Backpacking Trikala and the Meteora
Trikala is a lovely city in central mainland Greece. The highlight of Trikala is the Meteora. The Meteora is a series towering rock pinnacles topped with monasteries. The geological formations are stunning in their own right and tower up to 550m above the landscape below, but the monasteries on top, 6 of which you can visit, make this an incredibly unique and underrated travel destination that shouldn’t be missed.
Excellently located in the heart of the city, 15km from Meteora, this comfortable hostel provides you with the perfect base for sight-seeing and adventures. The friendly and welcoming staff will be more than happy to give you plenty of information about Trikala or the Meteora and how to get around, ensuring you are able to make the most of your stay. The hostel is owned and run by a local family who are also travellers and able to offer you a good insight and insider’s tips on the best places to go and where to eat out. Book Hostel Meteora here!
This is a new boutique hostel in the heart of Kalambaka. It’s a very friendly place to stay, run by a family who also own the café and bar next door. Views to Meteora rocks and a small green backyard perfect for an evening coffee or a night BBQ. There is an 8 bed dorm, a private twin room with its own bathroom and a living room with a small kitchenette making it ideal place to relax after a full day hiking the Meteora. Every bed has its own light and electric socket and all the rooms have A/C. Book Meteora Central Hostel here!
These unique and enormous columns of rock rise precipitously from the ground. Their unusual form is not easy to explain geologically. They are not volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock typical elsewhere, but composed of a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate. The conglomerate was formed of deposits of stone, sand and mud from streams flowing into a delta at the edge of a lake, over millions of years. About 60 million years ago a series of earth movements pushed the seabed upwards, creating a high plateau and causing many vertical fault lines in the thick layer of sandstone. The huge rock pillars were then formed by the weathering action of water, wind and extremes of temperature.
The first hermits arrived in this area to seek spiritual isolation and inhabited the caves of the rocks, with the aid of ropes and ladders. Common existential needs and religious faith compelled them to live together in monastic communities, their common faith leading them to build monasteries of the highest architectural and artistic value. The 24 monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, 6 of them are accessible to visit today. These monasteries became the centers of the Orthodox religion in the Byzantine era, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums.
It is worthwhile learning a bit of the Greek alphabet while in Greece. It will help enormously. Σουβλάκι ΠεΠα translates to Souvlaki PePa. γύρος translates to gyros. Both souvlaki and gyros are stables of the backpackers diet when in Greece. Hostel Meteora has a list of the best few gyros shops in Trikala. Souvlaki PePa is on their list and is a great option for cheap food.
There are buses that run every hour between Trikala and the Meteora. The last bus back to the town of Trikala is around 11:00pm. Go to visitmeteora.travel/en for more details.
Getting In and Out
Trikala is well connected by buses and detailed routes and timetables are available at ktel-trikala.gr. There are about 6 buses per day to and from Athens. If you are planning to head to the west and into Albania, a very good option is to head to the greek island of Corfu first. It is a very good destination in its own right and has the added advantage of being only a very short ferry ride away from the town of Sarandë in Albania. There are twice weekly combined bus and ferry tickets available that will take you all the way to Corfu. If you want to travel on a day when this ticket is not available, it is possible to travel to Ioannina and then catch a connecting bus to Igoumenitsa followed by a ferry to Corfu. This will take a fair bit of planning to make sure that everything connects but is easy enough.