which makes a visit there all the more special.
Arriving through the narrow winding roads, the first glimpse of the Great Monastery, as it’s known is utterly awe-inspiring. The majesty and size of it, up on top of the huge sandstone column is unfathomable. And this is just the first of 6 monasteries here. At the peak of the site in the 16th century, there were actually 24 active monasteries, but over the centuries that number dwindled to the 6 you see before you today.
Your trip inevitably starts with a hike, which is why it’s best to go in the morning so that the hiking conditions are cooler, and so that you can see as much of the site as possible. As you climb up the hills towards the first monastery, you can only marvel at how on earth the monks managed to build this incredible place. Building materials could only be brought up by a system of ropes, baskets and pulleys and the same went for getting provisions in and out of the community. But there was method in their madness; as the only access was by rope ladder, if the residents felt threatened, they could simply draw up the ladder and they were perfectly safe in their elevated eyrie!
It wasn’t until the 1920’s that the shallow stone steps you walk on today were painstakingly cut into the rock. And in 1921, Queen Marie of Romania was the first woman ever allowed to step foot inside The Great Monastery.
Of course, each building has its own character and charm. Holy Trinity is the most difficult to reach, and the most isolated. For this reason many of our customers choose to tackle it first. The hike and the 140 steps are worth it though. You are rewarded by phenomenal, panoramic views, and it’s not difficult to see why Holy Trinity was given a starring role in the James Bond film, ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
St Stephen’s is probably the most accessible, being situated on the plain rather than perched on a vertiginous clifftop, and you can join the friendly cats who love to bask on the sun-drenched walls outside this little monastery.
Every time we visit the site, we notice and appreciate different details. The way that the sun hits the stone and casts long shadows, the carved door furniture, the little monk’s cell at St Nicholas which he keeps open so that visitors can have a glimpse into his monastic life.
On the way out of the Grand Meteoran Monastery (the largest of the 6), don’t forget to slip a little note into the crack in the rocks. This has become a time honoured tradition over the years, and what will your note say? ‘Oh, please let me come back to this place!’ It’s a common refrain from our guests who leave the trip feeling spiritually refreshed, if not a little tired!