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Today we drive north, heading to the ancient city of Thermopylae (meaning warm gateways), which took its name from the nearby hot sulphur springs and the rough narrow passages that someone needed to pass through to approach the area. Originally there were three gates, the eastern, the middle and the western one. Greek mythology mentions that Hercules had jumped into the flowing river in an attempt to wash off the Hydra poison infused in his cloak when he killed centaur Nessus, a cloak he could not take off. It was said that the river became hot and stayed that way ever since. A double spring situated nearby and dedicated to goddess Persephone the queen of the underworld, made this place sacred for the ancient Greeks.

Thermopylae however, is mainly famous for the 480 B.C. battle between the greek troops of only 300 devoted Spartans led by their king Leonidas and the enormous Persian army led by emperor Xerxes. The bronze statue of Leonidas stands there to remind us the glorious sacrifice.

Our journey continues passing through beautiful greek landscapes as we approach Meteora, a group of huge rocks towering just off the city of Kalampaka. The monasteries of Meteora built atop some of these rocks, are today’s second most important monastery group after Aghion Oros. From the initial number of 30 monasteries, only 6 are still operational, all of them Unesco’s World Cultural Heritage Monuments since 1988. They were named after the monk Saint Athanasius “the Meteorite”, builder of the Great Meteor monastery, who called “meteoro” the broad rock he climbed on, in the year 1344. Today six monasteries can be visited and more specifically the men’s monastery of Saint Nicolas “the Asmenos”, also known as “Anapafsas monastery”, the Roussani monastery, the men’s monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ also known as Great Meteoro atop the highest rock, the monastery Varlaam or All Saints monastery, the monastery of Holly Trinity of Meteora and the women’s monastery of Saint Stephanos of Meteora.

During the excursion – and upon relevant request - a professional guide could be of your assistance, to accompany you all throughout your trip and visits to archaeological sites and museums.

We strongly recommend that, as the greek legislation excludes professional drivers from entering and walking around these places accompanying their clients, granting this task to the union of the greek professional guides.

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