The Meteora Monasteries of Greece – UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nature & Art

Meteora is the second most important site in Greece, next to the Acropolis. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under both nature and art. Only a few UNESCO sites in the world qualify for two categories.

Meteora means suspended in space. It is home to six mountaintop monasteries. Even if you’re not religious they are so worth the visit. They literally took my breath away the second I saw them; pictures do not do this place justice. My entire family was left in awe from the sites here. It feels otherworldly.

The reason the monasteries were built suspended on these mountains were to keep monks safe, beginning in the 14th century. They had to rock climb or be carried up in a basket just to access the monasteries. It wasn’t until the 1920s that stairs were built.

There are two types of monasteries in Meteora –  communal and living as a hermit. Only one of the monasteries today houses female nuns. A typical day for the monks and nuns involves waking at 4am for three hours of prayer, and them carrying out their assigned duties.

Women who enter the monasteries must wear a skirt to enter; they offer tie on skirts at the door if you need one.

Cats are everywhere in Greece, even the monasteries

Fun fact: Meteora appeared in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.

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The little charming town of Kalambaka is right behind the monasteries.

My family and I rented a car from Thessaloniki and drove here for the day. I highly recommend getting a tour here since there is so much to know and see. Some of the best places are actually quite hidden. Check out tours to book here.

Although the Meteora monasteries are not as popular for tourists as other places in Greece, this is such a special place that you don’t want to miss. There is no place like this on Earth.

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I Summited Mount Olympus – Here’s my Story in photos

Mount Olympus is known as the mountain of the gods. It is a land rich in Greek mythology and beautiful landscapes.

I spent two days with a Greek tour guide and a group of students from the American College of Thessaloniki hiking the highest Greek mountain (2918m/9577ft).

Here is a short description with photos of what the hike entails.

Day 1: 3 hour hike up to the refuge (2100m).

Chill in refuge with friends, play cards, and drink hot chocolate and wine around a fire. Watch the stars. Wander the mountainside at sunset. Sleep in a bunker with everyone.

Day 2: wake up early, have breakfast in the refuge, and then hike all day to the summit of mount Olympus.

This is when the hike got difficult and scary at times. But very exhilarating. The views were unreal.

At times we had to scale the side of the mountain as it got more and more steep. If you fell you would be a goner, only do this hike if you’re fit.

This was the first time I rock climbed with gear outside a gym.

Once we reached the summit, we had to hike down the mountain back to the bus.

Half of the group got lost from the tour guide (I was in that group…) After 2 hours and some panic attack’s we found the bus.

“They say that there [Mount Olympus] is the seat of the gods, ever secure: it is not shaken by winds or drenched with rain nor do snowstorms assail it, but always brightness is spread about it, without clouds, and a clear light plays about it. There the blessed gods take pleasure every day.” -The Odyssey

Rock climbing

The rock ahead is significant in Greek mythology. It’s also at the summit.

This hike was more difficult and more beautiful than I could have imagined. I have to say it’s one of the coolest things I did while living in Greece. I highly recommend doing it, but with a tour guide if you’re new to hiking. Spending this much time in nature and in constant motion is incredible for our overall wellbeing. A good hike every once in a while makes life come alive❤️

What is your favorite hiking adventure? Comment below.

Delphi, Greece – The Legendary Oracle, Temple of Apollo and Athena

Delphi is an extensive mountainside archaeology site (4th century B.C.) that contains what’s left of the Athena and Apollo’s temples (Greek God and Goddess).

It is the home of a legendary oracle Pythia, where in ancient times royalty from around the world would travel to, consulting on important decisions. Pythia was the legendary priestess who was known to channel Apollo’s prophecies.

This site also contains an ancient stadium and theater.

The ancient Greeks considered Delphi the center of the world. This site and the ancient oracle had tremendous influence over the ancient world. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The Delphi Archaeological Museum displays artifacts collected from the ruins.

 Ruins of the ancient Temple of Apollo at Delphi, overlooking the valley of Phocis.

Ruins of the ancient Temple of Apollo at Delphi, overlooking the valley of Phocis.

The Theater of Delphi

The theater of Delphi

Having a guided tour is recommended because of the sites extensive history.

Athens, Greece Photo Guide

Here are my favorite photos from 2 nights in Athens hosted by The American College of Thessaloniki. Athens is an incredible city and it was nice to have guided tours of all the major icons of the city. There is so much to see here!
*Acropolis Museum

*Acropolis with its beautiful Parthenon

*Changing of the Guards

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Above is the famed Parthenon, which is on the acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis Museum - houses artifacts from the Greek Bronze Age through Roman and Byzantine Greece

The Acropolis Museum – houses artifacts from the Greek Bronze Age through Roman and Byzantine Greece

“Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts and eloquence.” -John Milton

“Many of our ideas of democracy, so much of our literature and philosophy and science can be traced back to roots right here in Athens.” -Barack Obama

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The Changing of the Guards – If you go on a Sunday, there is a ceremonial changing of the guards outside the Greek Parliament building

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Study Abroad Fam

Amazed by the Theatre of Dionysus

Amazed by the Theatre of Dionysus

The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum

Have you been to Athens? What is your favorite place to see?

Being an American Student in Greece -American College of Thessaloniki

Being a student at ACT was overall a very positive experience. I have to say that the most I’ve learned in college thus far has been my year living in Thessaloniki. During this time I was able to immerse myself in Greek culture, travel all over Europe and Africa, make friends from all over the U.S. and Europe, solo travel, show my family around North Greece, complete two semesters of university, and so much more.

ACT is a hidden gem in Greece and I would choose to study here a thousand times over. I love that the city and university is off the beaten path of Greek/ European tourism, but that you’re also very close to some of the best tourism on earth. The campus is in the mountains and is relaxing and beautiful. It’s small and quaint and the people are friendly and welcoming.

Study abroad exposed me to what I want to pursuit in my life and it gave me so much love for travel. Read here on 3 ways study abroad has enhanced my life.

Some of the highlights of studying at the American College of Thessaloniki are the field trips that ACT offers; my favorites are listed here.

Photos of the American College of Thessaloniki Campus

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Bunkers from WWII – When the Nazis occupied Thessaloniki they used the school as their headquarters…

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The hidden chapel in the forest behind campus