Athens - Delphi - Meteora Road Trip

Amazing Road Trips Through Greece - Part 1 Athens - Delphi - Meteora

Greece has a lot to offer when it comes to tourism. Be it's wonderful islands, incredible historic places and ancient ruins, mouthwatering food and some worth experiencing festivals. Thinking about all this, we forget the one thing which is worth an experience in Greece i.e. the Road Trips.

Nothing beats the freedom of being able to stop any time to hike up a hill, or find a path down to an untouched beach. Greece has beautiful driving routes, both by the sea and up through the mountains. Passing through the many little towns and villages, taking breaks in places where outsiders are few, you'll get a deep sense of having really seen the country.

I am going to break this journey into several parts. Starting from Athens, going across the mainland of Greece and the ending which even I am not sure of. This is the first part of the road trip through Greece.

Here we are gonna travel from Athens to Delphi to Meteora. This going to be a kind of historic road trip traveling through ancient archaeological sites of Delphi and the monasteries of Meteora.
So, fasten your seat belts and get ready for journey back in time.

Day 1 - Athens to Delphi: -

Start off from Athens to Delphi in early morning. This way you can avoid the city traffic. In order to get there, you will have to drive through the Athena - Lamia highway. The trip is about 180 kms and can take about 2 to 3 hours. The roads are in excellent condition, so the driving is much easy.

When you are approaching Orhomenos, turn towards Arachova; a picturesque town with beautiful stone built houses situated in the Parnassos mountain. There are road signs which you can follow to get to Delphi.

Start your adventure in Delphi by visiting the archaeological site which is on the way. It is easy to spot because of the number of buses and cars parked nearby.

Walk up the hill and soak in the beauty of the majestic mountains. You can also find some of the best preserved ancient monuments like the Temple of Apollo and an ancient stadium. The view from there will make you believe that you are on the top of the world.

After visiting the ancient monuments, you can visit Delphi Archaeological Museum, which is one of the most important museums in Greece. It houses and cares for the finds made in Pan-Hellenic sanctuary in Delphi. Its fourteen rooms on 2 floors mainly display elements of sculpture, architecture,decorations, precious offerings, facades, metopes and other miscellaneous artifacts.

Don't forget to grab a meal in Phivos Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Delphi to enjoy authentic Greek meal.

Earlier, I mentioned a picturesque town of Arachova. Its located just at 8 kms from the archaeological site of Delphi. It is known for its traditional architecture. This includes the paved streets, stone houses and lovely squares, which are also good to get some amazing pics for your Instagram. Also get a lovely panoramic view to the mountain slopes and the Gulf of Itea. 

Besides it is also famous for its night life, textiles, woodwork, dry wine and a local cheese called formaela. So you can have great time shopping and experiencing a lovely night in the mountains.

Day 2 - Arachova to Meteora: -

The route from Arachova to Meteora is one of the most beautiful routes you will ever find. The first moment of the rock pinnacles coming into view is something you are not likely to forget in your entire life.

The distance from Arachova to Meteora is almost 240 kms and will take about 4 hours. Start from highway E75 and continue on it till you reach Lamia city. From here you can take exit to Lamia/Karditsa/Trikala. This part of the journey is a bit difficult, which is getting uphill and downhill the Domokos mountain range. After you get off Domokos, follow road signs to Karditsa, then to Trikala and finally to Kalambaka. There are a lot of options for hotels in Kastraki village and you get a great deal at an amazing price.

Start of by exploring the monasteries. There are 6 active monasteries in Meteora. It is really very difficult to visit all 6 in one day. So, I have divided the journey in 2 parts. We can cover 3 monasteries in one day. But before going to monasteries make sure you check their timings because it varies according to the season. Check out the time table here.

Once checked in, head towards the first monastery, the Roussanou Monastery. It is just about 3 kms from the Kastraki village.

