Imagine a place where the cliffs rise high above the clouds and the sun’s rays bounce off the sandstone rock pillars reflecting a godly glow. The pillars break through the dusty brown valley like fingers reaching for the sky. High above the clouds perched on these rock cliffs are centuries old monasteries built by monks who trekked to the region to be closer to God. This place exists. It’s called Meteora.
Meteora is located over 350 km north-west of Athens. Most tourists flock to the Greek isles and the capital city of Athens missing out this amazing little hidden gems found amongst the Pindus Mountains. Meteora roughly translates to “suspended in the air” and is home to six active monasteries open to tourists year-round. Building a two-day trip to Meteora during your next Greek adventure is a must. It’s really not far from Athens.
How to Get to Meteora from Athens
The easiest way to get to Meteora from Athens is via train. The main train station in Athens is Larissa Station located on the red line of the Metro. If you’re coming directly from the airport, take the Blue line from Athens Airport to Syntagma station and switch to the red line. There are four daily trains from Athens to Kalambaka (Kalabaka) that are either direct or have one change at the Paleofarsalos station. The train takes on average five hours one way. Tickets can be booked at the station or online on the Greek National Railway website (make sure you select English in the top left side of the homepage). If you’re traveling to Meteora on a Greek holiday weekend than book your tickets online in advance. The trains do sell out and you’ll be stuck taking the bus (which isn’t bad though). Tickets range in price depending on if you purchase online or in person at the station, but they average about €28 (one-way) or €40-50 (round-trip). Buy online for cheaper prices!
Buses from Athens to Kalambaka leaves every hour from the Liossion Bus Station. Unfortunately getting to the Liossion Bus Station is not as easy as getting to the train station. The bus station is located near the Kato Patissia station on the green line. The bus station is about a 1 km walk from the station. From the metro station take a left and walk down Psaroudaki Street until the end of the street. Veer left and follow Street Dagkli for about 850 meters. Take a right onto Tertipi Street and you’ll find the bus station at the end of the street. If you don’t want to walk then you can grab a taxi outside of the metro station. It should cost you less than €5. Buses go directly from Athens to Trikala. From Trikala you can take a bus to Kalambaka. The bus ride takes a little over 5 hours from Athens to Trikala. From Trikala it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to Kalambaka. Depending on the time you get into Trikala, you might have to wait a bit to catch the next bus to Kalambaka. The Trikala bus station has a tiny food court and free wifi.
I took the bus from Athens to Kalambaka because the train sold out. The bus was a nice and comfortable air-conditioned bus fitting quite a few people. Most of the ride is on the long flat highway. You’ll stop about half way for a bathroom and food break. Make sure you keep your ticket on you the entire time because at random times a person will check your ticket. A one-way ticket from Athens to Kalambaka costs €28. It is cheaper to purchase a roundtrip ticket at €48. Tickets can be purchased at Liossion Bus Station in cash only. The schedule and ticket prices can be found on the KTEL Bus website.
Getting to Meteora from Athens is not hard. In fact it’s quite easy via train or bus. Meteora is a unique and beautiful place. Not only is the landscape incredible and completely “out of this world,” but the history and religion run deep in the people who live in the surrounding area. The locals are some of the friendliest people I met in Greece and I recommend booking a room at Also’s House. You can explore the monasteries of Meteora on your own, but Visit Meteora offers a wide range of tours including a hiking tour and a sunset tour. Definitely pick the sunset tour!
it’s always surprising to me how easy places are to navigate, even those that really don’t seem like they should be! Those monasteries are absolutely stunning and I had no idea they even existed! Add it to the list… 🙂
It’s totally is! And definitely add Meteora to your travel bucket list. It’s truly stunning!
We are going to Greece this summer and are planning to go to Meteora. Where do you recommend staying in town. We figure we might need to be closer to the train depot as schlepping suitcases could be a hassle. also, trying to book a train online is confusing as the trains have a connection through Paleosafalos. there are 3 different trains leaving Larissa Sta. connecting through there. One has 3hr layover, the others have shorter ones, but it seems that the train ride on the shortest layover is only 2 hrs from Athens to Meteora. You say it is 4-5 hrs?? Any thoughts on this?
