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Clifftop Monasteries With Spiritual Majesty Suspended in the Air High Above the Clouds



Meteora Monasteries, one the symbols of Orthodoxy in the Byzantine era, suspend in the air high above the clouds. In the central region of Greece, on the way towards the Valley of Peneus River and the enormous Thessalic plain, you will arrive to the majestic, mysterious, astonishing and spiritual monasteries of Meteora. An ecstatic explosion of thoughts will surpass reality in moments of unrequited feelings when you witness them for the first time; believe that you will feel an indescribable feeling of awe, respect and amazement on that very moment. If you really pursue to discover the genuine truth about these spectacular monasteries, follow the labyrinthine road of Kalambaka leading to the six active monasteries. Standing above the gigantic greyish rocks, blending with the white clouds of the blue sky and the shiny stars of the dark night, even the Lord himself would wonder how could mankind construct these religious masterpieces. Colossal, incredible rocky formations, with elevated tops conquered from monks of strong faith and will, who sought to find the immortal life. No wonder why Meteora magnates even the most discerning travellers. Breathtaking at first sight, the Meteora Monasteries are of great cultural and natural importance, honorably included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. When words leave off, sentiments begin to arouse. How could possibly anyone describe this geological phenomenon with the breathtaking sceneries that aspires other levels of inspiration and spirituality? Even Homer would be speechless! However, it is quite certain that no one can antagonize the supremacy of nature itself. Split from earthquakes, weathered from the wind and the water over millions of millions of years, these immense rocks are an authentic masterpiece of Mother Nature. Emerging twenty-five millions years ago, as the outcome of strong tectonic movements, the Meteora rocks became the shelter of hermits seeking for spiritual isolation. After all, who can blame them? Even you would choose to find isolation in this mystical place. Nonetheless, hermits’ strong religious faith compelled them to live in the first monastic communities whose drives of faith guide them towards the construction of these spectacular monasteries of highest architectural and artistic value. Religious lover or not, the Meteora monasteries is a destination for your bucket list that you deserve to admire even for once in your lifetime. Maybe you could resolve even the mystery, why such a unique monument is mentioned nowhere in the Greek mythology and history. Are you ready to unveil the mysteries of Meteora?

Spiritual Majesty

Discover the Rich History of the Six Active Monasteries of Meteora

Standing above the gigantic greyish rocks, blending with the white clouds of the blue sky and the shiny stars of the dark night, even the Lord himself would wonder how could mankind construct these religious masterpieces. Colossal, incredible rocky formations, with elevated tops conquered from monks of strong faith and will, who sought to find the immortal life. No wonder why Meteora magnates even the most discerning travellers. Numerous geologists and historians have tried to explain how the giant rocks of Meteora were create sixty million years ago; however, no theory has been fully proven. Nonetheless, scientists believe that these pillars were formatted in the Tertiary Period. During that time, the region was covered from sea but a series of earth movements caused the seabed to withdraw. The mountains left were continuously hit from strong winds and waves, which, in combination with extreme weather conditions, affected their shape. This is why the pillars are composed of sandstone and conglomerate. The first people to inhabit Meteora, the famous hermits, who braved fierce storms and climbed up the cliffs with their bare hands, arrived in the 9th century with the ultimate wish to find spiritual isolation. In the Byzantine times, monks constructed the monasteries on top of these rocks, as they wanted to be close to God. The foundation of the monasteries started in the 11th century, while first ascetic state was officially formed in the church of Mother of God that was used as their worshiping center during the 12th century. The Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Jesus, else known as the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, is the largest monastery that was established from Agios Athanasios in the 14th century. For a long period of time, the monks used scaffolds for climbing the rocks. As years passed, this method was followed from the use of nets with hooks and rope ladders. Sometimes a basket was used, which was pulled up from the monks. Wooden ladders of 40 meters long were also one of the essential tools for accessing the monasteries. Between the 15th and 17th century, Meteora was at its prime with the arrival of many monks from other monasteries or people who wanted to lead an ascetic life in this divine environment. However, the prosperity of Meteora during that time started to fade away after the 17th century owing to the raids of thieves and conquerors, which caused many monasteries to be abandoned or destructed. Out of the thirty monasteries that were founded throughout the centuries, only six of them are active today namely the Great Meteora Monastery, the Holy Trinity Monastery, the Roussanou Monastery, the Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery, the Varlaam Monastery and the Agios Stefanos Monastery.

