Meteora, via Trikala.

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Hello Pals,
I went to Meteora for a day to see the Monasteries and spend a bit of time in Trikala, a charming city nearby. I can imagine both these places to be full of life during the summer – but winter allowed me to feel more at ease.
If you don’t have the time to check out Trikala – that’s fine, but I wouldn’t miss Meteora at all!

If you would like to know a bit more on “Trikala and getting to Meteora” click ‘read more’

In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
The Basics: How to get there.
Getting Around: Transport Options
The Monastries: The Monastries.
My Top Choices: What you should see.
My Recommendations: Where to eat & drink, What to listen to & read.
Where to Stay: Where I stayed or where friends stayed.
What I did: My diary entry.
Other Recommendations: Things we missed.

All my posts have a key:
⏰ Opening Hours. 📍Location 🕒Distance
💰Cost 🎫Ticket 📝 To note. 🎒What to bring.
♿ Accessibility 🌱Vegan / Veg Options.

  TO NOTE:

  • Free Entry Days: 06 March | 18 April | 18 May | 28 October | Last weekend of September | First Sunday November 1st > March 31st.
  • Closed Days: 01 January | 25 March | 01 May | 25 + 26 December | Good Friday | Easter Sunday
  • You can drink the tap water in Trikala and Meteora
  • Things tend to close around 15:30 in Trikala.
  • Kalampaka is the town closest to Meteora.

THE BASICS

Getting to Trikala.

🚃 Rail: from Athens.

⏰07:18 | 08:20 |14:18 | 16:16 | 23:55 > Weekdays.
Check the timetable here.
📍Athens Bus Station Tris Gefires (6 Rikaki str. & 260 Liosion str.)
💰€38.30 EURO | $60.68 AUD| $42.73 USD | ‎£33.05 GBP
🕒4 hours up to 13 hours.
You’ll have to swap in Palaeofarsalos, and depending on which train time you take – the stop over can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours. I’d recommend taking the bus.

🚌 Bus from Athens.

⏰All Week: 07:00 | 10:30 |13:30 | 15:30 | 18:00 | 21:00
📍Athens Bus Station Tris Gefires (6 Rikaki str. & 260 Liosion str.)
💰€ 31.50 EURO | $49.74 AUD| $35.45 USD | ‎£ 27.29 GBP
🕒4 hours
I would suggest actually booking a bus ticket online through KTEA here as these buses fill up very quickly.
KTEL also offers a day trip ticket from Athens for €50 – read here.

🚌 from Delphi

⏰Fri + Sun: 15:25 | Mon – Weds + Thur + Sat: 10:15
💰€18 EURO| $29 AUD| $20 USD | ‎£15 GBP
🕒4h 30m.

🚌 Trikala to Kalambaka.

⏰Every 1 – 2 hours. Check the timetable here.
💰€1.80 EURO| $2.87 AUD| $ 2.02 USD | ‎£ GBP
🕒30 minutes.

THE MONASTRIES

I managed to only see 2 / 6 Monasteries due to some issues in receiving wrong information about the bus timetable, I arrived at 12:00 instead of 10:00 (thanks to the hostel receptionist for that one but it’s fine totally fine!!!)

The Monasteries are not open on all days, so the best days to go are Sundays or Mondays (although St Stephen is closed this day.)
Check the opening hours here which differ between Summer (April 1st to October 31st) and Winter (November 1st to March 31st)

♿ The most accessible monastery is St Stephen which is closed on Mondays.

Holy Trinity Monastery

⏰ Closed Thursdays. S: 09:00 to 17:00 | W: 10:00 to 16:00
📍Kalabaka 422
💰€3.00 EURO| $4.76 AUD| $3.34 USD | ‎£2.59 GBP
♿ No. 250 Steps.
———-
The Holy Trinity Monastery has been an organised Monastery since the year 1362. The main cathedral was constructed in the 15th century and decorated with frescoes in 1741. The inside of the buildings have some frescos, paintings and apart from the church – you’re able to take photos. The main thing I noticed was that the doors were a tad small and I had to duck. There are 250 steps up to the main entrance in which you’ll be greeted with some Turkish delight. The bond film “Your eyes only” was filmed on the rocks of this Monastery and it has spectacular views of the surrounding areas.

Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron

⏰ Summer: 09:00 to 16:00 Closed Tues..
W: 09:00 to 14:00 Closed Tue, Wed and Thur
📍Kalabaka 422
💰€3.00 EURO| $4.76 AUD| $3.34 USD | ‎£2.59 GBP
———-
The Holy Monastery was another I really wanted to see, it’s the oldest and largest of the six still open to visitors. Founded within the 14th century, it showcases the skulls of the monks who lived there over the years. It showcases frescos, original kitchen still black from use and traditional items of clothing, crockery and dwellings. A lot of it was closed for renovations which was a little disappointing, but the whole place is phenomenal.

The four I didn’t get to access were:
The Holy Monastery of Varlaam, Holy Monastery of Rousanou and The Holy Monastery of St Nicholas due to time difficulties.
The Holy Monastery of St Stephanos was closed on the day I went.

TOP CHOICES!

Byzantine Castle

⏰ 8:30 – 15:30
📍44 Stratigou Sarafi Stefanou,
💰Free
♿There is a ramp.
———-
The Castle of Trikala was built in the 6th century of Byzantine origin. The clock that stands now, is a replica built in 1936. Local tradition advises that there is a secret opening within the castle. It gives a pretty good view of the city as well.