Rousanou Monastery is a working nunnery and is easily accessible. The monastery covers the enitre rock surface and also has a church, reception halls, guest quarters and a lookout spot from outside the building. The nuns are quite friendlier and provide sweets to the visitors.

After spending some time in Roussanou Monastery, you can head towards next monastery, Holy Trinity. Very few tourists buses stop here due to its low accessibility. That's actually good as you as it gives a more peaceful opportunity to explore the grounds. It is widely known for a James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only". The monastery was heavily looted in WWII and all its treasures were taken by Germans.

The next you can visit is St. Stephen's Monastery. Its is the most easily accessible of all the monasteries and all you have to do is just cross the bridge. Due to a lot of damages during WWII, it was abandoned until 1960, when it was restored as a nunnery. It is also one of the best places to see sunset in Meteora.

After visiting all the monasteries, you can take the same route back to Kastraki Village. Rest of the evening you can spend refreshing your taste buds with some authentic Greek cuisines. Try an authentic Greek Salad, Saganaki, Kolokithokeftedes (I can't even pronounce it) , Spanakopita and meat platters.. Some of the hotels also provide a magnificent views of the mountains at night. If you are lucky enough to get into a right hotel, you can enjoy the wonderful mountains even at night. Check out the best here.

Day 3 - Visiting Other Monasteries : -

Most of the hotels provide complimentary breakfast. So you can have a nice breakfast in your hotel and then head on to exploring the other monasteries.

Start your day by visiting the Great Meteora Monastery first. It is about 4 kms from Kastraki village. On route, you will also see St/ Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery, but you can visit it on your way back. It is the oldest and the biggest of all the monasteries. Inside the church of Transfiguration there are fine icons and frescoes dating from 14th to 16th century. There is also a nice museum open to the public, you can also see the kitchen of the monastery, wine cellar and a sacristy where the bones of the old residents of the monastery are stalked on shelves.

Once you are done there, take a few steps over to Varlaam, the neighboring monastery. Inside the monastery, there are some beautiful frescoes, a museum of ecclesiastical objects and a water barrel that can hold upto 12 tons of rain water. Soak it all up and bask in the incredible panoramic views. Plus you can also get a popsicle to cool yourself off.

On your way back, visit St Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery. It was founded in 14th century and famous for frescoes of Cretan painter Theophanes Strelitzas. Now only one monk lives in the monastery.

It will be afternoon by the time you finish visiting the monasteries. Get back to Kastraki where you can have your lunch. Meteora is great destination for foodies. Having visited all the monasteries by now, you have your day completely to yourself. Start exploring Kastraki on foot and soak in the local feel of Meteora here. Else head to Kalampaka and spend some time in souvenir shopping or enjoying some amazing grilled meat.

Meteora has much more to offer than just monasteries. You can go hiking into the mountains with some local hiking tours, visit the hermit and jail caves, go wine sampling at a local winery. Try some local red wine, white wine and rose wine before going to hard stuff, the tsipouro. It is a spirit made from the skin of grapes and contains almost 40% - 45%  of alcohol. It was created by Greek orthodox monks way back in the 14th century.

If you are a adventure lover, who wants to do something more than just visiting monasteries, you can go rock climbing, mountain biking, rafting, canyoning, horseback riding and much more.

Final Thoughts ??

Meteora is just magical. Some places just look dreamy but when you reach there, they are just disappointing - but Meteora is completely opposite. Once you visit here, you will even wonder, How can this place be real ????

I recommend you, to give atleast 2 days to experience it properly.

Car Renting: -

There are many car rental services in Greece that offer extremely economic deals to rent a car; therefore its advisable to check internet beforehand in order to grab the best possible deal. I would suggest It is characterized as a specialist car rental website. You can get some amazing offers here.

So guys, I hope you liked it. Share it with your friends with whom you would like to this amazing road trip. This is just the first part of Amazing Road Trips Through Greece series. If you have not following my blog, subscribe now so that you don't miss this amazing journey.   


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