Nafplio

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The Napoli of the East

Timeless Beauty and Venetian Nobility Under the Aromas of An Erotic City

Timeless and beautiful, lively and vibrant, picturesque and scenic, charming Nafplio will make you fall in love with it, as it holds the reigns of one of the most beautiful cities of Greece. Nafplio, the first capital of the newly-established Greek state and the place where the first political assassination in Greece took place, the city where the first Constitution Square was built, where the first national printing office was established and the first Greek Parliament was constructed along with the first theater of Greece and the first pharmacy; indeed, Nafplio was ahead of its time! Whether you are a lover of the deep emotions of not, Nafplio will inspire you feel the unique emotion of romanticism, , a place where you might think that time has stopped some a while ago. However, one thing is certain; the sense of escapism will embrace your body and soul. Under the rock of Acronafplia, the old city of Nafplio lives in her own space-time. Houses with red tile roofs of past centuries seem detached from the present luring visitors to the period when Nafplio was the first capital of the newly established Greek state. Charming neoclassical balconies and majestic Venetian buildings create an architectural puzzle interspersed from romanticism under the aromas of bougainvillea flowers. Quaint cobbled streets with wonderful buildings will accommodate your steps while the colours of the flowery balconies with their flavors will guide you through the beauty of Nafplio. Born in the pages of a novel and left to the history of yesterday, Nafplio unveils a fairytale story full of colours and scents ornamented from sights that will amaze every traveller. From the square of Constitution, the picturesque alleys of Psaromahalas and the statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias to the island fortress of Bourtzi, the castle of Palamidi and the round of Arvanitia, Nafplio will astonish you. Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of Greece, dreamed of transforming this city in a miniature of the principal cities of Europe. And so he did. Timeless Nafplio needs no introduction; in an open-air museum as Nafplio, where million of pages of Greek history were written with powerful conquerors and heroic uprisings, everyone will get ecstatic. Frankish buildings, Venetian houses and Neoclassical mansions give an enchanting atmosphere and lots of treasures to the beautiful city of Nafplio while cobblestone alleys and picturesque squares with hanging fuchsia bougainvillea flowers beautify her with wonderful colours. Nafplio’s rich history survives everywhere; each door unveils the mysteries of a different conqueror through myths and legends of this erotic city, above the imposing Palamidi castle with the 999 stairs until the Bourtzi fortress in the sea. In the heart of the old town of Nafplio, the historical Syntagma Square is a true jewel of the city, reminiscent of an Italian piazza, with its glorious Venetian buildings is an ideal starting point for strolling in the alleys of Nafplio. Psaromahalas, the most picturesque district of Nafplio, was the only district that existed in the lower city even before the 15th century. From the years of Byzantium, it used to be inhabited from fishermen, as evidenced from its name, and today it remains one of the most charming regions of the old city of Nafplio. Climbing up to the slippery cobblestone alleys of Palamidi Castle gives a feeling of a labyrinth landscape, a spectacular location to enjoy the views to the island fortress of Bourzi. Napoli di Romagna, as the Venetians used to call it, exudes a spirit of nobility that will definitely make you explore all the mysteries of it. As for the beauty of this city, this is undeniable! With a castle-jewel to observe from above like the Olympian Gods, an island fortress to guard the pirate invasions from the sea and an emulated architecture that even Florence would be jealous of, Nafplio is a destination for your list! Even if you are no in love, when in Nafplio, you will want to be struck from the arrows of Cupid and ascend the starts to Palamidi to admire the Cyclopean walls of Acronafplia. At the end, it will be inevitable not to feel nostalgia and melancholy upon leaving this erotic and poetic city.

Discover Nafplio

Best of Nafplio

The Building of Bouleutikon

The Building of Bouleutikon was the first Greek parliament. The building was constructed from architect Vallianos in 1825. At first, it housed the Greek Parliament while later it was used as a school and a prison. In fact, Bouleutikon was the place where the trial of the Chieftains of the Greek Revolution, namely Theodoros Kolokotronis and Dimitrios Plapoutas, took place in 1831. Today, Bouleutikon serves as a conference room while its ground floor accommodates the Municipal Gallery.

The Church of Agios Spyridonas

The Church of Agios Spyridonas is the most important church of Nafplio located in the old town of Nafplio. The church was initially constructed with the financing of the Nafplian Brotherhood of Orthodox Greeks in 1702. Its interior is decorated with impressive byzantine icons and paintings. The most spectacular painting distinguishes for its wonderful colours and its unusual theme depicting the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. Agios Spyridonas church has a major historical meaning; on September 27 of 1831, Kapodistrias went to the Holy Mass. He preferred this church because the saint was the protector of his homeland, the island of Corfu. Within the church, the first political assassination in Greece took place, and the prints of the bullets have been flamed in a glass case.

