Has it ever happened to you that when you come back from a day trip to a historical or otherwise spectacular travel destination, you find that you have about 500 photos to go through? Of just that one day. That’s what happened to me when I came back to Parga from a day trip to Meteora Monasteries in Greece. Well, 581 photos to be exact. And I’m not even counting the ones I have on my mobile phone…
The area of Meteora is located in central Greece and it’s pretty spectacular on its own. You’ll see huge sandstone rocks everywhere and it feels pretty surreal. There are also a lot of caves in the area and some of them are open to the public.
A group of hermit monks arrived to the area already in the 9th century and the first monasteries were built in the 14th century. The monasteries were built high on top of the rocks and the monks felt safe: You could only enter a monastery in Meteora by climbing a long ladder or by using baskets and ropes. If there was a threat, the ladder and ropes could be drawn up.
In the end the monks built 24 monasteries in Meteora and six of them still remain today.
On our trip to Meteora we visited just one of the monasteries, the Monastery of Great Meteoron.
The Monastery of Great Meteoron
The Monastery of Great Meteoron in the largest monastery in the area, and it really is quite impressive. Even today it is a working monastery with three monks in residence.
These days you don’t need ropes or a ladder to get to the monastery, but you do need to be able to walk as there are some stairs to climb as you can see in the picture below. It’s a great morning workout!
Our day trip to Meteora
We chose to book a day trip to Meteora through a travel agency.
A bus picked us up close to our hotel in Parga and brought us back later in the evening. We also had a guide with us all day who told us about Meteora and about the traditions, culture and life in Greece. The entry fee to the monastery of the Great Meteoran was also included in the price of the day trip.
It was an early morning as the bus picked us up at around 6.30 am. We drove for a couple of hours and then had a coffee break. My determination to have a healthy snack didn’t last and I ended up with this:
After our break we continued straight to Meteora. We only visited the one monastery I mentioned above but I thought that was plenty. I would not have wanted to visit another one because it would have been too much for one day. There was a small tour at the monastery at first with a local English speaking guide and after that we had time to wander around on our own which was really nice.
Back on the bus we had a little bit of time to just sit and relax before a short stop at a store that sells Orthodox Christian icons. It was quite expensive and I had already bought an (prettier and cheaper) icon at the monastery so I did not buy anything. Nevertheless, it was nice to have a look at what they had there. After the stop we continued by bus to the town of Kalampaka where we had lunch at a restaurant called Restaurant Meteora.
The restaurant is apparently quite famous in the area and my boyfriend really liked the meatballs he had. My chicken was just OK. The restaurant in general looked nice though and had a nice feeling to it as there was a grandmother who plated your dish with whatever you chose to have.
We had plenty of time to take a walk in Kalampaka after lunch and after that we just sat in the bus for an hour or two before our next and last break. The break took place in Metsovo, which is a town on the Pindus mountains.
We finally returned to Parga at around 7.30 pm. It was a long day and I was glad we didn’t have anything planned for the next day. I think that if I could change something about the trip I would have shorter breaks at both Kalampaka and Metsovo.
Having said that, the cost of our day trip was just 45 euros (food and drink was not included) and I think it was great value for money. I’m so glad we went there!
Should you go?
Yes, definitely. Remember to dress modestly to the monastery and take something warm with you, especially if you’re going there early or late in the season as it might be a bit cooler up in Metsovo.
And don’t forget your camera! You’ll be taking a LOT of pictures there. 🙂