Five of the most beautiful monasteries nestled in Greek nature

Moni Agiou Ioannou Prodromou

An excursion to Hosios Loukas, the Monastery of Prodromos, the Mega Spileo Monastery, the Monastery of Agios Dimitrios Avgou and The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher is worthwhile for many reasons.

Religious and pilgrimage tourism was once a stereotypical excursion for the elderly. Now, monasteries are enjoyed by all generations, especially those who want to indulge in Greece's most beautiful landscapes.

Close to Athens, monasteries located in the open countryside or nestled in caves and rocks attract visitors and tourists who want to know a different Greece and combine religious immersion with an experience that offers cultural enrichment, relaxation, tranquillity, and fun.

An excursion to Hosios Loukas, the Monastery of Prodromos, the Mega Spileo Monastery, the Monastery of Agios Dimitrios Avgou and The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher is worthwhile for many reasons, as Travel highlights.

Beyond religious immersion, such excursions can offer recreation and contact with historical monuments and architectural masterpieces, contributing to a wider and deeper travel experience.

The Monastery of Hosios Loukas in Boeotia

The Monastery of Hosiοs Loukas in Boeotia

It is located in Boeotia, near the village of Steiri, and is probably the most important Byzantine architectural monument in Greece.

The Monastery of Hosios Loukas of Steiriotis in Boeotia, completed in the 11th century, is located on a picturesque slope in the western foothills of Helikon, near the ancient Steirion. It is dedicated to the local miracle worker and prophet of the same name.

The life of the monastery from its foundation until today is identified with the history of Greece.

In the first two centuries of its existence, the monastic community was a source of Christian faith and divine blessing. At the same time, many conquerors passed through the centuries, from Ottomans to Albanians and Germans.

The devastating 2023 fires did not leave the monastery and the surrounding magnificent landscape unscathed, but the most important buildings and relics were saved.

Regarding leisure, the monastery can be combined with a visit to Livadia, where you can first make a short trip to the Cold Springs, the impressive Castle that stands on the hill of Profitis Ilias, and the gorge of Erkina.

Of course, remember to stop at the town's tavernas, where you can enjoy kokoretsi, kontosouvli, and other delicious food.

Moni Agiou Ioannou Prodromou (Monastery of Prodromos)

Moni Agiou Ioannou Prodromou

In a green landscape with endless vegetation, Moni Prodromou is hidden in Stemnitsa. Built-in the hollow of a large rock, the exact chronology of the monastery's establishment remains a mystery, as with most old monasteries.

However, most researchers speculate that the monastery was founded in the 12th century on the site of earlier hermitages in the area.

You can visit the monastery through the main road that reaches the Chapel of the Transfiguration. From there, a small path of about 800 metres leads to the monastery, which stands out literally hanging on the huge rock.

After visiting the monastery, stop for coffee and well-cooked meat in the tavernas of Stemnitsa and Dimitsana. If you have the energy, you can combine your visit with hiking in the Lousios Gorge.

The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher

The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher

Nestled in the verdant gorge of the Lousios above (the most popular rafting destination), the Holy Monastery of the Philosopher is actually two, the Old and the New. Both are accessible only on foot through the path that connects them to the Monastery of Prodromou.

The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher was founded in 963 AD by the secretary of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor Nikephoros Phokas and is one of the oldest Byzantine monuments in Greece.

The New Holy Monastery of the Philosopher was founded in 1691 and is only five hundred metres from the old one.

Dimitsana and Stemnitsa are also the closest places for recreation, shopping, and relaxation after you visit the monastery.

Mega Spileo Monastery

Mega Spileo Monastery Kalavryta

It is one of Greece's best-known monasteries and most important Orthodox pilgrimages. It is ten kilometres from Kalavryta and is built at the opening of the large natural cave of Helmos at an altitude of 940 metres.

It is considered the oldest monastery in Greece, as it was built in 362 AD by the Thessalonian brother monks, Saints Symeon and Theodore, following divine command. However, its importance is also national since Mega Spileo Monastery played an important role in the Greek Revolution of 1821.

In addition to the important relics of the Greek Revolution, the Monastery Museum has a rare banner with the figures of three Byzantine emperors, manuscripts, precious golden crosses, Gospels on parchments, the shoulder blade of Patriarch Chrysanthemum Notaras, gold-embroidered Epitaphs, Byzantine icons of great value, and more.

If you have academic interests, the rich library of the Monastery, with its Byzantine relics and manuscripts, will leave you moved. The proximity of the monastery to Kalavryta creates an additional incentive since you can enjoy your coffee or chocolate, buy local products and enjoy fine meat in one of the many shops in the area.

The Kalavryton Ski Centre is ideal for lovers of adventure and winter. It is perfect for those who love snowboarding and skiing or want to enjoy a drink against a snowy background.

The Monastery of St Demetrios Avgou (Iria)

The Monastery of St Demetrios Aygou (Iria)

The Holy Monastery of Agios Dimitrios Avgou is one of the most important religious attractions of the Peloponnese—the first references to its construction date back to the 11th century.

It is located near the village of Didima and is accessible either from Karnezeika or Pelei to the east.

The monastery's main building consists of three floors connected by a narrow stone staircase. The second floor houses the monastery, a two-story church dedicated to Saint Demetrius the Myrovlytis and Saints Theodore.

From the monastery's roof, you can see the surrounding area and the many caves where dozens of monks once lived.

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