Category Archive : Meteora by train

Operating day & Prices

3 days – Visit the ancient site of Delphi & at least 2 Meteora monasteries
The tour is organized exclussively by Astoria Travel in English, ONLY between April-October,
You depart on Wednesday with a group and and a guide and visit the ancient site of Delphi. Thursday, in Kalambaka, you are free to explore Meteora on your own – (take the optional morning hiking tour and in the afternoon join the “sunset tour”). Finally, Friday you visit 2 monasteries that are open on Fridays with a group and a professional tour guide and return to Athens at +/- 19:30

***CLICK & SEE the alternative 3 days/2 nights independent tour, that we organize daily by train.

The hotel that we use in Kalampaka is the 3* “Hotel KOSTA FAMISI”.
(April – October)The discounted prices, per person, for the tour services are:
1) Sharing a double room with your partner, 2 nights with 2 BREAKFASTS: 160.00 €
2) For single travellers, 2 nights in single room, with 2 BREAKFASTS: 200.00 €

The above prices include:
– transportation on modern air conditioned buses
– Pickup / drop off from or near your lodging. (See the list of hotels in the footer of this webpage).
(This service is from central hotels in Athens’ centre. The airport and the Port of Piraeus are not in Athens).
– The services of the professional tour guide on Wed & Friday. Thursday you are on your own.
– Hotel accommodation in single / double rooms including BREAKFAST, ONLY.
– The entrance tickets to the ancient site of Delphi and the 2 monasteries visited on Friday.
MORE OFFERS and DISCOUNTS (only one discount allowed – the higher one):
a) 5% TRIPLE ROOM DISCOUNT: Share a room with another 2 of your friends and gain 5%.
a) 5% GROUP DISCOUNT: Make a team of 5 or more passengers and gain 5%.
b) 5% ADVANCE BOOKING and payment discount. Follow the following 3 steps and save 5%.
# SUBMIT your booking request form at least 4 months before the scheduled departure.
# WITHIN ONE WEEK following our confirmation, pay a non refundable deposit of 50.00 € p.p.
# 2 MONTHS before the departure of the tour, settle the balance in full and save 5%.

– Read the details in the “4 Steps 2 book” link and start the booking procedure.
– There is a cancellation deadline if the bookings are not paid on time.
– Bookings during the last 48 hours, can be done only in our office, located on 48 Stadiou street.
– See our location, contact information and working hours in the footer of the website.

Useful links: 4 STEPS 2 BOOK / booking-form / PAY ONLINE / Send us a message

Highlights & Decription


DELPHI-the centre of the universe
Delphi was the most sacred place in the ancient world and thousands of pilgrims, from kings and philosophers to common people, came to hear the prophesies of the Oracle and to watch and compete in the Pythian Games, similar to the Olympics, that were organized in Delphi. The archaeological site is one of the best in Greece with ancient temples and shrines placed on the slopes of Mt Parnassus, makes Delphi one of the best places to visit all year round. It is a 2.30 hr drive from Athens.

According to the myth, Zeus released two eagles. One flew east and the other one west. They met over Delphi, determining that the centre of the world was there. A temple dedicated to god Apollo was built there in the 7th c BC. The oracle of Apollo became a religious centre where common people and kings alike, came to consult the priestess of the sanctuary.
The archaeological site consists of the temple of Apollo, the treasury houses, the theatre, AND the stadium, while the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia consists of the best known landmark – the “tholos”, a circular structure with 3 of its original 20 doric columns restored, the gymnasium and the sports fascilities, used for training during the “Pythian Games”.
Today, next to the archaeological site, there is an impressive museum, displaying findings from the local excavations, that started 1892. The highlights are offerings by the oracle visitors, such as the famous Charioteer, the statue of Antinoos, the two “kouros” statues, the “omphalos”, being the sculptured stone that represented the navel of the world, and many others.