The Castle of Bourtzi

The Castle of Bourtzi is the landmark of Nafplio. It is a fortified island located at the entrance of the bay of Nafplio that has served as an integral part of the city’s broader fortification. Bourtzi, meaning tower in Turkish, was constructed from architect Antonio Gambello from Bergamo in 1471. Nafplio was entirely fortified from the Venetians in 1473 in order to provide protection to the city against pirate invasions. Bourtzi Castle has three floors connected by movable stairs and its entrances are located from both the north and south sides. Following the liberation of Nafplio in 1821, the castle was transformed into the residence of the executioners for the convicts of the castle of Palamidi while it was also used as a hotel with alteration from German architect Wolf Schaeffer between 1930 and 1970. Today, Bourtzi hosts the Nafplio Music Festival. Bourtzi is accessible by boat from the harbour of Nafplio.

The Fortress of Palamidi

The Fortress of Palamidi is one of the most impressive castles of Greece located in the town of Nafplio. Nestling at an altitude of 216 meters, the fortress was constructed from the Venetians between 1686 and 1715. Palamidi Fortress has a typical baroque style consisting from eight bastions; it is worth noting that the bastions were named by ancient Greek names from the Venetians including Leonidas, Achilles, Themistocles, Epaminondas, Fokion and Miltiades, with the intention of giving an emphasis to the strength of the castle. The rest two bastions were named after Agios Andreas, the church of the castle, and the French Philhellene Robert who died in the battle on the Acropolis of Athens. The castle was captured from the Ottomans until 1822 when its control was seized from the Greek rebels lead from Staikos Staikopoulos. Palamidi Castle was also used as a prison since Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the greatest heroes of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was imprisoned within the castle. The castle is accessible by ascending 999 steps and commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf.

The Mosque of Trianon

The Mosque of Trianon is the oldest mosque of Nafplio. The mosque dates back to the time of the first occupation of the Ottomans in the second half of the 16th century. Trianon Mosque owes its name to the cinema that used to be housed here. Trianon Mosque was used for Catholic worship during the second occupation of the Venetians. From 1828 to 1833, Trianon housed the Allilodaktiko Boys School while it was later used as a theatre. Today, the mosque houses the Municipal Theatre of Nafplio.

The Square of Syntagma

The Square of Syntagma is one of the most historical squares of Greece located in the center of the old town of Nafplio. The square was also known as Platanos Square, where the chieftains of the revo0lution made their strategic plane under the shadow of the old plane tree. In 1826, the square was renamed into Syntagma Square as it housed the first parliament of the country. Numerous important historical buildings surround the square including the Archaeological Museum, the Mosque of Trianon and the Building of Bouleutikon.

Archaeological Sites

The Acropolis of Mycenae is one of the most important archeological sites of the country that served as the cradle of the Mycenaean civilization. Mentioned from epic poet Homer and geographer Pausanias, Mycenae was the most powerful town of Greece in the prehistoric times. The Mycenaean civilization dates back to 1.600 BC to 1.100 BC. The acropolis of Mycenae was built on the slopes of a hill protected from the cyclopean walls. The entrance of the citadel is the Gate of the Lion. Mycenae was firstly discovered from archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in the 1870s. Today, the citadel itself has many traces of cisterns, houses and public buildings crowned from the acropolis on the highest spot of the hill. It is worth mentioning that many experts did not believe that Mycenae existed until amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated the site in the 1870s. Following the excavations of Mycenae, Tiryns and Troy, Schliemann was named father of Mycenaean Archaeology. In 1999, Mycenaean was included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

The Archaeological Site of Tiryns is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Mycenaean civilization located on the northern side of Nafplio. The acropolis of Tiryns is situated on a rocky hill on the edge of the Argolic Gulf. The earliest human occupation of Tiryns dates back to the Neolithic period. In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann was the first who conducted archaeological excavations in Tiryns. Thereafter, the investigations were resumed from the German Archaeological Institute who found a series of important findings that are exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Archaeological Museum of Nafplio.

The Great Theatre of Epidaurus is one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Greek art located in the prefecture of Argolis that has been included in the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO. Among all the ancient theatres of Greece, Epidaurus has been characterized as the best preserved and most beautiful one in the entire country, if not the world. The theatre was designed from architect Polycleitus the Younger in 340 BC. According to archaeologists, the theatre was constructed in two phases; the first phase dates to the 4th century BC, a period of significant construction activity, while the second phase corresponds to the second half of the 2nd century BC. Its original layout shows that the theatre was intended for the performance of dramatic works at the level of the orchestra while actors would have performed on a raised proscenium in the second phase. The theatre is situated close to Asclepius Sanctuary, one of the most sacred temples in ancient Greece dedicated to the god of healing, which belonged to the city-state of Epidaurus. Today, the sanctuary along with its buildings forms an extended archaeological site. Epidaurus Great Theatre had a capacity of 13.000 spectators while it was divided into a 21-rows of seats aimed for citizens and a 34-rows of seats aimed for the priests and rulers. Its superb acoustics, its architectural symmetry and its preserved construction are contributed to the creation of Athens and Epidaurus Festival, an institution that contributed to the cultural revival of the theatre. Great actors have acted at the theatre including Alexis Minotis, Anna Synodinou, Thanos Kotopoulos and the renowned Greek soprano Maria Callas. One of the most prestigious festivals of the country, the renowned Athens and Epidaurus Festival, takes place within the theatre every summer for a period of four months.

