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Athens to Kalambaka (Meteora) By Train

Meteora

Fast Facts/Recommendations:

  1. Keep cash (in Euros) because cafe inside the train doesn’t accept credit cards
  2. Athens to Kalambaka (Meteora) train tickets can be booked in advance online at Train OSE website
  3. Tickets are sold at train station too. However, I highly recommend buying train tickets online in advance because it’s cheaper, faster and hassle free.
  4. In Athens, the train leaves from Athens Railway Station.
  5. Athens Railway Station is well connected by Athens Metro and is located on Red Line of the metro.
  6. If you’re arriving in Athens by plane, you can take Blue Line from the airport, get off the Blue Line at Syntagma station and take the Red Line to Athens Railway Station.
  7. The Athens Railway Station is around 5 kms from Plaka and it takes around 20-25 mins to get there. If you’re staying in Plaka, make sure you take this time into consideration and leave early from your hotel.
  8. In Meteora, the train arrives in the town of Kalambaka.
  9. If you’re planning to take taxi to your hotel from Kalambaka station, make sure you have cash available with you because taxis in Kalambaka don’t accept credit cards.
  10. Train OSE‘s site didn’t allow me to book tickets using a Visa card. I used MasterCard and it worked fine. Not sure if it’s an ongoing issue, but don’t forget to use MasterCard or any other non-Visa card in case you run into similar issues.

Our Train Journey:

I, along with my wife and a couple of other friends, recently got chance to travel to Meteora from Athens by train. Now that I have done this journey, I can say that it’s definitely the best and the most pleasant way to get to Meteora from Athens.

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The train even has a snack bar where you can buy snacks and beer. Imagine yourself enjoying the view of snow capped mountains from your train seat with a Greek beer in your hand. You are silly if you’re still thinking going to Meteora by car would be better! 😉

Snow capped mountains on our way to Meteora!

We took train 884 from Athens to Kalambaka which departs at 08:20 in the morning. As I stated, the train departs from Athens Railway Station. Since we were staying just 2 blocks away (at Centrotel hotel) from the station, we reached the station on foot in a few minutes. Once the train arrived, finding the coach and seats was pretty easy because the coach and the seat number was printed in the tickets we booked online.

More snow capped mountains on our way to Meteora!

Train arriving at Kalambaka station.

The train arrived at Kalambaka on time. We took a cab from station to our hotel Alsos House, checked in and used the rest of the day to visit a couple of monasteries and go on Meteora Sunset Day Tour. After the tour, we relished the authentic Greek dinner in the town of Kalambaka. We decided to walk back to Alsos House since Kalambaka is a small town and everything is pretty near by.

Next morning, we took train 881 from Kalambaka which arrives at 05:42 AM. We reached station by cab which we had booked previous night. Please note that this train does not go to Athens directly, it’s a one stop journey. Our train arrived at Palaeofarsalos on time, and the other train which would take us to Athens was already there at other platform. We took an underpass to cross over to the other platform.

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How to book:

Train OSE runs a daily direct service between Athens and Meteora (Kalambaka) and vice versa. There are many one stop options as well.

Train Services from Athens to Kalambaka:

Train Services from Kalambaka to Athens

Train OSE’s website is in Greek by default, but English language is supported as well. Make sure you select English(EN) from the top left side on the site. While booking tickets on Train OSE‘s website, please select ‘Athens’ as your departing station and ‘Kalambaka’ as the arriving one. As I have mentioned above, the train leaves from Athens Railway Station which is around 20-25 mins from Plaka. Some people get confused between Athens Railway Station (transit station is called Larissa) and Larissa town. Larissa is a small town in Greece which has nothing to do with this journey.

Sometimes Train OSE‘s website doesn’t allow to book tickets using a Visa card. Worst part is it doesn’t even give a proper error message. Keep a non-Visa card handy if you experience something similar.

Where did we stay in Athens:

In Athens, we stayed at Centrotel hotel for 3 nights. The reason we chose Centrotel over any other hotel near Acropolis/Plaka is because of the following reasons:

  1. We’d to catch an early morning train (train number 884) to Kalambaka from Athens Railway Station. Centrotel hotel is conveniently located just 2 blocks away from the station.
  2. Centrotel hotel has great ratings on TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
  3. Centrotel hotel is very reasonably priced. We paid $65.73 per night for a double room. The total came out to be $210.99 along with taxes for 3 nights.

Please note that we’d traveled to Greece in shoulder season of May. Therefore, the room price may vary depending upon your travel dates and availability.

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If you’re not traveling to Meteora, I would recommend staying in a hotel near by Acropolis/Plaka.

Where did we stay in Kalambaka:

In Kalambaka, we stayed at Alsos House for 1 night. The reason we chose Alsos House over any other hotel in Kalambaka is because of the following reasons:

  1. Alsos House is located right on the edge of Meteora rocks, providing stunning views through out the day and at night.
  2. Alsos House is run by a family. Since we had just 1 night in Kalambaka, we were not really looking for luxury. Instead, we were looking for friendly ‘hosts’ who would introduce us to history of Meteora and Greek culture.
  3. Alsos House has got great reviews on TripAdvisor (4.5 out of 5)  and is highly recommended by guests at Booking.com (8.7 out of 10).
  4. Since we were planning to pack lunch for our day out in Meteora, we were looking for a community kitchen. Alsos House provided just that.
  5. Alsos House is a good bargain when it comes to price. We paid around $60 for one night for a double room. Our room had a huge patio with amazing views of nearby rocks. The views from our patio were even more spectacular at night.

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