Meteora is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit in northern Greece. It has a landscape like no other place in the world. The large rock formations are simply marvelous. Geologists believe that the pinnacles were formed about sixty million years ago. Weathering and earthquakes have since shaped them into the formations that we see today. The rocks are a sandstone mixture, and their erosion has created huge vertical cliffs.
The area is so breathtaking that it became a place that attracted religious pilgrims, who eventually built 24 monasteries on the cliffs, of which 6 are still operational today. There are two villages within 5k of the sights that offer hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, and cafes for travelers. An added bonus is that traveling to Meteora is pretty easy, especially by train.
6 Things You Must Do When Visiting Meteora:
- Visit the Monasteries – the monasteries of Meteora are the huge tourist draw for the region. Regardless of your religious affiliation, I’d recommend you spend the time and visit each monastery. They are all completely different. They are all impressive archeological wonders and each location provides a unique view of the valley. The monks and nuns that live there make a commitment for life and carry on traditions that have been carried forward since the 1400s.
- Go Hiking – take advantage of the many different hiking trails in Meteora. The wind through thickly forested areas and deep canyons. If you want to save your legs, be sure to read our post about hiking in Meteora.
- Watch the Sunset – the sunsets in Meteora are absolutely breathtaking. The shadows, endless vistas, and gorgeous colors make this place very special.
- Explore on a Scooter – this is key if you want to see all of the hidden gems throughout the area. It also saves you quite a bit of money, as taxis are quite expensive. We paid €20 for a 24-hour rental, which was worth it.
- Visit the Hermitages – the hermitages are mind-boggling. Unlike the main monasteries, these aren’t large structures built on the top of cliffs. The hermitages are caves built high up on the side of the cliffs. Hermits used to travel to these caves to remove themselves from society. Once they went into the caves, they would make a commitment never to come down. They would depend on local villagers to bring them food and water, putting their survival “in the hands of God”. Definitely something that you can’t see anywhere else.
- Eat Good Food – Greece is full of good food and great wine. The restaurants in Meteora did not fail to deliver several tasty meals. Most of the restaurants in the villages served traditional Greek dishes. I recommend you try the moussaka.