But a little bit about the way from Skiathos to Volos, before I am talking about Meteora.
We sailed from Skiathos to the Pagasetic Gulf, where you can find the city of Volos. Astor contacted a guy who had a diesel heater for sale, and we need one for the winter. It is still warmer than back home in Norway, but it can be cold days here as well.
So we sailed to Milina after one night in a quiet, beautiful bay. We wanted to go to the marina, but that was full, (not big, and mostly local boats), so we had to anchor outside town. It is a nice town, and I really wanted to hike up to the next town up in the hill, but the weatherforcast was not good, so we had to move before the night.
We manage to do a little bit of shopping before we met Stefan, a friend of the guy who was selling the dieselheater. The seller was sailing in Sardinia for the moment so a Stefan had to help him. Stefan is German, and also a sailor, so we had a lot to talk about! And now we have a dieselheater onboard, only need some small stuff to install it for the winter. That will be a game changer!
Beautiful skies over our boat!
We anchored right outside the church, it was easy to have as a meeting point.
Because of the weather forcast we sailed to the east side of the island Alatas. It could be windy, but not much waves. We anchored right outside the old monastery.
The next morning Astor went ashore to check the weather on the other side. He found some goats.
Felizia anchoring in a safe place!
Look at the colour of the sea!
It was a nice place to stay a couple of days until the weather became better.
The old monastery. It was closed and locked, so you could only see it from outside. There is a dog on the island (taking care of the goats?) and he is barking if you came close, but he is not dangerous.
After to days in the anchorage we sailed north to the city of Volos. From Sunday to Friday you can stay here for free. In the weekends all the charterboats are coming in to change crew, and then you have to go out again.
We have heard about Meteora, but we hadn`t checked it out, but now I realized we were as close as we could be and I checked out some youtube videos, and I was exciting to go to this amazing place.
If I made a TOP10 list for the most amazing places we have visited in the Mediterranean the last year, Meteora will be on the top of this list. What an amazing place!! It is so much more than you can imagine from the photos you will find on internet. Hopefully I will come back here in another time of year when it is not that many tourists, and it is not that hot!
When we tried to find a rental car in Volos, the prices was around 200 euros for two days!!! OMG!!! And I had already booked an apartment in Meteora! Luckily we manage to find a car for 120 euroes instead, that is more reasonable! And this is the view which meet you when you are coming to Kalambaka, the town where you find Meteora.
We checked into Voulas Apartment (booked through airbnb), her son met us. This is the view from the terrasse!! It is stunning!!
And this is in the backyard of the house….
This backyard is really amazing!! I am so glad I found this place!
Here you can see the town of Kalambaka and all the mountains in Meteora.
If you are booking through airbnb you can also get some suggestion about what to do at the same place. In the car, on our way to Meteora I found a company with e-bikes trip. That sounds perfect!! Before we left Norway I had an ebike and I guess it is the only thing I miss from home… I had a plan to rent ebikes down here, but when it is the same price for 1 ebike as 1 car, and then we need 2 ebikes…. But the price for this trip was okay, so I decided to book. The problem was that for this activity I needed to confirm my identity from passport or national id… Of course, when you are travelling you should bring your passport, but after a year of travelling here no one has asked about it (of course port police do). So it stayes in the boat. So I couldn`t book…. But I sent an email to the company and after 5 minutes I got the answer that I could visit the company. We were eating dinner 100 meters away so that was not difficult. It has to be said that we arrived in Kalambaka 3pm, we did the check in and had a glas of wine at the terrasse, walked to town for dinner, and then the bike ride was at 6pm… I was so happy we could join the group (he told us later that the group was fully booked. Thank you so much Meteora E-bikes!
Our guide Theo was bicycling in front and we had Vasilis in behind. Both were very nice guys and told us a lot about Meteora.
So what is Meteora?? I actually thought it was 1 monastery on the top of a mountain, because if you google it you mostly will see only one of the monasteries. Meteora is a rock formation hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, only after Mount Athos (check our previous post). It was originally 24 monasteries, all built on immense pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. They were estableshed between 13th and 14th century. Now it is only 6 of them left, but they are amazing!
St. Nikolaos Anapausas Monestary
Holy Monastery of Rousanos
We had many short stops on this trip, and our guide had extra water and some snacks to share.
This could be from a fairytale!
Can you see the monastery on the top?
Next stop. The sun is beginning to set and we have different light. This was a sunset-ride btw…
It is so amazing to see all the monasteries laying on the top of the hill, and then you have the valley as the background.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity. The valley from the town is coming up there, a really nice trail to hike!
Holy Monastery of Rousanos
Here you can see four of them; Holy Monastery of Rousanos, Holy Monastery of st. Nicholas, Monestary of Varlaam, and in the background on the right side is the Great Holy Monastery of Meteora.
The Holy Monastery of Trinity with the town Kalambaka in the background.
We were 12 in this group, from different countries in Europe. With e-bikes this is a trip for everyone. I will really recommend this trip for everyone, and you can combine it with other guided trips from the same company. I want to come back here for a week and make different tours. And I would really like to have this as my job!!
Waiting for the sunset!
