Your Best Guide To Nafplio, Greece

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Your Best Guide To Nafplio, Greece

The city of Nafplion was the first capital of modern Greece and is undoubtedly a place worth visiting. It features gorgeous beaches, aristocratic architecture, old historic landmarks, and plenty to see.  This guide to Nafplio will help you decide what to do over there, but also where to stay, where to eat, and much more.

Where Is Nafplio

Nafplion is the capital of the Argolis regional unit in the Peloponnese, facing a protected wide bay on the Argolic Gulf. It is only 2 hours from the capital, Athens, and less than an hour for the spectacular Corinth Canal.

How To Get To Nafplio

NAFPLIO, GREECE Port at Sunset_

  • The best way to get there is to fly to Athens and then drive or take a long-distance bus.
  • Moving around the Peloponnese by car offers travelers the opportunity to cross the Corinth Canal and explore the many incredible beaches the region shelters, interesting archaeological sites, traditional villages, and much more.
  • If you prefer to get there by bus, you can catch a KTEL bus at the Kifissos Bus Terminal. A one-way ticket is about 15 euro.
  • Another possible way to get to Nafplio is via ferry (from the port of Piraeus or any of the Saronic Islands). There is no direct boat ride, so you must travel to Ermioni or Porto Heli and then continue to Nafplio by bus.
  • Nafplio can also be reached by train from Thessaloniki and Patras.

 

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When To Visit Nafplio

beautiful Cities In Greece - Way to Nafplio city beach The Peloponnese is enchanting any time of the year, but the best time to visit to enjoy the beach and the best weather is from May to September

Greece sees the highest number of tourist arrivals during August and July, so during this period, accommodation tends to be more expensive, and so do tickets. 

Traveling in the spring or early weeks of fall is more affordable, and you can beat at least some of the crowds.

Best Things To Do In Nafplio

Nafplio or Nafplion, Greece, Peloponnese
Nafplio or Nafplion, Greece, Peloponnese 

Often depicted as one of Greece’s most romantic destinations, Nafplio indeed surprises with its aristocratic atmosphere and lavish design. 

The elegant main street is perfect for souvenir shopping and finding some of the best food in town.

However, there is more to the city than you might expect, including breathtaking beaches, medieval castles, and mysterious islets.

Aren’t you curious about Nafplio already? Read on to discover what there is to do in Nafplio, Greece.

Palamidi Castle

Peloponnese Beaches - Palamidi Fortress and Karathona Beach, Nafplio

The first place you must visit when arriving in Nafplio is arguably the most visited landmark in town, the Palamidi Castle, one of the most impressive castles in the country. 

Like many other fortresses in Greece, the castle was built during the Venetian rule of the country, a period that lasted approximately 400 years (although the exact duration of the Venetian occupation changes dramatically from one area of the country to another). 

During the Venetian years, the Republic of Venice ordered the construction of hundreds of castles and fortresses to protect the coastal zones from the constant threat posed by the Ottoman Empire. In 1686, Nafplio saw the foundation of Palamidi, an impressive fortification standing more than 200 meters over the sea.

When the Ottomans finally conquered the region in 1715, they took over the fortification and ruled Nafplio, taking control of its economy, trade, and government. 

The Greek resistance battled against the Turks, regaining control of the castle in 1822 when they made the city the first capital of modern Greece. This was one of the first steps in Greek history when, little by little, more regions and islands in the country became part of the new modern Greek State.

To be rewarded with incredible views of the Argolic Gulf and the sea, visitors need to climb the 999 steps to the top.

The Farmer’s Market At Palamidi

At the foot of the fortress, you can also explore Nafplio’s farmer’s market every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 am to 2.30 pm.

The lively market with dozens of exciting stalls allows you to purchase local products to eat during your stay or to take back home with you!

