Porsche Travel Experience Greece: guided by a photographer’s artistic eye
Monasteries, mountains and memorable bridges
Man exits door of Porsche 911 Cabriolet with monastery behind
Images of blue seas and white beaches are what we expect from Greece. But on a trip to the monasteries of Meteora, photographer Costas Spathis shows some of the unexpected scenic attractions that his country has to offer
The sky is not the limitCostas Spathis loves to capture unique landscapes and extraordinary shapes. This self-taught Greek photographer prefers a graphical, minimalist style – often taken from a bird’s eye view. When you learn that Costa’s full-time job is an architect, it’s hardly surprising that he loves graphic structures and a certain constructive order. With his openness to new technology, you can see why Costas became a pioneer in artistic drone photography when these devices became available to consumers. On our journey with him on the Porsche Travel Experience Greece, Costas makes frequent stops to send his drone skywards as we pass through olive groves, rolling mountain landscapes and fields filled with herds of goats. The results reveal surprising perspectives on his homeland.
Costas Spathis with his drone and the Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Costas send his drone into the skies above the spectacular monasteries of Meteora
In the searing summer heat, we pass Costas’ birthplace of Trikala, which sits in the middle of the fertile Thessalian plain of central Greece. Here, you can see the splendour of the mountains of Pindos in the distance. They are covered in snow in winter time but right now they are resplendent in grey-green; the goats that inhabit seemingly turn into rock or grass, depending on the light conditions. “The black goats are called Chórba, the white ones are Chóna,” says Costas, who is familiar with the ancient traditions of the Thessalonian farmers. Time seems to have stopped here. Soon we find ourselves meandering up winding roads and the first rocky crags appear on the horizon.
Aerial view of landscape with water and mountains
Untypically Greek: the Thessaly region is chiefly made up of a large plain bordered by mountains
Floating monasteries: an enchanted place between heaven and earthThe monasteries of Meteora in the heart of Thessaly are one of Costas’ favourite places on the Porsche Travel Experience Greece trail. High above the small town of Kalambaka, which lies at their feet, the monasteries sit like sentinels at the summit of bizarre rock formations that rise to heights of up to 500m. You can enjoy a fantastic view across to the Pindos mountains here. The crags thrust skywards, like needles, surrounded by a blanket of green, the sun making these hilltops and their steep, almost vertical, walls sparkle. An artist could hardly have placed this unique scenery more effectively and evocatively. Millions of years of wind and rain have formed this incredible forest of vast, towering rocks, between which you can spy spectacular glimpses of the plain beyond.
I combine architecture with everything to do with geometry, beautiful landscapes and interesting shapes
Costas Spathis | Architect and photographer
Aerial view of unusual rock formations in a valley
Enchanting scenery: mediaeval ‘skyscrapers’ dominate the skyline over the town of Kalambaka
Until well into the 20th century, the only access to these mountain plateaus and the 24 monasteries of Meteora – six of which are still inhabited – was via winches, rope ladders or baskets. Things are much easier these days thanks to a well-built road leading up here. And, courtesy of Costas’ drone, we have our own personal perspectives to surprise us on our onward journey.
The bridge over the steep-sided Corinth Canal, cut from rock
The Corinth Canal: the bridge spans steep rock walls that rise up to 80 metres in height
Crossing the bridges of GreeceAfter negotiating this winding, memorable route through the mountains, we head south. With his experience as a local, Costas knows the most exciting sections for unforgettable driving moments – like the old iron road bridge that spans the Corinth Canal. This bridge appears to wobble violently with every car passing over it. Or the modern Rio-Antirrio Bridge, the second-longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, which spans the Gulf of Corinth between the Peloponnese and the mainland. It’s a spectacular structure with gigantic pillars and a roadway that sways on its cables to compensate for the effects of the wind or potential earthquakes. They are scenic highlight on this section of the Porsche Travel Experience Greece. But, most of all, in Costas’ eyes they are exciting motifs for his arresting, graphic works of art.
Long steel-cable bridge across the sea
The Rio-Antirrio Century Bridge was completed in 2004, just in time for the Olympic torch to be carried along its 2.9km span
Costas' photos have a certain graphic purity and always open up surprising perspectives. Feel like enjoying more out-of-the-ordinary images by Costas? Take a look at his Instagram account @spathumpa and the examples below.
Aerial view of Greek landscape with swimming person. Hong Kong skyscrapers.
Boats in the sunset. Hot air balloon flying over desert.
This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.
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