Meteora is an amazing place for photo addicted, where to take outstanding pictures even with little technical skills, since the place is providing most of the magic. Before starting your free and independent photo tour following our suggestions and map, and start hiking in Meteora, we suggest you to first read our article visit to Meteora in Greece. Theere are plenty of information with sections dedicated to the monasteries, practicalities, history and nature. If you feel like you are already knowledgeable enough, then keep reading our photography article.
While travelling what I often do before going to a location, is to search for photos taken by other professional or amateur photographers, first to understand if I want to go to that place, and then to find interesting point of views, from where to take myself appealing photos.
While of pictures the internet is full, what is usually missing is where to go to have that particular perspective, and it's not always easy to guess the original location through the photo.
This article with free map included, is meant to answer to both of those needs, giving a general overview of the area through a photo album of Meteora with selected pictures, and at the same time placing the photos on a map so that it's possible to reproduce a similar shot. This article is focusing on outdoor locations, since a separate post will be published about the monasteries in Meteora.
I'm giving this map for free, but if you feel like it was helpful for you, a small donation would be really welcome to reward my hard work, and allow me to keep it free also in the future. After all you are saving $$$ on a private photo tour, isn't it?
While I did a meticulous job, I can't guarantee that all of the pins are precisely placed, since they were positioned according to my memory, with no gps assistance. If you can't see the exact same location of the selected shot, just look around and in a maximum range of a few meters, you should be able to take a similar photo.
On the map I drew also the routes that we followed while hiking in Meteora, only the trails that we explored ourselves. It doesn't want to be a complete map with all of the hiking paths available, (for that, try to have a look at this external map) just a report of our days exploring Meteora and hiking around. Paved roads for cars and hiking paths are easily recognizable by the different sizes and colours on our map. It is quite safe to walk also on the main road, since traffic is limited and slow.
I drew only one red route on the hiking map, that turned out to be quite adventurous and with some climbing involved, so we would advice against going there to inexperienced climbers.
This photo map is only qualitative, to understand the location of interesting viewpoints where to take photos, and it shouldn't be used to navigate the area. Remember that going outside of the marked paths in Meteora might be dangeorus, since there are steep cliffs and ravines with no safety measures. The conditions of the routes should be checked in Meteora with the competent authorities or with a local guide.
While we feel that following the gray paths and using some common sense it's quite safe for any adult, we don't assume any responsibility, and you use this map at your own risk.
The numerical order of the photos is only for convenience and it doesn't show a route to follow. You can create your own photo tour, possibly distributed along more days, and we strongly suggest to use this map and article only as a starting point, and not to limit your hiking and photo exploration to what we experienced ourselves.
Relaxing with a view of Saint Stephan Monastery (Photo tour location: 1)
In between Saint Stephen Monastery and the Holy Trinity Monastery, there is a big rock leaning toward the valley, that is easily accessible jumping the guard-rail of the main road. We had lunch in this spot waiting for the monastery to open after lunch break, enjoying the view of the Monastery, with the village of Kalambaka just below.
View of Roussanou and Varlaam Monasteries (Photo tour location: 2)
To capture this photo you have to access the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (3€ entrance fee). The back courtyard is embedded in between several rocks that can be climbed to enjoy the beautiful views of the surroundings. Roussanou and Varlaam Monastery from this particular perspective are almost aligned, even if at different heights, balancing the frame and the composition.
Hiking path leading to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Photo tour location: 3)
This photo was taken from one of the front openings of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (3€ entrance fee still apply), and it is picturing the winding walking path connecting the monastic community with the main road.
Views of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Photo tour locations: 4-5)
This image, picturing the Monastery of the Holy Trinity over its pinnacle, was taken from a big rock a few meters away from the walking path connecting the monastery with the main road. The stairs, carved into the rock to make it accessible to tourists, are clearly visible in the frame.
Best view of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Photo tour location: 6)
This is the most famous view of Saint Stephen Monastery, and maybe of the whole Meteora. From this location it's possible to show the steepness and height of the pinnacle, with the monastery that looks almost inaccessible on top. It's a good shot to make people wonder how the monks managed to reach the peak when there were no stairs.
Best viewpoint of the whole Meteora (Photo tour location: 7)
The location number 7 of our hiking map, is my personal favourite. We returned here several times during our stay, and in particular the last morning we stayed here many hours just enjoying the view and engraving it in our memories.
It was so sad staying at this location and seeing tour buses just passing by, going from one monastery to the other without stopping, and losing most of the beauty of Meteora and its natural landscape. That's why the best way to experience Meteora is by walking and hiking, so that new points of view are opening at each step.