The Sanctuary of Asclepius is one of the most impressive masterpieces of Greek architecture found within the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. Asclepius Sanctuary was the most important therapeutic center of the ancient Greek world, flowed from the sanctuary of Kos, the birthplace of medicine. Since its construction (4th century BC), Epidaurus became known for the sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing. Combining religious faith and occult rituals, the Asklepieia functioned as hospitals and they were of great significance to both Greeks and Romans.

Castles & Fortresses

The Castle of Bourtzi is the landmark of Nafplio. It is a fortified island located at the entrance of the bay of Nafplio that has served as an integral part of the city’s broader fortification. Bourtzi, meaning tower in Turkish, was constructed from architect Antonio Gambello from Bergamo in 1471. Nafplio was entirely fortified from the Venetians in 1473 in order to provide protection to the city against pirate invasions. Bourtzi Castle has three floors connected by movable stairs and its entrances are located from both the north and south sides. Following the liberation of Nafplio in 1821, the castle was transformed into the residence of the executioners for the convicts of the castle of Palamidi while it was also used as a hotel with alteration from German architect Wolf Schaeffer between 1930 and 1970. Today, Bourtzi hosts the Nafplio Music Festival. Bourtzi is accessible by boat from the harbour of Nafplio.

The Fortress of Acronafplia is the oldest castle of Nafplio rising above the old part of the city. Acronafplia was constructed from the Romans and the Byzantines while it was strengthened from a succession of conquerors including the Venetians and the Turks. Of the most impressive sections of Acronafplia are the lower sections of the walls that date back to the Bronze Age, where the town was restricted within these walls until the arrival of the Venetians. Acronafplia was known as Its Kale, meaning inner castle, from the Venetians. It is worth mentioning that this fortress used to be a political prison rom 1936 to 1956. The old gateway of Acronafplia, which is crowned from an exquisite Venetian lion emblem, stands on the top of Potamianou Street. There is a lift up to the fortress from Square Politikou Nosokomiou at the western edge of the town.

The Fortress of Palamidi is one of the most impressive castles of Greece located in the town of Nafplio. Nestling at an altitude of 216 meters, the fortress was constructed from the Venetians between 1686 and 1715. Palamidi Fortress has a typical baroque style consisting from eight bastions; it is worth noting that the bastions were named by ancient Greek names from the Venetians including Leonidas, Achilles, Themistocles, Epaminondas, Fokion and Miltiades, with the intention of giving an emphasis to the strength of the castle. The rest two bastions were named after Agios Andreas, the church of the castle, and the French Philhellene Robert who died in the battle on the Acropolis of Athens. The castle was captured from the Ottomans until 1822 when its control was seized from the Greek rebels lead from Staikos Staikopoulos. Palamidi Castle was also used as a prison since Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the greatest heroes of the Greek Revolution of 1821, was imprisoned within the castle. The castle is accessible by ascending 999 steps and commands an impressive view over the Argolic Gulf.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Agia Sofia is the oldest church of Nafplio located at the heart of the old city of Nafplio. Agia Sofia church is the sole surviving Byzantine church of Nafplio. As the church is situated in the picturesque district of Psaromahalas, no car can reach the church.

The Church of Agios Andreas is the best preserved church of Nafplio located within the walls of the castle of Palamidi. Agios Andreas church offers panoramic views to the Argolic Gulf.

The Church of Agios Georgios is the metropolis of Nafplio located at the center of the old town of Nafplio. The church used to be a Turkish mosque constructed in the 16th century. Its interior is decorated with icons and wall paintings of exquisite beauty; one of them is an incredible replica of the Last Supper from Leonardo da Vinci that is rumored that is a work from one of his students.

The Church of Agios Nikolaos is one of the most beautiful churches of Nafplio situated on the waterfront of Nafplio. Agios Nikolaos is the patron saint of sailors. According to the inscription, the church was moved to the outer part of the walled city following the wishes of Venetian Agostino Sagredo in 1713. Its interior is decorated with a beautiful carved wooden chancel and impressive despotic icons of the 17th century.

The Church of Agios Spyridonas is the most important church of Nafplio located in the old town of Nafplio. The church was initially constructed with the financing of the Nafplian Brotherhood of Orthodox Greeks in 1702. Its interior is decorated with impressive byzantine icons and paintings. The most spectacular painting distinguishes for its wonderful colours and its unusual theme depicting the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. Agios Spyridonas church has a major historical meaning; on September 27 of 1831, Kapodistrias went to the Holy Mass. He preferred this church because the saint was the protector of his homeland, the island of Corfu. Within the church, the first political assassination in Greece took place, and the prints of the bullets have been flamed in a glass case.