Great Meteoro Monastery: The Biggest and Oldest of Them All


This is one of the most spectacular monasteries of Meteora, the Holy Monastery of Transfiguration of Jesus, best known as Great Meteoro. The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoro is the biggest and oldest monastery of Meteora that was founded in the 14th century. Its name refers to the formation of the gigantic rock on top of which the monastery was built. The monastery of Great Meteora was established from Saint Athanasios the Meteorite, the first founded of the monastery, who marked the beginning of the organized monasticism in Meteora. In fact, Monk Athanasios was one of the most prominent ascetic figures of the hermitic community of Meteora, was the first to climb this massive rock. He first built a tiny church and modest lodgings for monks, dedicating both to the Virgin Mary. However, he later added a larger church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, which became the primary dedication of the monastery. The successor of Saint Athanasios and the second proprietor of Great Meteoro monastery was the Monk Ioasaf, the son of the Serbian-Greek king Symeon Uros Paleologos, who supported the monastery financially. In those early times access to the monastery was achieved only through wooden ladders, ropes and nets. That was the case up until very recently, as they build the 146 stairs one has to climb to reach the monastery in 1923. Monk Iosaf completed the impressive frescoes of the Catholicon in 1483, under difficult circumstances since the monks managed to assemble all the necessary materials on top of these huge rocks in a period of 30 years. It is quite a shame that the fourteen monks, who initially followed Saint Athanasios, never lived long enough to see the monastery being completed. The main cathedral of Great Meteora is located in the central courtyard, and distinguishes for its wonderful frescoes from the 16th century. Gaze at the artistic details of one of the finest collections of Greek Byzantine art and make sure to visit the Ecclesiastical Museum, where you can admire an interesting exhibition of historical codices and religious icons of high value. Invaluable are the treasures of books and manuscripts being preserved in the library of the monastery with a wide collection of books concerning the function of the monastery, Byzantine and post-Byzantine era manuscripts and documents, patristic texts, legal documents, as well as classical ancient texts of Homer, Sophocles and Aristotle. This library, in fact, is one of the wealthiest of its kind in Greece. Other rooms worth visiting and admiring include the Sacristy, the New Martyrs Halls and the Hall of Colored Historical Lithography along with the chapel of John the Baptist, the chapel of Saint Constantine and Saint Helens and the chapel of Saint Athanasios. Great Meteoro monastery has offered a great deal to the Greek nation, education and culture since it constitutes a vibrant monastic community for more than six hundred and fourteen years, a strong symbol of true Christianity and the traditions of Hellenism. Upon leaving this glorious monastery, visit the summit of it with a breathtaking view, one of the best in Meteora. Be advised that the monastery is open from 09:00 to 17:00 except Tuesdays.
Roussanou Monastery: Dramatic At Its Finest


The Monastery of Roussanou was founded from brothers Maximos and Iosaf of Ioannina in the middle of the 16th century. The building complex of the monastery covers the entire terrace of the rocky cliff situated in a beautiful place within the green forest.The reason for the name of the monastery is a mystery, since the main cathedral is dedicated to Saint Barbara. However, Roussanou probably received the name of the first hermit who settled on the rock. The monastery occupies a lower rock than the other monasteries of Meteora covering the entire surface of the rock. The catholic of the monastery is devoted to the Transfiguration of Jesus occupying the ground level along with the cells of the nuns while the second and third levels are occupied from quest quarters, receptions halls, nun cells and an exhibition room. Priceless are the frescoes found in the church of Transfiguration of Christ that are decorated with gruesome scenes of martyrdom, as at other Meteora monasteries. The beautiful wall paintings of the Catholicon were created in 1560, when the priest and monk Arsenios was the abbot of the monastery. The unknown hagiographer seems to have been following the Cretan School style. In 1614, the monastery became an auxiliary of Varlaam Monastery. For two centuries before the Second World War, Roussanou Monastery fell in disrepair while it was plundered from the Germans during the German occupation. Following the war, the monastery was repaired from an archaeological service and it has been occupied from a community of nuns since 1988. Be advised that the monastery is open from 09:00 to 17:45 except Wednesdays.
Varlaam Monastery: Wooden Ladders, Ropes and Nets


