Meteora Full Day Tour
For the Meteora full day tour, we depart from Athens driving through the national road we'll meet on the way very Picturesque cities like Kamena Vourla. First stop is famous Thermopiles.
There is a modern memorial to King Leonides on one side of the highway that shows the Spartan King on the top of a memorial wall with the words "Molon Lavei" written under the statue. The phrase means, "Come and get it", This is the phrase that Leonidas said to the Persian king when he told Leonidas to hand over his weapons. The phrase has become a slogan of defiance all over the world. Across the highway from the modern memorial is the ancient memorial that was placed there shortly after the battle. It is a small carved stone plaque that says, "stranger, tell the Spartans that we lay here obedient to their laws". This ancient memorial is on the small hill across the national road from the modern memorial.
After Thermopiles on the way at your own order we can stop for coffee in one of the many points we'll meet. After four hours driving from Athens we'll arrive to Meteora and start visiting the monasteries of Meteora (five total) it is almost like being on a different planet. These high pillars of rock that seem to reach for the sky in the otherwise flat landscape look like something out of science fiction. The area of Meteora is said to have been sea once upon a time. Sometime in the 11th century orthodox hermits started living in caves in these high cliffs, far, far away from the rest of the world. They slowly became organized since they met for mass once a week, and in the 14th century the first constructions started and it is believed that one of the reasons was that the monks and the people needed shelter from the Turkish attacks that went on. The Great Meteoron was built 1356-1372 and the man behind this project was the monk Athanasius, who also set the rules for the monastic life. When riches were added to it after a member of the Serbian royal family became a monk here, the monastery got a leading role in Meteora. Other active Monasteries of Meteora are the Monastry of Varlaam, the Monastery of Rousanou, the Monastery of Agia Trias ( Holy Trinity), the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos and the Monastery of Agios Stefanos. Meteora had its peak period in the 16th century,but then the monasteries were slowly abandoned. Today there are five active monasteries left. The fascinating landscape was used when filming the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only". The hero and the bad guys climb the high "stalagmites" and as a matter of fact, there are many people who still do this through the mountaineering organisations of the area. After monasteries visiting we return back to Kalabaka for traditional Greek lunch. In the afternoon we take the same way back to Athens.