Meteora first caught my eye in April 2014, when a chap wandered past me with an iPad showing some pictures of landscapes that I knew I had to find time to photograph. I asked him where the pictures were of, and he said Meteora.
Fast forward a few months, and I found myself in Athens again doing a whole host of exciting photography related activities, from teaching through to the official event photography for Europe’s largest travel blogging conference, TBEX.
All a lot of fun, but you as guys know that my real passion is landscape photography. Even if taking pictures of beautiful people have a wonderful time does come a close second.
So I was thrilled to be invited after the conference to spend a couple of days exploring Meteora, located around five hours drive north of Athens, and home to some seriously out of this world landscapes.
Obviously, the only way to share my experiences with you is via a photo essay. Let’s do that.
You see those rocks? Back in the 14th century, some enterprising monks thought they’d make a great spot for building nicely defensible monasteries, and over time, 24 of these insanely located buildings were constructed.
I did say insane right? Yep, I have no idea how those chaps back in the 14th century built these places, which at their peak numbered 24. Today there are six left, with the ruins of the others visible in highly improbable locations.
It’s not all about clambering up rocks though. You can just take some time out and sit on a bench instead, enjoying the views of this surreal landscape.
Or you can clamber on rocks.
And take in the rather magnificent views.
I mean… who would look at that rock and decide… yes… this is where I want to build a monastery.
It’s not just about mountains and monasteries of course. The local people of Meteora are open and friendly, and cook a mighty fine pile of food, lots of which I ate, and also failed to take good pictures of. Tip – you’re going to want to eat meat to maximise your waist line when you visit!
Ok, so how do you make this happen for you? I’d advise the best way to do Meteora is to hire a car and give yourself plenty of time to explore the region. From a photography perspective there is so much to see and do, with changing light and clouds offering endless possibilities. I will definitely be going back as it wasn’t totally optimal during my brief stay.
I’d also highly recommend hiring a guide for a hiking tour to get you right into the rocks. These vary from relatively easy trails through to more difficult climbs that include harnesses and other climbing gear. Both are better with a guide, as getting lost in the rocks isn’t something you want to do.
You can also take part in group tours that take in some walks as well as the history of the monasteries, which are fascinating too.
The easiest way to find guides / hikes and accommodation is via the Visit Meteora portal, which has pretty much all the information you need to plan your trip.
So. Is Meteora on your to-do list?
My trip to Meteora was in partnership with the Visit Meteora folks and arranged via TBEX, who handled the transport, tour and accommodation. You can get in touch with them yourselves of course to find out more about visiting this awesome region!