Category Archive : Meteora by train

VISIT METEORA and follow the monks’ paths to the monasteries.

Meteora is a complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars.
Today four monasteries and two nunneries are open to the public. Certain days each one is closed for meditation.

Meteora today

If there is one place that you must visit during your visit to Greece this is the Meteora in central Greece. This vast Eastern Orthodox monastic complex is not found anywhere else in the world. Despite how overused the word amazing is, at Meteora it means the exact picture. If the unearthly landscape of massive pillar-like mountains and columns weren’t striking enough, monks, 800 years ago built huge monasteries on top of them.

The view from Meteora is spectacular no matter where you stand, and it will make even the most experienced traveller to say “wow”. Greece is full of spectacular sites, but it will be difficult to find one more unique and with so many fabulous views as in Meteora. The UNESCO monasteries of Meteora, are one of the most extraordinary sights.

Meteora map

Meteora map

Built on top of the huge pinnacles of smooth rocks, the monasteries provided monks with peaceful havens from the bloodshed as the Byzantine Empire waned at the end of the 14th c. The 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.

Do not miss visiting this unique place at this special prices!

Monasticism at Meteora


The Monasticism at the Holy Meteora over the centuries
The monks’ love of God, monasticism and asceticism for this miraculous way of life on the rugged spires of the plain of Thessaly. Monasticism is the highest calling and the path that leads directly to holiness. It is the complete devotion of the human person to the tribune God. It is the imitation of the angels in divine love, chant, obedience and the ministry of souls, which is why it was called ‘equal to the angels’ and an ‘angelic state’. The entire life of a monk consists in opening the heart to God and keeping His commandments, in constantly striving for sanctification and praying continually. Whether working, studying or in the stillness of prayer, the monk is unceasingly crying out to the Lord in the heart with the brief prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us”.

Over the centuries the Meteora monasteries were seed-beds of holiness for a multitude of monks, a bastion of faith and civilization, treasuries of the values and virtues of the Greek Orthodox spirit. Here, the unparalleled natural wealth of Meteora coexists in absolute harmony with discreet human intervention; intense spiritual striving and devotion to God is juxtaposed with a love of beauty and culture; the harsh ascetic way of life stands side by side with the refinement of art and artistic creativity, with the sole purpose of glorifying the Creator.

The monks’ ascetic struggles were characterised by heroism, their spirituality by a spirit of self-sacrifice, self-denial and support to the troubled souls who sought refuge in these strongholds of Orthodoxy. Thus the monasteries of Meteora became the watchful custodians and guardians of tradition: they became schools for the Greek children under Turkish rule and a refuge for the persecuted, they offered provisions to the freedom fighters and at the same time gave an education in holiness and salvation.

The valuable ascetic tradition of Meteora, the large number of saints who have lived on the hallowed spires, its rich liturgical life and many relics, which are its most precious treasures, together make the monasteries vital centres of Orthodox spirituality.

Meteora is a holy land, a sacred space created and guarded by God, its cliffs and caves and ravines sanctified by the host of holy ascetics and martyrs of the Greek Thebaid who have inhabited them. A contemporary saint, St Porphyrios, used to say: “I speak with the rocks, for they have so much to tell of the ascetic life of earlier fathers”.

Over the last fifty years a remarkable programme of restoration has been carried out to the monasteries of Meteora, as a result of the hard work and tireless efforts of the energetic and worthy abbots and monks, the watchful care and blessing of Metropolitan Seraphim of Stagoi and Meteora and the excellent collaboration of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Larissa (formerly of Trikala). This major undertaking includes extensive reconstruction work, the preservation of frescoes and treasures in the monasteries’ collections and improvements to the surrounding space, making Meteora one of the most spiritual and attractive destinations in the world.

The monastic communities of Meteora participate in liturgical life and attend to the many visitors with love and sensitivity. In addition they preserve and maintain the sites, paint icons, embroider with gold thread, create miniatures, produce beeswax candles, incense and small icons, cultivate the monastery gardens and keep bees. Their publications include studies in history, theology and hymnography. However, their primary purpose is to offer a living witness of Christ in an age which is spiritually barren, when people have lost their sense of national and religious identity and are experiencing a crisis that is not only economic but also spiritual. The monks strive to preserve the precious legacy of their faith and rich tradition and to highlight their inestimable value in modern times.

