Athens to Meteora Rocks & Monasteries Tour

An awe- inspiring tour to an “Oasis of spirituality”

Available departures

  • Our tours take place all year long, in all weather, rain or shine.
  • The tours do not take place on the following public Holidays: 25 , 26 December, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, May 1st and March 25, the Greek Independence Day.
  • Kindly be advised that all services are subject to availability, your request shall be secured only following receipt of a confirmation email from us and clearance of your deposit.
To ask a question or make a booking request please contact us.

Central Greece

Greece is a beloved destination and in addition to the more familiar islands, the mainland offers plenty of options for a classic Mediterranean holiday! You’ll find unspoilt fishing villages full of tranquil charm or fulfilling city break. Enjoy a wealth of archaeological sites, fascinating culture, spectacular coastline and picture-perfect scenery! Central Greece Central Greece, known Find out more about our tours in the area

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In Brief

THE CATACOMBS OF HEAVEN The Sacred Site of Holy Meteora has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, as a "unique monument of humanity that has to be preserved for future generations". These unique samples of medieval monastic architecture are a valuable cultural and spiritual heritage and belong not only to Greece but to the entire world! This monastic complex of priceless Natural and Cultural Value, is a harmonious matching of Byzantine architecture (mostly dating to the 14th and until the 16th century) and breathtaking landscape. The monasteries, which are built on top of huge rock pinnacles, seem like a continuance and a natural extension of the rocky formations. The presence of so many monasteries in such a small area, make it the largest center of monastic life in Greece, with the first hermits living in the caverns as early as the 10th c. and the first monasteries being constructed by the monk themselves in the 14th c.

The name Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], which literally means “suspended in the air", derived from their utterly unique construction on top of huge pinnacles, which many times of the day are embraced by clouds, thus, seem to be “floating in the sky” or “hanging from the clouds”! Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The monasteries are located at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly, near Pineios River and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town and base for exploration is Kalambaka. The monasteries were built on natural sandstone rock pillars, within a magnificent and serene surrounding, which radiated security and tranquility, fulfilling the desire of many people to abandon the cosmic world and withdraw into an oasis of spirituality. These hermits and later monks, built the monasteries of Meteora and, through time, turned them into powerful magnets of faith, offering mental stimulation and serenity. Even nowadays, the Meteora rocks are nothing else but spiritual palestrae, where faith is kept alive and strengthened, sin is expelled and personality is being shaped and developed. Geology The pinnacles are composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century BC, local people believed that Thessaly plain had once been a sea. Indeed, geological studies confirm the possibility that the valley was probably flooded at the end of the last Glacial Period, around 8000 BC and in one cataclysmic moment the water was emptied into the Aegean. The corrosive action of the water, the strong winds, the heavy rains and the seismic vibrations, created hills and rocks in different shapes and sizes. The conglomerate was formed over thousands of years of stone, sand and mud deposits at the edge of the lake and when the lake dried the softer sandstone around it eroded away leaving Meteora standing. Hermitages of Hermits It is not clearly recorded when the first hermits and anchorites arrived in Meteora, as manuscripts exist since the monastic life was organized. Most of the Monasteries date from the end of the 14th century, when the Byzantine Empire's 1.000-year reign over northern Greece was being increasingly threatened by the Turkish raiders who wanted to take control over the fertile plain of Thessaly. Seeking safety, the monks discovered the inaccessible rock pillars of Meteora as an ideal refuge. According to tradition, however, the first hermits came to the area either the 9th or the 10th, and dwelled in the caves around to establish a personal relationship, to meet and to come face to face with the unimaginable infinite the Creator Himself. The first practitioner of asceticism is said to be Barnabas, founder of the Cloister of the Holy Spirit in 950-970 AD. A Cretan monk named Andronicus followed in 1020 AD, founding the monastery of the Transfiguration of The Savior. A more organized monastic community of Meteora was formed during the 12th c., with the creation of the Cloister of Stagon or Doupiani. Almost 200 years later, in 1344, Athanasios Kinovitis from Mount Athos brought to Metéora a group of followers. From 1356 to 1372 he founded the Great Meteoron monastery, which is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. The first monastic priory was formed and a monastic regulation was established in accordance with the standards of Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, under which the monasteries are still run till today. The monks had complete control of the entry to the monastery and the only way of ascending was by climbing a long rope ladder, which was drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened. More than 20 monasteries were built in the area, 6 of which are still remaining in our days. The monasteries of the Transfiguration, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholas of rest and Varlaam are inhabited by monks, while the Monastery of Agios Stefanos and the Monastery Roussanou are inhabited by nuns.