Hi Sanford. Thanks for reaching out! Meteora is awesome and you’re so going to love it! I stayed at Also’s House and it was great. Very clean, modern and Also is great. He’s very friendly and helpful. The town of Kalabaka is quite small. The train station is probably about 5 blocks from the center of town (about a 5-10 minute walk). Also’s House is about 5 blocks up from the Center of Town (so about 10 blocks from the train station). I’m sure there are closer options too. When you make your reservation you might be able to request a train station pick-up too. Hmm.. the train ride is definitely between 4-5 hours from Athens to Kalabaka so I’m not sure why it says 2 hours. That’s definitely odd. I believe the first train from Athens is direct, but the schedule could have changed from this past summer. I only took the train from kalabaka to Athens as the train was full from Athens to Kalabaka so I ended up taking the bus. Good luck and have fun!
I was wondering if you have figured out the train schedule on the website ? It seems that I have the same problem then you. It’s written that it takes around 2 hours to get to Kalambaka from Athens which is definitely not right. Let me know if you found out how the website is working, it would be very lovely!
you probably confused the stations when making you enquiry. You need to select Athens-Kalambaka and the train numbers with direct connections are 884 and 885 (return). There is a town called Larissa which is nowhere near Athens – from there it takes about 2 hours to get to Kalambaka.
Beware of delays in the Train Service when planning you travel – I was told that the 884 Train usually has 30-45 minutes delay.
I will be in Greece for a group tour in the mid-March. I will have one day to spend as we wish in Athens. Most people are planning to take the three island cruise to Hydra, Poros and Egina (?). I was wondering if I could do Meteora instead. I wouldn’t mind leaving late at evening to get there early morning (taking the last rain from Athens) and spend the day there, followed by late-ish return to Athens. I know it will be rather exhausting, but I wouldn’t mind that if it is safe for a single woman to travel late at night etc. Any thoughts/help would be very helpful. I have seen the pictures of Meteora and they look stunning.
Hi Sonia. Thanks for stopping by! Meteora is a stunning place and definitely worth the visit. If you take the first train to Meteroa and then the last train back to Athens then you’ll probably have enough time to explore the monasteries. I found Meteroa and Kalambaka to be very safe as a solo female traveler. Just use commonsense like you do everyday. I would recommend taking a taxi from the train station in Athens to your hotel though when it’s dark out. Good luck! 🙂
Thanks for your post! Is it too rushed to see Meteora in a day? We are really trying to squeeze it in and hoping to do it in just a day.
We also don’t want to join a tour. Do you have any recommendations on a route we should take when we go and the top monasteries to see?
hi – great blog its great to get recommendations . If we were to do the first train leaves 8.27 from Larissa arrives 1.18pm the tours i found start at 9am half day tour by bus and 8.30 am the hiking tour . So we would miss them . Are there any companies that do late morning tours? this would be good then enable us to catch the 5.22pm train back . If not means staying one night in Kalamabka ,
thanks for your feed back
pam – Victoria Australia
going in May 2016
I believe Visit Meteroa offers an afternoon tour as well. You should be able to hire a private guide as well through any of the travel companies in town. Also, you can visit the monasteries on your own as well. Just hire a taxi or hike up on your own. Have fun!
Meteora is really awseome and for the travellers on a budget we offer premium accommodation at Hostekl meteora in Trikala city just next to Meteora. You are welcome for a relaxed stay!
Hi. We have booked a trip to Athens and want to take 2 nites / 2 days to see the town and monasteries. We are coming on March 29, 2017 and leaving March 31st. We are planning on taking the train upon arriving at the airport. Our questions are these. 1.) We are not renting a car, so when we arrive in Kalampaka, is this a nice little town we should stay in that we can easily get to our hotel from the train, but also enjoy the stores / restaurants ? 2.) We would like to do 2 or 3 monasteries on March 30th, and then 1 on March 31. Without a car, how far would we actually be walking to get to these monasteries ? We are middle aged and in good shape, but worry about spending our entire 2 days there walking to get to the monasteries. Are there shuttle buses from town or would you recommend a taxi to get to the monasteries and what would be the difference from getting on a tour in Kalampaka to go see the monasteries ? Your advice would be most appreciated ! Thank you.
