Anapli, as Nafplio is also called, is the city where you would like to stay forever! Quiet and lively, coastal with high hills, modern with a long history, beautiful…like no other! With touches of the Franks, Bavarians, Venetians, Turks and, of course, a significant course in the Greek history, Nafplio will win you over from the very first minutes. It cannot be any other way, since the combination of red (roofs) and grey (walls) on a blue-green background (sea) prevails on your every look!Nafplio makes for the closest romantic weekend excursion –if you are in Athens or the Peloponnese. On weekends –mainly- the city gets jam-packed with couples, school students, groups and lone travelers, who come to spend a few wonderful moments in the first capital city of Greece!
Walking around the neighborhoods of the old town, you will get lost in the beauty of the Venetian and neoclassical buildings, as the bougainvilleas and the warm-hearted residents with fill your photographic canvas. And while you are walking in the cobbled alleys, you will suddenly land in an Italian piazza…Or maybe not? It is a fact that the large squares of Nafplio are heavily influenced by the Italian ones, so it is understandable to get a bit confused…!!Taking a first walk around the city you will come across Ottoman elements, Italian-style squares and houses, Venetian and ancient walls, Medieval castles, statues and monuments of Greek leaders! But how can all these fit in one city? You may wonder…However, Nafplio has managed to interweave all the cultures and architectural styles. You must simply surrender yourself to its magic.
Nauplio Info ℹ️a) In Nafplio, Otto was crowned king of the first Greek state. b) In Palamidi you will find the cell where Theodoros Kolokotronis, the great general, was jailed, while its famous 999 steps are actually only 913 (well, only is an understatement…If you climb them you will understand)! c) “Psorokostena” was an actual person and, in fact, she lived in Nafplio (she was a beggar-laundress)!
What to do in Nafplio ?
1) Palamidi Palamidi has no need for any special introduction, as it is one of the most popular attractions in Nafplio. It is also the most beautiful Venetian fortress in Greece and awaits for you to meet its rich history. Finally, from its famous 999 steps you will have the chance to see the most beautiful view of the city.
2) Wine appreciation in Nemea
Welcome to the Peloponnese’s Tuscany. Endless vineyards and numerous varieties of grapes breed some unique wine labels. The experience of wine appreciation is something that you should not miss out on when in Nafplio. The knowledge and tastes surrounding the world of wine will leave you with the best of impressions. For a well-rounded wine appreciation experience, BOOK a tour at mr. Bairaktaris’ winery in Nemea.
3) Old TownThe old town is Nafplio’s crown jewel. Over there you will find the neighborhood of Gialos, which is dressed in bougainvilleas and has the aura of the sea, while in the “quiet” neighborhood of Psaromahalas the streets look like upward stairs and the colorful houses like wall paintings! Despite the renovations, it has maintained the uniqueness that takes the visitor on a journey to an older era! Discover its every corner..
4) Pedestrian Walkway of King Konstantinos The central pedestrian walkway of King Konstantinos is located in the old town and it is the busiest street in the city. Along it there are dozens of clothing, footwear and gift shops and cafés/restaurants that keep alive the walkway that is the last to fall asleep in Nafplio!
5) Bourtzi The small boats wait peacefully at the harbor and they are ready to take you to the legendary Bourtzi. The castle does not have a lot to show on the inside; however, it makes for a nice mini-excursion. Mini Tip: In order to admire Bourtzi from its best side, visit the Lighthouse of Nafplio, during the sunset!
6) Arvanitia Promenade The Arvanitia Promenade is the most beautiful (forbidden) route in Nafplio, stretching across 1km. Forbidden because it is (technically) closed, due to falling rocks (you enter at your own risk) and beautiful because the wild landscape with the rocks and the countless prickly pears blends wonderfully with the colors of the sun and the sea. Mini Tip: Follow the route during the sunset (Check it out HERE)
7) Syntagma Square (First Greek Parliament) It is one of the most significant squares in all of Greece, which is bustling with life at any given hour. This is where the heart of Nafplio beats, while around it you will find the first Greek Parliament, the house of Theodoros Kolokotronis, the palace of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the Archaeological Museum and other important buildings. Explore it during day and night..
8) Epidaurus archaeological site The archaeological site of Ancient Epidaurus makes for an interesting excursion. The highlight is, of course, its famous theater, which even today manages to surprise visitors with its architecture, as well as its incredible acoustics! Mini Tip: Stand in the center of the stage and let a coin drop on the ground, so that you understand its acoustics!
9) Akronafplia Akronafplia is the rock looming next to the old town and it used to be Nafplio’s “acropolis”. Follow the route to the end and see the rare forest of prickly pear cacti, admire Palamidi and let your gaze run across the Argolic Gulf.
10) Visit to Mycenae The Mycenaean civilization at your feet. Within a short 25-minute distance from Nafplio, you have the chance to meet one of Greece’s most important civilizations. At the site, the show-stoppers are the Lion Gate and the vaulted Tomb of Agamemnon.
11) Swim at Karathona, Tolo and Arvanitia The beach of Arvanitia, with the crystal-clear waters, is the ideal option for a quick and quality swim in the city. The beaches of Karathona and Tolo, on the other hand, are located outside of the city and complete the experience of a cooling excursion. Their waters are decent and the beaches are organized.
12) Nafplio Churches Nafplio is offered for a complete religious tour, as it has some notable churches. Some of them are the Church of St. Spyridon (assassination of Kapodistrias), the Church of Panagia Evangelistria (marvelous view of the city) and the Church of Saint Georgios (fair copy of the Last Supper).
