The natural sandstone towers of Meteora, Greece, 160 mi/260 km northwest of Athens, are the site of spectacular monasteries. Atop gray-rock pinnacles jutting some 2,000 ft/600 m in the air (meteora means "hanging between heaven and Earth"), these 11th-century religious centers contain ancient manuscripts, ornate icons and Byzantine artifacts.

Spend at least a day in the area and visit the impressive monasteries. We suggest seeing 615-ft-/200-m-high Megalo Meteoro (Metamorfossis), or Varlaam, which was built in 1542 and features stunning post-Byzantine art, although there are others you can visit as well.

For overnight accommodations, you can stay in the town of Kalambaka, located under the rock formations. It has post-Byzantine churches and an 11th-century cathedral (with frescoes) that are worth exploring.

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