The Monastery of Agia Moni is one of the most beautiful churches of Argolis located three kilometers northeast of Nafplio. The monastery was constructed in the 12th century. The main church of Agia Moni Monastery, dedicated to Zoodohos Pigi (Life Giving Source) is one of the most important churches of the Byzantine period that has been preserved in an excellent condition; although its original paintings have not survived, it has an architectural interest.

Monuments

The Building of Bouleutikon was the first Greek parliament. The building was constructed from architect Vallianos in 1825. At first, it housed the Greek Parliament while later it was used as a school and a prison. In fact, Bouleutikon was the place where the trial of the Chieftains of the Greek Revolution, namely Theodoros Kolokotronis and Dimitrios Plapoutas, took place in 1831. Today, Bouleutikon serves as a conference room while its ground floor accommodates the Municipal Gallery.

The Clock Tower is located on the road that passes through the fortress of Acronafplia. The clock was a donor of the father of King Otto of Greece, namely Loudovikos A from Bavaria. From here, one will have the opportunity to admire spectacular views of the old city of Nafplio.

The Land Gate is one of the most beautiful monuments of Nafplio. It was constructed from the French engineer Lassale in 1708 as the first gate of the Venetian dominance. The Land Gate was the sole entrance to the lower city of Nafplio that was close after sunset. Access was only possible via a wooden drawbridge. From the gate, only a few architectural parts and sculptures have survived along with the emblem of the Venetian Governor Grimani. Today, the facade of the gate has been reconstructed following a special study of its original form.

The Lighthouse of Nafplio is one of the most beautiful spots of Nafplio located at the end of Akti Miaouli. There, you can enjoy an astonishing sunset!

The Lion of the Bavarians is an exceptional sculptured monument and one of the most important of the 19th century located on Michael Iatrou Street. The lion was constructed from German Chistian Siegel who was the first professor of sculpture at the Athens Polytechnic University. The monument was commissioned from Ludwig of Bavaria, father of Otto the first king of Greece, in memory of the Bavarian soldiers who died during the typhoid epidemic in Nafplio (1833).

The Mansion of Armansperg is one of the most beautiful mansions of the Ottoman period of Nafplio. The mansion was constructed during the second domination of the Venetians. The house was home to the President of Regency, Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg, between 1833 and 1834. Armansperg was a highly controversial personality, and he has remained best known for the conspiratorial and autocratic nature of his policies. According to witnesses of the time, the house was one of the largest in the city and the interior decoration left nothing to be desired in comparison to the greatest houses in Europe; it hosted receptions and balls with hare, for the time, musical accompaniment on the piano.

The Mosque of Trianon is the oldest mosque of Nafplio. The mosque dates back to the time of the first occupation of the Ottomans in the second half of the 16th century. Trianon Mosque owes its name to the cinema that used to be housed here. Trianon Mosque was used for Catholic worship during the second occupation of the Venetians. From 1828 to 1833, Trianon housed the Allilodaktiko Boys School while it was later used as a theatre. Today, the mosque houses the Municipal Theatre of Nafplio.

The Old Customs Office is a wonderful specimen of local architecture that has been characterized as a historical monument from the Ministry of Culture. The building was designed from architect Stamatis Cleanthes in 1830, while it used to operate as a customs office until 1999.

The Square of Syntagma is one of the most historical squares of Greece located in the center of the old town of Nafplio. The square was also known as Platanos Square, where the chieftains of the revo0lution made their strategic plane under the shadow of the old plane tree. In 1826, the square was renamed into Syntagma Square as it housed the first parliament of the country. Numerous important historical buildings surround the square including the Archaeological Museum, the Mosque of Trianon and the Building of Bouleutikon.

Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Nafplio is housed in one of the best preserved Venetian buildings of Greece at the square of Syntagma. Its exhibits include a wide collection of items from the Neolithic, the Mycenaean, the Classical, the Hellenistic and the Roman periods all over southern Argolis.

The Distillery Museum of Karonis is one of the oldest distilleries of Greece whose equipment dates back to 1880. Karonis family produces Nafplio’s own ouzo. Karonis Distillery Museum is located outside of Nafplio, in Agia Paraskevi.

The Komboloi Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum housed in a mansion of the old town of Nafplio. The museum is a traditional workshop for the art of making worry beads. Within the premises of the museum, there is an exhibition of rosaries and prayer beads that Aris Evagelinos, the founder of the museum, collected himself in the past twenty years.

The National Gallery of Nafplio is housed in a wonderful neoclassical building. The gallery exhibits a collection of art works dedicated to the liberating cause of the Greeks against the Ottomans that provides the aesthetic element to the historic note of Nafplio city.

The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation ‘Vasilios Papantoniou’ was established in 1974. The museum’s primary aim is to conservate and demonstrate the cultural heritage of Greece. It has been awarded with the European Museum of the Year Main Award (EMYA) in 1981. Since 2006, the exhibition entitled “Hellenic Urbanism: Nafplio 1822-1922” has opened its curtains in the already renovated interior of the foundation.

The War Museum of Nafplio is located on Amalias Avenue. The museum exhibits a series of artifacts tracing the military history of the coutry from the War of Independence onwards through a collection of artifacts including paintings, photographs, uniforms and weaponry.

