Updated September 16th, 2022 by Travel the Greek Way

A man standing and looking at Meteora Monasteries

The Meteora Monasteries are located in mainland Greece, in the region of Thessaly, 347 km from Athens. Meteora is an extensive complex of gigantic sandstone rocks shadowing the local town Kalambaka.

Mist around the Meteora Monasteries and rocks

On top of the megalithic rocks, an average of 300 meters above ground, are perched the awe-inspiring Meteora Monasteries. There were initially 24 Monasteries founded and built by Greek Orthodox monks in the 14-15th century.

Kalambaka town between Meteora Monasteries
Kalambaka town is shadowed by the Meteora Rocks

Today, only 6 of them are working as Monasteries and accept public visits on specific days and times.

A monk in Meteora Monasteries
Meteora Monasteries monk. Photo: meteoromonastery.gr

The Meteora Monasteries has been a UNESCO World Heritage Monument since 1988 and it is today the second most important monastic complex in Greece after Mount Athos Monasteries in Chalkidiki.

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Map of Meteora Monasteries

Meteora Monasteries Map

Get your interactive map of Meteora here, to drive to any of the places listed on our things to do in Meteora.

How Long do you Need in Meteora Monasteries?

A woman watching the Meteora Monasteries sunset
Stunning sunset in Meteora

Many visitors stay for at least one night in Kalambaka, the town at the feet of Meteora Rocks. They often combine the tour with a stop at Delphi archaeological site on a 2 to 3-day trip from Athens.

5 out of 6 of the Meteora Monasteries
General view of 5 out of 6 Meteora Monasteries

Others make a one-day trip to Meteora from Athens or from Thessaloniki. It may be doable and you may only have one day but:

  • You will spend most of your time in the car, driving
  • You will have time to see 1 or 2 max of the Monasteries and that in a hurried fashion because most of the monasteries close by 3 or 4 pm, especially if it is during winter
Meteora Monasteries hiking
Hiking the Meteora Rocks

If possible, put aside 2-4 days for the Meteora Monasteries, for hiking opportunities, sunset watching, and photography, and exploring other beautiful sights such as the Paleolithic Cave of Theopetra, Trikala town, and Elati village.  The visit to Meteora can also be combined with a trip through Zagorochoria, Ioannina towards the western part of Greece and the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Paxos, Lefkada).

Where Best to Stay in Meteora Monasteries

Meteora Monasteries hotel Doupiani
Doupiani House

Hotel Doupiani House (Doubles from €89, Β&Β), in a spectacular location, with a panoramic view of both Meteora rocks and the valley.

Meteora Monasteries Archontiko hotel
 Archontiko Mesohori Suites & Apartments

 Archontiko Mesohori Suites & Apartments (Doubles from €118, Β&Β): Gorgeous setting surrounded by the overlooking Meteora rocks.

Houses with Meteora rocks stunning views: Zosimas House, from €61, self-catering, ideal for a group of 6 persons & The house under the rocks of Meteora from €72, self-catering, ideal for a group of 5 persons.

In the nearby town of Kalambaka, there is a wide selection of traditional taverns to choose from as well well supermarkets, cafes, and bars for your nightlife.

How to Get to Meteora

Reaching Meteora. Photo Credit: Marilyn Massicotte. I.g.: @marilyngreekjourney

The most convenient way to see the beautiful route to Meteora Monasteries is a road trip in your own rental car. There are tolls of 20 euros for each way. If you are not confident about driving in Greece – although the national roads are in fantastic condition, and very easy to navigate – you can take the Trains (OSE) or the KTEL buses.

Alternatively, you can book a guided tour for a 2 or 3-day tour to Meteora, to combine it with visiting other fantastic places in Greece.

The Six Meteora Monasteries

The Monastery of Great Meteoron

Great Meteoron in Meteora Monasteries
Monastery of Great Meteoron

The Monastery of Great Meteoron or Metamorphosis Sotiros is the largest and oldest Monastery in Meteora. It was founded in 1340 AD century by Saint (Osios) Athanasios the Meteorite and it houses monks at 534 meters in height.

Catholicon in Meteora Monasteries
The Catholicon of the Monastery. Photo: meteoromonastery.gr

The main church (Catholicon) of the monastery of Great Meteoron is very impressive with beautiful 16th-century post-Byzantine frescoes.

Trapeza of Meteora Monasteries
Trapeza of Great Meteoron. Photo: meteoromonastery.gr

The dining room (Trapeza) is considered an exceptional sample of architecture, built in 1557. Find time to go through the main Museum of Meteora with invaluable exhibits on display such as handwritten codes from the priests, with the oldest dated manuscript being one from the 9th century, the oldest in Greece.The oldest Byzantine icons of Meteora date back to the 13th century.

