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5 things you might not know about Iceland

5 things you might not know about Iceland

Iceland is a magical, incredibly diverse, tough, compelling and photogenic country. Country becomes very popular destinations In recent years. Volcanoes, wilderness, waterfalls, beautiful coastline, glacial lakes and much more allure tourist worldwide. The Iceland, however, has its specific features:

 

1) Unpredictable weather

The Icelandic weather is notoriously unpredictable. Changes frequently, is difficult to estimate and can really surprise you. Winters are surprisingly warm in many places with no snow. And the summer on the contrary can sometimes annoy cold, windy and rainy weather. Be prepared for anything!

2) Swapped cardinals

Because of the warm currents in the North and the glaciers in southern the Iceland’s weather on this island is reversed. The South is cooler and drier, warmer and wetter is North. Especially when traveling in winter it is good to remember this fact.

3) Crowded Island

Although officially the island is inhabited by less than half a million people, mostly living in Reykjavik, many places especially in the summer are full of crowds. The tourists are the reason of course. Especially the so-called golden triangle in the Southwest (Thingalavatn, Gullfoss, Blue Lagoon) is literally overcrowded. The farther from Reykjavik, the deeper into the inland, the less people you meet. Nowadays the Iceland can offer the deserted wasteland, but the Blue Lagoon is literally head to head.

4) Air Ticket to Iceland does not have to be expensive

The flights to the Iceland are usually expensive, complicated, and they are few. This is especially true in the summer season. However, if you manage to sort out inexpensive off-season ticket for example with local WOW Air so the return ticket from Europe can be around EUR120 and from US around $200.

5) A country where you do not need cash

The Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where you really do not need a local cash. Virtually everything and everywhere can by paid by credit card. Even the entrance to the restroom, parking and retail purchases at the farmers’ market. Conversely, a number of unmanned petrol stations offers the credit card payment only.

Wanna know more about Iceland? Download our travel guide for photographers.

5 Essential Tips for Visiting Metéora Monasteries

5 Essential Tips for Visiting Metéora Monasteries

Metéora monasteries are located in the northwest corner of Thessaly near the towns Kalampaka and Kastraki. This is  one of the most spectacular places to visit in Greece. Metéora means ‘suspended in air’ and it is a name for entire rock community of 24 monasteries on the top of almost inaccessible sandstone cliffs. The area of Meteora was originally settled by monks who lived in caves within the rocks during the 11th Century. It is a unique phenomenon of cultural heritage. The most important monasteries of Metéora are The Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron, The Holy Monastery of Varlaam, The Holy Monastery of Rousanou, The Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, The Holy Monastery of St. Stephen and The Monastery of Holy Trinity. All these monasteries are on the top of Metéora rocks.

If you are looking for more in-deep tips, try our Metéora travel photo guide.

 

Basic facts about Metéora Monasteries

Country: Greece, Prefecture of Trikala, Region of Thessaly
Area: 271.87 ha
Language: Greek
Entrance fee: The entrance fee for all monasteries is 3 Euro per person.

 

Best Time of Year to Visit

Visit Meteora during shoulder season or off season if you want to make the most of your trip. Otherwise you will be  overrun by herds of tourists. Off season starts November and ends in March and during this time, you should have the park for yourself, although it can get a little foggy during fall. Spring might be the best option if you want to get the amazing views without the crowds.

Meteora
Photo by Brendan Van Son

 

 Getting to and around Metéora

Kalambaka is the town at the base of Metéora offers exceptional connectivity and relative short distances to most of Greece’s major population centers, touristic places and transportation hubs. It can be reached by direct train or bus from Athens.

For getting around Metéora, you have 4 options – you can either rent a bicycle, scooter or car or go by bus. Getting around in car can be comfortable, but parking might be a challenge since you can only park in certain areas inside the park. The best option might be the scooter as it is cheap to rent, easy to park and definitely more comfortable for the climb up to the monasteries than bicycle.

 

Where to Stay and Eat

The nearest town of Kalambaka is the best choice and there are many hotels available. The town offers also many really nice restaurants, the region is well known around Greece for its traditional cuisine and especially the quality of its meats. The nearby village of Kastraki also offers a wide range of restaurants and taverns to choose from for lunch or dinner made with locally produced ingredients.

Meteora Monasteries
Photo by Brendan Van Son

How Much Time to Spend 

Plan to spend at least a full day at Metéora Monasteries, a full weekend is our recommendation. You will delight in the play of light on the rocks and their changing moods. On sunny mornings, the red roof tiles of the monasteries glisten in sharp contrast to the weather-stained grayness of the rocks. The late afternoon sun bathes the landscape with a golden glow. At nighttime, the rocks are dramatically illuminated by spotlights.

 

Visiting the Monasteries

Most of the monasteries are open to public from 10am to 4pm, depending on the season. The entrance fee to each is 3 Euro per person. To enter the monasteries you must respect a special dress code: long sleeves, covered shoulders, long sleeves, long pants or skirts.  Find out more attire tips here. Remember to carry bottled water, especially if you are visiting the monasteries by foot. There are refreshment vendors along the road by the monasteries but their prices are excessive.

Meteora Monasteries
Photo by Brendan Van Son

 

 

Are you looking for more travel tips for Meteora? Download our Fripito app for free to iPhone or Android phone and explore more than 30 photo spots selected by Brendan Van Son!

 

Fripito travel guide for Metéora