Tag Archive : visit meteora

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

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 06:50, and find platform 08.
* 07:20 – The train departs from Athens straight to Kalampaka.
* +/- 11:30 – Arrive in Kalambaka and check in the hotel KOSTA FAMISSI.
* 14:30 – Optional “sunset tour”of the Meteora.
* 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 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 +/- 21.30.

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.

    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!