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Meteora? Decision time!

I am trying to work on a tour to Meteora during my stay in Athens. There is a day trip via train from Athens to Kalampaka. Leave at 8:30 a.m……return at 10:30 p.m. Basically 3 hours in the afternoon on the ground at Meteora to see 1 or 2 monasteries and do some selfies……and some legitimate photography, too. No guide. I know it would be a brutal travel day. I can handle that.

Will three hours be enough time to at least get a "taste" of Meteora? I know, I know….an overnight would be better. Just not sure I can eek it out. What would be possible to accomplish during those 3 hours? It would be a Friday or a Saturday. Not every monastery is open every day.

or……just write it off……buy a postcard of Meteora and admire the image while drinking a shots of ouzo in the Plaka……..and call it a day :-)

Posted by
16893 posts

Here's advice from our editor, Gretchen, who visited last year for an overnight and walked between sites. (Versus I, who stayed two nights and drove everywhere.)

It’s a brutal day, but still worthwhile. Here’s what I’d probably do: Hire a taxi from the train station to drive me up to Meteoron monastery, then hit Meteoron and Varlaam (I’d only visit the interior of one monastery, given the time crunch), and either take the monk path down to the valley (cool, but takes longer) or stick to the high road and follow it past Rousanou (stopping there if time) and then stay on the high road, with a stop at the view point, to reach Agia Triada (about 45 min from Rousanou on foot, I believe), and follow the monk path from Agia Triada back into town (another 45 min, I think). The two monasteries on either end of things (St Nicholas and St Stephen) are easily skippable.

http://www.svetanyc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Meteora-map.jpg
http://chelmsfordrocks.com/images/img582.jpg

If only that dang train connection weren’t so slow. With such a short time, you could also consider joining a day tour from Athens; then ditch the group for the bulk of the day and just be extremely sure to be on time at the pickup spot for the ride back to Athens. Of course, a rental car will get you there faster and give your more flexibility within Meteora…but it sure is a slog of a drive.

Posted by
7312 posts

3 hours is tight. I did not spend a great deal of time there just doing the monastaries, but it was closer to 4-5 hours, and I was rushed, with connections not entirly predictable.

I seem to recall that I caught a bus from Kalambaka in the morning and took it up to the end of the road to the Great Meteora Monastary, very accessible and a great tour, then you can work your way back down to Kastraki with three other monastaries possible along the way. I did not visit all of them, and walked most of the way to Kastraki.

You could greatly reduce your time by hiring a guide or tour in Kalambaka, or even just getting a taxi to haul you around, but as you stated, an overnight would be better.

Posted by
1317 posts

Meteora is a wonderful place and you will not regret spending the time and effort getting there.

I would suggest you rent a car and drive there. Time your arrival after 5 in the afternoon. The tour buses will be gone and you will have amazing views of the monasteries. This will give you the opportunity to scout out what you want to see the next day.
Spend the night at the village of Kastraki nestled at the foot of the mountains. Get up early next day and hit one or two of the monasteries that are open then when the tour buses arrive you will understand why getting there the night before was such a good idea. We counted 30 tour buses at one monastery.
Because of your limited time it is probably best to leave Meteora when it starts to get crowded and scoot back to Athens. While it is a long drive the roads are very good.
Here is what Meteora is like. Better than a few shots of ouzo in the plaka.
Olympia Delphi Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645469717811/

Posted by
210 posts

Thanks, Gang! Lots of very helpful information. Still debating the final decision.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi John,

I was looking at the same plan as you. Just curious what you decided and what you thought? Was it enough time there or do you wish you stayed longer?