Monasteries in the Air


Meteora is a 5 hour train ride from Athens, each way. We heard about it from a friend we met at Giovanni’s house in Naples (thanks Chris) and had been told in no uncertain terms not to miss it. With one travel day left on our Eurail passes, we got up at the crack of dawn and caught the earliest train we could. And we are soooo happy that we did.

Meteora is an area near the town of Kalambaka, which is northwest of Athens. The thing (or things) that make the area so amazing are these towering spires of rock that seem to stand in isolation from the land around them. The rock faces are sheer, and are very popular with climbers. But as if the rocks themselves weren’t interesting enough, most of them have these monasteries built atop them! Many of the monasteries date back to the eleventh century, and nearly all of them are still in use today. They are built in places that seem to defy construction, nevermind access. And to think that they were built over 1000 years ago is simply too incredible to believe. Until the fairly recent past, many of the monasteries could only be accessed by rope hoist, and some of these are still in use today, although strictly for water and supplies. Stairs have been hewn into the stone now, so access to the tops of the spires is possible.

Spires of Rock

We spent nearly all of the brief 4 hours we had in Meteora hiking through the valleys and climbing to the loookouts. It was a different world. It’s one of those places that pictures don’t entirely do justice to. Being there in person and craning our necks upwards to find these monesteries in the sky was an experience we won’t soon forget.

So surreal


    This looks like an absolute fairy tale from a fantasy story..Wow. Simply stunning!! wow

  1. Viggo Mortensen

  2. These majesticaly lit hills remind me of the 4th morn in the Battle of Helms Deep, when our walls were breached by the Great Evils of Saruman. Fortuitously, Gandalf and the banished warriors of Rohan graced us with their untimely presence to vanquish the Uruk-Hai and their ill will.


    LOL… is that Mike’s comment??? Oh my goodness, too funny.

    I’m glad you guys are having such a great time on your final leg in Europe. I particularly love the last picture… just breathtaking!!!

    I should confess that this is the first time I am logging onto your blog. BUT, it’s got some great picturs on it. It makes me hate you both all the more…

    I’ll raise my coffee to you both, safe travels and no tourist lines!

    hmm.. I’m not sure i still believe that the lost shot is “real”.. nice photoshoppin guys.. nice job

    Beautiful! That last picture definately looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.

    Tried to visit Meteora in Sept but the schedule didn’t allow it. Great photos! Will definitely need to visit there next time we’re in Greece.

    The only thing adjusted on that last photo is the white balance ‚Äî it’s actually that surreal. Definitely, definitely visit this place if you ever get a chance! I only wish we had had more time to spend there.

    WHOA, wanna go!
    A-mazing pics guys, can’t wait to see more from this leg of the journey. xoxo

    You can do it put your back into it

  3. Steve Mills

  4. There are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how.

    Said maaaaaaaaaaaybe

    All I can say is, awesome! Happy trails to you both. xox

    Very magical spot, another place to add to the “must visit some day list” Would love to see more photos of it. Four hours doesn’t seem like it would be enough time to spend there.

    […] I am at a loss for words on how to describe this hike and this valley. It was like a cross between Meteora, in Greece, and the Sierra Nevada, in Spain. I inadvertently found myself continuously saying […]

    Looks beautiful want to go there too! one day :)I know about benuins bunny fact? benuins can be toilet trained and will exchange kisses for pats:) and some benuins grunt with happiness:)

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