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KALABAKA

Rock climbing at Meteora, world-renowned monastery landmark

Meteora, the internationally renowned rock formation in central Greece is a unique geological phenomenon with monasteries built on the peak of boulders, and of great significance in the country’s religious history. The area attracts travellers from all over the world, many of whom choose to engage in rock climbing and abseiling activities. The location offers fans of the sport spectacular, towering rocks, steep and vertical. The tallest of these gigantic natural columns, made of sandstone, exceeds 600 metres in height. These rocks form an imposing, awe-inspiring setting that invites visitors to explore. Ascetics chose this hard-to-reach, seemingly inhospitable landscape for life devoted to monasticism in the 11th century. From the 14th century onwards, a growing number of ascetics began arriving at the location, seeking to unite their lives with divinity. Old trails established by the monks to interlink the monasteries nowadays also serve as an attraction for trekking and climbing enthusiasts. A mystical experience amid a setting of unrivaled natural beauty is promised. Rock-climbing beginners, too, can rent necessary equipment and also hire an experienced guide to enjoy the wonders of rock climbing.  

Religious tradition combined with natural beauty 
Over the centuries, a total of 24 monasteries were established at Meteora, but, nowadays, just six of these exist. All are open to the public. The monasteries are built on precipitous “columns in the sky”, as the location’s gigantic dark-coloured rock formations are described by UNESCO. The rocks, towering over Kalabaka and the nearby village Kastraki, host the Roussanou, Agios Stefanos, Megalo Meteoro, Agia Triada, Agios Nikolaos Anapafsa, and Varlaam monasteries, attractions for countless visitors. Apart from their extraordinary architecture, as well as rich, fascinating collections of manuscripts, icons and religious heirlooms, these monasteries also host significant murals in the interiors.  

Rock climbing, abseiling and trekking

Meteora offers adventure seekers plenty of excitement and challenges, such as rock climbing, abseiling and trekking. Dozens of rock-climbing routes, some rated as considerably challenging, even for the most advanced of climbers, have established Meteora as a main attraction for such activity. The location’s many rock-climbing options, range in degree of difficulty, offer adrenaline-generating excitement to all climbers, regardless of level of experience. 

The Doupiani rock, situated between the western and southern sections of these gigantic rocks, is the most renowned abseiling platform at Meteora. It is a perfect option for beginners. Climbers usually meet at Kastraki, at the Vrahos camping facility, ideal for embarking on a short trek before the descent. An old trail used by monks begins at the village square, covers a picturesque route passing by monasteries and old hermitages, and reaches the Doupiani rock. At this elevated point, the abseiling enthusiasts are offered an abseiling lesson before making the descent down a rope approximately 20 metres long. Visitors to Meteora not yet ready for rock climbing or abseiling can opt to go trekking along one of the many trails in the area. Routes run through forestland of magical wild nature and offer breathtaking views of Kalabaka. They include a trail from Kastraki to the Ypapanti monastery, as well as another from the Agios Nikolaos Anapafsa monastery to the Varlaam and Megalo Meteoro monasteries.