METEORA – KALAMBAKA
From: 60,00 €
The imposing rocks of Meteora constitute the most awe-inspiring site at the area of Kalambaka and nearby locations: the greatness of nature, revealing a unique – in Greece – geological phenomenon. Meteora is also one of the most important historical sites of the Greek Orthodox Church, where the monasteries are clinging for centuries to these steep rocks, declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
Meteora is the most amazing base for exploring nature and its endless beauty along with realizing the need of people to meet God in order to develop serenity and mental calm.
Departure dates/ FrequencyEvery Wednesday, Friday & Sunday (unless otherwise stated). Around the year (excluding the dates from 19/12/2022-19/02/2022).
Meeting Points & Departure Time08:00, “Lefkos Pyrgos” (White Tower) or alternatively at 08:05, Hotel “Makedonia Palace”, Meg. Alexandrou Str., N.2. 08:15, “Agalma Venizelou” (Statue of Venizelos), Egnatias & Aristotelous Str., “Petalo”. 08:25, Hotel “Onoma”, Monastiriou Str., N. 24
Tour’s Durationapproximately 11 hours
We set off on our trip to Meteora on a bus of “TSOKAS Bus Services” along with our tour leader. The distance is about 230km and we will be traveling for about 3,5 hours, while we will have a brief stop-off on our way to Meteora to enjoy some coffee.
At 12:30 we will arrive at our destination, the place where you will see:
- ⦁ A landscape of unparalleled natural beauty…
- ⦁ People’s sheer will to meet God and reach the sky
- ⦁ The stone forest, featuring monoliths having been made of sandstone…
- ⦁ Six monasteries perched on top of the rocks…
- ⦁ The Convent of “St. Stephen” where unique carvings have been sculpted from wood, such as the altarpiece, embroidered with gold cord, which is found in the church of St. Stephen, the episcopal throne that was decorated with marble and plates of ivory and the sanctuary, where St. Charalambus’s holy skull is kept.
- ⦁ The “Holy Trinity Monastery” (Agia Triada) that can be reached through a narrow pathway, walking up 140 steps cut into the rock.
- ⦁ The “Holy Monastery of Roussanou” which nowadays is a convent, featuring great paintings, representing stylites, Orthodox ascetics and scenes of Saints’ martyrdom as well as multifaceted, impressive compositions of the narthex, depicting Last Judgement and Second Coming.
- ⦁ “Varlaam Monastery” which features a rich collection of 300 records of great importance, a 600-year old big barrel, having a capacity of 12 tons and preserved frescoes dating back to 1548.
- ⦁ The “Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis” (the Great Meteoron Monastery) which is the largest, oldest and most important among all of the monasteries and was built in 1340.
- ⦁ The “Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas” that is decorated with brilliant frescoes, beyond all expectations, which were created by the eminent painter Theophanes Strelitzas from Crete.
During our tour we will have the chance to admire all six monasteries, but we will visit only two of them, depending on their opening hours, according to which every:
- ⦁ Monday we visit the Monasteries of “Roussanou” and “Varlaam”.
- ⦁ Wednesday & Sunday we visit the “Convent of St.Stephen” and “Varlaam Monastery”.
- ⦁ Friday we visit the “Monastery of Roussanou” and the “Convent of St. Stephen”.
Then, enjoying the magical scenery of the area of “Kalambaka”, we will head to the village of “Kastraki”, where you can enjoy the unique shopping opportunities offered at shops which sell local products and holy icons or savor the taste of the local cuisine at one of the traditional taverns, offering great views to “Meteora”.
Being full of enthusiasm with the beautiful scenery of unparalleled beauty and having enjoyed a unique experience we will leave at 16:00, getting you to the points of departure in Thessaloniki.
Included in price
- Carriage on a luxury bus.
- English-speaking tour leader.
- Full insurance for the passengers of the bus.
- Admission fees concerning the Monasteries we will visit (general admission: 3,00 € & free entrance for Greek citizens).
- Guided tour at the Monasteries.
- Lunch at a traditional tavern of Kastraki.
- Personal expenses & tips
- You will meet our staff members at the point of departure/arrival “White Tower” (Lefkos Pyrgos) and our tour leader on the bus.
- You are recommended to have contact with the tour leader and comply with the guidelines for avoiding misunderstanding.
- Try to arrive at your desired point of departure at least 10 minutes prior to the time referred to in the timetable.
- The Meteora monasteries have strict dress codes so you have to keep your knees and shoulders covered (no trousers, short or sleeveless tops are allowed).
- Get information on weather conditions.
- Dress casually with casual footwear. Do not forget your hat, sunglasses and sun cream (in summer).
