Lough Leane in Killarney National Park, Ireland.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Back to the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The clifftop monastries of Meteora, Greece (day 2)

There is lots of hiking and exploring to be done in this area, and even though the temperature is a little chilly, it's actually great weather for doing exactly that. But before we set out, we had to get another SIM card for the phone. 

I wasn't happy with the data package I got from the first supplier, so we walked into town and went to the Vodafone Greece store.

We woke up to blue sky and sunshine. It didn't last all day, but it was great when we had it.

This is where we are heading!

This is where we were the day before!

The guy at the Vodaphone store was really helpful. The different suppliers have different specials on and they change all the time so when you are doing everything prepaid it leaves you with a lot of options. They have a Christmas special on right now where we have unlimited data for ten days! Not throttled... truly unlimited at full speed. That's a luxury for us, so for €15 ($21.75 CAD, $17 USD) we took advantage of that. Plus we get another 3GB to use once the ten days is up. 

With that taken care of, we wandered around town a bit.

This rock has these weird little caves all over the side.


They set up a little nativity scene in this one.

We were up there on Monday!

It's really interesting as you wander around and you get different views of the same rock formations.

We went back and had some lunch. The monasteries all have different operating hours, and there are some days that each one of the six are closed. So you have to plan accordingly. The Monastery of St. Stephen that we wanted to visit yesterday is closed between 1:00pm to 3:00pm, so we planned our hike up there so that we would arrive around 3:00pm.

It was just over 5 kms (3 miles) one way.

We are heading up there!

Bee hives.
The monastery is located at the highest point of those rocks.


We came across this little chapel.
It actually would have made for a great overnight spot.

Scenery along the way.

This is where we had been the day before.
If you click on the picture twice it zooms in and you can see some of the steps going up the side.

Zoomed in on the largest of the six monasteries.

In this shot, you can see four of them.

Our timing was almost perfect and we got up there just before 3:00pm. There were quite a few stray cats around, and Ruth sat down to pet one of them and it climbed right up onto her lap. Before she knew it she had five of them around her! It was funny because the one keeping warm on her lap wasn't about to give up its prime spot for any of the others and if they got too close it would swat at them.

Ruth, the cat whisperer.

Entrance to St. Stephen Monastery.

The St. Stephen Monastery is one of the two that is occupied. This one is now a convent and has an order of nuns living there. The origins date back to the 11th century. They have a lot of antiquities here including manuscripts and books dating to the 14th century.

The building was heavily damaged during WWII and was unoccupied until about 1961 when the convent took it over and rebuilt it. Like the other monasteries, it has been extensively renovated over the last 50 years and is in good condition today.

Unfortunately, once you are inside, there isn't a lot to see. Most areas are closed to the public, but the church is worthwhile with the ornate and intricate wood carvings, and there is a small museum with documents that date back to the 14th century. And most of it you are not allowed to photograph!

What a beautiful setting.

Hiking back down, there are always some interesting rock structures!

Kalabaka, Greece.

Another great day in Greece!

Today, we are driving up around the Meteora monastery road. We'll be looking for a hiking trail that leads to some of the monastery locations that are no longer in existence. So, more Meteora photos coming your way tomorrow!


And in Canada...


  1. Any idea why there are so many monasteries in one small area like that? Are they Greek Orthodox? Different orders?

    1. We are not sure exactly why so many were built but the hermit monks had hidden in amongst the hollows and crevices of the rock formations and then in the 14th century they scaled the cliffs and built the small monasteries to hide from the attacking Turks. There is more information about the monasteries here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora#History.

      Yes, they are Greek Orthodox monasteries.

  2. Always expand the pics to get close up and u hardly ever see any people!!! Are they at work? Just inside... Just looks deserted. And very clean cept for a little graffiti once there...

    1. Right now is a very slow time of the year for tourists so there really aren't too many around. In town a lot of the people are at work or they are sitting in cafes plus it was also fairly cold and windy when we were wandering around town so they are probably hiding indoors. Kevin also tends to take pictures without a lot of people in them. It is definitely quite quiet at this time of year but we were told that it gets busy here around Christmas time.

      Overall is is very clean but like you we also noticed the graffiti.

  3. At the National Park of Tzoumerka, Peristeri they show Holy Kipinas Monastery that is literally on the side of a cliff. Lots of monasteries in the area along with waterfalls, caves.

    1. I am pretty sure that there are lots of places like Tzoumerka National Park. Most people think of beaches when they think of Greece but there is so much more to Greece than just the beaches. We are looking forward to exploring more of the out of the way kinds of places.


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