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Wonder #25 Meteora Monasteries: Majestic Icons of Greece's History

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About The Wonder

The Meteora monasteries in Greece are a remarkable complex of ancient Eastern Orthodox monasteries perched atop towering rock formations in the Thessaly region. Dating back to the 14th century, these monasteries were built by monks seeking solitude and safety from invading forces. Today, they stand as UNESCO World Heritage sites, renowned for their stunning architecture, religious significance, and breathtaking natural surroundings, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at their spiritual and historical importance.

Location Map 

History Of The Wonder

The history of the Meteora monasteries is rich and captivating. Established in the 14th century, these monasteries were originally built by monks seeking refuge from political turmoil and Ottoman raids. Accessible only by precarious rope ladders and later, windlass systems, the monasteries became centers of spirituality, art, and learning. Over the centuries, they endured periods of decline and restoration, surviving World War II and gaining UNESCO recognition for their cultural significance. Today, they remain a testament to human perseverance and architectural ingenuity, offering visitors a glimpse into Greece's religious and historical heritage amidst stunning natural landscapes.

How to Get There:

When visiting the Meteora monasteries in Greece, the nearest major airports are Thessaloniki Airport (SKG) and Athens International Airport (ATH).

1. Thessaloniki Airport (SKG):
Distance to Meteora: Approximately 3 hours by car.
Directions: From Thessaloniki Airport, take the A1 highway south towards Larissa. Then, follow signs to Trikala and Kalambaka, which are the towns closest to Meteora.
2. Athens International Airport (ATH):
Distance to Meteora: Approximately 4.5 - 5 hours by car.
Directions: From Athens Airport, take the Attiki Odos highway towards Lamia. Continue north on the A1 highway towards Trikala and then on to Kalambaka.

Visa Requirements 

Citizens of the United States do not need a visa for short visits to Greece. Greece is part of the Schengen Area, allowing U.S. citizens to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism or business without a visa. For visa information and application procedures, please refer to our "Apply for Visa" section on our website.

Near the Meteora monasteries in Greece, the primary accommodation areas are:

1. Kalambaka:
Location: Situated at the base of the Meteora rock formations.
Accommodation: Offers a variety of hotels, ranging from budget to luxury options, as well as guesthouses and traditional inns.
Amenities: Many hotels provide views of the Meteora cliffs, while others offer amenities such as restaurants, bars, parking, and Wi-Fi.
Accessibility: Kalambaka is well-connected by roads and is the main hub for accessing the monasteries.
2. Kastraki:
Location: Adjacent to Kalambaka, within walking distance to some of the monasteries.
Accommodation: Features charming guesthouses, small hotels, and family-run accommodations.
Amenities: Offers a quieter atmosphere compared to Kalambaka, with some properties providing views of the rock formations.
Accessibility: Easily reachable from Kalambaka and serves as an alternative base for exploring the Meteora area.


Official Language: Greek is the official language of Greece.
Alphabet: Uses the Greek alphabet with 24 letters.


The euro (€) is the official currency used throughout Greece.

Best Time to Visit Greece

Spring (April - June):

Weather: Mild temperatures, blooming flowers.
Advantages: Fewer crowds, ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Summer (July - August):
Hot and sunny.
Advantages: Beach weather, vibrant nightlife, festivals.

Fall (September - October):
Weather: Warm days, cooler evenings.
Advantages: Pleasant weather, fewer tourists, good for hiking and cultural experiences.

Winter (November - March):
Weather: Cool to cold, occasional rain.
Advantages: Lower prices, fewer tourists, great for exploring historical sites without crowds.


Peak Season: July and August are busiest; plan early for accommodations.
Weather: Pack accordingly based on the season.
Local Events: Check for festivals and events to enhance your visit.

Souvenirs to Buy in Greece

1. Olive Oil: Known for its high quality and health benefits.
2. Greek Wine: Local varieties like Assyrtiko or Agiorgitiko.
3. Ceramics: Hand-painted pottery with traditional designs.
4. Bougatsa: Traditional pastry filled with custard or cheese.
5. Greek Honey: Rich in flavor, often infused with thyme or other herbs.
6. Komboloi: Worry beads made of amber, coral, or other materials.
7. Evil Eye Talismans: Blue glass charms to ward off bad luck.
8. Traditional Clothing: Such as handmade sandals or embroidered textiles.

Here are some fun facts about the Meteora monasteries in Greece:

1. Ancient Pillars: Formed over 60 million years ago through weathering and earthquakes.

2. Monastic Refuge: Built by monks seeking isolation and protection, originally accessed via ladders and rope baskets.

3. UNESCO Site: Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

4. Active Monasteries: Six of the original 24 monasteries are still active.

5. Hollywood Fame: Featured in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" (1981).

6. Byzantine Art: Home to impressive frescoes, manuscripts, and icons.

7. Eagle’s Nest: The Great Meteoron Monastery is known for its lofty perch and views.

8. Windlass System: Monks used a windlass system for supplies and people; modern access is now available.

9. Religious Festivals: Hosts several religious festivals throughout the year.

10. Visitor Access: Now accessible by footpaths, roads, and modern amenities.




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