METEORA-the art of nature
In a region of inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks found protection and settled on these “columns of the sky” from the 10th c. onwards. 24 monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the monastic ideal in the 15th c. Their 16th c. frescoes mark a key stage in the development of the post-Byzantine painting.
More than a million people visit the area of Meteora every year and admire this “unique” natural phenomenon.
The huge rocks of Meteora were formed millions of years ago, a mixture of sandstone, pebbles and hard gravel. These mountain pillars are extraordinary, with horizontal stripes and strange shapes, reaching 600 m tall. The art of Nature; a rocky forest. Meteora have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and since 1995 the Hellenic government declared it a ” sacred area”, belonging to everybody and protected from any change or interference. What makes them even more remarkable are the exquisite monasteries, built by hermits during the 9th c. AD, at the pinnacles of the rocks. For centuries these towers of sandstone provided cliff-top retreats for the monks.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE TOUR

1st DAY: Depart at 08.30 from Athens and driving via THEBES (the town connected with legendary Oedipus), LEVADIA (short stop) and ARACHOVA, the group arrives in DELPHI 11.30am. With the tour guide you visit the sanctuary of Apollo, and the archaeological museum, located near the site.
13.30 break up for lunch at a restaurand outside the modern Delphi town, and at 15.00 proceed after a short stop at THERMOPYLAE, the area where the Spartan king LEONIDAS and his 300 soldiers fought the Persians in 480 BC you arrive in Kalampaka, at +/- 19.00. Overnight in Hotel KOSTA FAMISI.

2nd DAY: Today you are free to explore the area of Meteora. Start in the morning hiking on the path towards Holy Trinity and St. Stephen. When you get up there, sit at the edge of one of the rocks, and let your mind travel million years back. Imagine that you wet your foot in the water of a huge lake. A lake covering the whole valley. Look at the horizon and imagine the lake drying gradually, recovering all this natural beauty in front of you. This is the most probable option of how all these were created. You are in front of a geological phenomenon universally unique, where words like admire, unexplainable, impressing which we usually find in many writings can describe it’s size only to one point.
Follow the same path for your return or walk on the asphalt road back to Kalampaka. Relax in one of the cafeterias and when you recover walk to Kastraki and find the cave dwellings at Badovas. Here is where everything started. You will see hermitages, original cloisters, and monasteries built inside the caves.
You haven’t finished yet. Walk in the old town of Kalampaka and find the old Byzantine church. It’s the most important monument of Kalampaka, or take the optional “Sunset tour”, visit one monastery (usually the Rousanou) and capture beautiful sunset photos. Return to the hotel for overnight.

3rd DAY: After breakfast, meet and join the group and on the bus this time, drive to the METEORA and visit 2 of the monasteries that are open on that day. One of them is the St. Stephen (the only flat access).
Return to Kalampaka for lunch, and after lunch you say farewell to mystical Meteora and start our return to Athens. Arrive in Athens, +/- 19.30.

Detailed itinerary

DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY: The bus departs from the terminal at +/- 08.30
Passing from THEBES, LEVADIA (short stop) and the village of ARACHOVA, you arrive in DELPHI,
the famous “Temple-Bank”, at 11.30. Delphi was considered by the ancient Greeks and the Romans as the “the centre of the universe”.
With the professional tour guide you will explore the legendary site of the Oracle band the nearby archaeological museum.
13.30 The group proceeds for lunch, and at +/- 15,00 departs via THERMOPYLAE, the place where the famous battle between the Spartan King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan soldiers against the huge Persian army of Xerxes 480 B.C. took place (Short stop), LAMIA(stop for rest room), KARDITSA and TRIKALA for KALAMBAKA. Arrival at +/- 19:00, and overnight in hotel KOSTA FAMISSI.

DAY 2 – THURSDAY: This is the extra day. You are free to explore the area.
Wake up early to experience the surrounding terrace, the flora and fauna of the area.
We suggest that in the morning you explore the area on your own, using to local bus (May-October), to visit the monasteries, or, hire our taxi driver, or do an easy hiking trip.
In the afternoon, take the optional “SUNSET TOUR”. Our pre-booked price is 20.00 euro per person. The tour bus will pick you up from the hotel at +/- 15.30 and you will be back at +/- 20.00.

DAY 3 – FRIDAY: After breakfast, at +/- 08:15, meet the bus behind your hotel, join a new group, drive to the METEORA, and visit two of the monasteries that are open on Fridays. One of them is the monastery of St. Stephen, the only monastery easily accessible.
+/- 12:00 Return to Kalampaka for lunch and after lunch you start the return to Athens arriving at +/- 19.30.