This viewpoint is easy to find, standing on a big rock just next to the main road, protruding over the valley. The first time we reached this place I was speechless and I thought what was appearing in front of my eyes had to be Eden Valley.
The first picture selected, is a panorama obtained stitching together 10 different shots, and then resized to fit internet needs. If the valley and the incredible rock formations were not enough, the shadows overcast by the strong sun and contrasting with the luxurious green of the vegetation, makes the shot more dramatic. Four of the six monasteries are visible in this photo, but they are not an essential part of this shot, focused on the natural beauties rather than the monasteries themselves.
The second shot was zoomed on the monasteries of Rousseau and Saint Nicholas, that this time become predominant subjects of the picture. This location is also a very good choice to enjoy the sunset.
Best spot for contextualized portraits (Photo tour location: 8)
If it wasn't because of the photo location number 7, this would have been the best spot of our photo tour. It's giving a similar point of view to the previous one, but with a slightly tilted angle. It is still easy to find, another big rocky peninsula along the main road, visible also on the right side of the previous panoramic shot.
The complex of rocks and pinnacles are seen from a different perspective, revealing the valleys in between them, that before were not visible.
At the very end of this rock formation, there is a big stone that looks like a stage, and makes this location the best place to take suggestive contextualized portraits. Slightly changing the position and the focal lenght, can help to change the perspective and inspire different feelings, as understandable comparing the two shots in which me and Oti are the subjects.
Part of the success of the last shots is due to the peculiar light: while we can guarantee for the beauty of the place, unfortunately we cannot cater for the same dramatic light.
Enjoying sunset in Meteora (Photo tour location: 9)
This was more of a lucky surprise than a planned stop to enjoy the sunset. On our way back to the village, we decided to stop down the road in front of Varlaam Monastery, where there is a small resting area. Even if this meant to walk back with the darkness, it was well worth the inconvenience.
From the same location at daylight it's possible to have a nice view of Saint Nicholas monastery.
View of Varlaam and Roussanou Monasteries (Photo tour location: 10)
A little bit up the road there is a nice perspective of Varlaam Monastery, with a view of the whole monastic complex: the main building with its symmetrical construction, the courtyard, the church and the stairs embedded into the rock.
From the same position was taken also the picture of Roussanou Monastery relating with the big pinnacle in front of it.
Roussanou Monastery framed by vegetation (Photo tour location: 11)
On the way to Varlaam Monastery after the curve on the main road, there is a view of Roussanou Monastery seen contextualized in the green rocky valley.
Private cable cars of Great Meteoron Monastery (Photo tour locations: 12-13)
Some of the monasteries have a private cable car, used by monks and service personnel to skip the long run of stairs leading to the top. The one in Great Meteoron looked really active, with people coming and going quite frequently, being the ideal spot to shot the cable car in action. The point of view can be varied by taking the photo from the parking on top, from the lowest point of the stairs, or from in between them.
Abandoned monasteries and pinnacles (Photo tour locations: 14-15)
In the outskirt of Kastraki, there is a huge smooth rock quite easy to climb, that is offering interesting views in many directions. On the back of it, it's possible to frame a complex of small pinnacles and caves, bringing to the memory the valleys of Cappadocia; on the front side there is a view of Kastraki, and using a tele-lens, it's possible to capture several abandoned monasteries and constructions.
Pinnacles over Kastraki (Photo tour location: 16)
On the other side of Kastraki, there is another smooth rock with a recreational outdoor stand for villagers and visitors. Going a little bit further following the road toward Kalambaka and looking at the back side, a new interesting view of the stand and the pinnacles is waiting to be eternalized.
Hiking path to Adrachti (Photo tour location: 17)
Starting from Kastraki, there is an easy hiking path leading to a fallic rock formation standing lonely on top of the hill. The trail leading to the rock is beautiful and passing through luxurious vegetation. This photo was taken in spring, so it might look different in other seasons.
Rock formations in Adrachti (Photo tour location: 18)
At the end of the hiking path leading to the top, leaving the phallic rock to the back, the view is opening on the other side of the valley toward Kalambaka. This location is exactly in between several peaks, so it can give a unique perspective of the steep cliffs.
We actually reached this spot from the other side, coming from Kalambaka and following a dry riverbed, but we can't suggest the same route, since we had to climb several steep falls on the way, that made the hike harder than we expected.
This was just a limited report with a selected number of photos out of the several hundreds I took while visiting Meteora. While I hope this article will be helpful to plan your own photo tour in Meteora with our hiking map, I still suggest to use it only as a starting point, leaving to your own inspiration what hiking paths to follow in Meteora, finding new and interesting point of views to take memorable photos.