Kalampaka constitutes the city-gate of the huge stone complex of Meteora. The first visit is the hovering Monastery of «AgiosStefanos ». From there the cycling tour begins in a downhill route with a direction to the monastery the «Big Meteoro» and then to the monastery «Varlaam».
The masterpiece of the nature spreads before our eyes. The holy place constitutes a breath-taking spectacle!
We continue our cycling descent and arrive to Kastraki. It nestles between the rocks and it is the most beautiful village in the area and the base of operations for the climbers. Next we go to a special location in order to know the sport of climbing from a qualified instructor on the holy rocks, something very popular in the area and it attracts the specialist athletes and amateurs from all over the world, to the marked routes. There we will try the climbing route for the beginners and we will get to know the custom of Agios Georgios Mantilas. At the same time with this activity some cycling exercises and crafts will be take place (for the children under 18 years of age who want to participate).
Then we go with our bicycles to the Natural History Museum and the Mushroom Museum..
The excursion ends at the Central Square of Kalampaka. Then a stop for coffee or a sweet follows and a free tour to the traditional local shops of the area. After dinner in a traditional tavern with delivious food, we spend the night at a Hotel in Neochori village of Plastiras Lake.
Duration: ~5 hours
Difficulty Level: Easy
Meeting Point: Central Square of Kalabaka
Start: Monastery of Agios Stefanos
Finish: Central Square of Kalabaka
Suitable for: participants ages older than 18 years old with moderate level of fitness
Overnight: Neochori (Plastira lake)
Recommended equipment list
A custom to honor of Ai Giorgis (Agios Georgios). The name “Mantilas” was added because every year at the celebration of the name day of Agios Georgios, residents of the village, the region but also visitors from all over the Greece honor the Saint by offering a handkerchief (mantili) and they take a piece as an amulet, from those that were there for a year, and the climbers bring them down and those who manage climb to the dilapidated monastery. At the same time with this taking up and bringing down the handkerchiefs, the Mass is held at the small church of Agios Georgios.
The custom started many years ago when a Turkish soldier or army officer, was cutting some trees in the grove of Agios Georgios that existed under the hermitage of Agios Georgios. During the cut a trunk crashed down on him resulting to his serious injury. Then the Turk’s wife finding him injured, took off her scarf (hijab) and she «vowed» (offered) it to the Saint so as her husband could get well. Immediately a resident of Kastraki brought it up to the monastery and the Turk got well.
Since then this custom is practiced every year at Kastraki where the young people make a very difficult ascent, by exchanging the old handkerchiefs with the new ones offered as vows. The custom of Agios Georgios Mantilas showσ us also the connection of the local population with the rocks climbing.