The monastic community


Perched high atop spires of conglomerated Calcerous and sandstone rock, the monasteries of Meteora are one of the world’s most spectacular sacred sites. Located in the Thessaly region of North Central Greece and overlooking the valley of Pinios, the towering rocks of Meteora, meaning ‘rocks in the air’, have long evoked awe in human beings. Paleolithic remains indicate settlements around the stones from between 100,000 to 40,000 BC, and hermits and ascetics have lived in the area since long before the Christian era. The arrival of Christianity began in the 8th century, organized monastic communities had developed by the 12th century, and by the mid 1500’s twenty-four Greek Orthodox monasteries had been constructed upon the spires of stone. The monasteries, 200-600 meters high (and some accessible only by baskets lowered by ropes and winches), became a center of scholarship and art until the mid 18th century when popular interest in monasticism declined. Most of these meteorisa monastiria (‘hanging monasteries’) were abandoned and today only six survive, of which four can be visited by way of bridges and rock-cut steps. Previously a remote area, the construction of a highway in the early 1960’s made the monasteries accessible to pilgrims and tourists. This influx of visitors, however, has discouraged new monks from joining the monasteries and compelled others to move to Mt. Athos in search of solitude and privacy.
Orthodox Monks started to populate the area of Meteora over 1200 years ago, initially searching for quietness, peace and the perfect environment

Lifting system with ropes in Meteora to pray and meditate. They were living in caves like hermits, with little human relations. Beginning of the 12th c. they started to congregate and create the first monasteries. To make things more difficult, they decided to build their communities on top of rocky peaks, apparently inhospitable places to live in, but with more protection from the outside world, and amazing views to enjoy daily.
Approching Meteora the visitor wonders how could they manage at that time to climb these steep peaks with very little equipment and later to carry the materials to build the monasteries. The cliffs are as high as 600m (1800 feet) from the plain level, and hardly accessible even today to equipped rock climbers. Originally entrance to the monasteries was possible only with ladders, or ropes connected to nets, used to lift goods and people. Not only it was adventurous, but also really dangerous, since the legend say that the ropes were changed only “when the Lord let them break”. The advantage of such an access system was that the ropes could easily be lifted to protect the monks from external threats. The biggest expansion of the monasteries had place at the end of the 14th c, when Greece was threatened by Turkish invaders, and monks from other areas of Greece took refugee in Meteora, building a total of 24 monasteries, progressively abandoned in the last two centuries.

While walking in Meteora we saw buses packed with tourists going from one monastery to the other without even stopping on the way to enjoy the amazing views. This means to miss all of the magic of this place, the fusion of the human-made monasteries perfectly integrated on top of incredible rock formations. We advise you not to do the same mistake and enjoy the route in between the monasteries!

Contact us

Astoria Travel,
48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
Click here and send us a message

Our 3 day tour includes


SEE our tour to Meteora and Delphi combining train, taxi and bus.

  • Daily departures, travelling on your own or in a small group.
  • Travelling by train in a scenic and smooth ride.
  • Visit well hidden spots that other travellers never experience.
  • Learn the culture and history of the place from the local leader.
  • INCLUDES:
    – Stay in the hotels KOSTA FAMISI and Hotel LEFAS,
    – B class Train tickets from Athens to Kalambaka and on to Levadia,
    – The Taxi transfer at 21:10 from Levadia train station to Delphi,
    – The Intercity Bus from Delphi to Athens. Arrival in Athens at 19:15

    EXCLUDED: Lunches and dinners, Entrance fees to the monasteries and the archaeological site.

    All options to visit Meteora

    Testimonials


    Hani K, Ottawa, Canada, 33 reviews
    Re: Astoria Travel
    I had a fantastic experience with Astoria Travel and Kosta. He is very efficient, he know his stuff and he is one of the best in his job. He helped me plan a trip to Kalambala and Delphi by train, private taxi and Intercity bus. He arranged everything and all went very smoothly like a clock work.
    He takes care of everything, so you don’t have to worry about anything, all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy a well organized trip.
    His prices are very reasonable and extremely competitive compare to other tours. I definitely recommend him

    I was in Greece last week of March and first week of April 2018

    Contact us

    Astoria Travel,
    48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
    Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
    Click here and send us a message

    SEE ALL THE TOURS that visit Meteora in guided tours or independent train trips.

