A group of 6 superior luxury hotels in Athens, Naf

Kalambaka

The town of Kalambáka lies in the shadow of the rocks of the Metéora, on the left bank of the River Piniós, 20 kilometres distant from the Thessalian metropolis Tríkala. Built on the ruins of the ancient city of Aegínion, it is a town with a rich history, dating from Byzantine times. The spectacular grandeur of this unique cluster of rocks leaves the visitor stunned, while lending an uncanny colour to this sacred spot. The Meteoran monasteries, perched on pinnacles of rock, were founded in the twelfth century. Of the twenty-four monasteries, only six are open to visits, and in these can be found ¾ as in all the others ¾ rare relics, treasures and miniatures of great historical value.

Of the monasteries, the most significant are Megálou Metéorou (Grand Metéoron), Varlaam, Ayías Triádhos and Áyios Stéfanos. The smallest and oldest monastery is Áyios Nikólaos Anapavsá. UNESCO has proclaimed the Metéora a Monument of Cultural Heritage.

The cave of Theópetra (3km), one of the finest in Europe, dates from the Stone Age. The findings outline Greek prehistoric times.

Kóziakas villages. On leaving Tríkala, one may climb up Mount Kóziakas to visit the picturesque villages with their beautiful churches and running waters. Starting with the village Pýli or Pórta (32km), with its singular Byzantine church of Pórta Panaghía and its arch-shaped stone bridge, we go on to Eláti (48km) and thence to Pertoúli (68km), a popular ski centre, and further on to Neraïdohóri (62km) in a uniquely beautiful environmental setting.

Aspropótamos villages. The district of Aspropótamos is enriched with forests and widespread meadows, through which flow rivers with banks of luxuriant vegetation. Worth visiting are the quaint villages of Kastaniá (40km), Dolianá (55km) and Kraniá (60km). Prominent is the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Dolianá, built in 1770 but destroyed in 1943, save for the main church, a unique example of Greek monastic architecture. You may round off your trip at Tría Potámia for trekking, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking and climbing.

Lake Plastíra (55km). South of Kalambáka, past Tríkala and Kardítsa, is Lake Plastíra and the dam envisaged by the late Nikólaos Plastíras, general and prime minister. It involves a magnificent setting, the creation of man and nature, surrounded by monasteries of the post-Byzantine period.

Métsovo (80km). The small alpine town is built on two sides of a ravine of the Píndhos mountains, in the midst of beeches and firs. It commands a wild scenery and a rich history. The usual heavy winter is ideal for winter sports, whereas it is renowned for its folk tradition, architecture and cheese-making. Via Egnatia expressway reduces well-nigh to nothing the distance to Métsovo.

Visit Amalia Kalambaka Hotel: www.amaliahotelkalambaka.gr