Meteora is a magical place, where a thousand years ago monks started building monasteries perched atop extraordinary rock formations several hundred metres tall. The name means “suspended in the air”, which is what the monasteries appear to do. The opportunities to capture spell-binding images and video here are boundless.
Deep in the heart of Central Greece, this is a part of Greece much less visited by tourists than the better-known coastal areas. The scenery everywhere is stunning. The landscape largely unspoiled. The people incredibly hospitable, and the food incredibly good.
We are delighted to have as our guide the award-winning wildlife and landscape photographer George Blonsky. He knows this area inside-out, being half-Greek, and having brought traditional photography tours here for several years. Check out his portfolio at www.geopictorial.com/index
When we visited in October 2018 to research this trip, and despite having done my homework about Meteora online in advance, I was completely unprepared for the sight before my eyes when we arrived at the monasteries. What the monks went through to build their “monasteries in the sky” beggars belief.
What a place to fly a drone. From the moment I took off from a quiet spot away from the few tourists that were stopping at the main viewing points, the images I saw on my screen took my breath away. So much vertical space. Such an incredible backdrop provided by the craggy peaks and the fluffy white cloud studded sky. Light of such limpid beauty. And the monasteries themselves. Providing focal points for my filming like nothing I have ever seen.
A trip to this part of Greece is so different from visiting the Greece of Athens and the Parthenon, or the lovely Greek islands. We adore Corfu too – which is why we are going back in April 2019 for another week on a 48ft yacht with drones. But this is the real Greece. And with George Blonsky as our guide, we can unlock it. Every day feels like an adventure. Unexpected scenes of astonishing beauty at every turn. Amazing generosity and kindness from everyone we meet. Stray Anatolian sheepdogs asleep in the middle of the road – the roads around here don’t see much traffic. Delicious, authentic, locally sourced food in the restaurants. With great options for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.
As well as the monasteries of Meteora, we will also visit the stunning, unique, deserted, post-Byzantine “Church of the Holy Cross” high in the mountains North of Meteora, and Metsovo, a beautiful mountain-top village, and the spectacular lake next to it, where the Autumn colours in the trees are achingly beautiful at the time of year we will be visiting.
*Note that since we completed our research for this trip, drone flying in close proximity to the monasteries of Meteora, as well as in certain other parts of Greece, has been prohibited by the Greek government without special permission. We have applied for such permission, and given our connections with the powers that be, we are optimistic we will receive approval for our group to fly near, but not over, the monasteries of Meteora.
In the event that our application is not successful, then Plan B looks equally enticing:
- There are locations that we flew from in October 2018 during our recce of the area that are beautiful, and have the extraordinary rock formations of Meteora in the background, that are not covered by the exclusion zone around the monasteries, and so are still open for us to fly
- There are other monasteries, on similar rock formations, including particularly at Proussos, nearby, where it continues to be permitted to fly drones, which will be as memorable to fly at as is Meteora
- There is a beautiful mountain range at Pertouli, and a stunning lake, Kremaston, which we will visit to fly our drones in the event that flying at Meteora proves to be out of reach. Both of these are spectacular in their own right
- Indeed, during our recce in October 2018, it often felt as though there was a spectacular flying location around every bend in the road, so beautiful is this part of Greece
As such, we are confident that the trip to Meteora will remain the highlight of our calendar of trips for 2019, and will become a staple of our programme in future years. This part of central Greece is wonderful. The people are wonderful. The scenery is wonderful. The food is delicious. And George is a really special person to have as our guide. What’s not to like?!
A word about flights
Please note that Easyjet fly regularly from all major UK airports to Thessaloniki, which is the second city of Greece, regularly throughout the year. Which was a big part of why we chose Thessaloniki as our arrival & departure point. But they have not yet published their schedule for Autumn 2019. So a search for flights right now will yield some curious results. Please don’t worry about this!
- Flying in breath-taking locations around the ancient monasteries of Meteora*, perched high on incredible rock formations
- Led by award-winning landscape photographer George Blonsky, and PhantomFlightSchool founder Alan Proto
- Maximum group size 6
- Photo review, critique, and post-production masterclasses in the evenings
- Single-occupancy accommodation
- All Breakfasts
- All transport during the trip
What’s not included:
- Flights to destination
- Meals & drinks not mentioned
- Travel and drone insurance