Meteora Monasteries Museum in Great Meteoron
Manuscripts, books, and icon exhibits. Photo: meteoromonastery.gr

How to Visit Great Meteoron

  • Summer timetable (April 1st – October 31st): Visiting Hours: 09:30 to 15:00. Closed on Tuesdays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 14:00. Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
  • Extra Days that the Monastery is closed: 5,6,7 of August, 30th September, October 1st
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22278, Email: info@meteoromonastery.gr
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Greek Local Wine Tip: The Great Meteoron Monastery has a 25-acre vineyard and produces 4 different Greek varieties of excellent wine. Ask them, how you can taste/ buy a bottle of unique wine made by the monks.

The Monastery of Varlaam

Meteora Monasteries Varlaam
Monastery of Varlaam

The Monastery of Varlaam, set on a rock across the Great Meteoron at 370 meters, was founded by monk Varlaam in the 13th century but was renovated in 1542 by priest monks and siblings Theophanes and Nektarios. Today just 7 monks live permanently in the Monastery. The Church is dedicated to All Saints and one of the most impressive things to see is the magnificent Catholicon.

Do you need a tailor-made itinerary for Meteora? Visit my Plan My Trip Page

Meteora Monasteries frescoes in Varlaam
Catholikon. Photo Visit Meteora

The post-Byzantine frescoes that depict the Virgin and Child, the Liturgy of Angels, the Crucified, and the Pantocrator on the dome are masterpieces of art.

Like the Great Meteoron, don’t miss to visit the Clerical exhibits, the old manuscripts, and the other complementary chambers.

How to Visit Varlaam Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 16:00. Closed on Fridays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 15:00. Closed on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22277
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Roussanou Monastery

Roussanou Meteora Monasteries
Roussanou Monastery on the right

The Roussanou Monastery, a nunnery, was founded during the 14th century but the main Church was built in 1545 and was dedicated to Saint Barbara. The entire plateau of its rock peak is covered by its building complex with a beautiful garden. This is a small monastery, compared to the others but the views are incredible, as you can see 3 other monasteries in one direction.

Meteora Monasteries Roussanou entrance
The entrance to Roussanou Monastery

During WWII all the Meteora Monasteries suffered looting and many invaluable objects were taken or destroyed. However, a priest from Kalambaka, Christos Mpentas, (1883-1979) contributed substantially to the rescue and preservation of the manuscripts, hiding them in crypts or transporting them to safe places.

You can visit the museum inside the Roussanou Monastery with icons and manuscripts from the 13th century. The manuscripts have been transformed into digital docs from Kalambaka Library and you can see them here.

Meteora Monasteries nuns and priests
The nuns and priests of Roussanou Monastery

The small group of dedicated nuns, besides their monastic work of keeping the Monastery running, welcoming visitors from all over the world, and exercising their religious duties, are also busy with: candle handcrafting, sawing, icon painting, and olive-oil production.

Meteora Monasteries garden
Roussanou garden

How to Visit Roussanou Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 16:00. Closed on Wednesdays
  • Winter timetable: 09:00 to 14:00. Closed on Wednesdays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22649
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Agios (St) Stefanos Monastery

agios stefanons of Meteora Monasteries
Agios Stefanos Monastery

This is the second nunnery of the Meteora Monasteries and the only Monastery visible from Kalambaka due to its lower elevation. It is not certain when exactly Agios Stefanos was founded but it is considered the most peaceful and spiritually uplifting Monastery and offers a sense of tranquility in spite of the crowds.

Meteora Monasteries Agios Stefanos chandelier
Agios Stefanos Chandelier

You really shouldn’t miss this monastery as the chapel frescoes are absolutely incredibly done! The exhibits include calligraphed manuscripts, rare vessels, gold-plated amphorae, silver-bound, and carved crosses, as well as the impressive Deposition by Emmanuel Tzane, a work of 1670.

Meteora Monasteries monk
Monk in Meteora Monasteries

St. Stephen’s Monastery also has two cathedrals; the old 16th-century chapel and the 18th-century main cathedral that is dedicated to Agios Charalambos and includes his holy relics.

How to Visit Agios Stefanos Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00 to 13:20 & 15:30-17:30. Closed on Mondays
  • Winter timetable: 09:30 to 13:00 & 15:00-17:00. Closed on Mondays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22279
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery

Meteora Monasteries Agia Triada
Agia Triada Monastery

The Agia Triada Monastery is built northwest of Agios Stephanos, on a high rock with beautiful views of Kalambaka, the Penios river, and the high mountains of Koziakas and Chasia.

