Monks first started settling on these sandstone peaks in the 11th century.
Twenty-four monasteries were built with painstaking detail in one of the most remote and inaccessible spots in the planet, more than 1500 feet in the air.
The Meteora Monasteries are one of the most popular tourist sites in Greece and have been designated as a World Heritage location by UNESCO.
Access is arduous — to transport themselves and their goods up the cliffs, the monks used long ladders tied together and baskets attached to ropes.
The basket-on-a-cord method tested their faith — ropes were only replaced “when the Lord let them break,” according to monastery records.
Today there are six remaining monasteries, all of which are open to visitors. You don’t have to get hoisted up in a basket, but getting there still involves an element of difficulty — steps and bridges were added in the 1920s. You’ll also need to dress conservatively, although a monk at the door will lend you a shawl, skirt, or pants if you arrive overexposed.
Beautiful aerial video of the Meteora Monasteries by air. Worth a look: