Nafplio is a picturesque harbour town near the deep blue Argolic Gulf. It has amazing beaches and the place itself is gorgeous. Watch the pink bougainvillaea flowers hanging in the narrow medieval streets and visit the attractive boulevard to wander around or watch the sunset. It is known as the most romantic destination in Greece and it is worthy of this title.
Located on the east side of Peloponnese, Nafplio is the first capital of the new Greek kingdom. It has a long history, dating back to the prehistoric and like the whole of Greece conquered by multiple conquerers. The remainings of all these influencers can be found back in the streets of the old town. Venetian buildings, Ottoman fountains and medieval castles. All packed in one small picturesque town. No wonder that Nafplio is a well-known holiday escape for the people living in Athens.
Nafplio has lots of shops (some of them are tourist shops) to feed your shopping needs. There are loads of restaurants to choose from and a few bars to get a drink in the evening. The old town is a maze of narrow streets and stairs to the next court.
We stayed five days in this wonderful town to explore the area and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of Nafplio. Hereabout our tips to spend your time in town.
Things to do in Nafplio
Visit one of the Castles
There are three castles in Nafplio that you can visit. The Palamidi Castle with its 999 steps to the top, looking over Nafplio, is the most impressive one. It is located on a 216-metre high rocky hill and built by the Venetians in 1711. For those who resist the climb of 999 steps can also go to the Castle by car.
The ruins of the Acronauplia fortress are of the oldest castle of Nafplio. It would have protected the port from the invaders coming from the sea and would have surrounded the whole town. Wander around in the eastern part of the walls to have an amazing view over the bay and the town of Nafplio. At the other side you will find the five brothers, five old canons that would have protected the town.
Bourtzi Castle on the tiny island of the shores was both a castle and a prison. It was built in 1471 by the Venetians. It is probably the most photographed view of Nafplio. You can visit the island by boat that departures from the port regularly.
Walk on the Promenade of Arvanitia
A walk on the Promenade of Arvanitia looking over the Gulf of Argolis is a popular walk for the locals. It starts and ends at the harbour next to the lighthouse. The paved path will lead you to Arvanitia Square and you will walk along the impressive wall of the coast. The trail is about 1 km long and can easily be combined with a visit of the ruins of the Acronauplia fortress. Along the way, you will hear the chanting music of the small church perched on the rocks called Panagitsa. A beautiful walk around the town of Nafplio.
Visit one of the beaches
Our favourite is Karathonas beach. Located just outside Nafplio this is the best beach for swimming. Long sandy beaches and calm blue sea. There are several beach bars along the coast to relax on a beach bed with some iced coffee or a cold drink.
Tolo beach or Paralia Arvanitias is a perfect beach if you looking for some fun. The beach of this resort town just 9 km outside of Nafplio is small and can be very crowded because they are located near many hotels and campings.
Arvanitia beach at the Promenade of Arvanitia trail is a city beach with small rocks and pebbles. In the summer the beach offers dressing rooms, toilets, lounges and a cafe. Watch the daredevils jumping from the cliffs or maybe you can join one of the parties that are held here in the summer evenings.
Finally, the city beach of Banieres is an ideal spot to take a quick swim in the sea after a day of exploring the area. It is right outside the old town. It is quite deep, so not very ideal for small children.
Get a drink on the Syntagma Square
Syntagma square is the meeting point of the city. The inhabitants of Nafplio drink a coffee in the morning and children are playing here in the evening. It is a perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat or watch the people go by from one of the terraces while you enjoy a beer of a glass of local wine. The buildings, most of them built in neoclassical style, gives the square a unique look.
Did you know that Nafplio is known as the”proposal” capital of Greece? Are you planning to propose your partner? This is the place to do it.
Nafplio is indeed one of the most romantic cities we have ever been to in Greece. It is a perfect city to stay for a few days or even a few weeks and explore the area. A treasure in Peloponnese and a must-visit for couples.
Next week we will post our last blog about our road trip trough Peleponese starring Epidaurus and the ancient site of Mycenae. Be sure to follow our blog, so you don’t miss it.
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Lots of Love from Angelique and Carlo.
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