In the Heavens Above: Meteora Monasteries Tour
- The monasteries: Tour two of the sky-high structures laboriously constructed and lavishly decorated by monks during the 14th through 16th centuries.
- Art: The monasteries are treasure troves of vivid frescoes, beautiful gold-leaf ornamentation, wood carvings, paintings and religious icons.
- Rock pinnacles: These immense sandstone towers, split by earthquakes and weathered for millions of years, thrust 1,200 feet into the sky.
About This Volos Tour
The story of how these monasteries became Meteora – "suspended in the air" – begins 60 million years ago. It took that long for rock that emerged in an earthquake to be carved into the soaring pillars you see today. This natural wonder was a beacon to the 11th-century hermits and monks who came seeking shelter and spiritual isolation in the high caves of these towering rock columns. What they eventually created is a testament to spiritual fervor and sheer will.
The first communities were simple, using ropes and ladders to access the caves. This turned out to be a very useful skill. As the Turks threatened at the end of the 14th century, the monks kept climbing to safety on ever-higher peaks with an ever-expanding network of nets, pulleys, and baskets. Everything they needed to survive and to build had to be painstakingly hauled up more than a thousand feet.
Incredibly, this basic rope and basket technique built monasteries of masterful style immeasurable artistic value. (The entire monastery complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) On your tour you'll see impressive buildings adorned with beautiful frescoes, gold leaf, wood carvings, and icons dating to the 14th century.
The monks built much more than monasteries at Meteora. They created a center that attracted the artists, philosophers, and poets who kept Hellenic culture alive during the long centuries of Turkish Ottoman occupation. Some historians believe that without Meteora, much of the Greek legacy – the soaring pillars that Western civilization itself is built on – would have been lost.
Leap of faith
Until steps and pathways were cut into the rock in the 1920s, a system of ropes and pulleys hauled monks, pilgrims, and supplies more than 1,000 feet up the sheer cliffs of Meteora for centuries. It's said that the ropes were replaced only "when the Lord let them break," ensuring an agonizing but intensely prayerful journey to the top.
Please go to port terminal exit to meet your guide. Please look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoBe Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
Time permitting, there will be free time for shopping after your tour.
There is walking and up to 150 steps. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Cultural, Full Day, Scenic, Walking Tour
Ham and cheese sandwich with tomato and bottled water.
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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