The visiting days and hours of the Meteora monasteries are unpredictable and changeable. Since May 2009, most monasteries have closed 1 day a week and been open other days from 9am to 4 or 5pm. In winter, most close 1 or 2 days a week and are open other days from 9am to 1pm (St. Nicholas), 9am to 2pm (Ayia Triada and Rousssanou), 9am to 3pm (Varlaam), and 9am to 4pm (Great Meteoron); Ayiou Stefanos planned to be open 9:30am to 1pm and 3 to 5pm. This is a departure from the monasteries' former practice of all closing for several hours in the middle of the day for siesta. It remains to be seen if the many monasteries will continue to be open in the middle of the day or revert to their previous schedule. Sometimes the monasteries are much less crowded in the early evening, when tour groups have departed for their next destination. Ideally, you would be able to visit monasteries on two late afternoons. Failing that, start your visit as early in the day as possible, so you're not left cooling your heels if the monasteries revert to closing while the monks and nuns have their afternoon siestas. Try to allow at least a full day here -- you don't want to rush your experience of the contemplative life! If you are on a tight schedule, you can visit several monasteries and then do a circuit of the others by car in an hour or so. Women should wear skirts, not slacks, and men should wear slacks, not shorts. If you come in winter, dress warmly, as many of the monasteries have little or no heat in the public rooms. Also in winter, many small restaurants and hotels in the area may be closed. In compensation, you might get to see the Meteora at its most beautiful: covered with snow and shrouded in mists.
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