The Holy Monastery of Varlaam, the second biggest monastery, was established from ascetic monk Hosios Varlaam, who lived in a cave as a hermit and built a chapel on top of a rock, during the middle of the 14th century. It is one of the four active male monasteries of Meteora. In 1541, the elegant catholicon of the monastery was constructed in honor of Agioi Pantes from the priest-monks and brothers Hosios Theophanes and Hosios Nectarios the Apsarades from Ioannina. Based on stylistic criteria, the wonderful wall painting is attributed to the famous hagiographer from Thebes, Frangos Catelanos. The brothers also renovated Varlaam’s church of the Three Hierarchs and erected a tower in order to use ropes, pulleys and baskets in order to hoist all the building materials to the top of the rock. Quite interesting is the tower with the old preserved net, used from the first monks for their ascent and descent from the rock. Another site worth visiting is the impressive 16th century oak barrel for water storage as well as the old refectory that has been turned into a museum with an excellent collection of religious painted icons from the Renaissance period and precious vestments of the priests. The bibliographic workshop and the workshop of gold-embroidery of the monastery are also worth visiting. Be advised that the monastery is open from 09:00 to 16:00 except Fridays.
Agia Triada Monastery: Gifted With Striking Views & Peculiar Architecture


Perched on one of the most impressive rocks of the Meteora with captivating views, the Monastery of Agia Triada is one of the most beautiful and difficult to reach monasteries of Meteora. According to historical texts of Symeon Uressis Palaeologos, Agia Triada monastery was founded from some monks seeking refugee from the invading Ottoman troops during the 13th century. Agia Triada Monastery suffered greatly in the Second World War and the German occupation, during which virtually all its treasures were looted. Until very recently, monks, pilgrims and supplies reached the monastery only by means of rope-ladders, traditional nets and baskets. Access to the rock was eased by the addition of rock-hewn stairs in 1925. The main cathedral of the monastery was constructed in the 15th century, and it distinguishes for its wonderful frescoes made in 1741 as well as its wall paintings from hagiographers Antonios the priest and his brother Nicolaos. Other religious sites include the chapel of Timios Stavros, a tiny circular rock-hewn church decorated all with wall paintings of fine art dating from 1682. The manuscripts of the monastery are kept in the sacristy of the Monastery of Agios Stefanos. It is worth mentioning that the monastery was used as the setting for the final scenes of the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Be advised that the monastery is open from 9:00 to 17:00 except Thursdays.
Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery: Exquisite Wall Paintings of the Cretan School


It’s quite odd that nobody knows whose this monastery is named after. Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery is one of the few female monasteries of Meteora that was founded on the initiative of Dionysius, the Abbot of Larisa Town, during the 14th century. As the other Meteora monasteries, so Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas monastery is built on a gigantic rock. However, the limited surface of the rock forced the building of the monastery to be built vertically on three floors, one on top of each other extending upward instead of outward. The main catholicon of the monastery, where Agios Nikolaos is honored, is located on the second floor and distinguishes for its well-preserved wall paintings made from renowned Cretan painter Theophanes Strelitzas in 1527. Depicting scenes including the Passion of Christ, the Virgin Mary praying, the Liturgy of Angels and the Last Judgment, the frescoes demonstrate the characteristics for which Theophanes of Crete became famous; delicacy of line, vividness in imagery and bright colors. The Holy Table rests on the third floor, decorated with impressive murals while the Table is used as a reception area for the visitors. Since the space is restricted and there is no courtyard, the monks could only gather in the narthex, which was roomy, when there were no liturgies in the nave. The monastery was abandoned by 1900 and fell into disrepair since it was ravaged during the Second World War and the German occupation. However, Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas monastery was renovated from the archaeological service during the 1960s. Even since 1997, the monastery is inhabited from some monks. It is worth mentioning that the monastery is surrounded from the deserted and ruined monasteries of Agios Ioannis Prodromos the Pantocrator and the chapel of Panagia Doupiani. Be advised that the monastery is open from 09:00 to 15:30 except Fridays.
Agios Stefanos Monastery: Our Favorite Saint


The Holy Monastery of Agios Stefanos is one of the few female monasteries of Meteora that was established from Antoninus Cantacuzene, who is thought to be a son of the Serb ruler Nicephorus II of Epirus, in 1400. This monastery is the most accessible one since you simply cross a small bridge to reach the entrance. The monastery suffered from the bombardments of the Second World War and the Civil War until it was abandoned. Since 1961, a group of nuns inhabit on the monastery. The amazing old Catholicon dedicated to Agios Stefanos, which was rebuilt in 1545, stands as one of the most incredible religious sites of the monastery with incredible wall paintings made from priest Ioannis from Stagoi along with the wonderful new Catholicon dedicated to Agios Charalambos, which was built from monk Ambrosios in 1798. Other worth visiting sights include he tiny museum of the monastery with a great collection of vestments and other religious objects and the nuns sell handmade embroideries and other trinkets. Agios Stefanos monastery offers spectacular views to the plain of Thessaly, the river of Peneus and the mountain range of Pindus. Be advised that the monastery is open from 09:30 to 13:30 and from 15:30 to 17:30 except Mondays.
Historical Sources Found on VisitMeteora.Travel
Lost in Time

