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Let us show you Nafplio! A HIDDEN GEM IN GREECE.

Free activities | Sightseeing | eat & Drink | Accommodation tips | Getting there
Nauplia Modern Greek Navplio town and dimos municipality Peloponnese Modern Greek Peloponnisos perifereia region southwestern Greece at the head of the Gulf of Argolis Argolikos Kolpos

Nauplia fell to Árgos about 625 BCE. It is believed that it was the maritime outlet for Árgos, for the name Nauplia means “naval station”. The town was captured (1210 CE) by the Franks and became, with Árgos, a fief of the duchy of Náxos. Thereafter, it was seized several times by both the Venetians and the Turks. Finally, Greece captured it in 1822 during the War of Greek Independence. Nauplia was the seat of the Greek government from 1829 to 1834.

Getting there

Just a short drive from Athens and you’re in the romantic and beautiful Nafplio (or Nafplion, Nauplia, and the Modern Greek version which is Návplio) on the Aegean Sea.

The quickest way to get to Nafplio from Athens Airport (Nafplio does not have an airport) is to do the 167.7 km by car. The same trip by bus takes about 3h35m and is the most cost-effective choice of transport.

Either way, it makes for an ideal day trip, or a weekend get-away, from Athens.

Famous for

Famous for its Byzantine, Frankish, and Venetian castles, fortifications, and spectacular architecture, this ancient city was the first capital of Greece.

The Peloponnese old-town houses with mountainous backdrops make for a panoramic showstopper. 

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One Day in Nafplio

This stunning Greek city is, to my surprise, not so well-known. Thus, some kind of a hidden gem, despite it being a city!

It is absolutely worth your time. Just get here!

Free Activities In Napflio

  • Two beaches are standing out above the rest. Namely Arvanitia Beach and Karathona Beach. The latter has been awarded the Blue Flag award! Both absolutely beautiful! Holidaymakers swim quite far out into the sparkling turquoise waters, as you can see in our photo gallery. The water is exquisite.
  • On the lovely main square, you can take a coffee break, have something to eat, or just meander.
  • An afternoon or early morning stroll on the promenade of Arvanitia is a must. Once again, you’re surrounded by the most amazing views from the end of the harbor, next to the lighthouse. It ends about 1 km later at the square of Arvanita, adjacent to Arvanitia Beach. The walking path is famously named the “Tour of Arvanitia”.
  • The ‘Megalos Dromos’ or ‘Great Road’, today known as Vasileos Konstadinou Street, runs parallel with Staikopoulou Street. These two streets are the most popular thoroughfares with shops, beautiful refreshment stands, and picturesque taverns.
Nafplio architecture street bougainvillea flowers mountains sunset min
Free activities in Nafplio Greece sightseeing min
  • See the sleeping lion in a small park with benches to rest your weary feet. Walk to Michael Iatrou Street between the church of Aghii Pandes and the modern graveyard. It’s an exceptional sculpture from 1840 to 1841 and is known as the Lion of Bavaria. The sculpture goes with a brief inscription giving you all the history behind the project that was commissioned by Ludwig of Bavaria, father of Otto first King of Greece.
  • The Land Gate (1708) was the only entrance to Nafplio by land and would be closed at sunset. This would have been a big problem for many people today that are used to coming late for meetings or events! If you were at the gate after sunset, there was only one alternative. And that was to turn around and sleep elsewhere.
  • Oh, and don’t forget the fantastic, colorful farmers’ market on Saturdays from around 07h00. (I include it in my list of free activities because there is no entrance fee.) Farmers bring their own stuff, including olive oil, excellent honey, olives, fruit, and vegetables. You’ll also get fresh fish here. The market is located at 25is Martiou.
Best and most popular things to do in Nafplio Greece min
Beautiful landscape trees mountains sea sightseeing Palamidi castle in Nafplio min

Castle of Acronafplia and the Palamidi fortress

Palamidi is a huge, well-maintained, and probably the best castle in Greece and the finest sample of the Venetian fortifications (built in 1714) in Greece.

The castle was built by the Venetians and later occupied by the ottoman empire. It is now a landmark of Nauplio.

Panoramic showstoppers are in almost every corner of Nafplio. Besides the architecture, castles are another source of showstopping landscapes. Like the beautiful landscape of trees, mountains, and the sea through the old rocks of Palamidi fortress.

Look out for the number 999 on restaurant menus and promotions etc… The locals believe that there are 999 steps to the top of the castle. So, they use the number to attract the attention of tourists. However, it is actually just over a thousand steps to reach the top of the castle. 

On the same site are also the church and the prison – both worth seeing.

Nafplio Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Buy Tickets for Nafplio Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour Greece Things to do

I highly recommend booking tickets for the Nafplio city bus tour. It is simply the best way to identify what interests you, and what does not. It is one thing to read about something, but another to actually see it. Before you disembark from the bus, you get to hear the history of the next sightseeing point. Decide if it’s to your taste and worth the money before you get off the bus. The ticket is valid for a full day, so no rush.

They stop at all the main sightseeing attractions. Having heard about the history from your free earphones, you can decide if you want to hop off, explore, and hop on to the next bus about an hour later. Although in high season, it could be running at 30-minute intervals. It is a golden rule I live by. It works.

Eat & drink

Marmelade tasting oranges

Suggested Read: More about Greek Cuisine, what to eat and drink while you’re in Greece.

  • Karonis Distillery.  On the Palamidis hill above the village, the distillery is accessible to the public for tours and tastings by appointment. Be sure to pick up a bottle of Ouzo Karoni Special before you leave the store. It is a strong spirit with a strong anise flavor and pleasant undertones of coriander and fennel. More information to visit this remarkable 5th-generation distillery is available on their website.
  • Koroniotis Winery. here you get to buy the award-winning Malvasia, Assyrtiko, and Nemea wines which you’ll find nowhere else. Not even in the supermarket.
  • Oranges. They produce the tastiest oranges ever!
  • Seafood lovers will have a feast with Nafplio specials such as grilled octopus and shrimps.
  • Papoutsakia. Oven-roasted eggplant topped with minced meat and béchamel.
  • Kokkinisto. Beef in tomato sauce – often served with fries.
  • Politiki. A salad made with pickled cabbage and carrot.
  • Gelato. Do I still have to mention it? It is an absolute must. They have the most interesting combinations and are surprisingly delicious. Like their award-winning bitter chocolate gelato at “Antica Gelateria di Roma”. 
  • Local honey and olives. Like the rest of Greece, honey and olives are in abundance and we love it. Both make for great souvenir gifts, plus they look good in your kitchen once you’re back at home. Their marmalade is also worth buying.

Stay

It’s hard to believe this little hidden gem in Greece has almost two hundred places to stay at. These are my travel tips…

  • Agamemnon Hotel lies opposite Bourtzi and is in a terrific location with lovely sea views.
  • Another hotel that’s worth looking at is the Aetoma Hotel. It’s about 250 m from the beach and beautifully styled.
  • And lastly, if you’re looking for an apartment near the beach, have a look at the gorgeous Mavrogenous Luxury Apartments. The apartments are in a perfect spot near Arvanitia Beach (about 200 m), the Archaeological Museum, and Akronafpli Castle. If it’s not beach weather, you don’t have to go far to do something indoors!
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