    This 3 Days Tour from Athens to Meteora and Delphi gives you the chance to visit two important greek sites, Meteora, and Delphi, independently and onyourownpace! For more details on this tour, check the above section and read about the tour itinerary, see photos and videos or read the FAQ! If you wish to modify this tour according to your own needs, like adding an extra overnight, feel free to contact us! Why book with us Daily tour departures any day you want, 365 days a year whether you are travelling on your own or in a small group. Traveling by train is incredibly scenic. Save time and effort. Organizing your own holiday can be a stressful task. Let us do the work for you! Trains are more energy-efficient per passenger mile than planes or cars, making them one of the most eco-friendly transportation. You will go to secret local spots that the vast majority of other travellers will never experience. You will learn about the culture and history of the place on a deeper level and from a local’s perspective. Inclusions 3-days/2 nights stay at a 3-star hotel at Meteora Train tickets from Athens to Meteora Train tickets from Meteora to Livadia Taxi transfer from Livadia to Delphi Bus tickets from Delphi to Athens Join the Meteora Sunset Tour Choose the second day’s tour Pick-up and drop off from Kalampaka train station to your hotel English speaking tour leader on the tours Free Map and Bottle of water provided on the tours Free wifi on board the tour bus Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Romanian on request Taxes & service fees Optional: Audio guide in Delphi Exclusions Gratuities (optional) Lunch and Dinner Entrance fees to the monasteries and the archeological site Guide in Delphi archeological site

    SEE ALL THE TOURS that visit Meteora in guided tours or train trips.

    Description

    The 2 Days package to Meteora by train is organised daily.
    METEORA are listed as UNESCO World Heritage monuments. It’s a natural landmark nowhere to be found around the world. The imposing vertical rocks standing as pillars reaching the sky, host on their plateaus ancient monasteries with a vast cultural significance for the whole Christianity. The Byzantine Monasteries were built for protection at the top of the rocks. This is your chance to explore this unique natural phenomenon.
    The tour includes the train tickets, 1 night stay, Sunset, Morning, or Hiking Tour!

    In kalambaka join the 4.00 hrs tour of Meteora, see all 6 monasteries of the monastic community and visit 2 of them and experience the life of the monks and nuns.

    You deposit 40.00 € to help us buy your train tickets and you collect tickets and vouchers in Athens.

    Tour itinerary

    Day 1:
    * Be at the Railway Station of Athens (Larissa station) at 07:50.
    Find you platform and board the train to Kalambaka that departs at 08:20.
    Travel in a smooth and scenic ride through the plain of Thessaly. It is the most comfortable and efficient way.
    * You arrive in kalambaka at +/- 13:40 and an unforgetable experience starts. Enjoy the trip.
    Meet our driver and go to the hotel. Check in and have lunch in a nearby restaurant.
    * Return to the hotel and 16:00 be ready in the lobby of the hotel for the “afternoon sunset tour”. (CLICK and read details of the tour).
    (The pick up time for the “sunset tour” varies, following the time that the sun sets).
    * Return to Kalambaka after the sunset, have dinner in one of the tavernas and spend the night in the hotel KOSTA FAMISSI.

    Second day.

    * 08.00 – Have an early breakfast, take a walk, enjoy the local fauna & flora and at 09.00 be ready to be picked up for the morning tour of Meteora. You drive up the rocks, stop in a couple of openings for beautiful photos, visit at least 2 monasteries that are open on the day that you visit the area, and
    * 13.30 – return to Kalampaka. Have lunch, and return to the hotel to take your luggage and walk 400 m. to the train station.
    * 17.20 – Board the train and at 17:32 depart for Athens. Arrival at Larissa Rail station at +/- 22.40. End of the tour.

    On day 2 you can choose to take the hiking tour to the Meteora rocks instead of the morning tour. This decision is yours.

    Prices

    The price p.p. is: 115.00 € p.p. in a double bedroom with breakfast, 134.00 € in single room & 110.00 € p.p. in triple room,
    AND INCLUDES:

  • Train ticket (B class),
  • accommodation with breakfast in hotel Kosta Famissi,
  • the arrival transfer from the train station to the hotel,
  • the 3.30 hours afternoon “Sunset” tour tour, and
  • on the second day,either the 4 hrs morning tour, or, the hiking tour, organized by our local partner.
  • NOT INCLUDED:

  • 3.00 € p.p., the entrance fee to every monastery,
  • Your meals and drinks in the train & in Kalampaka, and
  • The 1.50 € per room, per night “city tax”
  • Extra night in single = 38.00 euro, in double = 24.00 euro, in triple = 20.00 euro,
    Extra for upgrading your train ticket from B class to A class = 12.00 euro per person,

    Click here and see the terms and conditions to make a booking. Pay 40.00 € and secure your bookings.

    CLICK and see all the options to visit Meteora in guided tours or independent trips.

    contact us

    Astoria Travel, (Est. 1958)
    48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
    Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
    Click here and send us a message

    Meteora by train

    SEE ALL THE TOURS that visit Meteora in guided tours or train trips.

    You choose the monasteries to visit and how long to stay in each one.

    Question: Is it possible to visit Meteora, see the monasteries, and return to Athens all in one day? The answer is: Yes. In Kalambaka you have 3 hours to drive on the rocks and visit 2-3 monasteries at the maximum.