Explore the Old and Ruined Monasteries of Ancient Meteora



The first people to inhabit Meteora, the famous hermits, who braved fierce storms and climbed up the cliffs with their bare hands, arrived in the 9th century with the ultimate wish to find spiritual isolation. Between the 15th and 17th century, Meteora was at its prime with the arrival of many monks from other monasteries or people who wanted to lead an ascetic life in this divine environment. The new idea of the hermits for the formation of monastic brotherhoods prevailed since the monasteries would offer opportunities for the improvement of their daily life conditions and the resolution of their problems. In the middle of the 17th century, the monastic community started gradually to decline and many of hermitages and monasteries were totally ruined, abandoned or destructed due to the destruction from the Ottomans and the abandonment from the monks. Nonetheless, all those wonders of mankind still exist lost in time. In the beginning of the 20th century, when several monks arriving at the Meteora area from Mount Athos began to repopulate the few remaining monasteries, and a huge restoration and renovation project was initiated with the aim of preserving the unique cultural and historical heritage of Meteora. Today, a number of hermitages and small abandoned monasteries have also been restored.

Doupiani Hermitage

One of the most notable include the Hermitage of Doupiani, a charming old church that displays wonderful wall paintings and an outstanding handmade wood-carved iconostasis with spectacular views to the surrounding area. The first hermitages appeared on the low rock of Doupiani during the 9th century AD. However, the first monks abandoned them and settled on higher rocks owing to reasons of security. However, the tiny church of Panagia Doupiani was constructed on the surface of this rock, which became the first one in which all hermits gathered for Sunday liturgy, before they perceived the idea of forming a wider monastic community.

Agio Pnevma Rock

The rock of Agios Pnevma, literally translated to Holy Spirit, stands stately in the middle of the valley of Meteora. On its top, the chapel of Holy Spirit was once erected, a tiny monastery that was the oldest in the region of Meteora dating back to the 10th century. The view from this chapel is magnificent!

Ypapanti Monastery

The Monastery of Ypapanti was constructed inside a large cavity of the rock, a one-of-a kind in the region of Meteora, since all the others are located on the peaks of rocks. Monk Nikos and monk Cyprianus were the founders and wonders of this monastery that they built in 1367 AD. However, it was destroyed from the Turkish army when the local rebel and hero Papathymios Vlahavas was arrested on the spot. Nonetheless, the Ypapanti monastery has been fully restored! The pathway to this monastery is a very simple and pleasant one.

Agios Georgios Mantilas

Agios Georgios Mantilas (Scarves) is the most famous cave of Meteora located in one of the steepest slopes of a rock outside the village of Kastraki. Its name indicates a traditional custom originated from the era of the Ottoman occupation in Greece. During the 17th century, a local Muslim landowner cut trees from the forest that was dedicated to Saint Georgios and the saint caused the paralysis of the hand of this man. However, he was cured after he offered to the Saint his wife’s veil, a valuable gift according to Muslim religion.Believers hang colorful scarves once a year on a rope supported from trees in order to symbolize that act of donation honoring Saint George.

Agios Nikolaos Badovas

Surrounded from two massive rocks, Amparia and Pixari, you will find the wonderful location known to the locals as Badovas. In this beautiful area with a cluster of hermitages and monasteries, where monks of Meteora found their religious peace, lies the magnificent hermitage of Agios Nikolaos Badovas. The hermitage was constructed within the large cavity of the bottom rock in the beginning of the 15th century. Right next to Agios Nikolaos Badovas, lies the tiny chapel of Virgin Mary along with the hermitages of Agios Antonios and Agios Gregorios all built in natural cavities of the rocks.

