Meteora Greece : How to get there
Meteora is a popular destination for people visiting the mainland of Greece. Famous for its fantastic looking rock formations and monasteries, it is possible to visit Meteora as a day trip from Athens. I'd recommend spending a couple of days in the area though to truly appreciate it.
Which reminds me – I should mentioned something! The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Meteora is the place people visit, but the closest town is Kalambaka. (Just one or two kilometres away). I'll be using the words Meteora and Kalambaka interchangeably in this travel guide, but will provide full information so you can plan your trip!
How to get to Meteora yourself
You've got three options when it comes to getting to Meteora, which are train, bus, and car. Having your own transport (car) is always going to be the easiest, but driving in Greece is not for everyone. This means that the most popular way to get to Meteora is by train. The bus from Athens to Meteora loses out because it is not entirely straight forward and takes longer.
I've also written this travel guide on the basis that most people will travel to Meteora from Athens. I think you'll have enough clues in here to plan your own trip to Kalambaka from Thessaloniki or other areas of Greece however.
Athens to Meteora Train
Although most people refer to it as the Athens to Meteora train service, in actual fact, it should be described as the Athens to Kalambaka train. The reason being, as you may have guessed, the train terminates at the Kalambaka train station.
The train runs regularly between Athens Railway Station and Kalambaka train station, with several services a day. You're going to want an early start especially if you are trying to visit Meteora in a single day.
Athens to Kalambaka Train Tickets
You can check out the Athens to Meteora train schedule by visiting the Train OSE website. Up in the top left hand corner of the screen, you can swap the language from Greek to English. Enter the dates you want to travel, remember, your destination is Kalambaka, and you'll get the train schedule.
The 884 Athens to Kalambaka train is for most people the more sensible option. As of writing this post, the train leaves Athens at 08.20 and arrives in Kalambaka at 13.18.
Whilst you can buy train tickets to Meteora from Athens railway station, I'd suggest booking them online. The Athens to Kalambaka train can fill up in the busy season, so it makes sense to get them in advance. You can buy the tickets through the website after registering. Note – Some people have said that the site has a problem with Visa but accepts MasterCard.
Athens to Meteora train cost
The ticket cost for the train between Athens and Meteora can vary between 25 and 30 Euros. I have no idea why there isn't a set price, or how the ticket price works! I do know that booking in advance seems to get the better price. If you want to keep the Athens to Meteora train cost low, use the website previously mentioned.
Kalambaka Train Station
Unless you are meeting up with a tour directly on arrival, you'll need to get a taxi from Kalambaka train station to your hotel or to a place in the Meteora area you have already determined. In all honesty, I think visiting the area within one day by yourself is not really a viable option. It's far better to stay at least one night if not two.
Athens to Meteora Bus
The bus service in Greece continues to baffle me. Each area is run by a separate KTEL organization, which means there is no central website to check. At least not one that I have found yet! This means that the Athens to Meteora bus route is not an easy one to follow. As at the time of writing this travel guide, the following is the best way to catch the Athens to Meteora Bus. If you have an easier way, please let me know in the comments below!
Athens to Meteora Bus Service
The bus station in Athens is located near the Kato Patissia (green line) station. Getting just to this station can be a bit of a mission:
Use the metro system in Athens, and head for Monastiraki station. Swap to the Green line and head towards Kifissia.
When you get to Kato Patisssia station, get off the metro and walk about 1km to the bus station. If you prefer a taxi, it should cost you less than 5 Euro. Make sure you tell the driver you need Liossion Station and not Athens bus station.
Once at the bus station, you then have to get a bus to Trikala. This is the biggest city near Kalambaka / Meteora. From Trikala you can catch a bus to Kalambaka bus station. It will probably have been a bit of a journey, so get a taxi from Kalambaka bus station to your hotel and crash!
Athens to Meteora by Car
The easiest way to get to Meteora by Athens is by car – if you have one! Not only is the route straight forward, but you then also have the car to use to take you around Meteora.
The most difficult part of the journey is probably getting out of Athens! Once you've done that though, head for route E75 towards Trikala. Get off at Lamia, and from here, the route becomes a little harder, but I'm sure it's nothing that Google maps can't handle! Head to Trikala and then Kalambaka and you will have arrived.
How far is Meteora from Athens?
Meteora is about 350kms away from Athens by car, and can take between 4 and 5 hours to reach. People planning a road trip around Greece sometimes leave from Athens, stop in Delphi, and then continue to Meteora the next day.
Meteora Tour from Athens
The final option of getting to Meteora from Athens is to take a tour. I describe such a tour in my day trips from Athens blog post, and I'll back up here what I mentioned there. Whilst it is possible to make a day trip, I personally wouldn't do it. If you still want to make the Meteora tour from Athens though, check out that post for more information.
Read more about Meteora
Have any questions on visiting Meteora in Greece? Leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer them.