How to explore the Meteora, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of rock formations and monasteries by car, bus or hiking?

Meteora is a stunning destination in central Greece, where towering rock pillars are crowned by ancient monasteries. It is a place of natural beauty, historical significance and spiritual wonder. Meteora is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its cultural and natural values. If you are looking for a unique and memorable experience in Greece, Meteora should be on your list.

But how can you explore this amazing place? There are different ways to visit Meteora, depending on your preferences, budget and time. In this blog post, we will guide you through the main options: by car, by bus or by hiking. We will also give you some tips on what to see, do and expect in Meteora.

By car

One of the most convenient and flexible ways to explore Meteora is by car. You can rent a car from Athens or Thessaloniki and drive to Kalabaka, the town at the base of the Meteora rocks. The drive from Athens takes about 4 hours, while from Thessaloniki it takes about 3 hours. You can also take a train or a bus to Kalabaka and rent a car there.

Driving around Meteora gives you the freedom to choose your own itinerary and pace. You can visit as many monasteries as you want, stop at scenic viewpoints and enjoy the landscape at your leisure. However, driving in Meteora also has some challenges. The roads are narrow, winding and steep, and parking spaces are limited. You may also encounter traffic jams during peak season or weekends.

If you decide to explore Meteora by car, here are some tips to make your trip easier:

  • Plan your route in advance and use a GPS or a map to navigate.
  • Check the opening hours and entrance fees of the monasteries before you go. Some of them are closed on certain days of the week or have different schedules depending on the season.
  • Dress appropriately for visiting the monasteries. You need to cover your shoulders and knees, and women need to wear skirts or wrap a scarf around their legs.
  • Bring water, snacks and sunscreen with you. There are not many facilities or shops around the monasteries.
  • Respect the rules and the silence of the monasteries. Do not take photos inside the churches or disturb the monks and nuns.

By bus

If you prefer not to drive or want to save some money, you can also explore Meteora by bus. There is a local bus service that connects Kalabaka with the monasteries and runs several times a day. The bus ticket costs 1.80 euros per person per ride, and you can buy it from the driver or from a kiosk in Kalabaka.

Taking the bus is a cheap and easy way to visit Meteora, but it also has some drawbacks. The bus schedule may not match your desired itinerary, and you may have to wait for a long time between rides. The bus also does not stop at all the viewpoints or attractions along the way, so you may miss some of the scenery. Additionally, the bus can get crowded during high season or weekends, so you may not find a seat or space for your luggage.

If you choose to explore Meteora by bus, here are some tips to make your trip smoother:

  • Check the bus timetable online or at the bus station in Kalabaka before you go. The timetable may change depending on the season or holidays.
  • Arrive early at the bus stop and have exact change for your ticket.
  • Keep your ticket with you until you exit the bus. You may need to show it to an inspector or use it for another ride.
  • Be aware of the last bus back to Kalabaka. You don’t want to get stranded at the monasteries after dark.
  • Consider combining the bus with walking or hiking. You can take the bus to one monastery and then walk to another one along the trails.

By hiking

If you love nature and adventure, you can also explore Meteora by hiking. There are several hiking trails that connect Kalabaka with the monasteries and offer spectacular views of the rocks and valleys. Hiking is a great way to experience Meteora from a different perspective and get closer to its history and spirituality.

Hiking in Meteora is not very difficult, but it requires some preparation and caution. The trails are well-marked and maintained, but they can be steep, rocky and slippery in some parts. You also need to be aware of the weather conditions and the distance and time of your hike. Hiking in Meteora can take from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the route and your pace.

If you decide to explore Meteora by hiking, here are some tips to make your trip safer and more enjoyable:

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes for hiking. Avoid sandals, flip-flops or heels.
  • Bring a backpack with water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and a jacket. There are no water fountains or shops along the trails.
  • Use a map or a guidebook to plan your hike. You can also join a guided hiking tour if you want to learn more about the history and culture of Meteora.
  • Start your hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat and the crowds.
  • Respect the nature and the wildlife of Meteora. Do not litter, pick flowers or feed animals.

What to see and do in Meteora

No matter how you choose to explore Meteora, there are some things that you should not miss. Here are some of the highlights of Meteora that you should see and do:

  • Visit the six monasteries of Meteora: The Great Meteoron, Varlaam, Rousanou, St. Nicholas Anapausas, Holy Trinity and St. Stephen. Each one has its own history, architecture and treasures to admire.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of Meteora from various viewpoints. Some of the best ones are near the monasteries of Varlaam, Rousanou and Holy Trinity.
  • Learn about the history and culture of Meteora at the Natural History Museum and Mushroom Museum in Kalabaka. You can see exhibits of local flora and fauna, as well as a collection of over 250 types of mushrooms.
  • Experience the sunset or sunrise in Meteora. The colors and shadows of the rocks and monasteries change dramatically with the light, creating a magical atmosphere.
  • Try some local delicacies at the taverns and cafes in Kalabaka or Kastraki. You can taste dishes like lamb with cheese, pies with wild greens, grilled mushrooms and honey with nuts.

What to expect in Meteora

Meteora is a unique and unforgettable destination that will leave you speechless. However, it is also a popular and busy place that attracts thousands of visitors every year. To make the most of your trip to Meteora, you need to have realistic expectations and be prepared for some challenges. Here are some things that you should expect in Meteora:

  • Crowds: Meteora is not a secret spot anymore. It is visited by many tourists from all over the world, especially during summer or holidays. You may have to wait in line to enter the monasteries or find a parking spot. You may also have to share the views with hundreds of other people.
  • Rules: Meteora is not just a tourist attraction, but also a religious site. You need to respect the rules and customs of the monasteries and their inhabitants. You need to dress modestly, be quiet and refrain from taking photos inside the churches. You also need to pay attention to the opening hours and entrance fees of each monastery.
  • Weather: Meteora has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The temperature can vary significantly between day and night, as well as between seasons. You need to check the weather forecast before you go and dress accordingly. You also need to be careful of rain, snow or fog that may affect your visibility or safety.


Meteora is a must-see destination in Greece that will amaze you with its natural beauty and historical heritage. You can explore it by car, by bus or by hiking, depending on your preferences and budget. You can also see and do many things in Meteora, from visiting the monasteries to enjoying the views. However, you also need to be prepared for some challenges, such as crowds, rules and weather.

We hope that this blog post has helped you plan your trip to Meteora and make it an unforgettable experience. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.