Agia Tower

The tower of Agia, which literally means the Great Saint, is the highest tower of all the Meteora rocks reaching a height of 630 meters (1890 ft). Agia Tower served as the local acropolis in the classical period, as it was a naturally formed impregnable position. When the Ottomans arrived in the 15th century renamed our town from its strong defensive position and gave its present day name of Kalampaka, which is a minor deviation of the Turkish words Kale-bak meaning prestigious castle. It is worth following the wonderful path leading to the tower of Agia that starts from the old quarters of the village of Kastraki. This incredible hiking path is quite a challenge and of great adventure! However, because of its high difficulty, it is never recommended without a guide.

Historical Sources Found on VisitMeteora.Travel
Picturesque Loveliness

Enjoy the Lovely Atmosphere of Kastraki and Kalampaka



What is there not to be spellbound? The almighty Meteora rocks with the very old Byzantine monasteries, the snowy ridges of Pindus Mountains with the verdant villages or the spectacular natural sceneries running through the riverbed of Peneus River? Meteora is a destination that never stops to astonish pulling visitors like natural magnets. With snow and rain, sunshine or even fog, evening, afternoon or dawn, summer, autumn, winter or spring, the Meteora monasteries will take your breath away.

Kalambaka, the Prestigious Castle

Driving alongside the long asphalted road that lead to these wonders of mankind, the Meteora Monasteries, your eyes will be impressed from the amazing monasteries from a distance of eighteen kilometers. Can you imagine being able to admire the Meteora from such a distance? Sitting on the foot of the almighty Meteora rocks, the city of Kalambaka will be your first stop, the city center of the region of Meteora, where the locals’ daily life is centered around. Known under the name Eginio according to an inscription of the towns’ oldest churches and referred as Stagi according to historical records, this town was a quite significant center of the Byzantine Empire. However, when the Ottomans arrived in the 15th century, the city was renamed due to its strong defensive position and gave its present day name of Kalampaka, which is a minor deviation of the Turkish words Kale-bak meaning prestigious castle. The Germans, however, burned down the city in 1943 and it was rebuilt from scratch. Although this city is merely sharing the glory of the Meteora wonders rising on the background, Kalambaka is a city with its hidden mysteries itself. Lose your way in the narrow cobblestone alleys and the traditional houses on the city’s old picturesque district, enjoy the local homemade sausages and the traditional homemade pies along with a glass of tsipouro, find your favorite workshop with the amazing wood-carved objects made from domestic artists, and take a look at the local variety of embroideries from the souvenir shops. Before you leave, make sure to pay a visit at the wood-carving school, a one-of-a-king institution in Greece, which mantains and preserves the authentic and traditional tecquines of wood-carving from generation to generation.

Kastraki, the Tiny Castle

Hidden amongst the gigantic greyish rock of Meteora, the tiny village of Kastraki promises an unforgettable experience. Can you imagine walking up with your windows overlooking the mysterious Meteora monasteries? Kastraki, which literally translates to small castle, is a peaceful village that looks like an eagles’ nest between two gigantic rocks. Undeniably, Kastraki is the most picturesque place of Meteora with an authentic and genuine character. This village has been classified as a preserved traditional settlement from the Greek State; that’s why it has managed to maintain the genuine identity of its surrounding landscape. The old district resembles metaphysical sceneries spreading its houses at the foot of those gigantic greyish rocks by giving a sweet human touch to this almighty landscape. Walking along the narrow streets of the village will fill you awe and admiration for these primordial rocks that will give you moments that you will remember forever. Drive to the labyrinthine road running through the monasteries and make sure to stop to every possible location you like; there will be many, so make sure to re-charge your batteries and the batteries of your camera!
The Capitol’s Glory