Bourtzi

The Bourtzi Napfilo Greece_Depositphotos_180644642_S

Another historic place to check out when visiting Nafplio is located a few meters from the coast. Situated on the tiny islet of Saint Theodore, the Venetian fortress of Bourtzi is a popular sight of Nafplio, which you have probably seen several times in online images and postcards.

The islet stands right in the middle of the port. Home to an impressive fortress, its name comes from the Turkish term “tower.” The castle’s construction started in 1470, and its design exactly fits the island’s shape. 

When the Turkish seized the city, they surrounded the fortress with a barricade of huge stones, making it difficult for enemy ships to approach Nafplio. In modern times, the fortress was used as a hotel, while now it hosts different music festivals during summer.

You can easily reach the islet for a visit traveling by boat from the port of Nafplion.

Nafplion Archaeological Museum

As you may have already guessed, Nafplio and the surrounding villages are rich in history, and for that reason visiting the Archaeological Museum of Nafplio should be next on your list.

Over here, you will be able to learn more about the local culture and Nafplio’s past since it houses an important collection dating from prehistoric times and other historical periods.

The Komboloi Museum

What to buy in Greece - Greek Souvenirs - Komboloi

Locally known as komboloi, worry beads are a millennial tradition in Greece. These strings holding a set amount of beads made of different materials (including amber, wood, and acrylic) are part of the local folklore. It is common to see men in any given cafeteria playing with these beads while drinking a cup of Greek coffee.

The best way to learn about these curious objects’ history and their uses is to pay a visit to the museum.

Nafplion Old Town

NAFPLIO, GREECE Old Town

No visit to Nafplion can miss a walk on the alleys of its old town. In fact, the city is one of the most important historic settlements in the country, significant in the modern history of Greece.

The picturesque historic center features impressive Neoclassical buildings facing the harbor. Sunset is the perfect moment of the day for a walk as the light of the sun going down on the Saronic Gulf seems to set the city on fire producing spectacular, golden views.

The Trianon

Originally, the place was born as one of the several Ottoman mosques built during the Ottoman occupation. Over the years, the temple not only worked as a mosque, but it was also a Catholic church, a school and a theater, a cinema, and a music conservatory.

Today, the Trianon is the most important cultural center in the Argolis region, presenting several interesting cultural events and plays all year round.

 

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio

 

Best Beaches In Nafplio

One more thing you should not overlook when exploring Nafplio is the fantastic collection of beaches, either close or far from the city center. Like most of the Peloponnese coast, the shores are breathtaking and with the right landscape and vibe for every kind of visitor. 

These are the beaches I suggest you explore:

Karathona Beach

Close to the center of town and Palamidi Fortress, this small cove is popular among those who prefer not to rent a car as it is just a stone’s throw from the city center. 

Karathona Beach is well organized, offering a few good places to eat and snack bars for refreshments along the seaside promenade.

Arvanitia Beach

Peloponnese Beaches - Arvanitia beach_Nafplio, Greece

Known as the most popular beach in Nafplion, this gorgeous shore has several times earned the Blue Flag beach status for the quality of the sea. 

This beach is also close to the center of Nafplion and is often overcrowded. The beach has pristine emerald waters featuring both sand and small pebbles.

Psili Ammos Beach

This shore is in the area known as Tolo, about 10 km south of Nafplio’s city center. This is maybe the most beautiful beach in the area, featuring fine golden sand and pristine waters. The beach is kid-friendly and a favorite destination for families.

Young visitors enjoy various water sports that can be enjoyed along this long coast. Canoeing, kayaking, and scuba diving are among the most common sports, while small children enjoy swimming in calm waters and snorkeling.

The area is wholly organized with facilities, tavernas, and everything you need to spend an incredible day on the beach. 

Neraki Beach

Not far from Aravanitia, Neraki (meaning small water) is a small beach with coarse sand and pebbles located a few meters from Karathona Beach. 

This shore is quite solitary and secluded, perfect for spending a long beach day in almost complete isolation.

