The Meteors of Greece are located in the region of Thessaly, at a distance of about 350 km from Athens (about 5 hours by car). There are over twenty Meteor monasteries of which only six are open to the public and the others are in ruins and cannot be accessed.
Meteora in Greek means “in the midst of the air” and in fact these monasteries are perched atop huge monolithic pillars that stand out against the sky. Because of their seamless integration with the surrounding area, the Meteora monasteries have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
In the past, monks climbed to the monasteries by means of baskets pulled by pulleys: today these cable cars can still be seen from the road because they are used to load provisions.
▶ Small disgression, to those of us who are Ligurians they reminded us a little of our Castello della Pietra in Vobbia. Click on the name if you want to know more about it.
The Meteors are a magical place, definitely to be included in your itinerary if you plan to go to Greece!
Below you will find all the information and our tips for planning a visit to the Meteors with children.
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Visiting the Meteors in Greece with children
Visiting the Meteors with children is possible because each site (except Agios Stefanos) is accessed by a series of steps carved into the rock that are relatively low and not particularly exposed.
We would perhaps recommend holding the child by the hand but access presents no particular impediment other than the heat if you plan to visit in the summer months.
Generally from where you leave your car, it takes only 5 to 10 minutes to walk to the entrance of each monastery.
Strollers cannot be used instead because of precisely these steps.
Meteors in Greece with children: how long does it take to visit the Meteors?
To explore all 6 Orthodox monasteries in our opinion takes a couple of days so we recommend that you stay at least one night.
Having the time counted, it is possible to visit them all in a day but each of the 6 Meteors you will find it closed in turn during the week so if you want to visit them all, you will have to stay at least two days.
Moreover, the area is really very special and deserves more than just a touch and go, not to mention that in the evening the illuminated monasteries create a truly impressive sight!
How to visit the Meteors
The entry point for visiting the Meteors is the town of Kalambaka, where most of the hotels are also located. The first monastery is 3 km from the latter.
The most practical way to visit the monasteries, especially with children, is to move around by car rented perhaps in Athens. The road that winds among the rocky pinnacles is 15 km long and starts in Kalambaka, passes through Kastraki, and reaches each monastery before reconnecting to the main road and returning to Kalambaka.
Parking lots are free and are located near the entrances to the monasteries.
Otherwise there is a bus from Kalambaka to Megalou Meteorou Monastery, stopping at each monastery.
Meteors in Greece with children: how much does it cost to enter the Meteors
The entrance fee for each monastery is 3 euros per person, free for children.
Pay attention to clothing: you must have your shoulders and legs covered. If the heat does not allow you to dress this way, no problem because at the entrance to all monasteries a long skirt is given to wear before entering.
No photos can be taken inside.
Meteors in Greece with children: Meteora Monasteries
❒ Aghia Triada or Holy Trinity
Opening hours – 9 a.m.-1 p.m. daily except Thursdays.
To get to the monastery, you walk 150 steps carved into the rock. It is the largest and most famous monastery. It is also perhaps the one where you have to scarp the most to reach the entrance.
It was founded by the monk Dometio in the 15th century and was the monastery used for a James Bond movie!
❒ Varlaam Monastery
Opening hours – 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-6 p.m., closed on Fridays.
Founded in 1517, it is the second largest monastery and is about 700 meters from Agia Triada Monastery. Varlaam Monastery houses an important collection of relics, wooden crosses, frescoes and embroidered epitaphs.
❒ Monastery of Agios Nikolaos
Opening hours – 9 a.m.-6 p.m., daily.
The monastery dedicated to St. Nicholas, is a single-nave church with a small dome.
❒ Agias Varvaras Rousanou Monastery
Opening hours – 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-6 p.m., closed on Wednesdays.
It is one of the most easily accessible and is named after what is believed to be the first hermit to settle on its summit. The monastery contains extraordinary wall paintings and wooden iconostasis.
❒ Megalou Meteorou Metamorphisis
Opening hours – 9:00am-1:00pm and 3:00pm-6:00pm, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The First Church of the Transfiguration of Jesus is the best known of the monasteries and is built on the highest rock, 613 meters above sea level.
Because the Serbian emperor Symeon Uros gave the monastery all his wealth by becoming a monk himself, the monastery became the richest and most powerful of all.
Today it contains some of the most beautiful Byzantine paintings and murals in Greece.
❒ Monastery of Agios Stefanos
Opening hours – 9:00 am-1:00 pm and 3:00 pm-5:00 pm, daily.
This monastery is the easiest to access since only a small bridge separates it from the main road and no steps have to be climbed. It is only 1.5 km from Agia Triada.
It is the only monastery in Meteora and from here there is a beautiful view of the plain towards Kalambaka.
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When to visit the Meteors
The mid-seasons in our opinion are the ideal time to avoid crowding and summer mugginess. We went the first days of June and did not have too many queues however it was already quite hot. Pay attention to opening hours and closing days if you plan to visit the Meteors in spring or fall because they have limited hours in the off-season.
For information and opening hours of the various monasteries visit the official website.
Meteors in Greece with children: where to sleep in Meteors
We stayed at the Chrysorama Rooms in Kalambaka and had a very good time: very spacious family rooms with buffet breakfast included and a beautiful little terrace overlooking the Meteors. Possibility to request an additional crib (free of charge) and also to have lunch or dinner in the hotel restaurant with typical dishes. Recommended! Book here.
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