The picture of Orthodox monasteries perched atop sharp cliffs will likely come to mind when you hear of Meteora, Greece (and if you’ve never heard of the area, that’s pretty much what you need to know—it’s a UNESCO world heritage site made up of huge sandstone peaks on top of which monks built monasteries from the 11th century onwards). Unless you are a climber…then your focus will undoubtedly be on the crags themselves. Meaning “suspended in air,” Meteora is home to some of the world’s most distinct sandstone rock formations, which the monks have been climbing and inhabiting for centuries.
Meteora’s modern rock climbing scene was kick started by German climbers Dietrich Hasse and Heinz Lothaz Stutte, who first visited the region in the 1970s after seeing pictures of its peaks on a tobacco advertisement. Thanks in large part to Hasse and Stutte, the area now boasts over 800 bolted routes that draw climbers from around the world each spring and fall. If that weren’t enough, a few days here also affords visitors the opportunity to indulge in the best of what Hellenic culture has to offer. Not convinced? Read on for the five biggest reasons why Meteora is truly a climber’s paradise.
Breathtaking Balkans columnist Bridget Nurre Jennions is an Emmy-winning TV journalist and an international development specialist in Kosovo. Follow her travels on her blog, Bridgekrieg.