Truly one of the best tours we have ever had was an e-bike tour of Meteora, Greece during our September 2022 trip. I found the Meteora E-Bike Tour on Facebook prior to our trip to Greece and sent an email inquiring about their services. Vasilis promptly replied and informed me they offered both private and group tours along the road leading up to and around the Meteora Monasteries. They also have e-bike rentals. We decided to book the private tour and were very excited when the day to hop on the e-bikes arrived.
Meteora E-Bike is located in the town of Kalambaka, which is at the base of the rock pillars of Meteora. Easy to find, it was within walking distance from our hotel. Booking a Meteora E-Bike tour not only provides you with top quality safe e-bikes, helmets and water, they also provide you with a knowledgeable guide. The guides not only give instructions on the e-bikes use but also provide wonderful information on each of the Monasteries and the area which you ride. If you travel to Meteora and have the time, this is definitely the best 4 hours you will spend here!
We arrived at 9 am to meet with Vasilis. He and his wife fitted us for bikes and helmets. Vaslilis taught us what we needed to know about the bikes and also road safety. Vaslilis is the perfect tour guide. Informative, personable and a really nice guy. We could not have been happier with having him as our tour guide. As a matter of fact, this was our very first time riding e-bikes and he made us feel right at ease.
About Meteora Greece
Meteora, Greece has many unique monsteries built on top of steep pillar type rocks. Meteora is the name of the area, the monastery complex, not the town. Named after the Greek word, meteoro, which means suspended in air. The rocks of Meteora are amazing on their own. Not to mention, the century old monasteries at the top are a marvel. This area has brought people here for centuries for it’s uniqueness, awe inspiring views, peacefulness, and also safety. Even Hollywood loves the allure as parts of James Bond For Your Eyes Only and also Game of Thrones have connections here.
Cave of Agios Geogios Madilas
We began our tour by leaving the bike shop on our e-bikes and riding through the small village of Kastraki towards Meteora. It was a perfect morning with beautiful sky, hot but not stifling. Our first stop was to view the Cave of Agios Georgios Madilas which houses a monastery ruin. Possibly established in the 14th century and used as a hermitage for for many centuries.
Agios Georgios Medilas means St. George of the Scarves. Tradition says in the 17th century a man was cutting trees and his hand became paralyzed. After offering a beautiful scarf to St. George he could again use his hand. To this day, people leave scarves to St. George hoping for a miracle. You can see many beautiful scarfs at the cave. Currently, each year on April 23, the date of celebration for St. George, men of the village use a rope to climb up to the cave. They bring down the old scarfs and offer new scarfs from the believers hoping for miracles. In fact, the old scarfs are given to people to keep for good luck.
Pantokrator Monastery Ruins
If you look close in the photo below you can see the ruins of Pantokrator Monastery. Near the center of the rock you can see what is left of a tower. Also, to the right and above this, you can see ruins of a wall built into the rock. Old writings dating back to 1650 mention this monastery.
Agios Nikolaus Anapafsas
Built at the end of the 15th century on the remains of an older monastery, this monastery stands grandly on the pillar. Although the church may have been built or possibly renovated between 1510 and 1540. Furthermore, the frescoes in the church may possibly be from the 13th century. This is one of the six operating monasteries in Meteora and is the smallest. Although we did not tour this monastery, it is operational and people may visit.
The Monks Prison
As we continued on our e-bikes and started climbing upwards, the views were spectacular. We stopped to see The Monk’s Prison. Monks originally sought out caves for solitude, eventually they used them for social areas, finally they used caves as a type of punishment, or prison for some monks. The Monks Prison is a cave where monks had cut cells into the back wall. Basically if a monk did not follow or agree to the monk rules, he was sent here until he was ready to conform.
Dedicated to Transfiguration of Christ, the Roussanu Monastery is also known as the Monastery of St Barbara. Some historical sources state that this monastery dates back to 1288. It came to ruin and was restored in 1444 and started to become a community of monks. The church was built in 1545. The monastery was inhabited by monks until 1960. Currently Roussanu is a nunnery that is operational and also open to visitors. Notice the metal box in the below photos. Prior to 1920, this is how people could get to and from the monastery. Currently, visitors can climb a stairway to tour Roussanu.
