Talking about Greece, most people will think of the spectacular islands such as Santorini, Mykonos etc or the popular Acropolis in Athens but Greece has more than just islands & Acropolis, if you have time in Greece, please sure to spend a night at these wonderful place – Kalambaka aka Meteora.
What is Meteora?
The Metéora which also refers to as the unique rock formation, literally means ‘middle of the sky’, ‘suspended in the air’ or ‘in the heavens above’ in Greek — etymologically related to meteorology is one of the most spectacular and unique rock formations in the world.
Meteora is also included on the UNESCO World Heritage list and it’s definitely something that you will never be able to see else where in the world but in Greece.
Getting to Kalambaka from Athens by Train
The easiest and convenient way is via train. It’s not that difficult to book your train ticket in advance via the website Trainose as English is available. The train ride is about 5 hours but according to the local in Kalambaka, the train often arrives in Kalambaka late.
Athens to Kalambaka train schedule:
As you can see the highlighted train from the schedule, there’s only one DIRECT train available from Athens to Kalambaka & vice versa.
**We reached Kalambaka almost at 2.30pm, so if you have any plans, just bare in mind that the train will reach the destination late.
Kalambaka to Athens train schedule:
Tickets range in price depending on if you purchase online or in person at the station, but the price average for Class A seat is at about €26 (one-way) or €50-60 (round-trip) and Class B seat at €19 (one-way) or €40 (round-trip).
Book the train online for Discount Price!
As you can see on the schedule, the ONLINE PRICE is much cheaper with €20 (One-way) for Class A. So be sure to buy online in advance and get discount for cheaper prices!
What’s the difference between Class A and B?
Class A is a seat in a cabin (max 6 seats) and Class B is the normal train seating. As we have 6 of us traveling together, so I booked the Class A tickets and shaaabam, we get 1 cabin! 😀
Kalambaka is really a small town, when I mean small, is really small, there’s probably only ONE main street which has all the hotels and restaurants, everything is really within walking distance.
A decent 3 star hotel which is good enough for 1 night stay, is about 15 minutes walking distance from the train station as well.
What’s so unique about Meteora?
The thing that makes Meteora so special is not only because of the unique rock formation but also the monasteries that are built on the top of the rock towers. The monasteries, the amount of peaks to climb and the paths for hiking brings in Meteora the whole year many tourists.
There are several Monasteries to visit in Kalambaka but if you’re short of time, pick and choose those that are really special & unique because there are still people living in some of the monasteries and each Monastery has their very own opening hour.
The Great Meteoron
The Great Meteoron (a.k.a. Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ) is the highest, largest and oldest of the six monasteries of the Meteora. Founded in the 14th century by a monk from Mount Athos, the Great Meteoron is still impressive and important today. If there is only time to visit one monastery in the Meteora, this is the one to choose.
Varlaam Monastery (or Barlaam Monastery) in the Meteora is named for the monk who first built a tiny chapel on this rocky promontory in the 14th century. It has an elegant church with 16th-century frescoes by a well-known iconographer and other notable buildings.
Rousannou Monastery stands on a low rock and is easily accessible by a bridge built of wood in 1868 and replaced by more solid material in 1930. Despite this, its situation is still quite dramatic, with the rock dropping off sharply on all sides.
Sunset at Kalambaka
Thanks to our tour guide once again for bringing me to the sunset point! Even though I couldn’t catch a nice sunset but the view is still amazing.
Meteora Hiking tour in Kalambaka
I booked a hiking tour from Visit Meteora due to the good reviews from Tripadvisor and it’s a really fun trek. During the trek, we’ve seen a few monasteries which has no monk or nun living inside anymore. And also the astonishing view from the hill.
Kalambaka (Meteora) is truly one of a mesmerising place that I will never forget and you should never missed this if you’re planning a trip to Greece. Spend 1 night at Kalambaka, don’t opt for the 1 day trip which is really exhausting.