Central Bridge of Litheos River

⏰ Open 24-7
📍Asklipiou, Trikala 
💰Free
♿Accessible.
———-
Built towards the end of 1888 by french mechanics, it’s supposed to give the idea that you walk on air (just felt like walking over a bridge.) It overlooks a small dip onto the Statue of Asclepius (the god of medicine) which you can walk along the lake to go see.

Twin Ottoman Baths / Tsitsanis’ Museum

⏰ 9:00 – 15:00
📍Karditsis 1, Trikala
💰Free Admission
📝 I didn’t go into the museum itself as it had closed by the time I arrived.
———-
These images reflect the image of the city of Trikala during the Ottoman reign. Accessible to both men and women, the construction is dated back to the mid-16th Century. Part of the baths inside has transformed into a museum about Vassilis Tsitsanis; the Greek songwriter and bouzouki player.

Koursoum Mosque

⏰ 8:30a.m.–3:30p.m.
📍Karditsis 3, Trikala 
💰Free
———-
The Koursoum Mosque is one of the most preserved Ottoman sights in Europe. The most interesting part is that the design was by Sinan Aga, a born christian.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

🥘 Archontariki Taberna

📍 Trikalon 13, Kalampaka 422 00, Greece
🌱Has options available.
After hiking Meteora, we got a great feed at this restaurant – reviews are iffy and it might depend on which server you get, but the food was fantastic (also could be 100% the fact i was real hungry.) I recommend the grilled vegetables, greek meatballs with a side of tzatziki, some bread and beers.

🍷 Feel the Rocks

⏰ 08:00 – 03:00
📍 Trikalon 100, Kalampaka 422 00, Greece
Feel the Rocks is a bit pricey in terms of other places around Greece, but you’re really here for the view of Meteora itself.

🍦 Karditsis 56

📍 Karditsis 56 Trikala 421 00
Across from the Church of Constantine and Helen, you’ll notice a green sun blind (or an awning if you wanna be technical) with a bin in the shape of an Ice Cream. I had the pistachio and berry flavour and it was incredible.

READ:

The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski.

“Carved into the towering cliffs of central Greece, the Metéora monasteries are all but inaccessible. Holy Trinity is the most isolated, its sacred brotherhood the guardians of a secret that has been protected for centuries.
In the dead of night, the holy retreat is attacked by an elite group of warriors carrying ancient weapons. One by one, they hurl the silent monks from the cliff-top to the rocks below ― the holy men taking their secret to their graves”

WHERE TO STAY

Meteora Central Hostel

⏰Check-In: 13:30 – 21:30 | Check-Out: 10:30 – 11:00
📍Trikalon 86, Kalampaka 422 00, Greece
📝 Cash only.
———-
Disclaimer: I didn’t stay here, my friend advised that the facilities were incredible. The beds were comfy and private. I did use a bathroom, and they are very clean.

🍽Breakfast Fresh bread and coffee, which is served at the cafe next door.
🛁BathroomsClean, roomy and have hooks. Towels aren’t provided.
🛏RoomsCurtains on the beds, comfy, large storage rooms.
🎲FacilitiesKitchen, communal area and courtyard with some tables and chairs.
🍺BarRestaurant/Cafe next door.

WHAT I DID

I took the bus from Delphi to Trikala bus station, which by the way is, annoyingly, miles from the main city. Taking a taxi with the girl from Germany, the driver firstly offered us a cigarette, then continued to tell us we could sleep for 5 euros. I’m not entirely sure what he meant, but our night just got weirder. Arriving at the hostel, the receptionist didn’t seem all there and we had to ask about pretty much everything, which we then received wrong information for, meaning I didn’t actually get to Meteora until 11:30.

The information clerk advised that it would take 30-50 minutes depending on your level of fitness (I got up in 40 thank you) and arrived near the Holy Trinity Monastery. A guy who I spoke to advised that the Holy Trinity Monastery was the most famous of them all – which I’m not sure if 100% true. The greeter (i honestly never know, welcomer?) of the monastery gave me Turkish delight, which was delicious – but told me that they closed at 2:00 pm which was lucky; otherwise I might have missed the Monastery which I’d come to see; The Monastery of Great Meteoron.

Along the walk, I met a guy from the USA – we walked back and met a local who explained name days which link to saints or martyrs from which they originate, as well as how to get to an abandoned cave nearby.

After the caves, a dog followed us the whole way into the city of Kalampaka where I feel I had the best meal in a while (tbh was probably just starving) and then had some beers overlooking Meteora at Feel the Rocks. The bus back to Trikala was fine, but I ended up leaving my wallet on the bus which meant that I then had to walk 30 minutes home which totalled my steps at 40,000 for the day and I was dead.

I spent the next day in Trikala seeing the top sights with my friend from the previous day. We tried a Freddo Cafe (cold coffee and it was disgusting I’m not gonna lie it was gross, really gross.) The castle was the only one that we entered as most sights close at 15-15:30 which to be fair, is much, much too early. I really liked Trikala, and I thought it had charm – even though I didn’t have the best travel experiences (losing my wallet, getting incorrect information, waking 30 minutes home etc.) I still enjoyed my time.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Palaiokarya’s Stone Bridge: Built in the 16th century, it has two man made waterfalls. Read a detailed post about it here.
  • Matsopoulou Mill: This is recommended during Christmas periods.

Have you been? Will you now stop off here on your next trip?
What did you see / eat / do?
Let me know below.
As always, stay cool.
– Sarah.

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