Explore the Mysteries of the Daughter of Peneus

In this corner of Thessaly, nature steals the show by showcasing stunning sceneries with a startling cultural heritage in one of the most beautiful regions of Greece. Gifted from the gods and the nymphs, Trikala will enchant you forever. Right next to the riverbed of Letheos among ancient remnants, Ottoman mosques, medieval castles, Byzantine churches and old mansions, capture the moment of the stratification of cultures that left their traces in this land, the birthplace of Asclepius. The constrasts of nature are so extravagant, where the captivating valley of Thessaly touches the craggy slopes of Pindus mountains. Under the shadow of the mountain peaks, the Vlach villages of Aspropotamos create their own state of mind, an admirable culture of ingenuity. In the mountains of Trikala, however, there are some of the most important ecosystems of the country including the forest of Pertouli and the vast oak forests of Chassia, two of the longest rivers aka Aheloos and Peneus, lovely stone bridges crafted with meraki such as the famous Pyli one, Byzantine churches that symbolize the powerfulness of Christianity aka the church of Timios Stavros in Doliana, and so many other monuments that will blow your mind. Hiking and nature lovers, families, fans of adventure, experienced climbers, scientists and believers of all faiths will discover another spirituality on this corner of Thessaly. If you really desire to discover the mysteries of the land of Trikala, you should obey the laws and look for other roads to arrive at your destination; besides, all the roads lead to Rome! Only then, you will discover how Trikala’s land is literally endless. On the west end of the Thessalic plain, just before the successive steps of Pindus highlands around Prophet Elias, you will find the beautiful city of Trikala, one of the few Greek cities that have the privilege of being traversed from the river. A place where legends were born could be nothing less than a mystery! Inhabitation of this city counts since the prehistoric times since the first signs of life occurred in the cave of Theopetra one hundred million years ago! Can you imagine how ancient this place is? The city of Trikala is built on the remnants of Ancient Trikke that was founded in the 3rd millennium BC, whose name derives from the homonymous nymph, the daughter of river god Peneus! Fortified castles, ancient monuments, byzantine churches and beautiful bridges compose the image of the city of a continuous civilization.The glorious city of Trikala, the third most significant city of Thessaly, is located on the edge of Thessalic plain. The flowing waters of Litheos River give a magic sparkle to this wonderful city with its historical monuments, its excellent layout, its spacious squares and its verdant parks.If you pursue on unveiling the mysteries of Trikala, start on the preserved traditional Varousi district, known for its beautiful narrow alleys and the colourful old mansions and the oldest churches of the city. Then, head for a romantic stroll along the riverbanks of Litheos, the river of “forgetfulness”, to admire the pristine sceneries. The genuine, however, emblem of the city is the Clock of Trikala that was built on its east side during the 17th century. The hot spot of the city is the region of the Central Bridge, made from the French in 1886, which connects the main square with the bustling pedestrian street of Asclepius, one of the liveliest parts of the city.At the northeast end, a few meters away from the bridges of Letheos River, stands the Byzantine fortress constructed from Emperor Justinian during the 6th century, on the foundations of the citadel of the ancient town of Trikke.When the Ottoman Empire conquered the city, they did not only kept the fortress but also strengthened it with new defensive rocks and a wonderful clock tower with a big bell, one of the oldest in the Ottoman occupied Greece, which offers a spectacular view to the city. From there, continue to the hiking trail to the wooded hill of Prophet Elias and descend to the traditional neighborhoods of Varousi and Manavika to admire the old mansions and byzantine churches dating back to the 17th century; these districts attest the great prosperity of Trikala with the development of crafts and trade. A place where legends were born could be nothing less than a mystery!
Blue Magnificence & Green Splendor

Experience the Authentic Beauty of Greece on Pindus Mountains



You might not be acquainted with this knowledge, but did you know that Greece is a primarily mountainous country where more than eighty percent of the land is covered from mountains? Indeed, the Greek mountains distinguish for their diversity, their rare scenery, their spectacular forests and their unsurpassable rich flora and fauna. Enriched with steep slopes, deep canyons and flowing rivers, the Pindus Mountain Range, the backbone of mainland Greece, is the biggest mountain range of the country extending naturally from the Greek Albanian borders to the mountains of northern Peloponnese. Starting from lovely Kalambaka, the adventure culminates from the villages of Aspropotamos and the craggy neck of Baros, one of the few accessible mountain roads from Thessaly to Epirus, to the Vlach villages of Tzoumerka. Throughout the heart of Pindus, the renowned Kakarditsa of Peristeri with its multi-ridges is one of the most inaccessible passages of Pindos known for its tremendous snowstorms that break out unexpectedly, even in the spring. The mountainous crossing of Baros was known for the kyratzides who transported people and commodities to all of the inaccessible villages and the tseligades of Pindus who visited the alpine meadows with their flocks on to graze freely all summer. At that time, the communities on the slopes of Pindus were full of life and love. With the passage of time, especially after the Civil War, all those magical places were lost in time and roads were asphalted connecting the villages of Tzoumerka with Arta and Ioannina and the villages of Aspropotamos with Trikala and Kalambaka. The region of Central Pindus is considered one of the most beautiful regions of Greece worth exploring even for once in your lifetime. Are you ready to unveil the mysteries of Pindus?

