The iron-gray pinnacles of the Meteora rock formations are stunning, offering astonishing views of fields, mountains, and monolithic stone. These wonders of nature are bedecked with 24 gravity-defying, frescoed Byzantine monasteries. (Dress modestly. Open Apr.-Sept. Sa-Su and W 10am-12:30pm and 3:30-5pm; hours vary during the rest of the week. ‚2 per monastery.) The Grand Meteoron Monastery is the oldest, largest, and most touristed of the monasteries. It houses a folk museum and the 16th-century Church of the Transfiguration, whose dome features a Pantokrator (a central image of Christ). To escape the hordes of tourists, venture to Roussanou, to the right after the fork in the road. Visible from most of the valley, it is one of the most spectacularly situated monasteries in the area.
Buses leave for Meteora from the fountain in Kalambaka, the most popular base for exploring the sight (2 per day, ‚0.80). Trains leave Kalambaka for Athens (4hr. 3 per day, ‚19.10) and Thessaloniki (5hr. 3 per day, ‚10.50). Buses depart for Athens (5hr. 8 per day, ‚20) and Patras (6hr. Tu and Th 9:45am and 3pm, ‚19.40). The large rooms at Koka Roka offer views of Meteora; from the central plateia, follow Vlachara to its end, bear left, and follow the signs, (s 24230 24 554. Singles ‚15; doubles ‚27, with bath ‚32; triples with bath ‚42.) Postal Code: 42200.
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