    If your visit to Greece is too short, this is your chance to visit Meteora.

    You realize why the first hermits chose this location to create their monastic community and seek communication with God. See the 4 monasteries and the 2 nunneries, and visit two of them. Learn about the everyday life of the monks, admire their architecture and gaze at the priceless relics and treasures of the monasteries, a cultural heritage to all Christian religions.

    Finish your sightseeing return to Kalambaka, have a light lunch, board the train and return to Athens at 22:45

    Itinerary


    * You collect your tickets from us and settle the account, at least a day before departure.
    * Be at the LARISA railway station in Athens at least 30 minutes before the train departure.
    * Find platform 8. Your train comes at 08:10 am. The difficult thing is to find your seat.
    * 08:20 – The train departs and following a scenic route it travels straight from Athens to Kalampaka(last stop).
    * 13:30 – Arrive in Kalampaka and meet our English speaking driver outside the railway station.
    * 13:45 – Drive to Meteora. Visit up to 3 monasteries. See old hermitages and cloisters in the caves.
    * 16:45 – Return to Kalampaka. Stop at a local restaurant for a light meal (not included in the price).
    * 17:30 – The train departs from Kalampaka and arrives in Athens (LARISA station) at +/- 22.45.

    To make a booking you deposit 40.00 euro per person and you settle the balance when we meet in Athens.

    CANCELLATION POLICY: 15.00 € p.p. is not refundable. In case of a strike the full amount is refunded.

    Price & Inclussions


    The price for the 3.30 hours private tour of Meteora includes your return B class train ticket and the taxi hire from the moment that you arrive until the moment that you tell the driver that you have seen enough and want to get back to Kalambaka and have something to eat.

    – 1 passenger: Train ticket (B class), 86.00 € p.p.
    – 1 passenger: Train ticket (A class), 98.00 € p.p.
    – 2 passengers: Train ticket (B class), 82.00 € p.p.
    – 2 passengers: Train ticket (A class), 94.00 € p.p.
    – 3 passengers: Train ticket (B class), 76.00 € p.p.
    – 3 passengers: Train ticket (A class), 88.00 € p.p.
    – 4 passengers: Train ticket (B class), 69.00 € p.p.
    – 4 passengers: Train ticket (A class), 81.00 € p.p.

    To secure your booking, please, click and see the terms, find the pay on line link in the footer, and, deposit 40.00 € p.p.

    THE PRICE INCLUDES:

    * Return train ticket. Pay 12.00 euro, and upgrade the train ticket to A class (recommended).
    * Upon arrival you meet our taxi driver and for 3 hours, you visit up to 3 monasteries.
    * Visit hidden beauties & explore the area with a local, English speaking taxi driver.

    NOT INCLUDED in the price:
    * No professional tour guide service is included. It’s you and the taxi driver.
    * 3.00 euro per person, being the entrance ticket to each monastery, and
    * Your lunch and drinks in the train and while you are in Kalampaka.

    Options to visit

    CLICK and see all the options to visit the Meteora

    Our BEST SELLER is the 3 days/2 nights Meteora and Delphi, independent trip by train/taxi and bus.

    We also offer packages for 2 or 3 days. During the extra day, join a Hiking Tour and explore the natural beauty. Discover the geology of the region and follow the trails that the first monks used centuries ago. Hike on the well paved paths from the monastery of Grand Meteoron or the monastery of Varlaam all the way to the village of Kastraki and Kalambaka.

    If the hiking tour is a difficult exercise, join the 4 hour morning tour and learn about the monasticism at Meteora. Discover their cultural wealth and have a personal experience of the monastic community.

    Last minute bookings are difficult to work. Plan in advance and get the best seats in the train.

    Testimonials


    KSL13, Level 6 Contributor, TripAdvisor member since 2005, From USA
    Kosta is an all service travel agent
    I booked a tour to Meteora via train with Astoria travel at a significant discount from other agencies. Kosta also picked us up from the cruise port and took us to our Airbnb. He also gave us lots of advice about life in Greece. He knows so much! And he truly loves his job and he is proud of his country. I hope that lots of people use his services! I did not feel that he was exploiting tourist dollars, like most guys did. He is honest and reliable.

    contact us

    Astoria Travel, (Est. 1958)
    48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
    Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
    Click here and send us a message

    Travelling to Meteora by train is a comfortable and efficient way. A smooth and scenic ride.

    CLICK AND SEE ALL THE TOURS AND OPTIONS to visit Meteora.