Time Tour Plan & Services
08:30 Hotel pick up starts from 07.30 Depart from the terminal in Athens at +/- 08:30
11:30 After a short break near Levadia, arrive in modern Delphi village
11:45 With the professional tour guide, visit the ancient sanctuary site. Entrance fees included.
13:45 Lunch at a local restaurant, outside the modern village of Delphi.(Optional).
15:00 Via Thermopylae (short stop), Lamia (stop), Karditsa & Trikala, you proceed to Kalambaka
18:30 Arrive in Kalambaka and at 19:30 check-in the hotel of your choice.
09:00 Today you are free to explore Meteora. Do your hiking excercise and visit GRAND METEORO.
16:00 Take the optional “Sunset Tour”, and capture beautiful sunset memories. (Optional tour)
09:00 After breakfast, with a new group, visit 2 monasteries. Entrance fees included.
12:00 Lunch at a local restaurant. (not included in price).
14:00 Start the return to Athens and arrive in Athens at +/- 19:30. Hotel drop off by 20:00

All options to visit Meteora

 

GUIDED TOURS IN SHARED BUSES

 

Duration (days)
Guided or Private
Highlights, Places visited
Guided tour in shared bus
Delphi, Thermopylae, Meteora
3 day Delphi & Meteora
Guided Tour in shared bus
1 night Delphi, 1 night Meteora
3 day Delphi & Meteora 160.00 €
Guided tour in shared bus
2 nights in Kalambaka
4 day classical tour & Meteora
Guided tour in shared bus
Argolis, Olympia, Delphi & Meteora
5 day Monday Special & Meteora
Guided tour in shared bus
Nafplion, Olympia, Delphi & Meteora
Guided Tour in shared bus
Guided tour
 
 
 

 

INDEPENDENT TRIPS TO METEORA BY TRAIN

 
Duration (days)
Guided or Private
Highlights, Places visited
1 day Meteora by train from…62.00 €
Independent trip and private taxi
Train ticket & taxi hire
1 day Meteora, train & shared bus
Independent train trip
Train & tour of Meteora in shared bus
2 days trip train package
Independent train trip
Train ticket & hotel
2 days by train – “Meteora special”
Train ticket, hotel, Sunset & morning tour
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

METEORA

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

The Grand Meteoro monastery. The highest and biggest of the six monasteries open to the public.

If you have two days to spare this is one of the most impressive places you will ever visit. Meteora is a flat plain where God in his great wisdom placed these giant rocks where monks could climb to the top to escape the world. These monks built impressive monasteries, some which could only be reached by ropes and pulleys, built and supplied by hauling material up in baskets. Today, Meteora, is one of the top tourist destinations in Greece. Doing a Delphi-Meteora trip is one of the most popular journeys.

The Meteora are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Six monasteries, open to the public today, built on natural sandstone rocks, over the town of Kalambaka. The 64 gigantic rocks, made of conglomerate, create a spectacle, unique worldwide.

There are several theories regarding the creation of these rocks. The prevailing theory is that one of the German geologist Philipson. According to Philipson, million of years ago the area was a huge lake and 3 rivers had their estuaries in this area. The rivers brought, stones and material, from central Europe. From the accumulation of these materials deltaic cones were formed.

About 30 million years ago, after geological changes that took place, the central part of today’s Europe was lifted the Alpes and the valley of Tempi were formed and an outlet for these waters to the Aegean Sea was created. During the time of the alpine mountain orogenesie, solid volumes of “rocks” were cut off from the mountain chain of Pindus and as the centuries went by, the plain of the river of Pinios was formed between them. Orogenesis refers to severe structural deformation of the Earth’s crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates. The word “orogenesis” comes from the Greek (oros that means “mountain” and genesis for “creation” or “origin”). It is the mechanism by which mountains are built on continents. Orogenie develops while a continental plate is crumpled and thickened to form mountain ranges, and involve a great range of geological processes collectively called orogenesis.

Following the continuous corrosion by the wind, rain and other geological changes these rocks took their present form. A spectacle “unique” worldwide. At the cavities, fissures and peaks of these rock towers people found protection from enemies that invaded from time to time the area.

Some of these rocks reach 1800 ft or 550m above the plain. This great height, combined with the sheerness of the cliff walls, kept away all but the most determined visitors.

Hermits and anchorites found shelter on these rocks, seeking mental calmness and tranquillity, while praying and seeking for Christian perfection. According to the existing scripts monk hood is present from the 1st millennium. Initially the hermits were isolated, meeting on Sundays and special days to worship and pray not only for their salvation but also for the salvation of all people, in a small chapel that was built at the foot of a rock known as Doupiani. Their life was simple and the work hard.