Road Map

  • We will pick you up from your hotel in Athens at 07.30. We will take the national motorway towards Meteora. We will make a short stop at the town of Trikala, for a coffee break or taste the local ice cream next to Litheos River and we will continue to Meteora, where we will visit the first Great Monastery of Varlaam.
  • The Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second largest monastery within the Metéora complex, dedicated to All Saints. It was built in 1541 on the top of a 380- meter- rock and embellished in 1548! It is, designed after the Athonite type (cross-in-square with dome and choirs) and the spacious exonarthex  is covered by a dome. The old refectory is used as a museum.
  • Our second visit will be at the Monastery of St. Stephen (Aghios Stfanos), which is a small church built in the 16th century and decorated in 1545. This monastery rests on the plain rather than on a cliff. It was damaged by the Nazis during World War II who believed it was harboring insurgents and thereafter it was abandoned, until nuns took over and reconstructed it. Today at the museum inside the monastery visitors can admire a small treasure of Byzantine and Christian items.
  • This wonderful tour will end with traditional Greek lunch at the picturesque villages of Kalambaka or Kastraki. After the delicious break, we will make our way back to Athens.
  • The duration of this tours is about 10-12hours, as Meteora is 370 kilometers away from Athens

Highlights

  • Varlaam Monastery
  • Monastery of the Great Meteoron
  • Monastery of Aghios Stefanos
  • Trikala Town
  • Kastraki Village

Useful info

Our tour packages don’t include a professional licensed tour guide, in order to be more affordable to our clients. However your driver will provide substantial & enough information for all the locations that you'll visit, within the car or outside the sites.

Notice that  you could choose from the below choices.

a/ You can have your driver - tour Leader  to accompany you. ( No additional cost)

b/ We can provide upon request a Professional tour guide.

c/ For tours that are taking place outside Athens we can always book a local tour guide in each place of visit , upon your request.

Whatever your choice might be, kindly send your request and we will inform you of the additional cost if that exists!

In case you'd like to be picked up by us at Athens International Airport "El Venizelos", we offer you transportation in significantly better price.

Our representative will welcome  you at the Arrival Hall, holding a sign with your name written on it ,will  help you with your luggage and escort you to the car.

duration Itinerary [total duration approx. 11½ hours]
vehicle

Car Type: For your chauffeured transportation, we provide fully air-conditioned vehicles that meet all technical and security standards. Depending on the number of participants, you can choose:

a/ Sedan- type vehicle, new Octavia 7 or Mercedes, capacity 1 to 4 pax (depending on availability)

b/ Mini Van, capacity 4 to 8 pax (depending on availability)

c/ SUV- type vehicle, capacity 1 to 5 pax (depending on availability)

Notes: 1) Child safety seats available upon request 2) Luggage restrictions may apply

walking-pace Activity level: Moderate to hard
equipment Dress Code: Visitors at the Monasteries and the museum must be descently dressed, as there is a strict dress code. Pants, mini-skirts, skin-tight clothing, short sleeves and low-cut blouses are unacceptable. Women must wear long skirts and long-sleeved blouses and in some cases, may be asked to cover their head with a scarf. Men must wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
group Max Group Size: 12-14 persons

 

Did you know?

  • Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult, requiring the use of scaffolds, propped up to joists that were wedged in holes of the rock. Later, the monks used rope ladders or large nets, until the first ladders were carved on the stones, around the mid- 20th century.
  • "The net" in which intrepid pilgrims were hoisted up vertically, alongside the 373 meters (1,224 ft.) cliff where the Varlaam monastery dominates the valley, symbolizes the fragility of a traditional way of life that is threatened with extinction.
  • Caves in the vicinity of Metéora were continuously inhabited between 50.000 and 5.000 years ago. The oldest known man-made structure, a stone- wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to Theopetra Cave, was constructed 23.000 years ago, probably as a protective barrier against the cold winds, as the Earth was experiencing an ice age at the time. Many Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts have been found within the caves.
  • In the 9th century AD, an ascetic group of hermit monks moved up to the ancient pinnacles; they were the first people to inhabit Metéora since the Neolithic Era. They lived in hollows and fissures in the rock towers, some as high as 550m (1800 ft.) above the plain.

Tour price

Please contact us

550 € (Prices applies per vehicle not per person)



  • Mercedes/Octavia 7 A/C Sedan Yellow Taxi
  • Up to 4 people
  • From Athens Center
  • For a Minivan service up to 8 persons please ask us for a quote.

Inclusions - Exclusions

inxclusions

  1. Transfer to/from the sites.
  2. Hotel pick up (for downtown Athens).
  3. Car fuel
  4. Tolls
  5. Car parking
  6. All taxes
     

exclusions

  1. Gratuities (optional)
  2. Food or drinks
  3. Licensed guide
  4. Admissions