    Description

    The 2 Days package to Meteora by train is your chance to explore a unique natural phenomenon in central Greece. The rocky forest with the Byzantine Monasteries, built for protection at the top of the rocks, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage monuments.
    The tour includes the train tickets, and 1 night stay with breakfast in the 3 star hotel Kosta Famissi.
    You can add to it the local tours organized by our partner, METEORA THRONES at special prices(the Sunset Tour, and either the Meteora morning tour or the Meteora Hiking Tour! or,
    After checking in the hotel, you can explore Kalampaka. Don’t miss the 9th c church about 15 min. walk from the hotel.

    Suggested itinerary
    Day 1: Travel by train to Kalampaka, and visit the Meteora rocks in the afternoon.
    * Be at LARISA railway station 07:50, and find platform 08.
    * 08:20 – The train departs from Athens straight to Kalampaka (+/- 12 stops).
    * +/- 13:40 – Arrive in Kalambaka and check in the hotel KOSTA FAMISSI.
    * 14:30 – Optional “sunset tour”of the Meteora (costs 25.00 euro p.p.)
    * 18:00 – Return to Kalampaka. Evening free.

    Day 2: A day to explore Meteora before returning to Athens.
    * 09:00 – Take the bus or our taxi and visit the highest monastery open on the day of your visit.
    * 13:00 – After you finish your visits, hike down on the well paved paths, or, take the bus to Kalampaka.
    Explore the old town of Kalampaka, visit the Byzantine church of the dormition of Mother Mary,
    find a nice restaurant, have lunch, and return to the hotel to take your luggage and
    walk to the railway station.
    * 05.30pm – Board the train and depart for Athens. Arrival +/- 22.40.

    Why book with us

    Daily departures travelling on your own or in a small group.
    Traveling by train is by far the most efficient and scenic way.
    You will go to secret local spots that the vast majority of other travellers will never experience.
    You will learn about the history of the place from a local tour leader.

    To secure your booking, please, read the terms and conditions and deposit 40.00 € p.p.

    TO MAKE AND SECURE A BOOKING You deposit 40.00 € to help us buy your train tickets.
    You collect tickets and vouchers, any day before your departure for Kalambaka.

    Do not miss


    The Byzantine church Assumption of mother Mary
    An important monument of Kalambaka is the byzantine church Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Basilica style. It is located at the base of the Meteora rocks in the old city of Kalambaka. For a very long time it was the main church of Kalambaka.

    This byzantine church is one of the oldest monuments in the province. The unique feature of the church is the large and tall pulpit found in the middle of the church.

    The Cave of Theopetra
    The oldest in Greece, possibly in the world, is the Prehistorical Cave at Theopetra dates 23.000 years old. A stone wall at the entrance of the cave blocks 2/3 of the opening.
    The cave is found about 5 Km from kalambaka. It is one of the most interesting Archaeological sites worth seeing in all of the Thessalian plain. It is of world-wide interest due to the discovery of rich and unique findings for two of the most important changes in human prehistory: the replacement of Neaderdal from the contempory human and the transition of the human hunter in the agricultural revolution.
    In small distance from the cave you can find the Documentation and education center of Theopetra cave.

    Prices


    Prices: 87.00 € in single, 73.00 € p.p. in double room, 70.00 p.p. in triple room
    Includes: B class return train ticket + hotel in double room with breakfast.

    EXTRAS:
    Additional night in Double room with breakfast: 24.00 euro p.p. | in Single room: 35.00 euro
    Upgrade your train ticket to A class: 12.00 euro p.p.,
    OPTIONAL:
    – 4.00 hours morning tour of Meteora: 25.00 euro, per person,
    – 3.30 hours Sunset tour of Meteora: 25.00 euro, per person,
    – 4.30 hours hiking tour of Meteora: 25.00 euro, per person.

    NOT INCLUDED:

  • 3.00 € p.p., the entrance fee to every monastery, and
  • Your meals and drinks in the train & in Kalampaka.
  • The 1.50 € per room, per night “city tax”
  • See our “meteora special” tour that includes SUNSET and another local tour for 115.00 €

    Included

    Accommodation in 3-star hotel with breakfast
    Visit all the monasteries
    Taxes & service fees
    Join the optional Meteora Sunset Tour
    Choose one of teh other 2 optional tours for the second day
    Round trip train ticket from/to Athens

    Testimonials


    Hani K, Ottawa, Canada, 33 reviews
    Re: Astoria Travel

    I had a fantastic experience with Astoria Travel and Kosta. He is very efficient, he know his stuff and he is one of the best in his job. He helped me plan a trip to Kalambala and Delphi by train, private taxi and Intercity bus. He arranged everything and all went very smoothly like a clock work.
    He takes care of everything, so you don’t have to worry about anything, all you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy a well organized trip.
    His prices are very reasonable and extremely competitive compare to other tours. I definitely recommend him

    I was in Greece last week of March and first week of April 2018

    contact us

    Astoria Travel, (Est. 1958)
    48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
    Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
    Click here and send us a message

    Travelling by train in a smooth and scenic train ride is the most comfortable & efficient way.