You’ll love Meteora! Kalampaka is a small town and very easily walkable. The train station is about 3 blocks from the center of town where the shops and restaurants are located. I stayed at Alsos House, which I highly recommend. It’s also an easy walk from the center of town and train station. The monasteries are located on the hill so it is a bit of a climb, but very doable. There are hiking trails around, which are marked and you should be able to get a map at your hotel. It would probably take about 1.5 hours to get to the first monastery. If not, you could take a taxi or motorbike to the top too. It shouldn’t be too expensive. I’m not sure if there are shuttle buses, but there could be. I recommend checking out visitmeteora.com for hotels and other recommendations. Their main office is also located in town so you can stop by and ask questions there too.
Thank you, it was very useful info.
What about driving from Athens to Meteora? Is it advisable? wouldn’t it be useful to have a car available to get around while in Meteora?
I’m not 100% sure about driving to Meteora, but you can definitely do it! I took the bus there and the highways were in great condition. You don’t need a car in Meteora, but it can certainly be helpful if you didn’t want to walk or take the public transportation.
We are going to be in Greece in October. We we landing in Athens and the off to santorini. I am contemplating to go to either Paros next, or skip Paris come to Athens and do DIY Delphi-Mateora tour. What are your thoughts?
Also, any suggestions on a 2 day Delphi-Mateora tour? Is it 1/2 day enough in Delphi and 1.5 in Mateora? We are thinking of renting a car, hoping we can save on time and see as much as possible. How do you book tours at the monasteries?
Hi, Maria! That’s for stopping by. I haven’t been to Paros yet so I can’t tell you if it’s worth the visit or not, but Meteora is certainly an incredible place. I haven’t been to Delphi yet either, but I think a half day would be enough time. If you would like a semi-guided tour to the monasteries then I recommend booking a half day tour with Visit Meteora, if not, you can drive to each one and just go see them yourself. Admission to each monastery is about 2-3 Euros. Alex in Wanderland has a great post on a two day of Delphi and Meteora that she did that might provide you with a little more information to help you make a decision. No matter what you choose, Greece is an amazing country. Enhoy it!
Hello, Thank you for all of the valuable information. It has helped quite a bit in planning our trip. Can you please tell me where you were at when you took the sunset photo on this post titled “My favorite shot of Meteora”? We are looking forward to exploring and finding various sunset places but oh my, that photo is gorgeous! I would hate to miss out on that location! I can’t quite tell which monastery this is looking at. We are getting so excited for our trip in about a week and a half and can’t wait! Thanks for the help, much appreciated.
Hi, Elisif. I’m excited for your trip. You’re going to love Meteora! Unfortunately, I don’t recall the exact location of the sunset spot. I went on a sunset tour with Visit Meteora so they drove us around. When you get into Kalambaka I recommend going into Visit Meteora’s office in the center of town and ask them where the best sunset spot is. I’m sure they will be happy to share. If not, if you drive along the road up near the monasteries around sunset you’ll see a bunch of cars on the side of the road. That’s probably the spot. I think it closer to the monastery that is now a nunnery. Good luck!
Hi can someone give me some help. On November 19 we would like to visit Mateora, the problem is that we arrive at Athens airport at 21:15, when we checked how to get to Kalambaka there where no trains and no buses at that time. Does anyone knows any other alternative how to get there at that time?
If there are no trains or buses then your only option would be to rent a car and drive there. If you can wait, I would suggest taking the first bus or train the next morning to Kalambaka. I hope that helps a bit. Good luck!
Thanks for your reply..infact we are staying for the night and catch the first train.
Katelyn. How do you get up to the monestories. My daughter can’t walk far after a car accident. Can you take a taxi to the front door? Is there a price to get in?
Lisa from Canada
Hi, Lisa. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter, but I love hearing that it doesn’t stop you all from traveling. You can definitely take a taxi up to the monasteries or a tour through Visit Meteora as well. Unfortunately, a few of the monasteries do have lots of steps to get up. I think one or two might have elevators, but I’m not 100% sure. I would email Visit Meteora as they would be able to tell you which monasteries would be the easiest for your daughter to visit. Enjoy Meteora. The place is truly breathtaking! 🙂
Hi Katelyn, we are a group visiting Greece for 4 days in May 2017,we plan to do Athens on day one and two after which we head for the Meteoras.I would love to see a Greek island before we go north.can you please suggest something we can do on the way .After the Meteoras we go to Macedonia .Thanks Neeta
Is there a price to get in the monasteries?