Promenades and Villages

Argos is one of the largest cities of Argolis located eleven kilometers away from Nafplio. Characterized as the most ancient town of Greece, Argos has been inhabited continuously for the past 7.000 years. To this extend, it is worth noting that Argos is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Networks. The most important monuments of Argos include the Ancient Theater of Argos where cultural events are held in the summer months, the Ancient Agora of Argos, the Hellenic Pyramid and the Heraion of Argos.

Ligourio is one of the biggest towns of Argolis located on the mountain slopes of Arachneo. Its beautiful settings in conjunction with the rich historical monuments of the area highlight it as a place of unique identity. On the highest spot of Ligourio, there are the walls of ancient Lissa, the Mycenaean bridge, the Ligourio pyramid and the ancient walking path of the sanctuary of Asclepius towards Ligourio and Epidaurus. One should definitely try the view from the highest points of the village; it’s spectacular! Of great interest are the fifty churches and chapel of Ligourio, twelve of which are of the Byzantine era, surround the wider settlement of Ligourio; according to the legend, the churches were built in order to protect Ligourio from enemies and invaders. Ligourio serves as a meeting point in the summer months, as more than one million people who visit the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, also visit Ligourio. The charming town is renowned for its fine agricultural products; it is worth noting that its pure, virgin olive oil has been registered with a protected designation of origin (PDO) from the European Union.

Nafplio is a seaside town located on the northern side of the Argolic Gulf. Characterized as one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of Greece, Nafplio served as the capital of the First Hellenic Republic between 1823 and 1834. Ancient walls, medieval castles, imposing monuments and statues, Venetian mansions, neoclassical buildings and Ottoman fountains will mesmerize you with its unique spirit. The center of Nafplio is the square of Syntagma (Constitution), of the most impressive squares in the country. It is highly advisable to take a romantic stroll around the Arvanitia Promenade dominated from the rocky scenery of Acronafplia and explore the mysteries of the old town of Nafplio. The most important monuments of Nafplio including the Building of Bouleutikon, the Fortress of Palamidi, the Castle of Bourtzi, the Church of Agios Spyridonas and the Mosque of Trianon. If you are interested for nearby escapes, then you should definitely visit the Great Theatre of Epidaurus and the Archaeological Site of Mycenae.

Nea Epidaurus is a seaside village located on the northeast side of Nafplio city. Nestling on the coasts of the bay of Epidaurus, the charming settlement is one of the most historical villages of Greece that has been inhabited since the Mycenaean period. During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the first constitutional assembly of Greece took place in Nea Epidaurus where 59 representatives from the revolted areas of the country participated at the assembly. The main monuments of Nea Epidaurus include the monument of the First Constitutional Assembly that dominated the central square of the village, the castle of Nea Epidaurus, the chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos and the Canyon of Vothylas. Nea Epidaurus is famous for its delicious oranges, its production of quality olive oil and its excellent pure honey.

Palea Epidaurus is a semi-mountainous village located on the northeast part of Argolis prefecture. Amphitheatrically built on the remnants of the ancient city of Epidaurus, its harmonious location between the sea and the mountains create an ideal setting for nature lovers. Palea Epidaurus cultural heritage and historical legacy is owed to the worldwide famous Epidaurus Ancient Theatre and Asclepius Sanctuary. Since the establishment of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, performances of ancient drama and modern plays are held at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, where Greek and foreign artists have the opportunity to present their personal approach to the masterpieces of art. It is also worth mentioning that the festival of Musical July takes place at the small theatre of Epidaurus every July while the festival of Agrotourism, where the locals have the opportunity to exhibit their products, is held at the port of Palea Epidaurus. The main monuments of Palea Epidaurus include the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, the sanctuary of Asclepius and the archaeological museum of Epidaurus. The excellent know-how of the locals have contributed to the fame of Palea Epidaurus for their fresh fish and seafood; the taverns definitely worth a stop! Of the most beautiful beaches of Palea Epidaurus are Gialasi, Nissi, Panagitsa and Vagonia.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Clock Tower, Fortress of Acronafplia

Spot: Fortress of Palamidi, East of Acronafplia Castle

Spot: Street of Akti Miaouli, Opposite of Bourzi Castle

Excursions

Road Trip: The Archaeological Site of Mycenae was first unveiled from Heinrich Schliemann who brought to light the royal tombs of its citadel opening a new chapter in the history of European civilization. races immortalized from time; in the palaces of Mycenae, the ghost of Aegisthus, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, persons of myth and tragedy dipped in human passions, seem to hang around seeking for vindication, as the tragic poets did. Mycenae, the capital of Greece in prehistoric times and religious center of the Mycenaean world, was firstly called rich from Homer eight centuries ago. The rich city of Atreus and his sons, Agamemnon and Menelaus, and all of the Mycenaean kings who lived there will definitely amaze you; the phantasmagorical view of the Argolis plain and the timeless view of the Aegean Sea from the palace will take your breath away. The Lion Gate, the official entrance to the city of Mycenae, will leave you speechless. Heritage and legacy of this powerful European civilization, Mycenae is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world you will ever discover. Protagonist of the show is no one else than your imagination, which will guide you through the palace of Agamemnon and the religious center of the Acropolis, the Cyclopean walls and the underground cisterns, the vaulted tomb of Clytemnestra and the Treasure of Atreus. Will you explore a route between epic and drama in the city of Mycenae?