    Meteora by train

    SEE ALL THE TOURS that visit Meteora in guided tours or train trips.

    Tour details


    Take this independent tour and visit the 2 well known UNESCO sites of Meteora, and Delphi, at your own pace.
    Travel from Athens and back in a combination of train, private taxi, and public bus.
    It took us a long time to make a team of partners and offer a reliable service at a reasonable price.
    Enjoy unique landscapes, and visit monuments of great historical importance. Join the local tours organised by our local partner a) the Meteora Sunset Tour, and b) either the morning Half-Day Tour or c) the Meteora Hiking Tour and learn the history and culture of the unique area of Meteora.

    The train tickets are offered in B class. Upgrading to A class costs 12.00 € p.p. extra

    Departures daily, travelling on your own or in small groups.

    See also our alternative tours:
    1 day Meteora by train and private taxi tour from… 69.00 €
    2 days Meteora package by train from 73.00 €
    2 days Meteora “special” by train from 115.00 €
    2 days guided tour to Delphi and Meteora from…120.00 €
    3 days guided tour to Delphi and an extra day in Kalambaka for 148.00 €
    5 days guided classical tour of Greece staying an extra day in Kalambaka.

    Itinerary


    Day 1. Travel from Athens to Kalampaka. In the afternoon, visit Meteora.

    * You collect your tickets and settle the account, any day before departure
    * Be at the LARISA railway station at 07:50 and find your platform.
    * 08.20 – The train departs from Athens and travels straight to Kalampaka.
    * +/- 13.40 – Arrive in Kalambaka and check in the Hotel KOSTA FAMISSI.
    * 16.30 – Optional Sunset tour for extra 20.00 euro p.p..
    * 20.30 – After dinner, return to the hotel for overnight.

    Day 2. Explore Meteora and at 17.30 depart for Delphi.

    * Wake up early go for a walk and experience the surrounding terrace, the flora and fauna of the area.
    * 08.00 – Have a good breakfast at Hotel Kosta Famissi. You will need a lot of energy this morning.
    * 09.00 – Optional 4 hrs tour. Visit 2-3 monasteries for ONLY 20.00 euro p.p. extra
    * 13.00 – After the tour, take a walk in the old town, see the Byzantine church of the dormition of Mother Mary,
    have a light lunch, and return to the hotel to take your luggage and walk to the train station.
    * 17.20 – Get on board the train and travel to Levadia, via Tithorea.
    * 21.10 – Get off at Levadia, meet Apollo, our driver, and drive to Delphi.
    * 22.00 – Arrive in Delphi and check in the Hotel LEFAS.

    Day 3. In the morning, explore Delphi and return to Athens.

    * 08.00 – After breakfast walk to the bus ticket office and validate your bus ticket.
    * 08.30 – Visit the nearby archaeological museum.
    * 11.00 – Explore the sanctuary of Apollo, and the temple of Athena Pronaia.
    * 13.30 – Return to the town of modern Delphi and have lunch.
    * 16.00 – Board the bus and depart for Athens. Arrive in Athens at +/- 19.15. (Liossion street terminal).

    To secure a booking, please, read the terms and conditions and deposit 40.00 € p.p.

    Price


    Our price is: € 138.00, per person in double rooms.
    Persuade a friend, share a triple room and save 5%
    (The trip is not organized for single travellers).

    INCLUDED:
    * Train ticket from Athens to Kalambaka
    * Train ticket from Kalambaka to Levadia
    * 1 night stay in Hotel Kosta FAMISI, in Kalambaka
    * Taxi transfer from Levadia to Delphi
    * 1 night stay in Hotel LEFAS, in Delphi
    * Intercity Bus tickets from Delphi to Athens
    * Join the Meteora Sunset Tour (optional)
    * Choose the second day’s tour (optional)
    * English speaking tour leader on the tours
    * Taxes & service fees

    NOT INCLUDED:
    # The € 3.00 p.p. to each monastery, and the entrance to the museum and site of Delphi.
    # All meals and drinks, except the 2 breakfasts.
    # The overnight tax of 1.50 EUR per room, per night./li>
    # Services of a professional tour guide can be arranged at extra cost.

