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The Holy Monastery of Varlaam

The Holy Monastery of Varlaam is the second biggest monastery of Meteora. Located very close to Great Meteoro Monastery, it was founded in the mid 14th century by a monk named Varlaam.

Varlaam managed to climb on the cliff around 1350 and followed by a few other monks he was able to establish the monastery. Decades later in the early 15th century, after Varlaam died, the cliff was abandoned by the rest of the monks. The 14th-century chapel built by him and dedicated to the “Three Hierarchs” was almost turned into ruins.

In the early 16th century two brothers from Ioannina, the priest-monks Theophanes and Nectarios, the so-called Apsarades decided to reactivate the abandoned monastery of Varlaam. They settled on the cliff spending many years building a new chapel dedicated to “All Saints” in 1541.

The two brothers from Ioannina, Theophanes, and Nectarios are celebrated today as the two founders of the monastery of Varlaam. The Holy Monastery of Varlaam offers exceptional views to its visitors as well as a beautiful new museum where they exhibit many of the monastery’s valuable relics, art, and manuscripts.  

Useful info

  • Summer timetable
    Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 15:00.
    The monastery stays closed on Tuesdays.

  • Winter timetable
    Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 14:00.
    The monastery stays closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

  • Contact Number
    +30 24320 22278

  • Appropriate clothing for everyone is required to enter the monastery. 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 at the entrance in case they don’t have such clothing to cover themselves.

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The beautiful frescos in the monastery’s chapel of All Saints belong to the famous hagiographer of the 16th century Franco Catalano. The monastery has preserved the tower with the old pully system where you can see the net, used by the first monks to bring up people and provisions.

The visitors can also see a very large 16th-century oak barrel used for water storage over the previous centuries. The monastery of Varlaam has opened recently a brand new museum, where visitors can admire the excellence of religious painted icons – mostly contemporary to the Renaissance period – and precious holy vestments of the priests from the Byzantine period.

If you want to learn more of the stories surrounding the Monastery of Varlaam, why not join a 4 hrs Meteora Half-Day Sightseeing Tour that visits the monastery every morning except closing days. We will ensure the best possible experience for your visit!

Frequently Asked Questions About Meteora Monasteries

The opening hours often change from year to year, so beware when relying on information provided in guidebooks or general websites. 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.

Location of The Holy Monastery of Varlaam on the Map

Check More Monasteries of Meteora

The Monastery of Holy Trinity
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The monastery of Agios Stefanos is by far the most accessible monastery, where instead of steps you simply cross a small bridge to reach the entrance.

The Monastery of Great Meteoron
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Today the area is filled with many Meteora ruins and hidden gems, of a past period when at the height of the monastic community the site had close to 24 active

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