The Holy Monastery of Varlaam was built in the 14th century. This Eastern Orthodox Monastery is the second largest in the Meteora complex. In 1350 a monk named Varlaam founded this monastery. Somehow he was able to climb the cliffs with some other monks and build this amazing place. By the 15th century the monastery was almost in ruins. Two brothers from Ioannina reestablished the monastery and in 1541 built a church dedicated to All Saints. This is a monastery that is opened to visitors. We stopped our bikes here and took a self tour. It was absolutely amazing.
When visiting a monastery in Greece, women must wear skirts and also cover their shoulders. Since I was in shorts and a tank top for the bike ride, I brought along a sarong to wrap into a skirt and I had a jacket to cover my arms. All in all, I decided fashion didn’t really matter as I just wanted to follow the rules!
Game of Thrones
We continued riding through Greece on our e-bike tour to the next Meteora Monastery. The scenery was so beautiful and the ride was very enjoyable. In fact, we were having an absolutely wonderful time.
If you are a Game of Thrones fan you may remember a scene from the show shot at this location. Tyrion was in the Aerial Kingdom in a cliff jail. Although not filmed here, Meteora is the backdrop. Parts of Meteora were filmed by a crew and then the footage was digitally imposed onto the film. Click here to see scenes from the show.
Agia Triada (James Bond For Your Eyes Only)
Agia Triada known as Monastery of the Holy Trinity dates as far back as 1362 when some type of church or monastery was here as mentioned in old archives. What you see now was built in 1476 and 1689. The monastery sits upon a large pillar rock and is the most photographed monastery in Meteora. That being said, it is also the most difficult to visit. You must climb 142 steps carved in to the rock. Prior to 1925 people had to use a rope ladder.
James Bond’s For Your Eyes Only was filmed here in 1981. Known as the villian’s hideout and called St Cyril’s in the movie. For more on this you can click here.
The Monastery of Agios Stefanos
The last monastery on our tour was St. Stephen’s. This is one of the 6 operating monasteries of Meteora and is a nunnery. This is the easiest monastery to visit. Believed to originally be established in the 12th century and more formally established in the 15th century. In 1545 St Philotheus rebuilt the Church of St Stephen. In 1961 this became a convent and is currently the most inhabited of the monastery with 22 nuns currently living here. This is another monastery that we visited.
Back on Down the Road
After we visited St. Stephen’s monastery we headed back down the road. I must admit it was so much fun ! Vasilis took a video of us on the way down and sent it to us later. I took a screen shot from the video and posted the pic below. Again I want to stress what a great tour Meteora E-Bike is, e-bikes are now definitely one of my favorite ways to see Greece!
After the Tour
After we finished the tour we walked back to our hotel and changed, hopped in our rental car and were off. We had one more monastery we wanted to visit before it closed for the day.
Great Meteora Monastery
The Great Meteora Monastery is also known as The Transfiguration of Christ and is the oldest and largest of the monasteries. Founded by St Anthanasios around the middle of the 14th century. There is a sacristy that contains shelves of the skulls of monks who lived there. I had heard about this and was excited to see these. Unfortunately, this area is no longer open to the public. Regardless, it was a beautiful monastery. The 115 steps up to the monastery is a work out. Conversely, a rope ladder and a pulley system with a net was the transport method until 1923.
Time to Eat
After leaving the Great Meteora we were ready to eat as it was mid-afternoon. We stopped and ate at a place in Kastraki recommended to us. It is called Boufidis Greek Tavern . I ordered chicken souvlaki and Steve ordered pork souvlaki. We also had some bread and tzatziki. An amazing meal with the meat grilled to perfection! Definetly one of the best souvlakis I have had. The service was also wonderful, even after I spilt my glass of Rose! Look at their link and give this place a go if you are in Meteora.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Divani Meteora Hotel and it worked well for us. The location was perfect for walking to shops and restaurants. For some reason I only took a photo of the pool. We did love the pool though! The room was clean and comfortable and staff were very informative. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet but did not eat dinner there, although it did smell good! All in all, I would stay here again.
When in Meteora, Greece an E-Bike tour is a fantastic way to see the monasteries and explore the area. Vasilis at Meteora E-Bike is a great guide with lots of information. He gives a fantastic tour and it is one I will never forget!
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