Aspropotamos Villages

Discover the Unspoiled Beauty of the White River



Perched on the southern side of Pindus Mountains, the villages of Aspropotamos still echo the glory of Aheloos, one of the most important rivers of Greece, which was worshiped as a river god and father of the Nymphs and the Sirens with its mighty waters. Surrounded from the mountains and hidden between verdant forests, the villages of Aspropotamos have managed to retain their authentic character in their entire splendor. Built at an altitude between 950 and 1.480 meters, among fir trees and river, those villages share an eternal identity of genuineness. Every single village has a central square with a sycamore tree, a traditional fountain and a stone church among the picturesque cobblestone alleys and the 20th century stone houses that decorate the surrounding area. The nature of these villages is absolutely stunning with mountains, high pine trees and wonderful gorges all around maintaining an excessive beauty ought to be admired embodied to the European Network of Natura 2000. Visit the central square of Anthousa to enjoy the lovely views and head to the monastery of Panagia Galaktotrofousa to light a candle, drive from Tria Potamia to Agia Paraskevi in a wonderful road on the sounds of the river and pay your respects to the church of Timios Stavros, the symbol of Christianity, in the village of Doliana. Capture moments of austere natural beauty in autumn and spring and experience rafting in the flowing waters of Aheloos. Discover the bridge of Mihos between the springs of the river near Anthousa, a wonderful bridge with three arches and make a stop at the church of Profitis Ilias in Haliki for the astonishing views. Before you leave, mountaineer to the lake of Drakolimni Verlinga and its waterfalls to admire breathtaking sceneries and visit the folklore museum of Krania in order to admire the rich folklore history of the region! Whoever visits the villages of the Greek mainland will understand the genuine unspoiled beauty of this country. Whether you are a lover of mountains or not, Aspropotamos’ region will offer you an experience on mainland Greece you will never forget! Aspropotamos is just one hour away from Meteora (50km) and the driving route is absolutely amazing. Access to the villages of Aspropotamos is easy from Trikala through Kalambaka. Along the Trikala-Ioannina highway, turn at the intersection of Mourgani and continue towards Kastania and the other villages. Let yourself immense in the endless beauty of the Greek nature! Find out more from this month’s column Escapist State of Mind!

Elati & Pertouli

An Escape to the Southern Part of Pindus



Perched on the slopes of Koziakas, the majestic mountain of the southern part of Pindus, the charming villages of Elati and Pertouli distinguish as two of the most lovable mountain villages of Greece. If you are dreaming in staying in picturesque chalets with fireplaces and skiing in snow-capped mountain slopes, you bet that Elati and Pertouli compose your best choice for experiencing the authentic face of Greece. Elati, locally known as Tyrna, is one of the most beautiful mountain villages of the region of Trikala ideal for winter sports lovers. Spreading at an altitude of 950 meters, Elati has an authentic character offering a charming escape from everyday life with dozens of forest trails and incomparable beauty sceneries. The lovely smells from the traditional taverns will leave you unforgettable memories that will encourage you to come again and again. Fir forests covered with snow, the smell of the fireplaces and the tasteful Greek cuisine along with the foggy nights create the genuine character of winter! As for Pertouli, a village perched at an altitude of 1.090 meters, is a mountainous paradise surrounded from mountains, dense forests, verdant meadows and flowing springs ready to conquer you. Characterized as one of the favorite mountain resorts of the country, Pertouli, once the gathering place of the farmers of the region, with its charming stone houses and its red-tiled roofs will leave you speechless. Only five kilometers away from Pertouli, bushes, grass and fire forests will introduce you to the Meadows of Pertouli, ran by the river of Petrouliotiko, with a rich fauna and flora. Watch horses canter by, cows graze lazily, and deer pass by, while you’ll be on your favorite mountain activity. It is worth noting that Sarakatsanaioi, the nomadic shepherds of the Greek mainland who originate from the mountain range of Pindus, celebrate their international annual meeting every May. Endless forests, narrow valleys with small rivers, alpine meadows and bare peaks compose an inexhaustible paradise. Although the villages were burnt down during the Second World War, thus losing their traditional architectural character, the stone arched bridges stand as a reminder of the time when this region was one of the main gateways of Thessaly with Epirus. Access to the villages of Elati and Pertouli is easy from Trikala through Kalambaka. Along the Trikala-Ioannina highway, turn at the intersection of Mourgani and continue towards Elati and Pertouli.