    The tours in Kalampaka are optional and are offered, at discounted rates.
    ———————————————————————–
    EXTRAS:
    # Extra night in double bedroom: € 24.00 p.p., per hotel. (The trip is not organized for single travellers).
    # Upgrade your train ticket to A class: € 12.00,
    # 4 hours morning tour of Meteora: Only 20.00 € p.p.,
    # 3.30 hours Sunset tour of Meteora:Only 20.00 € p.p.
    # 4 hours morning hiking tour: Only 20.00 € p.p.

    CLICK and see all the options to visit Meteora, guided tours and independent trips.

    Testimonials


    Client’s comments about the tour and our services
    Yan_RN, Houston, Texas, Dec 15,
    I booked 2 trips, One day Mycenae-Nafplion-Epidaurus and the 3 DAYS/2 NIGHTS – METEORA & DELPHI TRIP (no guide), from Astoria travel and was very satisfied with their service. Kosta, a very reliable gentleman, tried his best to arrange every detail for our trips. He accompanied us until we seated on the train at departure. He booked the same seat number for our departure and return train for us to be convenient to remember. Important is that I don’t think I paid more for this 5 star service. I paid less for the one day tour and for the train ticket comparing with what others paid. I highly recommend Astoria travel for Greece travel.

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    Astoria Travel (Est. 1958)
    48 Stadiou street, Athens 10564, Greece.
    Tel. +302103250380, +306932888585.
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    CLICK here and see ALL THE GUIDED TOURS that start from Athens. Detailed information on each tour is included.

     

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

    CLICK AND SEE ALL THE TOURS AND OPTIONS to visit Meteora by shared bus guided tours or independent trips by train.

    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.

    Spectacularly perched atop rocky pinnacles in Thessaly, the Meteora monasteries are among the most striking sights in Greece. The name Meteora (Μετεωρα) is Greek for “suspended in the air,” which perfectly describes these six remarkable Greek Orthodox monasteries. The sandstone peaks were first inhabited by Byzantine hermits in the 11th century, who clambered up the rocks to be alone with God. The present monasteries were built in the 14th and 15th centuries during a time of instability and revival of the hermit ideal; the first was Great Meteoron (c.1340) and there were 24 monasteries by 1500. They flourished until the 17th century but only six survive today; four of these still host monastic communities.

    The nearest major town is Kalambaka (from the Turkish word for “pinnacle”), at the base of the Meteora, which has accommodation for overnight visitors as well as some medieval churches. Neighboring Kastraki has some accommodation as well. Alternatively, a guided day tour from Athens is a popular and easy way to visit. To visit all six in one day without joining a tour, begin with Ayiou Nikolaou Anapavsa, Varlaam and Great Meteoron before 1pm, break for lunch while the monasteries are closed, then see Roussanou, Ayias Triadhos and Ayiou Stefanou in the afternoon. A strict dress code is enforced: all shoulders must be covered, men must wear long trousers and women must wear long skirts.

    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.

    CLICK AND SEE ALL THE TOURS AND OPTIONS to visit Meteora by shared bus guided tours or independent trips by train.

    Following the paths of monks to Meteora

    Meteora is a complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars. Today four monasteries and two nunneries are open to the public.

    Meteora today

    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 to say “wow”. Greece is full of spectacular sites, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one more unique and with so many fabulous views as in Meteora. The World Heritage monasteries of Meteora, in the middle of Greece, are one of the most extraordinary sights.

    Meteora map

    Meteora map

    Built on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rocks, the monasteries 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!

    Monasticism at Meteora


    The Monasticism at the Holy Meteora and its living witness over the centuries
    The monks’ love of God and of monasticism and asceticism formed the impetus for this miraculous way of life on the rugged spires of the plain of Thessaly. Monasticism is the highest calling and the path that leads most directly to holiness. It is the complete devotion of the human person to the triune God. It is the imitation of the angels in divine love, chant, obedience and the ministry of souls, which is why it was called ‘equal to the angels’ and an ‘angelic state’. The entire life of a monk consists in fully opening the heart to God and keeping His commandments, in constantly striving for sanctification and praying continually. Whether working, studying or in the stillness of prayer, the monk is unceasingly crying out to the Lord in the heart with the brief prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us”.

    Over the centuries the Meteora monasteries were seed-beds of holiness for a multitude of monks, a bastion of faith and civilization, treasuries of the values and virtues of the Greek Orthodox spirit. Here, the unparalleled natural wealth of Meteora coexists in absolute harmony with discreet human intervention; intense spiritual striving and devotion to God is juxtaposed with a love of beauty and culture; the harsh ascetic way of life stands side by side with the refinement of art and artistic creativity, with the sole purpose of glorifying the Creator.