- We wish that you enjoy the tour to the fullest and do not forget…
- ….take the most amazing photos and… share this tour experience with us and your friends…
More Services & Offers:
- FOR FREE tickets for open-top sightseeing bus tours of the company “City Sightseeing Thessaloniki” (Hop on-hop off tour)
- FOR FREE rain ponchos
- FOR FREE tips for passengers
PricesApplicable from the 15th of April, 2022 to 31st of March, 2023.
Price per Person for adults60,00 €
Minor (5-15 years old)/Student/Disabled Person45,00 €
About the Area...
Kalambaka, a town of the prefecture of Trikala but also the capital of the homonymous municipality, is located to the northwest of the plain of Thessaly … the heart of Greece’ s mainland.
This town is built next to the huge monoliths of Meteora, near the foothills of the longest mountain range of Greece, Pindos, where…
- the Pineios river flows and at the end of the plain of Thessaly you will find the town of Kalambaka which constitutes a nice base for exploring and admiring the majesty of nature as well as for coming to worship at one of the most magnificent monasteries of Greece.
- there is the most renowned 10th-century church, dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary (The marble ambo of the church is one of a kind in Greece and the ancient reliefs on the exterior of the church are totally awe-inspiring).
Kalambaka was known under the name Eginion or Stagi and was visited by countless travelers-explorers in the antiquity. Despite all the tours that have been taken place and all records, it is a conversation piece that there is no reference in mythology concerning this geological phenomenon, taking into account that ancient Greeks used to explain every strange aspect of the world.
Nowadays we do know that these enormous rocks were created about 60 million years ago, when in the area of Thessaly there was still a lake. When the waters were taken away to the sea, the corrosive action of winds and rainfall created those impressive rocks, which constitute a one-of-a-kind geological phenomenon worldwide.
In about 900 AD the first ascetics came to that rather unwelcoming place, Meteora, in order to be isolated and presented unhindered devotion to God, living firstly into caves. According to records, the first ascetic was Barnabas who founded the Hermitage of the Holy Spirit. This was followed by the founding of the monastery of the Transfiguration Hermitage in about 1000 AD by a monk, called Andronikos.
The name “Meteora” means “suspended in the air” and describes perfectly how these rocks are amazingly combined with the surrounding scenery. However, Meteora was named after St. Athanasios the Meteorite, who climbed the highest rock in 1344 AD and built the “Great Meteoron Monastery” (Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis). Since then, the whole stone forest bears his name.
During the 14th century, the monastic life in Meteora flourished, since new monasteries were built, many educated monks chose to live there and schools for codifiers started to operate. Within two centuries 24 monasteries were built in total, decorated with frescoes and paintings of Saints – still gaining the attention of visitors – created by eminent artists of that period.
There was a decline concerning the monastic life during the 18th century, when the area was under the Ottoman Rule, since Meteora was used then as a place of exile and therefore a lot of monks passed away during the battles in the Greek War of Independence.
Furthermore, there have been a lot of disaster zones after the German and Italian invasion of Greece as well as during Civil War, leading to an overall destruction of the complex of monasteries. Nowadays there are only 6 monasteries left:
- The Convent of “St. Stephen” where unique carvings have been sculpted from wood, such as the altarpiece, embroidered with gold cord, which is found in the church of St. Stephen, the episcopal throne that was decorated with marble and plates of ivory and the sanctuary, where St. Charalambus’s holy skull is kept.
- The “Holy Trinity Monastery” (Agia Triada) that can be reached through a narrow pathway, walking up 140 steps cut into the rock.
- The “Holy Monastery of Roussanou” which nowadays is a convent, featuring great paintings, representing stylites, Orthodox ascetics and scenes of Saints’ martyrdom as well as multifaceted, impressive compositions of the narthex, depicting Last Judgement and Second Coming.
- “Varlaam Monastery” which features a rich collection of 300 records of great importance, a 600-year old big barrel, having a capacity of 12 tons and preserved frescoes dating back to 1548.
- The “Holy Monastery of the Metamorfossis” (the Great Meteoron Monastery) which is the largest, oldest and most important among all of the monasteries and was built in 1340.
- The “Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas” that is decorated with brilliant frescoes, beyond all expectations, which were created by the eminent painter Theophanes Strelitzas from Crete.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a revival in Meteora: intellectual monks arrived again and still reside in. In the 1920s, stairs were carved into the rocks so that prayers can have easy access to monasteries, while the monks’ way of reaching the monasteries by scaling the walls with ropes and ladders – some undoubtedly dangerous actions – was gradually abandoned.
However, many climbing enthusiasts still maintain this way of climbing, since these vertical monoliths are ideal for climbing. Apart from climbing, the landscape attracts every nature lover, given the fact that there are a lot of hiking trails.
Since 1989 Meteora has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, due to the unique landscape, featuring a magnificent combination of Byzantine architecture and a one-of-a-kind geological phenomenon. The way that monasteries sit on the edges of the rocks looks like a natural ending of them. It seems as if they were always there…