Meteora is the name for the famous Greek monasteries built on high rock pillars in Central Greece. Wind and water erosion have formed breathtaking rock formations that are extremely difficult to access. Meteora with kids may, therefore, sound like a challenge. But even with young children, it is possible to visit this very special place in Greece. Here are my insiders' tips for visiting Meteora with kids!
Meteora Greece with kids
A beautiful mixture of nature and culture made by human hands. High on the special rock formations of Meteora, you will find the Orthodox monasteries of Meteora. Built by monks who wanted to the escape persecution of the Turkish occupiers and who found the perfect shelter on the tops of Meteora. Of the 24 monasteries, 6 are still inhabited and they are also on display, some are closed to the public and the rest are left behind as ruins. The name Meteora literally means “float” and in the winter months, you can see the mountain tops above the low-hanging fog. Since 1988, the entire area has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You will understand why when you visit this special place in Greece.
The monasteries are built and occupied in a world without fixed stairs, elevator or other modern conveniences. Through a special system, the building material was lifted up in a basket, therefore the construction process took many years. Everything was done manually. Monks who lived there went up and down through narrow, collapsible, ladders and ropes. A strenuous method that was not without risk. You may think that Meteora Greece with kids is an impossible destination. Many steep climbs and lots of stairs do make this place a challenge for young children and impossible to access with a stroller. Yet, there are ways to see the monasteries. Here are my tips for visiting Meteora with your family.
Where to stay
There are two places from which you can visit the monasteries of Meteora and the surrounding areas. First, there is the small, quiet village of Kastraki. Here you will find several hotels and a few restaurants. In fall and winter it is quiet here, say almost extinct, so I would recommend the town only if you like it quiet. For campers, there is a camping called Vrachos Kastraki at the edge of the village.
The second place to stay is Kalambaka. Here you will find an abundance of hotels, hostels, and other accommodation options. Kalambaka has a large main street (Trikalon) and a few cozy squares, various shops and plenty of restaurants. In the late season, we think this is a nice option, pleasantly busy but not too much. In Kalambaka, you will also find the tourist office, the train station, car/bicycle rental, a few small museums, and supermarkets. If you visit Meteora with kids in the summer months, you will need to make a reservation beforehand.
What to do
All children will be amazed by the view over the monasteries on top of the strangely shaped mountains. Most of the six monasteries are open six days a week and great to visit with older children. Some of the monasteries have their own museums. The monastery of Megalou Meteorou is located on the highest and longest rock. Its Folklore Museum shows old tools and appliances, clothing and more. The Agia Triada monastery also hosts a Folklore Museum and in the museum of the Agios Stefanos monastery you will find an impressive display of church items such as scripts, icons, silverware and fabrics. The climb up the stairs and the paths to the monasteries are not suitable for young kids and not stroller accessible.
All monasteries of Meteora can be viewed by car. From Kalambaka or Kastraki there is a ring road of about 14 kilometers that you can easily drive yourself. Each monastery has its own parking space, after which it is a short walk to the entrance. Sometimes you have to climb before you reach the entrance. This is only recommended for older children.
Note that all monasteries close one day a week so please inquire in advance if the monastery you want to view is open.
Monasteries are not the only things to do in Meteora. An absolute must visit in Meteora Greece with kids is the modern Natural History Museum of Meteora in Kalabaka. The museum also hosts a unique mushroom collection. The museum explains the geological and natural history of the area with a large fauna exhibition of 350 species of birds and mammals. These are exhibited in their natural environment and makes you travel you back in time. The museum organizes activities for children and family workshops.
The impressive character of the Meteora mountains and its astonishing nature makes it very suitable for hiking tours. Several tour agencies organize accompanied walks for families.
Are you children too young to walk? Than opt for an organized family tour by private minibus. It will give your family a taste of the natural beauty and history of Meteora by making stops at the most important lookout points.
A great activity for everyone in Meteora is watching the beautiful sunset. The rocks in the area of Agios Stefanos are at the perfect place for this. A special Sunset tour can also be booked for the sunset. Here you go along a few beautiful viewpoints and you visit even more special places along the way.
Best time to visit
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Meteora Greece with kids. In the summer months, the temperature can easily rise to or even above 40 degrees. The temperatures outside the high season are wonderful and there is less pressure. In the winter it can be quite cold. Low hanging fog in the morning and snow makes the area regularly fairytale beautiful. Even the autumn colors, of which we already had a glimpse in mid-October, are spectacular.