A trip to Meteora is a unique experience you should do once in your lifetime. Discover the geological wonder with 24 monasteries on top of rocks and cliffs, or spot the hermit caves carved into Swiss cheese-like rocks. Walk, climb, ride a bike – whatever means you use, you will be able to enjoy jaw-dropping views over the region once you’re at the top of the cliffs. One suggestion would be to discover the area through a semi-independent tour. This will allow you to get a better understanding of the monasteries and to get the spiritual and cultural heritage of Meteora.
Meteora is a climbing and hiking paradise. Of course, there is a paved road leading from Kalambaka to the monasteries, but be adventurous – take one of the hidden trails (but make sure to have a good map and, of course, good walking shoes) and wander into the wild. Use caution and make sure you are up for it as rock climbing in Meteora is not for the faint of heart. Alternatively, there are plenty of organized tours available that will allow you to rock climb or hike one of the main sites, or you can just take part in a simple hiking tour.
All this hiking is sure to have an effect on your appetite. You’re in luck then, as Kalambaka has great tavernas where you can sample local cuisine. Go to the family-run restaurant Meteora for the charm of the place and the moussaka; visit To Paramithi for the grilled meat and the homemade tsipouro; or dine at Meteoron Panorama, which offers all-encompassing views over the rocks and the town. Just make sure to try the lamb in paper. For a night of mezzes (tapas-style food) and ouzo, your best bet is Mikas Ouzeri.
There are plenty of things to do in and around Kalambaka. Visitors often make the mistake of coming just for a day to visit the monasteries, but there are many other things to do. For example, the nearby Ionas River is ideal for rafting. Whether you are a pro or a novice, rafting is a fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming, right? Kalambaka can also be a cultural destination: the Hellenic Culture Museum is a small yet modern interactive museum which also houses the private book collection of Pavlos Balogiannis. The museum even has an old classroom equipped with wooden desks.
You’ve visited the monasteries and hiked around, seeing what you came to see, but an excellent way to experience Meteora in and out is to attend mass on a Sunday morning. Go back in time and relive an aspect of the Byzantine era. You may not understand much, but just listen to the hymns, breathe in the scents of candles and incense, and get transported into another world. But to live this experience, make sure to arrive early – service schedules are roughly from 5:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.
The Natural History Museum of Meteora & Mushroom Museum is worth a look for any nature lover – with over 350 species of birds and mammals and no less than 250 types of mushrooms presented at the museum. Get acquainted with the local fauna and flora and discover the works of local artists exhibited in the museum’s art space. This one-of-a-kind museum offers a plethora of activities such as mushroom hunting and even mushroom cooking lessons.
Speaking of mushrooms, why not go on a truffle tour? Visit Meteora, a Greek startup with the desire to help visitors make the most of the region, has teamed up with the National History Museum to offer truffle hunting tours where you get to browse the local forest in search of truffles while a local chef will be cooking truffle pasta with the fruit of your excursion. Did your mouth water all of a sudden?