According to scripts, Barnabas, the monk who established the cloister of the Holy Ghost is mentioned as the first hermit at 950-970 AD, followed by the monk Andronikos from Crete, who established the cloister of the Transfiguration of Jesus in the early 1000 AD. Later and around 1150-1160 AD the Cloister of Doupiani was established. Except the aforementioned cloisters others also existed in several cavities around the rock of Doupiani.

At the beginning of the 12th c. in the area of the Meteora a small ascetic state was formed, having as centre of worship the church of Mother of God extant until today at the north part of the rock of Doupiani. The hermits were flowing to this small church from their hermitages in order to perform their common worship, to discuss the several problems that concerned them and to ask for the help from other hermits in order to carry out the hard work. The leading man of the cloister of Doupiani had the title of the “first”.

Almost 200 years later, in the middle of the 14th c. the Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mount was established by Holy Athanassios, who gave the big rock the name Meteoro. Since then all the rocks have this name.

During the 14th and 15th c. a time of great prosperity for the monk hood in the Meteora we have the creation of many more Monasteries and their number reaches 24. In the middle of the 14th c. monk Neilos, founded the Holy Monastery of Ascension (the Holy Monastery of Ypapanti-Candle Mass, today), and in 1517, Nectarios and Theophanes built the monastery of Varlaam, which was reputed to house the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew.
Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult.

The first hermits climbed up the rocks using scaffolds wedged in holes of the rocks. They felt safe from political upheaval and had complete control of the entry to the monastery. Later on, the only means of reaching the monasteries was by climbing ropes, windlass and long ladders, which were drawn up whenever the monks felt threatened.

The monastery of Varlaam has an extensive net and pulley system, from which rope nets are let down several hundred feet by a windlass, today used for lifting up provisions.

The ropes were replaced, as the monks say, only “when the Lord let them break”. In the 1920s the first steps were carved in the rocks. There is a common belief that St. Athanasius (founder of the first monastery) did not scale the rock, but was carried there by an eagle.

As years went by, under several difficulties, conquerors of the area, thieves’ raids and other factors, many of the flourishing Monasteries were abandoned (period of decline after the 17th c) and during World War II the site was bombed and many art treasures were stolen by the Germans.

Today, the tradition continues for over 600 years, uninterrupted in 6 monasteries, 4 inhabited by monks and 2 by nuns. According to popularity they are: the Monastery of the Great Meteoro, the Varlaam Monastery, the St Stephen Monastery, the Holy Trinity Monastery, the St Nicolas Anapafsas Monastery and the Roussanou Monastery. Each of them has fewer than 10 inhabitants.

Furthermore, with the generous efforts of the monks, the local Bishop Serafim and the contribution of the state, the E.U. and several citizens, more monasteries have been restored and maintained, such as:
1) The monastery of St Nicolas Badovas (dependent on the Holy Trinity monastery), and
2) Of Ypapanti-Candle Mass (dependent on the monastery of the Transfiguration or Great Meteoro).

We feel that the Meteora belong to everybody. This is your chance to see the “unique” spectacle and visit the monasteries.

Following the paths of monks to Meteora

The Meteora is a complex of Eastern Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars. The sandstone pillars are beautiful. Today six are open to the public. Four monasteries and two nunneries.

If there is one place that you must visit is Meteora in central Greece. This huge Eastern Orthodox monastic complex is unlike anywhere else in the world – and despite how overused this phrase is nowadays, at Meteora it means the exact picture. If the unearthly landscape of massive pillar-like mountains and columns weren’t striking enough, monks went ahead and built huge monasteries ON TOP of them 800 years ago. 6 of them are still working monasteries nowadays and are open to the public if you are willing to make the trek up to them.

A view from Meteora is spectacular no matter where you stand, and it will make even the most seasoned traveler say “wow” out loud. In fact, While Greece is full of beautiful vistas and spectacular sites, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more unique and with so many fabulous views as you get in Meteora.

The World Heritage monasteries of Meteora, in the middle of Greece, are one of the most extraordinary sights.
Built on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rocks, the monasteries

Meteora map

Meteora map

provided monks with peaceful havens from increasing bloodshed as the Byzantine Empire waned at the end of the 14th c. The earliest monasteries were reached by climbing removable ladders. Later, windlasses were used so monks could be hauled up in nets, a method used until the 1920s. Apprehensive visitors enquiring how often the ropes were replaced were told ‘When the Lord lets them break’.

These days access to the monasteries is by steps hewn into the rocks and the windlasses are used only for hauling up provisions.

Don’t miss this unique place at this special price!