After the ridiculously long, 15 hour journey to get here yesterday from Ohrid, Macedonia I was expecting big things. Ohrid to Meteora shold be a 225km journey, 4 hours max. However, traveling is nothing but unpredictable to I ended going via bloody Albania, taking 7 different buses, leaving at 6am and finally arriving in Kalambaka (7km from Meteora) at 10pm at night – this better be bloody good.
Meteora is a set of 14th century monasteries perched impossibly on top of huge rocky mountains with sheer cliff faces, looking as if they could fall off at any given moment, plummeting all 300 metres to their destruction. I know it sounds dramatic, but it literally looks exactly like that, amazing.
I was staying in Kalambaka, a town 7km from the monasteries. Each morning a bus leaves the town at 9am and drives up the winding road to the top of the mountains, from there you can visit the largest, biggest monastery. Each monastery costs 2 Euro ($2.50) to enter. There’s a dress code for the monasteries too, but at each entrance you can borrow pants and long skirt, so no stress there.
After the top monastery the best way to see all the sights, and to get the best views of the monasteries, is to make your own way back to Kalambaka on foot. The 7km, downhill, takes around 90 mins and you can enter 3 more monasteries on the way down. The views, as you walk down, are magical. Looking up at the monasteries gives a whole new perspective.
I have to admit though, ignorantly I had never heard Meteora until two weeks ago, and now here I am declaring that they could very well be the 8th wonder of the world. I apologise for the ignorance but now for the grand claims. This truly is amazning, right up there with the golden temple in Amaritsar, India or the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, the Great Wall in China, Lalibela in Ethiopia – esteemed company indeed, and Meteora should feel very much at home. Happy travels!