    The monks’ ascetic struggles were characterised by heroism, their spirituality by a spirit of self-sacrifice, self-denial and support to the troubled souls who sought refuge in these strongholds of Orthodoxy. Thus the monasteries of Meteora became the watchful custodians and guardians of tradition: they became schools for the Greek children under Turkish rule and a refuge for the persecuted, they offered provisions to the freedom fighters and at the same time gave an education in holiness and salvation.

    The valuable ascetic tradition of Meteora, the large number of saints who have lived on the hallowed spires, its rich liturgical life and many relics, which are its most precious treasures, together make the monasteries vital centres of Orthodox spirituality.

    Meteora is a holy land, a sacred space created and guarded by God, its cliffs and caves and ravines sanctified by the host of holy ascetics and martyrs of the Greek Thebaid who have inhabited them. A contemporary saint, St Porphyrios, used to say: “I speak with the rocks, for they have so much to tell of the ascetic life of earlier fathers”.

    Over the last fifty years a remarkable programme of restoration has been carried out to the monasteries of Meteora, as a result of the hard work and tireless efforts of the energetic and worthy abbots and monks, the watchful care and blessing of Metropolitan Seraphim of Stagoi and Meteora and the excellent collaboration of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Larissa (formerly of Trikala). This major undertaking includes extensive reconstruction work, the preservation of frescoes and treasures in the monasteries’ collections and improvements to the surrounding space, making Meteora one of the most spiritual and attractive destinations in the world.

    The monastic communities of Meteora participate in liturgical life and attend to the many visitors with love and sensitivity. In addition they preserve and maintain the sites, paint icons, embroider with gold thread, create miniatures, produce beeswax candles, incense and small icons, cultivate the monastery gardens and keep bees. Their publications include studies in history, theology and hymnography. However, their primary purpose is to offer a living witness of Christ in an age which is spiritually barren, when people have lost their sense of national and religious identity and are experiencing a crisis that is not only economic but also spiritual. The monks strive to preserve the precious legacy of their faith and rich tradition and to highlight their inestimable value in modern times.

    The origin of the monastic community


    Perched high atop spires of conglomerated Calcerous and sandstone rock, the monasteries of Meteora are one of the world’s most spectacular sacred sites. Located in the Thessaly region of North Central Greece and overlooking the valley of Pinios, the towering rocks of Meteora, meaning ‘rocks in the air’, have long evoked awe in human beings. Paleolithic remains indicate settlements around the stones from between 100,000 to 40,000 BC, and hermits and ascetics have lived in the area since long before the Christian era. The arrival of Christianity began in the 8th century, organized monastic communities had developed by the 12th century, and by the mid 1500’s twenty-four Greek Orthodox monasteries had been constructed upon the spires of stone. The monasteries, 200-600 meters high (and some accessible only by baskets lowered by ropes and winches), became a center of scholarship and art until the mid 18th century when popular interest in monasticism declined. Most of these meteorisa monastiria (‘hanging monasteries’) were abandoned and today only six survive, of which four can be visited by way of bridges and rock-cut steps. Previously a remote area, the construction of a highway in the early 1960’s made the monasteries accessible to pilgrims and tourists. This influx of visitors, however, has discouraged new monks from joining the monasteries and compelled others to move to Mt. Athos in search of solitude and privacy.
    Orthodox Monks started to populate the area of Meteora over 1200 years ago, initially searching for quietness, peace and the perfect environment

    Lifting system with ropes in Meteora to pray and meditate. They were living in caves like hermits, with little human relations. Beginning of the 12th c. they started to congregate and create the first monasteries. To make things more difficult, they decided to build their communities on top of rocky peaks, apparently inhospitable places to live in, but with more protection from the outside world, and amazing views to enjoy daily.
    Approching Meteora the visitor wonders how could they manage at that time to climb these steep peaks with very little equipment and later to carry the materials to build the monasteries. The cliffs are as high as 600m (1800 feet) from the plain level, and hardly accessible even today to equipped rock climbers. Originally entrance to the monasteries was possible only with ladders, or ropes connected to nets, used to lift goods and people. Not only it was adventurous, but also really dangerous, since the legend say that the ropes were changed only “when the Lord let them break”. The advantage of such an access system was that the ropes could easily be lifted to protect the monks from external threats. The biggest expansion of the monasteries had place at the end of the 14th c, when Greece was threatened by Turkish invaders, and monks from other areas of Greece took refugee in Meteora, building a total of 24 monasteries, progressively abandoned in the last two centuries.

    While walking in Meteora we saw buses packed with tourists going from one monastery to the other without even stopping on the way to enjoy the amazing views. This means to miss all of the magic of this place, the fusion of the human-made monasteries perfectly integrated on top of incredible rock formations. We advise you not to do the same mistake and enjoy the route in between the monasteries!