The Holy Monasery of Varlaam. The most iconic one, and maybe the most photographed.
Not a perfect sunset this evening, but anyway, this was an amazing trip!! Do it!!
Here is the route we had, including walk to town, and the bike up to the apartment and back (I thought I forgot my glases… )
A video from this awesome trip:
For this trip to Meteora my vision was to do a long hike up to the monasteries. And the next morning we were ready. The trail up to the Holy Monastery of Trinity starts almost from the apartment we rented, so it was easy to find. The monastery you can see on the top of the hill to the right. It is steep….
Yep, up there we are going!
How to get up there?? If you have seen James Bond “For your Eyes Only”, he was climbing up here!
We started early because of the heat, and we knew that the monasteries didn`t opened before 09. But it was a lot of shaddow through the forrest.
A huge job has been done here, putting all theese stones in order..
No relaxing, it is up hill all the way. But it is really nice and beautiful!
Still some meters up there! You can of course drive up here, but from the parking it is still many meters to go down where you start going up the stairs to the monastery! And driving is not fun! Hiking is fun!
We thought the monastery opened at 9, but it doesn`t opened before 10, so we had to wait. Then we had time to cuddle with this cat.
It was unbelievable how they have made all this stairs… In the beginning they build theese monasteries on the top of this pillars to hide from the muslims, and they had either long ladders tied together, or a basket where the brought up both people and goods. When they were up the took up the lines so no one else could come up.
Not space for many people here. Luckily we were the first one (someone was before us, but we met them downstairs after they had turned around since it was closed).
Amazing view from the stairs while we were waiting.
While we waiting for them to open the door, we fly the drone. We are at the monastery on the left side. Our apartment is close to the trail you see. It was steep, but an amazing trail to walk!
The mnastery seen from above:
The town of Kalambaka layes in the valley between the mountains of Meteora.
The beginning of the trail.
The Holy Monastery of Varlaam on top, and The Holy Monastery of Rousanos below.
You can see 3 monasteries on this photo:
When you are hiking and visiting monasteries, you have a challenge. You have to wear properly… So I put this dress in my backpack and putted it on when we were waiting outside the monastery.
Astor is pointing at Voulas Apartment were we stayed.
As I wrote; from the parking you have to walk down a bit before going up again, and then the same when you are going back. A lot of people were resting along the trail.
After visiting the monastery we walked up the road and followed that for a couple of hundred meters, in the next cross we went off the road again, into a trail, on the left side. (not marked)
We walked to the viewpoint on the top of the hill to the right. Nice trail to walk on, used by munks for ages.
You can see the trail in the photo. We used a combination of alltrails, Meteoratrails, and google maps.
What a view!!
I bought walking sticks in Thessaloniki (and shoes), and I used them for the first time. It was okay!
Beautiful landscape! I wish we had more days here!
It was time to have a lunchbreak at the viewpoint, can it be better??
Not many people here at this time of the day.
It is so amazing to sit here with this view!
We tried to find a way to walk back to the apartment, and we walk down to the Holy Monastery of Rousanos, where we could go further on done to the main road.
The Holy Monastery of Rousanos is closed on Wednesdays so we could not go inside. It cost you 3 EUR to come inside each monastery so it is good to have some cash.
The view from below.
The Holy Monastery of Rousanos seen from the main road.
We walked from this monastery down the main road to the first curve, there you will find the trail going back to were we started.
It is so amazing to walk in this landscape!
From the main road it went uphill.
But luckily it was a lot of shadow throught the forrest.
We are not walking up there, just passing by.
The Holy Monastery of Trinity on the top of the hill, we were almost back where we started.
You can be a little bit scared… They say that it has been earthquake making all this hills, I don`t want to be here if another earthquake is coming! This was a really beautiful hiking, and if you are coming to Meteora I will recommend you to do this instead of driving around.
We walked 7 km and the elevation gain was 450.
A video from this amazing hike!
Kalambaka is a beautiful town and I wish we could have spend more days here. Also the village on the other side of Meteora, Kastraki, was also nice. We had dinner there the second evening.
Here you can see Voulas apartment and where the trail is starting, and all the hills around. A perfect place to stay if you are visiting Kalambaka and Meteora.
Amazing rocks in the backyard!
In the evening we took the car up to the monasteries to see one we didn`t see yet, and the sunset, which was more prefect this evening. We drove to the viewpoint between The Holy Monastery of Varlaam and The Great Holy Monastery of Meteora. This is Varlaam.
It is hard to see where people can go inside… We didn`t visited other than Trinity.
We met all theese cars which have been driving through Europe. I think it was 15 cars together.
In the beginning we were alone, but after a while many people came to see the sunset.
It was time to leave Kalambaka. Here is Voulas Apartment with our white rental car outside.
Before we left Meteora we wanted to visit The Great Holy Monastery of Meteora (because the evening before we had the sun right in front and we couldn`t take good photos. Unfortunately we were too late in the morning, the traffic was caotic and it was too much people, so we just manage to take a photo of it before we drove back to Volos.
A short drone video from the area we stayed in in Kalambaka:
This has been two amazing days and I really would like to come back here in another time of the year, both because the weather, and all the people.