The Monastery was founded by a few brave monks – like all Meteora Monasteries – in the early 14th century. The Monastery was built in 1438 and the building materials were carried on top for more than 70 years! The main church was built in 1475-76 and today only 4 monks live in it. 

Meteora Monasteries Agia Triada Catholicon
Agia Triada Catholicon

The Monastery of Agia Triada became famous as it has been featured in the James Bond film, ‘Four Your Eyes Only’. Unfortunately, the monastery was looted during WWII but there are still many valuable objects to see.

Meteora Monasteries wall frescoes

Don’t miss the chapel of St. John the Baptist, a small circular church with a vault, hewed on the rock, or the old copy of the Gospel with the silver cover printed in Venice in 1539.

How to Visit Agia Triada Monastery

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-17:00. Closed on Thursdays
  • Winter timetable: 10:00-15:00. Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22220
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Agios Nicholaos (St) Anapafsas Monastery

Meteora Monasteries road sign to the monasteries

Driving up the road from Kastraki towards the Meteora rocks you will find on the left side the monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas built on three-level vertical planning.

The first monks made it to the top of the rock early 14th century and the monastery was renovated in the early 16th century by St Dionysios Metropolitan Bishop of Larissa.

Meteora Monasteries people climbing the stairs
Ascending to the Saint Nicholas Anapafsas. Photo Nikolaos Ziogas

The best things to see are the chapel of St Antonios with spectacular old murals, a crypt, and the Catholicon of St Nicholas, from its windows the visitors can admire murals of unbelievable beauty.

The Catholicon, with the strange shape of the rock, was painted by the famous Cretan painter Theofanis Strelitzias.

How to Visit Agios Nicholas Anapafsas

  • Summer timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-17:00. Open every day
  • Winter timetable: Visiting Hours: 09:00-16:00. Open every day
  • Contact Number +30 24320 22375
  • Entrance ticket: 3 euros per person. Kids up to 12 years old don’t pay entrance fees

Best Lookout Points in Meteora

A woman taking photos on meteora rocks
Psaropetra point

Besides visiting the monasteries, one of the top things to do in Meteora is to discover the best lookout points and take some really epic photos! Two great spots to check out are:

  1. Psaropetra lookout – near Holy Trinity
  2. Main Observation near Roussanou

If you are not sure how to find the lookout, there is a number of guided tours that will show you the best photo locations around Meteora, some of which are known only to locals as they are not on the map.

Meteora Monasteries Dress Code

Meteora Monasteries a woman in black standing

All the monks and nuns of Meteora Monasteries have the vision to keep Orthodox monasticism alive and to hand it over to the next generation of monks and nuns. In this effort, the adaptation of visitors to the rules of entry to the monasteries (modest dress, decent behavior) is particularly important to them, which is not only a matter of discipline but generally of intellectual culture, respect, and politeness of a civilized visitor.

Meteora Monasteries dress code
Photo: meteoromonastery.gr

You will not be allowed into the Monasteries if you wear shorts, and have uncovered shoulders. Please wear blouses and t-shorts with a sleeve. For the women, some of the monasteries may provide wrap-up skirts or shawls. No need to cover your head with a scarf.

  • Please reduce the volume of your cell/mobile ringtone, keep your voice down and avoid touching the artifacts
  • Photos are strictly forbidden

How Best to Visit Meteora Monasteries if you are Mobility-Challenged

Main road from Kalambaka to Meteora Monasteries
The main road from Kalambaka to the Meteora Monasteries
  • Most of the Monasteries have an ascending path that starts from the parking area to the stone steps which have been carved in the rock and take you to the Monastery entrance
  • To get to the Great Meteoron Monastery you will need to walk up 300 steps, and it is one of the less accessible Monasteries. There is no lift.
  • For the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, you can either walk up more than 140 steps or take the cable car that you can use to go up
Meteora Monasteries Great meteoron steps
Ascending the Monasteries
  • The Monastery of Roussanou’s main access is from its northwest side where you get by car. Then you have to walk up about 200 steps and cross a bridge but there are benches for rest
  • The Monastery of St Stefanos is the most accessible Monastery. There is a small solid bridge leading straight to the entry from the car park and only a couple of wide steps to enter the main complex
  • Varlaam and Saint Nicholas Anapafsas Monasteries have an average number of 140 steps
  • Many people who can’t walk up the stairs, enjoy the driving of the loop around Meteora and stopping for pictures. Park as near as possible to each monastery entrance as they are good vantage points and fun to watch the hordes of tourists climbing up and down the many stairs, like lines of ants.

Did you visit the Meteora Monasteries? Let me know what you think about visiting Meteora in the comments, I’d love to hear whether I managed to get it onto your bucket list! Till next time, Evgenia❤️

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