Take a private day tour like no other with us to Meteora, the one-of-a-kind complex of huge sandstone rock pillars with monasteries built on top, in Central Greece! Discover this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site and immerse yourself in the rituals of Greek Orthodoxy and the monastic life. This tour is ideal for you if you love natural wonders and manmade awe-inspiring structures. It is also a perfect choice if religion and history fascinate you. Get ready for an unforgettable experience of Greece’s otherworldly towering cliffs and the surroundings!
What you will see
- Thermopylae, the Statue of Leonidas
- The Town of Lamia, the Town of Domokos
- Greece’s Smart City of Trikala, the Town of Kalampaka, the Village of Kastraki
- The Holy Monastery of Metamorphosis/Great Meteoron, The Holy Monastery of Varlaam
- The Holy Monastery of Roussanou, the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas
- The Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen, The Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity
After your morning pick-up at Athens with one of our brand new vehicles, we will start our road trip to Central Greece. As we cruise through the delightful mainland and halfway to our final destination, our route takes you to legendary Thermopylae. There you will witness the once 12-meter-wide coastal pass where in 480 BCE, 7.000 Greeks led by 300 Spartans and their King Leonidas fought off the invasion of at least 200.000 Persians led by King Xerxes.
Thanks to the narrowness of the pass and their strategy, the Greeks managed to cause severe losses to the vast Persian army for three days. The battle however ended with a Persian victory when the Greeks were betrayed by ‘Ephialtis’, a venal Greek citizen. In commemoration of the last stand of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans who all died fighting obeying the Spartan law, a Memorial was erected at the area in 1955. A visit to the bronze statue of Leonidas which is the centerpiece of the Memorial could not be missing from our short stop to Thermopylae.
Our private tour continues with one spectacular view after another of the lush Greek countryside as we ride through the towns of Lamia and Domokos and Greece’s smart city of Trikala. As we get closer to the town of Kalampaka where Meteora are located, you will be instantly enchanted by the splendour of these ‘columns of the sky’! According to geologists, this unusual phenomenon was formed about 60 million years ago and it’s the result of a series of earth movements and weathering by water.
With an average height of 3oo meters above the ground, it is no wonder why monks who wanted to escape persecution during the Middle Ages chose to build their monasteries on these inaccessible rocks. During these tough times, the monks used large ropes, baskets and wooden ladders to lift people and goods into the monasteries. Today, you walk up approximately 150-300 steps cut into the rocks to reach each monastery. Suffice to say, the view from above is breathtaking! Nowadays, only 6 out of the 24 monasteries function and we will take you to see all of these architectural masterpieces!
Namely, you are about to see the Holy Monastery of Metamorphosis/Great Meteoron and the neighbouring Holy Monastery of Varlaam, both built circa 1350. We will also drive you to the Holy Monastery of Roussanou and the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas Anapafsas, both founded at the end of the 14 th century. Next, you will marvel at the Holy Monastery of Saint Stephen built at the end of the 12 th century and the Holy Monastery of Holy Trinity founded between 1458 to 1476. All monasteries are fairly close to each other by car and they are all well-preserved.
In addition, we will take you to visit the inside of at least 3 monasteries depending on their visiting hours. You should keep in mind that the monasteries demand from visitors a respectful code of conduct and to be appropriately covered and dressed. Sleeveless shirts and pants above the knee are forbidden for men. As for women, they are not allowed to enter wearing sleeveless shirts, pants or skirts above the knee. In order to meet the dress code, you can borrow for free wrap around skirts and shawls at the entrance of every monastery.
Inside the monasteries you will enjoy the warm hospitality of the monks and the nuns and you will be astonished by the numerous exhibits you will find. You will have the opportunity to look at a plethora of rare manuscripts, Byzantine icons, exquisite murals, artifacts of the Greek War of Independence and liturgical books, to name a few. You are bound to catch the essence of the evolution of monastic communities throughout time too. Lastly, at some monasteries you will be able to buy local and religious products to bring back home.
As we leave the monasteries behind, we will visit some highly photogenic locations where you will take in scenic views and capture incredible photos! Our exciting tour ends with a culinary experience, as we will head over Kastraki village and have dinner at a Greek traditional restaurant. After that you can have a short stroll at the town of Kalampaka and we will begin our journey back to Athens.
Book this tour all year round, a day at Meteora is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
The tour includes
- English-speaking and knowledgeable driver-guide
- Brand new vehicle
- Pick-up and drop-off service from/to your accommodation or other location in Athens
- Skip-the-line service as we pre-purchase your tickets so that you enter sites and museums without delay
- Petrol costs
- Toll fees
- Parking fees
- All taxes
The tour does not include
- Entrance fees to monasteries, sites & museums
- Personal purchases during the tour
- Gratuities (tips are at your discretion)
- Licensed guide (we can arrange a professional guide for you upon request)
- Food and beverages (we can arrange meals/snacks and drinks for you upon request)
- Duration: 12 hours
- Tour days: Daily and all year round
- Pick-up point: Your accommodation or any other location in Athens
- Pick-up time: Between 8:00 to 9 :00 am/flexible
- Drop-off point: Your accommodation or other location in Athens
- Essentials: Bring along your printed or mobile voucher, comfortable shoes & sun protection gear especially during summer
- Tailor the tour to your needs : Yes, upon request
- Free cancellation: Cancel your tour at least 6 hours in advance of your scheduled pick-up time and we will offer you a full refund as soon as possible. Please see our cancellation policy here.