The Greek word meteora means “suspended in the air,” and this phrase aptly describes the spectacular cliffs that rise more than 1,200 feet into the air overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki in the north central mainland of Greece. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, these monasteries were built by monks who had been living in nearby caves, seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution. Out of faith and sheer determination, it took years for the monks to transport their religious materials up the cliffs by way of ropes, baskets and ladders.
While there were originally 24 monasteries, only six of them remain intact today. Accessible by a staircase carved from the cliffs, the monasteries contain some of the world’s best examples of religious manuscripts and art works, which can be viewed on-site. In addition to the monasteries, Meteora is also home to several rare bird and flower species. This makes Meteora a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation.
At the base of the cliffs are the main towns of Kalambaka and Kastraki, peaceful and beautiful villages that offer accommodation, shops, restaurants and tavernas as well as a number of Byzantine churches, Greek temples and other interesting historic sites.