Yes. I believe each monastery is 3 Euros to visit. It’s really more of a donation than an admission fee.
Hi we are flying in to Athens airport arriving at 5pm (August 23rd 2017). I have booked a hotel in Meteora for 2 nights. My concern is the driving time from Athens airport to Meteora. There are 5 of us so we have to hire 2 cars to enable us and our bags to be accommodated. I’m unsure as to whether we should stay a night in Athens and then just take a train to Meteora early in the morning as we will probably arrive in Meteora at around 10pm at night. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thanks.
Traffic in and around Athens can be crazy. The airport is bit out from the city so you might be able to avoid it. I’m not sure though as I’ve never driven in Greece before. I arrived in Meteora via bus after midnight so if you’re okay driving in the night, arriving late isn’t too bad. I would just let your hotel know in advance. The morning train isn’t too bad either. Just make sure you book tickets in advance as they do sell out in the busy seasons.
Meteora is so cool! I’ve visited it while on vacation in Olympic Beach, which is very close to Mount Olympus. I drove there, and I remember it only took a couple of hours or so. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, so I don’t have any good photos. I’m planning to go back this year.
Awesome! I hope the weather is nicer for you. 🙂
thanks so much for this helpful guide. came in useful just when i needed it!
I am travelling to meteora next week. Is it hard to get a taxi from meteora to kalambaka? We considering to rent a bike or just get a taxi from the train station to meteora. Our concern is that if we can’t find taxi at meteora to return to the train station, we will miss the train at 5pm. We have a short time there.
About how long is the bus ride to larissa station from athens airport
I personally have not done this, but according to Google Maps, it’ll take you between 5.5 hours and 7 hours to get there if there are minimal stops and traffic. Good luck!
This is our first time to Greece. We have 10 days and will be based out of Athens. This sounds like a great side trip. We will be there Dec 19-29, so I am hoping that this will still be a good time to go. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Katelyn, very useful info about visiting Meteora! Definitely going to use it when my spouse and myself visit in December 🙂
Super helpful post! I’d traveled from Athens to Meteora by train in May 2015, and I still remember how difficult it was to find the information about this journey. I wish I’d your post to refer to when I was planning this trip. After the trip, I wrote a post to help other travelers –
PS: Having done this trip, I feel train is the best way to get to Meteora from Kalambaka.
I and my Wife are planning to go to Meteora on April 4th late evening after our arrival from Mykonos in Athens aiport on April 4th evening.From Airport, I will be trying to reach Larissa as per your suggestion in this blog.
Can you please suggest if this is a good plan as we don’t want to loose out time by traveling during day time
4 Apr 2018 Evening- Arrive in Athens Airport from Mikonos
4 Apr 2018:
BY TRAIN->Depart 23.55, arrive 05.30 (train change)” instead of
“Depart 8.27 from Larissa station, arrive 13.40”
5 Apr 2018:
BY BUS->KTEL Trikala 23:30 bus which will reach Athens next day 5:00 am instead of
“Depart 17.32, arrive in Athens @ +/- 22.40(train)”.
Also please help us to understand the best and cheap way to travel to and fro from Kalampaka – Meteora to catch our Train/Bus
Appreciate you valuable insights in this blog.
Thank you in advance
thats an awesome post,thank you katelyn.
we was 7 friends and hired a driver with a minivan for 550 euro from enjoygreecetours.com
very comfortable tour,it was about 13 hours and we had so much fun,tradittional greek food in trikala and sunset from st stephen!!
I am arriving in Athens at 03:55 and will be heading to Meteora on the 1st morning train. What is your experience with either a taxi or taking the metro to the train station?
Hi Patti! I loved taking the Metro in Athens and took it to the train station. It’s clean and cheap. Since you’re arriving quite early in the morning, you’ll want to double check when the first metro train from the airport leaves the station to ensure you’ll be able to make it to the main train station in time. Enjoy Meteora. It’s truly stunning!