Meteora: Greek Monasteries Perched High in the Air and Open for Tourists (VIDEO)

Posted Jul 18th 2011 01:45 PMUpdated Jul 18th 2011 02:05 PM




In Northwestern Thessaly, a few hours out of Athens, rock towers crowned with the ancient monasteries of Meteora loom over fertile valleys.

Islands of Orthodox Christianity from the high tide of a Turkish onslaught in the 11th century, the monasteries still function today, bustling with busy Snape-robed priests and icon-painting nuns.

Fortunately for visitors, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is accessible for the un-ordained and even the unholy. Elevators and gondolas service the thin, stony peaks, which offer unrivaled view of the red-roofed town's below.

Now would be the time to go. As Greece's financial troubles have reached Olympian heights, prices for a number of good's and services (and hotel rooms) have plummeted. Check out AOL Travel's guide to Greece on a budget here.

Happily, one retreat can lead to another.

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