Where To Stay In Nafplio

If this is your first visit and you’d instead not rent a car, I recommend staying close to the city center to make the most of the short distances. This will also allow you to get to the city beach after a short walk.

Since Nafplio is a popular tourist destination, accommodation tends to be fully booked early in the season. So, if you find the place you like in your desired area, don’t wait to book before someone else does. 

This way, you might even secure special deals or find room upgrades that are bound to be over when you book at the last minute. In such popular places, there is no such thing as a last-minute deal – keep that in mind and book your hotel room or rental home as soon as you find it. 

These are the places I suggest considering when looking for the best accommodation in Nafplio.

Best Luxury Place To Stay In Nafplio: Amphitryon Hotel

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Amphitryon Hotel
Photo Credit: Amphitryon Hotel

This 5-star hotel in Nafplio’s old town is just 800 meters from Arvanitia Beach and only steps from the Akronafplia Castle. The hotel has earned an excellent reputation for its American breakfast with stunning sea views. The a la carte restaurant Circle serves Mediterranean cuisine, while both the on-site bar and the library lounge are perfect for relaxing with a drink.

 

Best Mid-Range Place To Stay In Nafplio: Castellano Hotel & Suites

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Castellano Hotel & Suites
Photo Credit: Castellano Hotel & Suites

Also, in the best area of the old town of Nafplio, this hotel is conveniently close to Arvanitia Beach (less than 400 meters) and only 12 km from Argos’ train station.

 

Best Budget Place To Stay In Nafplio: Polyxenia Hotel

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Polyxenia Hotel
Photo Credit: Polyxenia Hotel

Located in the heart of the old town and only 250 meters from the beach, this convenient hotel is set in a restored mansion from 1850 in a picturesque alley, only a few minutes walk from the central Syntagma Square.

 

Best Places To Eat In Nafplio

After a long, tiring day by the sea, you will most likely be starving. Here are the best places to eat in town: 

Pidalio Mezedopoleio

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Pidalio Mezedopoleio
Photo Credit: Pidalio Mezedopoleio

This is a popular place to try the famous Greek mezedes (a concept in food that is similar to Spanish tapas), where you can taste a variety of delicious bites and nibbles with a drink of choice.

Locals love to indulge in ouzo, but if that is too strong for you, you can quickly try a glass of delicious wine made in the Nemea wine region in the Peloponnese.

Address: 5, 25th of March Street, Nafplio.

Nafplio Falafel

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Nafplio Falafel
Photo Credit: Nafplio Falafel

This is the perfect little spot in town for those traveling on a budget or looking for a cheap but rewarding meal. The place serves a great selection of vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) dishes from Greek and Middle Eastern traditions. The dishes are healthy, and the views are perfect!

All their food is homemade, and their specialties include Greece’s famous keftedes, including meatballs, tomato balls, and pumpkin balls, but also vegan kebabs, salads, spicy drinks, and unique Greek soft drinks you won’t easily find anywhere else.

Address: 4, Vasileos Paulou, Nafplio.

Stavlos 

Greece Travel Blog_Guide To Nafplio_Stavlos 
Photo Credit: Stavlos

Although most of us usually think that a trip to Greece will reward us with sumptuous fish delicacies, the truth is that eating fish is not as common for locals as you may think. In fact, Greeks love their red meat with patates tiganités (French fries)! Stavlos is there to prove it!

This steak house is located on the premises of an ancient, neoclassical house surrounded by beautiful gardens. Food is simple, mostly grilled meat, huge kebab portions, and handmade hamburgers (biftekia) that kids adore!

The place is a favorite meeting point for locals that tourists have also discovered and enjoy regularly.

Address: 12, Profiti Ilia Street, Nafplio.

As you can see, Nafplio is a gorgeous, traditional town in Greece that offers the perfect ingredients for a short getaway from Athens. It’s not far from the capital, it has incredible beaches, and interesting places to visit with the whole family.

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