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!