We were lucky enough to spend a little over 2 weeks in Greece. With so much history and a HUGE amount of attractions to choose from 2 weeks did not seem like enough time! During the first couple of days we visited Meteora and Delphi. Both were dripping with history and jaw droppingly beautiful!
The Run Down (Meteora, Greece)
Our first real stop in Greece was the awe inspiring Meteora! We arrived absolutely exhausted after 3 straight days of travel, so we did not venture out of the hotel other than to pick up food once we checked-in.
Meteora is essentially a series of monasteries and nunneries built atop a grouping of very steep cliffs from the 16th century, which is very recent compared to any of the ancient Greece historical sights in the country. Meteora literally means ‘suspended in air’ in Greek, which is a certainly fitting name.
- Kalambaka – The town we stayed in, Kalambaka, is one of two small towns located right at the foot of the cliffs. The town itself was small and did not have much going on, but it did provide plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops, and other amenities you would expect from a tourist trap. Whenever we were strolling around the city it was hard not continuously stare up at the ever present, stunning views of Meteora above.
- Meteora – To reach the top we had the option of either doing an hour and a half hike, or taking a 15 minute bus ride. For once we chose the easy route and caught the 9:00 AM bus (the first bus of the day) up to the top. We spent the day visiting monasteries and nunneries on the western side of the cliffs. Tourists have the option of going inside a monastery for only 3 euros. Each one is unique and boasts chapels where the monks worship, tiny but charming gardens, rooms filled with sacred relics, and terraced overlooks which give a birds eye view of the sprawling landscape. We both LOVED the terraced overlooks. We probably took over a hundred pictures because the views were so incredible.
- Meteora Hiking Trails – Our last day was more of the same. We again caught an early bus up the mountain and spent the day exploring the monasteries. At the end of the day, we did opt to hike down instead of taking the bus. The hiking path cuts right through the middle of two of the largest cliffs, and those adventurous enough to do the trek are rewarded with some great views along the way.
The Rundown (Delphi, Greece)
From Meteora we started our journey south towards Athens, but we did have one stop along the way in Delphi. It took us 4 bus rides and half a day to make it from Kalambaka to Delphi, but it was well worth it!
In ancient Greece, Delphi was a site of great religious importance as it was home to the famed oracle. Farmers, tradesman, and even kings from all across Greece used to trek to Delphi to consult the oracle on issues ranging from crops to wars. In actuality, the oracle is believed to have always been high on fumes and would babble incoherently. The priests on site would then ‘interpret’ the babbling and in turn provide a prophecy for those seeking the oracle’s wisdom.
- Visiting the Delphi Ruins – Delphi was a a city complete with ancient housing, aqueducts, temples, theaters, and a stadium where the Pythian games took place. The major draw is the remains of the main temple in Delphi which consists of the foundation and a couple impressive columns which were stood back up in there original places. In addition to the main temple where the oracle resided there were also many smaller temples in the surrounding area built as tributes by each of the ancient Greece city states. The best preserved of these was the temple built by Athens, but like the columns of the main temple some restoration probably took place. It was surreal to actually see the remains of an ancient, 2,000 year old civilization that played such a crucial role in shaping Western society and thinking!
- Delphi Archaeological Museum – The Delphi Archaeological Museum is also a must do when visiting. Most of the statues, decorative friezes, sculptures, and other artifacts were removed from the Delphi ruins and placed in the museum. It was really neat to visit the museum after walking through the ancient city, so that you understood exactly where each statue or artifact once stood.