Road Trip: The Region of Epidaurus is an irreplaceable spectacle of unique beauty with huge cultural heritage. Its monuments are true masterpieces of the ancient Greek art, a genuine testimony of the Greek culture that is still alive. Inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC, Epidaurus is one of the greatest marvels of the ancient world whose former glory has been retained through time gaining the title of a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Where the richness of the blue waters of the sea meets the evergreen forests of the mountains, Epidaurus is a place that will enchant everyone, archaeology lover or not. It is no accident that the ancient Greeks decided to establish the greatest therapeutic center of antiquity dedicated to God Asclepius in Epidaurus; the most beautiful theatre of Greece, if not the entire world, where ancient drama is glorified starred from the cultural spirit of Greece. Indeed, of all the ancient theatres, Epidaurus one has been characterized as the most beautiful one that creates a unique feeling; a feeling that goes beyond the tranquility of intimacy! Even after two and a half thousand years of cosmogony, people seem to return every single summer in Epidaurus. Nonetheless, it’s not only the universal status of Epidaurus as the cradle of ancient Greek drama; it’s the mystery hidden behind Epidaurus supremacy. Other mysteries are concealed in the hinterland of Argolis, from picturesque villages and pristine seashores to monuments of immense natural beauty. Undeniably, Epidaurus is a place for your bucket list, a destination you must explore at least for once in your lifetime!

Activities

Bicycling: The city of Nafplio is an ideal place for cycling lovers. You can easily use bicycles from the bicycle rental program of the Municipality of Nafplio. Stations are found at the Town Hall, the Ethnosinelefsis Square, the Park of Kolokotronis and the corner of Argous and Charilaou Trikoupi Street. Find more information from Cyclopolis Website of Nafplio.

Bird Watching: The flora and fauna of Nafplio is quite remarkable. The prefecture of Argolis has a high ecological value, as it serves as major station and shelter for native and migratory birds. In the Gulf of Nafplio, bird watchers will have the opportunity to encounter numerous bird species including White Great Herons, Slender Billed Gulls and Kentish Plovers. Other popular areas for bird watching include the wetland of Nea Kios and the wetland of Moustos.

Camping: Are you a camping lover? You will find five campsites in the regions of Asini, Drepano, Iria and Tolo.

Climbing: The wild topography and rocky terrain of Nafplio makes it an ideal destination for the lovers of rock climbing. The crags of Nafplio are in glorious seaside locations off the fortress of Acronafplia. The cliffs were discovered from Aris Theodoropoulos in 1987. The climbing field of Nafplio is divided into seven areas namely Pagaki, Octapussy, Orestis, Apsida, Panagitsa, Neraki and Mythologia. Its approach is simple enough since the first five require a ten-minutes walk from the parking of Filoxenia Hotel at Arvanitia beach while the other two are accessible from a one kilometers dirt road at Karathonas beach. The climbing fields have a low degree of difficulty ideal even for novice climbers.

Kayaking: The opportunity to practice kayak in Nafplio is definitely an unforgettable experience. You will have the chance to admire spectacular rocky formations and the beautiful beaches of the Argolic Gulf. Qualified and experienced agencies can be found around the city of Nafplio.

Kitesurfing: Nafplio is known for its ideal conditions for lovers of kitesurfing, as this region of the Peloponnese peninsula gets really windy especially in the summer. Dalamanara beach in Nea Kios is the most popular spot for kitesurfing known for its thermic winds and its flat waters. A kitesurfing school operates at the beach of Dalamanara. The spot is preferred by beginners and experienced kitesurfers alike.

Beaches

Agios Nikolaos Kondyli is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located on the east side of Nafplio. It is one of the most popular beaches of the wider area. Agios Nikolaos beach is a well-organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars.

Arvanitia is a sandy and pebbled beach with emerald waters located alongside the Promenade of Arvanitia on the southern end of the town. It is an organized beach with various amenities including sunbeds and umbrellas. On summer evening, lots of beach parties are organized in Arvanitia!

Kantia is a long sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located near Kantia village on the east side of Nafplio. Kantia beach is a well-organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars.

Karathonas is a long sandy beach with blue waters located on the east side of the island. It is one of the most popular beaches of Argolis. Karathonas is a well-organized beach with various amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars. Karathonas has been awarded with a blue flag from the EU.

Kastraki is a pebbled beach with emerald waters located near Tolo on the east side of Nafplio. It is a calm beach with some sunbeds and umbrellas. Kastraki beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Plaka Drepano is a pebbled beach with blue waters located on the east side of Nafplio. It is an ideal destination for those looking for tranquility. Numerous facilities can be found at the beach.

