Athens to Meteora May 05, 2011
Update on getting to Meteora – I did it Saturday 4th of July 2009.
Best way to get there and to do Meteora in 1 day is to take the bus. The first bus of the day is at 7.30 am. It takes just over 4 hours 20 minutes. The best thing about the bus is that it stops halfway through at a bar for 30 minutes for breakfast, refreshments and toilets.
The bus station to catch the bus is Lossiou Station – (someone correct my spelling),try not to ask the locals for directions as you will be sent around the world (trust me been there, done that).
To get to the bus station there are many bus options, the ones I mentally noted are L10, A10, 24, 51. NOTE none of these buses stop at the long distance bus station. You must get off when you reach Lossiou road and walk for 2 minutes. I recommend sitting on the right hand side of the bus if coming via bus from the city centre this way you’ll see the bus station.
You can purchase tickets for the journey in the bus station – (limited English is available there) buses will stop at Trikala and there you will have to catch another bus to Kastrati or Kalambaka. I got off the bus at Kalambaka and took a taxi to the Great Monastery and it cost me 7 euros. If you do not see any Taxis driving around call into a local hotel and they will call one for you.
When up at the monastery there are no signs directing you to where the monasteries are located but you can follow the mass of tour coaches and make your way down by walking (beware snakes) or by calling a taxi (Please note! The telephone booths by the monasteries do not accept coins). I walked from the Great Monastery back to Kalambaka – it took about 3 hours and along the route I covered 4 of the monasteries. From my own opinion – after you have covered 3 of the buildings.. you have seen them all.
I then took the train 17.36 train directly back to Larissa Metro/Athens train station. Tips about the train: Try to book in advance esp for weekends. If you do not the only tickets you will have available are standing tickets. The direct train takes 4.30 hours minutes and a refreshment carriage exists on board. Seat are allocated at purchase and coach numbers are on outside the train. I bought a single from Kalambaka station to Athens and it cost me 10.90 Euros. There are different booths and queues dependant on the day you want to travel; one for same day, one for purchasing advanced tickets for future dates. The advance ticket sales operate a ticket policy – grab a ticket and wait until it is called if you miss your number you will have to grab another ticket! Keep an eye out for those who get sick of waiting as their tickets could be the difference between waiting an hour or 10 mintues. Once again the English of the staff is limited so grab a local to translate if need be. Make sure you are clear the ticket sales person know exactly what you are talking about otherwise what you think you are asking for is not what they are trying to sell you. It seemed strange to them that I wanted to go to Kalambaka and return the same day. The ticket sales guy told me that ‘people do not do this!’ The 17.36 traingot back to Athens at around 10.15pm.
Hope this helps people.
Oh and if you are looking for one day tours.. they are available! you just have to ask in any travel agency shop. I walked around the train station area in Athens and located two travel agencies that organised day tours! One was a tour in Polish though.
Oh yes a bit more! In the monasteries they provide skirt like things for women wearing trousers, shorts or skirts that are too short. They provide similar for men in shorts free of charge. Entry prices to the monasteries vary, I paid 1 Euro then, 1.50, then 1.50 then 2 Euros (I went to four monasteries) The four I went to are all open on a Saturday. On my trip to the monastery called Santa Barbara, there was a monk wandering around who gave the impression that I had to pay him for entry – do not be fooled!! He is asking for donations. All entry payments take place at the door of the monastery.
Hope this helps once again.
On my Journey Train was 10.90Euros one way Bus was 25 Euros one way
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Meteora, Greece Jul 16, 2011
One of the most impressive places in Greece and a sight not to be missed. It is a place of rock towers with monasteries on the top of the rocks, built by priests in past to hide from wars. They used use only ropes and nets to reach them, now there are stairs so you can approach them. Go by foot, climbing to the top of Meteora. It is exhausting but pays of every step! By bus you will miss the best of it. You can sleep over in a small city (Kalambaka) under the rocks and leave early morning, watching the sun rising over the rocks. Monasteries are full of tourists, if you manage to arrive in between buses with tourists, you will probably enjoy it more fully... Enjoy! (And yes, I forgot: Kalambaka is situated in the center of Greece, but there is a regular train from Athens, takes about 4, 5 hours... And it is affordable considering the sites you will experience. Perhaps because most tourists miss it since it is not on the coast..)
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