Photo du Jour: A Rock Climber Conquers Adrachti, in Meteora, Greece

“It’s not just a question of conquering a summit previously unknown, but of tracing, step by step, a new pathway to it.” 

Gustav Mahler

Look carefully at the top of this dramatic, finger-like rock formation, and you’ll see a tiny human silhouette.

Enjoying dinner in Meteora, Greece, home to magnificent monasteries perched upon mountaintops, we were awed watching this rock climber reach the top of a formation called Adrachti, which translates to ‘spindle’ in Greek. Once he arrived at the summit, the climber admired the sunset, and then he descended.

The next afternoon, when we hiked to the base of Adrachti, we gained an even greater appreciation for this climber’s great accomplishment. We also pondered how much longer this odd formation will remain standing, and how it came to be formed.

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • Meteora is about 4 hours northwest of Athens. To get there, we traveled by bus from Skopje, Macedonia. (We departed Skopje before sunrise, then journeyed to Thessaloniki, Trikala, and Kalambaka, all in one day. We bought separate bus tickets for the various legs of the journey.)
  • We spent about one week at the cozy Guesthouse Patavalis (affiliate link), in the village of Kastraki. We stayed in the ‘Purple Room’. From the terrace, we had great views of the surrounding rock formations. The guesthouse made a great hub for hiking to Meteora’s monasteries.
  • It can be easy to get lost when hiking in the more remote wooded areas around the Meteora Monasteries. Be sure you have a good map, or consider hiring a guide to find those less-trodden paths, which are well worth exploring.
  • The weather was sizzling during our springtime visit, and we were happy to have packed ample water and snacks. It’s possible to purchase refreshments near some of the more popular monasteries, but because the hike can be long, I recommend bringing your own for the ascent.
  • Be sure to check the opening hours for the monasteries that you’re hoping to visit on a particular day. A different monastery is closed each day to allow the monks a workday without visitors. Visit Meteora is a useful planning resource, and we also enjoyed stopping by the agency’s office in Kalambaka. With a helpful team of staff members on hand, free Wifi, great reading material about the local attractions, and cozy chairs available to the public, it’s a one-stop shop.
  • Visit the Kalambaka Tourist Center website for information about the monasteries, as well as other activities that you can do in Meteora.
  • Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Greece.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

22 thoughts on “Photo du Jour: A Rock Climber Conquers Adrachti, in Meteora, Greece

    1. Even more impressive when you can see how rugged/steep the formation is from down below. It seemed unstable ‘balancing’ like that, but I know it’s a popular formation for Meteora climbers.

      Have you done some rock climbing?

      1. Hi Tricia – I did a little bit of clambering about as a young thing – not proper rock climbing by any means but a bit of scaling down cliffs on dodgy ropes like the Famous Five. Now – I wouldn’t be quite so game. Fantastic image to have captured.

    1. Hopefully his climbing partner could play paparazzo then! :)

      I was hoping we might see the climbers on their way back to the village, because I thought it would be nice to share the images I snapped. Alas, they descended so quickly, and then seemingly disappeared.

    1. He sure did, Tina. His rope looked a bit like a spider’s line from far away. There was another climber with him too. Having only wall-climbed indoors twice, I have such appreciation for this feat.

    1. It sure is, Alli! These Greek formations are quite popular with rock climbers. During our week in Meteora, we saw climbers tackling the numerous formations every day. Braver than me!

      1. Thank you (with credit to the climber who made the picture). I know you’ve island hopped throughout Greece, but I recommend seeing these fascinating monasteries and natural wonders the next time you’re there.

    1. Hi Jo, we pinch ourselves almost every day, acknowledging how lucky we are to be on such adventures. Visiting the Meteora monasteries has certainly been one of the greatest highlights thus far, though. Such gorgeous natural and manmade beauty! I know you’ve travelled to the Greek islands before, but have you spent much time on the mainland?

      1. Very little. Only to Halkidiki when James was small. I never even made it to Thessalonika. My life is full of wasted opportunities. But then, everybody makes choices. :)

      2. Jo, we heard a lot about Halkidiki when we were in Skopje and Ohrid, Macedonia. It sounds as though it was quite the long Easter weekend getaway spot.

        The fun thing about travel is that you’ll never know when the opportunity will present itself to see a spot you thought you’d previously missed. I was pleasantly surprised once or twice this spring (while exploring the Balkans) because we got to see cities that I’d previously missed years ago.

        Hope the sun is shining by you today! :)

  1. That is indeed an amazing rock. And what an experience it must have been to follow the setting sun from the top of it. As it must have been a nice experience for you. Thanks for sharing,

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