As the snow forms a white blanket and lays softly on the grassy roadside edges, I gaze out of the window and realise that I am experiencing a dream come true.
Just over two years ago we visited Meteora in October of 2014, and I have always wanted to return to see it when it was a white winter wonderland.
So now I ask you is Meteora the 8th wonder of the world? Many ponder this.
Although we are about a week too late to see it a mass of white, the snow has still not melted in many of the higher areas, so we are able to really capture some of the winter beauty. But I do believe the snow was so deep a week ago that many of the monasteries were closed to tourists for days, and the roads were not cleared, so it might not have been a dream come true to get to the base town of Kalampaka (or Kalambaka as it is also known), and then be stuck without being able to venture outdoors.
We first arrived here by train from Athens, and as we had pre-arranged our tours of the area with Visit Meteora, they picked us up from the railway station (along with our many bags) and drove us to our Hotel Alexiou or (Hotel Alexioy).
Being winter season, it was very quiet here and when we entered the main street it felt empty – I guess the tourists were out on tours, now that I think about it.
I don’t know if it is, but Hotel Alexiou felt like a family-run hotel, with good old fashioned Greek service and warm hospitality.
We were shown upstairs to our room with a front balcony, and instantly my camera was out and I snapped probably my best photo – the one above. I am thankful that I have a great zoom on my Sony Cyber-shot, but also that both Explorason and I are loving our photography of late.
That evening we dined at Meteoron Panorama Restaurant.
It was lovely to wake late the next morning. I think Explorason needed a sleep in, however, I was up listening to the chime of the church bells. As I sat in my room whilst Explorason slept I felt really cosy and just loved the sunlight streaming through the window.
How lovely it must be in summer to be able to sit on the balcony and look up at the rocks whilst enjoying an evening drink!
But this morning we instead went downstairs and sat down to the most incredible Greek breakfast. The older gentleman who served us didn’t speak a lot of English but he was so warm and caring, and we just felt so appreciative.
By noon we were set for our afternoon adventure.
We were collected in a lovely clean ‘Visit Meteora’ Vehicle and we were off. Our first stop was right beside some snow which impressed Explorason no end as we looked out across the town of Kalampaka.
Our first stop was right beside some snow which impressed Explorason no end as we looked out across the town of Kalampaka.
From there we headed up a back lane I think only a local would know for a birds-eye view of the monk’s abodes that were hermits and who lived alone up in the rocks.
Very fascinating indeed!
We visiting a neighbouring town and stopped for a fabulous view. I realised that the Meteora region is more than just one town, and with growing tourism, the surrounding towns are now also offering places to stay – a lot in traditional Greek style.
If you have a love for cats, the Meteora is the place for you. Cats and dogs seem to be around the place poised in prime position for photographs, which Explorason loved.
Although the clouds were around this day, it really wasn’t cold, and it was great for photographs.
I was a little nervous of Explorason on the rocks, so everywhere he went, I went too. Not bad for a 55-year-old mother!
St. Stephen’s Monastery
One of the Monasteries, St. Stephen’s Monastery is now a convent for nuns, and this is the one we went into on this particular day.
In Meteora region, different monasteries are open on different days, and some are not open at all. Others close in winter for repairs. Best to check to see which is open on what day if there is a particular one you wish to enter.
Of course, our guide knew all of this and took the stress that problem away. I love the way he also knew the names of the monastery dogs that hung around the entrance basking lazily in the sun.
I love the way he also knew the names of the monastery dogs that hung around the entrance basking lazily in the sun.
Byzantine Church Of Virgin Mary
On day two we visited one of the oldest churches in the region –Byzantine Church of Virgin Mary, that also had a hidden floor. Century after century of work was here, with such an interesting education. This is one of the most interesting churches I’ve ever ben in because I learnt about the Greek Orthodox faith. It wasn’t dull or boring because we had a really terrific guide.
Again he showed us some local secrets that I am sure you wouldn’t find if you came alone.
The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron
There was one particular monastery I remembered from last time I really wanted to go back to. It was the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron.
Why you may ask?
Because there is this fantastic room full of skulls and bones of the old monks that died here.
This is one of my favourite monasteries and there is also a great area that our driver took us to on the rocks near here for some private photos. He was fantastic!
Tomorrow we leave here to go to Skopje, Macedonia.
First, it is Thessaloniki by train, then it bus to the outskirts of smoggy Skopje, then a taxi into the city and the whole trip takes 18 hours from Meteora, Greece to Skopje, Macedonia – this is a trip I don’t recommend because the bus drivers smoke and the border has a strike, and Skopje is full of life-threatening levels of air pollution so we discover.
However, the air is clean in the mountains of Meteora and I hope I have enticed you to Visit Meteora. It is definitely one of the most unique locations in the world.
Discover it before the rest of the world does!
If you would like to visit Meteora, then we would recommend the tour company we used Visit Meteora.
If you do, please say hello from Exploramum and Explorason – I am sure they will remember us.
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Website: Visit Meteora Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Patriarchou Dimitriou 2, Kalampaka 422 00, Greece
Phone: +30 2432 023820
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