Tolo Psili Ammos is a sandy and pebbled beach with blue waters located in Tolo village on the east side of Nafplio. Psili Ammos is one of the most popular beaches of Argolis. It is a well organized beach with various amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, water sport facilities and beach bars.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

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Coffee Corners 

Antica Gelateria: Ice Cream, Nafplio

Fougaro: Coffee, Nafplio

Glikos Pirasmos: Pastries, Nafplio

Iliostasio: Coffee, Nafplio

Kentrikon: Coffee, Nafplio

Kousteni: Ice Cream, Nafplio

Mavros Gatos: Coffee, Nafplio

Pergamonto: Loukoumades, Nafplio

Sokaki Cafe: Coffee, Nafplio

Gastronomic Delights

Arapakos: Fish and Seafood, Nafplio

Kakanarakis 1986: Fish and Seafood, Nafplio

Noulis: Greek Cuisine, Nafplio

O Psiras: Grill and Meat, Nafplio

Omorfo Tavernaki: Grill and Meat, Nafplio

Popeye: Italian Cuisine, Nafplio

Savouras: Fish and Seafood, Nafplio

Ta Fanaria: Greek Cuisine, Nafplio

Cocktail Inspirations

Circulo Cooperativa: Cocktails and Drinks, Nafplio

Mavros Gatos: Cocktails and Drinks, Nafplio

Es Aei Ecoteca & Tapas Bar: Cocktails and Drinks, Nafplio

Sokaki: Cocktails and Drinks, Nafplio

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of Nafplio include a wide variety of agricultural products. Of great fame are the artichokes of Nafplio, hugely used in the traditional recipes of the town. Nafplio has also a rich tradition in homemade pasta and trachanas while the seaside taverns are known for their delicious seafood recipes.

The local specialties of the Nafplio include gournopoula, a dish made with pig roasted in the oven, mpogana, a dish made with lamb cooked in an earthen pot for a day, and gkokes, a dish of handmade pasta served with local manouromyzithra (cheese) and olive oil.

Events & Festivals

Every March, the Nafplio Marathon Race takes place in the city of Nafplio.

Every June, the Nafplio Festival takes place in the city of Nafplio.

Every August, the Cultural Festival of Argos and Mycenae is organized from the Municipality of Argos. The festival hosts numerous cultural events including theatrical performances and musical concerts.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, Nafplio was named after Nauplius, the founder of the city, who was son of Poseidon and Amymoni. Nafplio was also the birthplace of Palamidis, the local mythical hero of the Trojan War, who supposedly invented weights and measures and invented the Greek alphabet.

History

Archaeological excavations show that Nafplio has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. According to Pausanias the geographer, the region of Nafplio was deserted in the classical period. During the 6th century BC, the town of Nafplio was dominated from Damokratis, the king of Argos, as it joined forces with powerful Sparta in the Second Messenian War; as a result, the following centuries were overshadowed from neighboring Argos. In the medieval times, Nafplio was captured from the Venetians who transformed the city into one of the most important naval ports of the Peloponnese peninsula. The impressive fortress of Palamidi and the island fortress of Bourzi were constructed from the Venetians in order to protect the entire area from potential attacks. However, Ottomans conquered the city of Nafplio in the 16th century. Nafplio was one of the first regions of Greece that were set free during the Greek Independence War of 1821. The city served as the seat of the permanent Greek government until the end of the war. During that period, many fighters and heroes moved to Nafplio including Manto Mavrogenous, Theodoros Kolokotronis and Dimitrios Ypsilantis. Following the end of the war, the first governor of the Greek State, Ioannis Kapodistrias, made Nafplio the first capital of Greece. Ioannis Kapodistrias was assassinated from his political opponents, members of Mavromichalis family, on September 27, 1831.

Travel & Transport

By Boat (82 Nautical Miles): Nafplio is accessible by boat from the harbors of Porto Heli and Hermione, which are accessible by a ferry service from the port of Piraeus. From Porto Heli and Hermione, there are bus services to Nafplio.

By Bus: KTEL Buses operate routes from the Kiffisos Station in the city of Athens to the city of Nafplio and Patra in Peloponnese on a daily basis. The journey usually lasts two hours.

By Car (145 kilometers): In order to get to Nafplio, you will have to follow the National Road of Athens to Corinth. Right after the Corinth Canal, you will have to follow the signs to the town of Tripoli. At some point, you will have to follow the signs towards Nafplio and Mycenae.

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Mysterious Greece Tips

A Stroll Around Nafplio Historical Center

The old town holds the reigns of one of the most picturesque spots of Nafplio. Stroll in Megalos Dromos Street, the most characteristic promenade in Nafplio, and lose your way in the colorful cobblestone alleys of the city!

