9. Thessaloniki: Private Day Trip to Meteora
Enjoy a private tour to the stunning Meteora rocks from Thessaloniki. Discover magnificent monasteries built between the 14th-16th centuries, and marvel at how the monks even managed to construct them in the first place.
After convenient pickup at your accommodation in Thessaloniki, make your way toward Meteora. As you arrive through narrow winding rows, catch an awe-inspiring first glimpse of the Great Monastery, as its known. Try to fathom the majesty and size of a building constructed atop a huge sandstone column.
Upon arrival, hike up to the monasteries in the cooler morning hours, giving you time to see as much of the site as possible. Unfortunately, the monasteries do not open every day, so you will only be able to visit 2 or 3 of the 6 monasteries, depending on the day you go.
As you climb up the hill toward the first monastery, wonder how on earth the monks managed to build this incredible place. Building materials could only be brought up by a system of ropes, baskets, and pulleys, and the same went for getting provisions in and out of the community.
One of the monasteries you will visit is the Holy Trinity, which is the most isolated and most difficult to reach. For this reason, it makes sense to choose to tackle the 140 steps to reach it first. Revel in the reward of phenomenal panoramic views, and see why Holy Trinity was given a starring role in the James Bond film, “For Your Eyes Only.”
St. Stephen's is probably the most accessible monastery as it's situated on the plain, rather than perched on a vertiginous clifftop. Join the friendly cats who love to bask on the sun-drenched walls outside this little monastery. Admire the carved door furniture and the way the sun hits the stone and casts long shadows, and get a glimpse into monastic life through the little, open monk's cell at St. Nicholas.
On the way out of the Grand Meteoron Monastery (the largest of the 6), don’t forget to follow a time-honored tradition by slipping a little note into the crack in the rocks. Finally, end your tour in Kalampaka for lunch, and relish finger-licking meals fresh from the farms around. The tour concludes with drop-off back at your accommodation in Thessaloniki.