If Meteora isn’t already on your bucket list, it needs to be. It’s the most incredible place we’ve been to so far so we’ve done a full breakdown of how we found our 3 days there…
How we got there
We flew into Athens and had pre-booked a train the next day direct to the town of Kalambaka, which lies at the foot of Meteora. At the moment, there is just one train a day that leaves at 8.20am from Athens and the return train leaves Kalambaka at 5.32pm. The journey is just under 5 hours but we were told it is hoped this journey time will be reduced to around 3 hours in the near future. We bought 1st class tickets for the comfort (and charging points) for around 35 euros return, which was definitely worth it for the long journey!
Where we stayed
One thing we would say is that if you’re looking for a more peaceful and picturesque stay, opt to stay in the next village along; Kastraki. It’s actually slightly closer to Meteora and has a local vibe to it. We stayed in Hotel Meteora which has stunning views and an outdoor pool (although it was out of season so not yet in use). The price was pretty cheap but be warned the walls are very thin and we had bad neighbours on either side of our room. It’s not so much of an issue if you aren’t spending too much time in your room – which you shouldn’t be if you’re out and about exploring – but just something to bear in mind. A smaller hotel/guesthouse in Kastraki would be a better option for a quieter stay. Kalambaka isn’t the prettiest of towns and is more touristy hence our recommendation of staying away from here.
How we got around
Shout out to ‘Hobby Shop’ based in Kalambaka, who sorted us out with a car within 30 minutes of us arriving (which we hadn’t thought of – woops!) They also have scooters available and ATVs lined up for the summer months – but maybe book ahead in peak season to make sure you have something to get you around. There’s plenty of tours available but having your own transport gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want, as well as getting off the beaten track to constantly seek out epic views.
Where we ate and drank
On our first night, we ate in a local restaurant in Kastraki which kind of reminded us of a ski restaurant inside with log cabin vibes. Lovely staff and home-cooked food, but embarrassingly we cannot for the life of us remember the name or find it on Google! There were lots of little local restaurants about and had we stayed longer we would have given them all a go (and tried to remember their names). On our second night, we took a short drive to Meteoron Panorama, on the outskirts of Kalambaka, which has an amazing view of the rocks and super delicious food. A little more pricey due to this but still cheaper than many other areas in Greece.
Our favourite place for lunch and a tipple was in the centre of Kalambaka; ‘On the rocks’. It’s really modern looking and you’ll be surprised by the price tags of big plates of food – 7 euros for a club sandwich and fries (which we couldn’t finish) and 5 euros for a glass of sangria. There’s a roof terrace here too which would be amazing in the summer months.
What not to miss
If you’re going to visit any monastery, make sure you get to the Great Meteoron Monastery. It’s by far the biggest of the 6, and in our opinion, the best. We chose not to visit all 6, although we got photographs of them from the outside, but you can easily see them all on a 2-3 day trip, bearing in mind each one is closed on different days.
Our absolute must-do and highlight of our trip was the hidden monastery (an addition to the 6 monasteries) and in our opinion, the most epic. It’s only accessible to hikers but our rental car company told us we could get the car there and park at the bottom – and they were right! Even better, we were the only ones there so we were shown the room where the monks come for meetings from other monasteries, and we were even given a traditional Greek sweet by the gatekeeper.
We noticed a potential viewpoint just opposite and were told it was only a short (and accessible) walk to get there. We took so many photos and could have stayed there all day. You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, on top of the world.
Another tip, given by the Hobby Shop, was to go and see some ‘caves’ where the monks used to meditate. Another cool spot and again, we were the only ones there. Make sure you get hold of the map of Meteora which shows you where everything is. We relied on this rather than Google Maps.
You can’t go wrong anywhere in Meteora if you’re looking to capture beautiful photographs. Around every corn is another viewpoint, each just as good as the last. It’s a place that will stay with us forever and somewhere we hope to return to.