One of most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis, Peloponnese, as well as one of the most romantic cities in Greece is Nafplio.

Nafplio is a town of rich history and occupation, beginning in 8th century BC. According to mythology, the town was founded by Náfplios, the son of the god Poseidon. The town’s history traces back to the the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War. The town declined during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times.

In 1204, the Byzantine Empire fell and was occupied by the Franks, then Venetians and then the Turks until the Greek revolution in 1822, and became the first capital of Greece. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in Nafplio and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions. Ancient walls, medieval castles, Ottoman fountains, Venetian and neoclassical buildings make Nafplio a truly unique town.

There are many reasons why Nafplio should be on your travel radar, but here are 5 reasons to visit Nafplio, Greece.

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece

Palamidi

Παλαμήδι is a fortress nestled on the crest of a 216-metre high hill in the heart of Nafplio. It was built by the Venetians during their second occupation of the area from 1686–1715.

One of the eight bastions of the fortress was used as a prison for Theodoros Kolokotronis, hero of the Greek Revolution.

The view over the Argolic Gulf, the city of Náfplio and the surrounding country is breathtaking. There are 913 steps in the winding stair from the town to the fortress. However, to reach the top of the fortress there are over one thousand. Locals in the town say there are 999 steps to the top of the castle.

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi view from bottom

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi castle 5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi fortress (2)

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi fortress

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi in Nafplio

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi jail cell

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamadi Inside Kolokotroni's cell
Inside Kolokotroni’s cell

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Palamidi view from top

Epidaurus Theater

A short drive from Nauplion is Epidaurus, one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. The most important attraction of the site is the beatiful ancient Theatre. With perfect visual proportions and spectacular acoustic response of its space, The Epidaurus theatre is the best preserved among all the ancient theatres.

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Epidaurus Theatre entire view

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Ancient Epidaurus Theatre

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Epidaurus Theatre view from the top

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Epidaurus Theatre

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Epidaurus Theatre

Mycenae

Mycenae or Μυκήνη is an archaeological site in Greece, a short drive from Nauplion.

In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae, the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares. The Mycenaean was the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art and writing system.

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - ancient Mycenae

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Mycenae ancient site

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Mycenae

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Mycenae view

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Mycenae

 

Downtown Nafplio

I fell in love with this seaport town, with its quaint shops, restaurants, boutique hotels and cafes. We stayed in a small boutique hotel, with a partial view of the waterfront. Nafplio’s Syntagma Square (town square) is surrounded by beautiful buildings primarily in neoclassical style, with  polished marble floors.

Ta Fanaria has delicious traditional Greek food, so tasty that we returned again. Aiolos Tavern was always busy so we weren’t able to try their menu. 3Sixty is a great spot for couples to enjoy a few cocktails, while Mavros Gatos is a hot spot for an evening coffee. To satisfy your sweet tooth, Ζαχαροπλαστειο Chocola has an assortment of handmade chocolates and pastries to fill your craving.

Nafplio also boasts a number of quaint shops and boutiques, including the charming family-owned pottery and ceramic shop, Genesis Ceramic Workshop.  Worry beads have several uses in Greek culture, including guarding against bad luck, counting prayers, and as a game to pass the time. Visit the Komboloi Museum.

The narrow pedestrian streets make it easy to explore the town at your leisure. Unlike other cities where souvenir shops are dominant, Nafplio’s quaint streets are strewn with unique clothing, jewelry, handcraft, and gift shops.

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Restaurants

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Cute shops

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - affordable hotels with a view

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Boutique Hotels

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - pedestrian streets

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece - Town Square
Syntagma Square

5 reasons to visit Nafplio Greece -Downtown shops

The Waterfront

Nauplion Promenade is full of shops and cafes. The town square is just a block off the promenade with historic buildings. Pick a spot and enjoy the sunset. Many restaurants along the waterfront offer fresh seafood, but I find the restaurants in the small streets more quaint. I particularly enjoyed a morning coffee by the water.

You’ll also the view of the castle of Bourtzi or Μπούρτζι, is located in the middle of the harbour of Nafplio. The Venetians completed its fortification in 1473 to protect the city from pirates and invaders from the sea. The Greeks regained it from the Turks in 1822, from where they assisted in the siege of Nafplio. Until 1865 it served as a fortress. It was then transformed into residence of the executioners of convicts from the castle of Palamidi. From 1930 to 1970, it served as a hotel. Since then, it is mainly a tourist attraction.

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece - Downtown

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece - Waterfront view

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece - Waterfront view at night

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece - Waterfront view

5 Reasons to Visit Nafplio Greece - Waterfront

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

7 Comments

  1. The hubby and I are planning a trip to Greece and this has got to be on the itinerary! I love the Greek culture and all the shops and restaurants with their bright shutters! Plus the castle looks amazing!

  2. I fell in love with Greece once I saw the Sister Hood of the Traveling Pants. This post just makes me want to visit more! I definitely would like to plan a trip to go there and Italy. Beautiful!

  3. Visit Nafplion. It is maybe the most beautiful town in Greece. It is my hometown… Trust me people.

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