Meteora – The best time to visit and why you simply must
In future I will end up writing a lot about Greece. But to start with I think it’s natural that I write about one of the places that has truly touched me and is somewhere I admit I will return to time and again.
Located within the Trikala lowlands of the Plain of Thessaly and a stones throw from the Pindos mountain range, the village of Kalabaka has been welcoming people from all over the world for years and years. The village itself is a highly forgettable place. But when walking through its streets and central platia (square) you cannot help but look up. As rising above the concrete buildings and telephone wires, unique rock formations that have evolved over thousands of years rise up high into the sky. On top of these mysterious yet elegant rocks lie seemingly impossible structures that make up the Monasteries of Meteora.
Monks first inhabited the area of Meteora over 1,200 years ago but the monasteries were built much later. The first of these was the Great Meteoron, built in the mid-1300s and is still standing today. The monks of the time seeked safe refuge as the ever growing Byzantine Empire was beginning to strangle other areas of Greece and so this strategically very difficult location became home to 24 monasteries. Of these original monasteries built in that era, only six remain and are accessible to the public. In the beginning the monasteries were only accessible by a ladder or a rope on a pulley system. Some say that those climbing up were not told how often the ladders or ropes were changed, almost as a test of their faith. Either way, when you visit these incredible structures, you will appreciate the sheer audacity of the monks who first built them, as much as those who dared venture up the ropes to get to them once built.
The word Meteora (Μετέωρα) in Greek means literally, in the heavens above, which is fitting not only due to the literal height of these formations, but also because of the feeling you have when up among them. That is as long as you aren’t being followed by a loud group of tourists who are on a bucket list trip, which is highly possible during the busier months of May-August. This is why I would have to recommend that if you do wish to visit this amazing place, to go there between mid-September and October. The weather is usually warm in these months, but even if not, the monasteries will be less busy and will allow you to really appreciate its awesomeness.
For me and Kat, it was a very spiritual place. Whatever religion you may be and however religious or non-religious you are, I believe there are some places in this world, that just feel special. Maybe you discover a sense of wonder in the natural beauty of our planet by looking at how these rocks have formed over centuries. Maybe you feel a sense of pride and appreciation for the human ingenuity that led to construction of the monasteries. Or maybe whilst looking out over this stunning location, you feel all these things but bring yourself to be quiet, not say a word, relax and just take in the beauty of Meteora.
I hope you are able to feel this when you visit, and I believe the best way is to go up to one of the several spots behind the structures, just as the sun is going down, to watch the sunset over the Pindos Mountains to the west. Trust us, it’s simply stunning
Have you been to Meteora? How was your experience?
Where to go:
The below point is very close to the spot we have enjoyed sunset from :)
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