Where is Meteora Greece?
Meteora Greece is a place of immense beauty located at the center of the Greek peninsula. How could anyone describe this astonishing geological phenomenon and the breathtaking landscape of the Meteora region? The inspiration and spirituality felt, the awe of man’s achievements to express his religious drive by building monasteries on the picks of these sandstone cliffs.
Those are only a few of the emotions travelers experience when visiting this phenomenal land! Take a moment to skim through our website to find out what there is to see in Meteora Greece! Let us convince you why you shouldn’t miss out on a visit to Greece’s most unique and spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Planning for a visit to Meteora?
Then, check here to find out more about the things to do here. Discover day trips from Athens by train, multiday, or half-day tours, and the best outdoor adventure activities of Meteora!
When did Meteora formed?
These immense, solid rocks, split by earthquakes, weathered by water and wind over millions of years, are nature’s authentic masterpiece. Around 50 million years ago, the whole area of modern-day Meteora Greece was on the seabed of a great ancient ocean called Tethys. 30 million years before present, Meteora was the shores of that ancient ocean with long sandy beaches stretching for tens of km! In this long shoreline, a river delta formed, accumulating vast quantities of sentiments.
This river delta had formed on the steep edges of a huge underwater basin with an estimated depth of over 1 km. This deep basin began collecting the river deposits and eventually layers upon layers of deposits at great heights filled the seabed basin with gobbles, mud, sand, and small rocks. Dissolved limestone from the surrounding mountains, was also deposed among the rest of the river deposits. This limestone acted as the “glue” that cemented the rest of the deposits forming the conglomerate rock of Meteora.
How was Meteora formed?
11 million years ago during the Miocene Period, tectonic activity began to push the whole seabed upwards substantially raising elevation. As the earth kept rising Meteora region rises above sea level. Erosion is now starting to take place, washing away the soft soil. This process gradually exposed the cemented depositions that used to be buried in the seabed basin of this ancient sea.
This cemented conglomerate mass of rocks, as the earth began shifting and rising it followed that movement. Because it was able to better resist erosion, gradually the hard part began emerging from the earth as the softer soil was washed away by erosion. It’s hard to imagine nowadays that some of the highest picks of Meteora cliffs, 20 million years ago used to be the seabed of an ancient ocean.
The final touch was placed on the cliffs by the weather elements and the erosion they produce. The rain, the wind, and the ice gave the distinctive pillar-like forms of Meteora Greece.
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Read the Code of Ethics of Meteora for responsible tourism
By choosing to visit Meteora you’ve made a choice to visit above all a holy place! A centuries-old monastic community with monks and nuns who still practice their faith and ancient rituals. It is one of the most important monastic centers of the Greek Orthodox Church and Eastern Christianity. Below we give the code of ethics one should follow while visiting Meteora and the monasteries.
Meteora Greece and the monasteries. How did they build them?
The 24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, today 6 of them remain open to be explored and admired by all. These monasteries became the centers of the Orthodox creed in the Byzantine Epoch, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums. The monasteries of Meteora Greece have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Meteora-Antichassia region has been officially declared a Natura 2000 Ecological Zone by the Greek Ministry of Environment, for the protection of rare species of birds and flowers.
Read more from our blog
Meteora beauty: Meditating on the awe of creation and life.
What to see in Meteora
The Meteora Monasteries
Serene, spiritual, magical, mystical, extraordinary, breathtaking, immense, inspiring, impressive. These are only some of the words people very often use in an effort to describe the Meteora phenomenon. Visit Meteora, even if your interests are not deeply religious. It is the only way to enrich your feelings of spirituality that this area already exudes, no matter how long or brief your sojourn in our beautiful land.
Ruins and Hidden Gems
Today at Meteora Greece, apart from the well-known 6 monasteries, a number of hermitages and small abandoned monasteries have also been restored. Our goal and wish is to try and acquaint visitors with some of these less popular – but not at all less interesting – historical and religious monuments.
Archaeological Sites and Museums
The area of Meteora has a very long history of thousands of years. Find out about this rich historical and cultural heritage that spreads 130.000 years back in time, from the dawn of mankind before the beginning of the last ice age, all the way to our modern times.
Pindos Mountain Range
Pindos is the biggest mountain range of Greece, stretching from the Greek-Albanian borders (NW) to the northern Peloponnese (SE). It is roughly 160 km long (100 miles) and is considered the backbone of mainland Greece.
Where to Stay
How could anyone describe this astonishing geological phenomenon, the breathtaking landscape, the inspiration and spirituality felt, the awe for man’s achievements in an effort to express his religious drive, when these are only some of the many things a traveler experiences when visiting this phenomenal land!
Frequently Asked Questions About Meteora
The opening hours often change from year to year, so beware when relying on information provided in guidebooks or general web sites. We will try to do our best in keeping the timetable of visiting times and days of monasteries up-to-date. Check the opening hours of Meteora monasteries here.
Before we answer this question we have to specify that everything should be taken into account. It depends on how fit you are, the transportation and time available, weather conditions ect. Most people are able to visit between 2 to 4 monasteries per day. The few visitors who visit all 6 of them within one day are missing out a magical, more slow-paced adventure. We recommend at least 2 days stay in Meteora.
Appropriate clothing for everyone is required to enter the monasteries. Sleeveless clothing and shorts over the knee for men are prohibited and you‘ll be denied access if dressed that way. For ladies skirts and shawls are available to borrow or buy at the entrance of monasteries in case they don’t have such clothing to cover themselves.
The Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Great Meteoro are the less accessible (over 300 steps). Rousanou, Varlaam and Saint Nicolaos have an average number of 140. Some of the monasteries apart the staircases requires uphill walking in paved paths. The Holy Monastery of St Stephen is connected with a walking bridge, thus making it more accessible than any other monastery.
In each monastery there is an entrance fee of 3 euro per person. Kids up to 12 years old they don’t pay entrance fees in the monasteries.
There are many reasons not to want to drive while exploring Meteora — like if you’re not confident driving on the opposite side of the road, your spouse is a terrible copilot and you just want to have fun instead of arguing; or if you want to enjoy the scenic road and not to feel stress about the narrow and curvy roads. Lack of parking space outside the monasteries is especially frequent phenomenon during the pick period in the summer. So by joining one of our tours might save you a lot of headaches and unwanted distractions.
Parking space is quite limited outside the monasteries. Especially during the high season its impossible to find parking near the popular monasteries like Great Meteoro. Our advise is to start early, before 09.00am so you can have better odds to park near the monasteries entry. Even better let your car at the parking lot of your Hotel and consider joining the half day tour or the hiking tour.
Yes, they are open on Sundays. Actually all the monasteries are open on Sundays.
Its almost impossible and not recommended to try to visit all the six active monasteries in one day. If you have to select a couple of monasteries try to visit the less crowded monasteries which is the Saint Nicholaos and Holy Trinity. If you wish to see the most important with a lot of intresting thing to see inside then visit Great Meteoro and Varlaam. If you have to consider the difficulty level with the staircases then choose Saint Stephen.