The Diamond of Pindus



Descending through the misty atmosphere, dazzling lights twinkle in the ravine blending with the stone houses and their gray slate roofs between the labyrinthine alleys; this is Metsovo standing proudly between the imposing mountains and the flowing rivers. Charming Metsovo, one of the most beautiful regions of Epirus, challenges all of your senses through its picturesque character, its traditional atmosphere, its high quality cheeses and its intoxicating red wines. Painting the most wonderful setting of your winter escapes, from both Evangelos Averoff, Foundation Tositsa and its local people, Metsovo will definetely steal a place in your heart. Cultural heritage and natural beauty will certainly enchant you on the crossroads between Epirus, Macedonia and Thessaly. Nestling in one of the highest peaks of Pindus Mountains, Metsovo, the largest Vlach village of Greece, will captivate your eyes with its fresh mountain air and its natural beauty. A town of Epirus that has managed to maintain its traditional colours will give you the opportunity to experience an authentic image of the Greek countryside through Metsovo distinctive atmosphere. Tositsa Foundation, the standard cheese factory, offers one of the greatest views of Metsovo’s traditional stone houses. Local traditional shops with folklore art and woodwork objects along with elegant cafeterias identify the special natural scenery of this place. Agia Paraskevi church, the patron saint of Metsovo, holds its prominence at the central square of Metsovo, of the most beautiful squares of mainland Greece. There, you might even distinguish the locals through their lightweight Vlachic idiom. Following the path that climbs up to the town hall, you will have the opportunity to explore the most scenic neighborhoods of Metsovo while you might even meet local people with their traditional costumes wandering in the streets. Dominated from labyrinthine cobblestone alleys, Metsovo hides millions of mysteries; from the Art Gallery of Evangelos Averoff with works of some of the most important painters of Greece and the Folklore Museum with a remarkable collection of folklore materials and fighters weapons of the Greek Revolution housed in the 19th century mansion of Tositsa family to the picturesque stone houses of Metsovo, examples of the traditional architecture of Epirus, and the traditional stone fountains, every corner of Metsovo is a new surprize! Land of farmers and shepherds, Metsovo has excelled in agricultural products. Of the most distinctive traditional products of Metsovo include its famous smoked metsovone cheese and its dry Katogi red wine; it was the desire of the president of Tositsa Foundation to establish a school where the young Metsovites could be trained to produce the best quality cheeses! In fact, most of the local shops sell dairy products. Reserved only for the connoisseurs, the delicious dry Katogi wine is produced from the French Bordeaux vines, growing in Metsovo whose vinification, maturation and bottling processes are held in their wonderful winery. However, Metsovo has also aa rich tradition in its folklore art and gold embroidery. Hidden betweeen the cobbestone alleys, find those admirable objects in the local shops by youself! Nevertheless, the beauties of the wider region of Metsovo still continue; the artificial lake of Aoos Springs, one of the most important habitats of Epirus, whose natural sceneries is interrupted from small isles with large pine trees create images of unique beauty, especially during the dreamy sunset. And if you are winter sports lovers, don’t your worry; Metsovo has everything packed up for you. Three ski centers dominate the foothills of Pindus Mountains just for you to choose where you would like to slide like a pro! The less adventurous, though, can practice canoeing at the lake of Aoos, which, according to the locals, gets as beautiful as it can in the winter months when it gets frozen! And just behind the lake, one could go for hiking explorations to Valia Calda National Park, one of the most beautiful forests in Greece. It is definite that a journey in Metsovo will leave you with unforgettable memories; its traditional character, its ultimate tranquility and its alpine beauty will revitalize you. When time will come, you will leave behind the intoxicating aroma of Katogi wine and the spicy flavor of metsovone cheese blended with the fresh air of Pindus to discover Metsovo’s mysteries with your own eyes!

Kiss Night Goodbye from Spiritual Meteora


When words leave off, sentiments begin to arouse. How could possibly anyone describe this geological phenomenon with the breathtaking sceneries that aspires other levels of inspiration and spirituality? Even Homer would be speechless! Glorious, ecstatic, spectacular, breathtaking, magnificent and mysterious Meteora is a destination you ought to discover for once in your lifetime. But wait, why explore only the monasteries of Meteora when you have already travelled so many kilometers in the central part of Thessaly? Grab a map and pick your favorite location. Greece’s mainland composes the unexplored, authentic and genuine face of Greece! Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be thrilled to discover something more than the Greeks islands? Alpine meadows, snow-capped mountain, foggy nights, picturesque villages, flowing rivers create the genuine images of winter in Greece. Are you ready to unveil the mysteries of Meteora?