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Overview

Metéora, or the Metéora, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a collection of monasteries built on top of and on the sides of a series of huge rocks that rise startlingly out of the Plain of Thessaly. It is no exaggeration to say that there is nowhere on earth quite like this, and at first glance it looks almost unreal, as if created for a film. The rocks alone would be an unusual and dramatic geological feature, some 60 rugged columns of sandstone, carved by the wind into wonderful shapes, but when you add in the sight of monasteries sitting precariously on six of the more impressive rock structures, it takes the breath away. The pillars vary ...

Metéora, or the Metéora, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a collection of monasteries built on top of and on the sides of a series of huge rocks that rise startlingly out of the Plain of Thessaly. It is no exaggeration to say that there is nowhere on earth quite like this, and at first glance it looks almost unreal, as if created for a film. The rocks alone would be an unusual and dramatic geological feature, some 60 rugged columns of sandstone, carved by the wind into wonderful shapes, but when you add in the sight of monasteries sitting precariously on six of the more impressive rock structures, it takes the breath away. The pillars vary in height from about 1,000 to 1,800 feet, and began to be inhabited by hermits in about the 9th century AD. The hermits lived in holes and caves in the sides of the rocks and were followed in the 14th century by the first of the monasteries, six of which can be visited today, but on a rotating basis.

Mike Gerrard
About the Expert

Mike Gerrard is the author of the National Geographic Traveler Guide to Greece, as well as guides to Athens, Crete, Corfu, the Greek Mainland, and the Greek islands for publishers including AA, AAA, Thomas Cook, Dorling Kindersley, Michelin, and New Holland. With his wife Donna Dailey, he also publishes the Greece Travel Secrets website.

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Mike Gerrard for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Metéora are six monasteries built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka.
  • Language: Greek
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Meteora | Kalambaka | Larissa | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Visiting several monasteries can be hot and tiring, so avoid summer and go in spring or autumn.