13) The Sleeping Lion If you have the time and are in the mood for something special, pay a short visit to the sculpture of the sleeping lion. It is a remarkable piece of art, which is carved in a Nafplian rock.
14) Nafplia Palace Underground Tunnel Follow the beautiful path inside the tunnel and get to the ending point of the once Nafplian acropolis. Note: The Nafplia Palace Underground Tunnel ends up at elevators, which take you up to the hotel…and, thus, to Akronafplia. (It is located HERE)
Food Nafplio ?
The city has two culinary profiles. The old town is full of tourist-attracting taverns with mediocre flavors and high prices, which do not offer any kind of culinary experience. In the new part of town and the surrounding villages there are taverns with worthwhile dishes, with prices kept at low levels and quality high. Nafplio, despite being a coastal town, loves meat and pasta. The most famous dishes of its local cuisine are the “gournopoula” (pork), the bogana, the gkiosa (both lamb) and gogges (pasta). For a full meal with wine you will pay around 12-15€/person. Mini Tip: On weekends, all the best restaurants are full. Make sure you have made reservations.
Pidalio Mezedopoleio: It is –probably- the best restaurant in Nafplio. It is located outside of the old town and serves exquisite dishes, with a friendly attitude and at reasonable prices.
T’ Alonia: In order to taste authentic Argolic gogges, you will have to take a small trip to Pyrgiotika (15 minutes). Accompany them with lamb chops and wine. Portions are large, dishes are tasty and prices pretty low.
Pseiras: It is located outside of the crowded areas, but it is full of flavors and good service. For those who love kokoretsi and dolmadakia, this restaurant is a culinary landmark..
Da Roberto: Nafplio’s famous Italian is located on a most central spot and serves good quality ice-cream, in reasonable prices. A visit will cool you off!Batzavalis: After visiting Epidaurus, stop by the village of Karatzas to meet an original Greek grill. Portions that simply cannot be consumed in full, top-drawer quality and prices extremely low! A rare find!
Souvlomagkies: An affordable and quality solution for fast food. Of course, what stand out from the menu are the souvlakia, which are juicy and delicious.
Gallika Salon de The & French Bakery: Breakfast delicacies, in fresh/quality flavors. Try the original French croissant (they come out at 10 in the morning in limited quantity…So hurry up)!
Pergamondo: Do not leave Nafplio without having tried the legendary loukoumades of Pergamondo, covered in amazing mastic ice-cream, honey and sesame. Add a bit of cottage cheese and get lost in the sweet sin..
Accommodation Nafplio ?️
Accommodation in Nafplio is not going to give you a hard time, as there are many worthwhile sites. But you should bear in mind that the image of the city changes on weekends, with prices spiked up to 50%! It is understandable, as occupancy on those days reaches 90%, all seasons of the year. A decent double room costs 70-90€/night. Mini Tip: in order to find a room that fits your taste on a weekend, you will have to make arrangements at least 1-2 months in advance.
Leto Nuevo Hotel: It is one of the best options for accommodation in Nafplio, as its location, service, rooms and prices are at excellent levels.
Nafplion 1841: A wonderful guesthouse, in the heart of the old town, with modern rooms, clean areas and low prices! Rare find
Anthemion Suites and Villas: It is located a bit outside of the city, in a quiet area and offers luxury accommodation in reasonable prices. Top choice for groups of four or even more guests.
3 Sixty Hotel & Suites: The 4-star hotel is the most luxurious accommodation option in Nafplio. Luxury and comfort in all their glory…at the respective cost, of course.
Anemos Rooms & Apartments: It offers quality stay, easy parking and quick access to the center (5’ on foot). The quality-price ratio is good!
Tips Nafplio ?
- In order to find a table available in –worthwhile- taverns on weekends, you must have made reservations.
- Occupancy on weekends reaches up to 90%, (almost) all seasons of the year.
- Prefer to dine at some tavern outside of the old town, or at a close-by village.
- During bad weather conditions the boats do not travel to Bourtzi.
- Visit Mycenae at the opening or in the afternoon. The site gets swarmed with groups from 09:30 to 15:00.
- The best view of the city can be spotted between the 730th and 850th steps at Palamidi!
- On the holiday of the Assumption of Mary (15th August), the squares are full of bands, events and tasty delicacies.
- You can reach Palamidi also by car..
- SOS: Make reservations at the website of the accommodation site of your interest. You will get up to 20% discount, in comparison with popular booking websites.
- At the old town, you must leave your car at the special parking facilities or outside of the area.
- The city is a springboard for nearby excursions to Mycenae and Ancient Epidaurus, for swimming at the beaches of Karathona-Tolo and for wine appreciation in Nemea.
- The most quiet and beautiful beach of the area is in Assini. (SEE HERE)
- The weather in the city is pleasant most days of the year.
- In the city you will find the cheapest gas/oil in the Peloponnese.
- The Arvanitia Promenade is (officially) closed, but its gate is open! You enter at your own risk, as falling stones/rocks might hurt you.
- The courtyard of the Church of Evangelistria offers a nice view of the city (with fewer people).
- The train ride starts at the harbor and it is a very pleasant experience for everyone and especially for families.
- As you walk along the Arvanitia Promenade, climb to the chapel of Akra Panagitsa to enjoy the view and quiet.