An Excursion to the Cradle of the Mycenaean Civilization

An unexpected awe will fill up your soul. Traces immortalized from time; in the palaces of Mycenae, the ghost of Aegisthus, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, persons of myth and tragedy dipped in human passions, seem to hang around seeking for vindication, as the tragic poets did. Mycenae, the capital of Greece in prehistoric times and religious center of the Mycenaean world, was firstly called rich from Homer eight centuries ago. Aeschylus was the first who, in the peak of the Greek culture, followed from Sophocles and Euripides, revived the fate of the generation of Atreides talking about the palace of the Mycenaean. It’s more than a century since Schlieman, the first to unveil the mysteries of Mycenae, brought to light the royal tombs of its citadel opening a new chapter in the history of European civilization. Mycenae is the place that fueled archeology, literature, theatre and research with an astonishing wealth of material, unique in the world! All these legends and myths illuminated the fantasy of Homer. Yet, it felt like humanity united the moment that Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Iphigenia were born again from an amateur archaeologist searching for the Treasure of Atreus signed by the name Heinrich Schliemann. The rich city of Atreus and his sons, Agamemnon and Menelaus, and all of the Mycenaean kings who lived there will definitely amaze you; the phantasmagorical view of the Argolis plain and the timeless view of the Aegean Sea from the palace will take your breath away. Will you explore a route between epic and drama in the city of Mycenae?

Bicycling in Nafplio

The city of Nafplio is an ideal place for cycling lovers. You can easily use bicycles from the bicycle rental program of the Municipality of Nafplio. Stations are found at the Town Hall, the Ethnosinelefsis Square, the Park of Kolokotronis and the corner of Argous and Charilaou Trikoupi Street. Find more information from Cyclopolis Website of Nafplio.

Climb 999 Stairs

Climb up the 999 steps to the imposing fortress of Palamidi, a castle full of gates and passages, ancient volumes and Lion symbols, to admire the spectacular views to the Argolic Gulf.

Discover the Neighborhoods of Nafplio

Nafplio is full of picturesque neighborhoods. Syntagma Square is the meeting point of the city surrounded from numerous historical buildings including the Archaeological Museum, the Mosque of Trianon and the Building of Bouleutikon. It has an aura of Italian piazza always crowded from people! It is one of the most historical squares of Greece, where the chieftains of the revolution made their strategic plane under the shadow of the old plane tree. In 1826, the square was renamed into Syntagma Square as it housed the first parliament of the country. Megalos Dromos is the most characteristic promenade in Nafplio that connects the square of Syntagma with the square of Trion Navarhon (Three Admirals). It is a narrow street full of shops and decoration that surely deserve your attention! Along with Staikopoulou Street, they are two of the most beautiful pedestrianized streets that give a vibrant atmosphere to the entire city! Undoubtedly, Psaromahalas is the most picturesque neighborhood of Nafplio that has existed even before the 15th century. From the years of Byzantium, it used to be inhabited from fishermen, as evidenced from its name, and today it remains one of the most charming regions of the old city of Nafplio. Follow Staikopoulou Street and ascend the stairs to the street of Kapodistriou to find the church of Agios Spyridonas. Further up, climb the stairs towards Potamianou Street that leads to Psaromahalas Square under the rock of Acronafplia. No one could ever forget, however, the district of Pronia; you will find it on the northeastern slopes of Palamidi Fortress! It is an ideal location for romantic promenades.

Epidaurus Theatre: A Destination For Your Bucket List

Spring is the best season to visit the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, especially if you are in Nafplio! It is a unique opportunity to explore this glorious masterpiece of ancient Greek art without the 14.000 spectators in the summer! Its monuments are true masterpieces of the ancient Greek art, a genuine testimony of the Greek culture that is still alive. Inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC, Epidaurus is one of the greatest marvels of the ancient world whose former glory has been retained through time gaining the title of a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Where the richness of the blue waters of the sea meets the evergreen forests of the mountains, Epidaurus is a place that will enchant everyone, archaeology lover or not. Undeniably, Epidaurus is a place for your bucket list, a destination you must explore at least for once in your lifetime!

Erotic Promenades at the Round of Arvanitia

The seaside round of Arvanitia is one of the most erotic promenades; a cobblestone street that runs around the fortress of Acronafplia will fill your memory up with spectacular sceneries! You will feel an indescribable awe from the sea waves and the towering rocks! Halfway, you will find the abandoned chapel of Panagia Tis Spilias (Virgin of the Cave) while later on you will be surprised from the massiveness volume of Palamidi! The round of Arvanitia ends at the square of Arvanitia after 1 kilometer. Fact: Arvanitia got its name from the mass execution of Albanian bandits who pulled down by these rocks in 1779.

Exclusively for Photography Lovers

The authentic beauty of Nafplio offers numerous astonishing sceneries to capture with your eyes! But it would be a shame not to remember those beautiful landscapes, wouldn’t it? So, make sure you bring your camera with you!

Explore the Nafplio Railway Park

Nafplio Railway Park is the old railway station that constitutes one of the most charming sites in the city. Until the beginning of the 18th century, this area was flooded from the sea while it was changed with blooming gardens during the second Turkish occupation. In 1884, the area was choses for the railway station of the city that operated until 1964. Although the line was re-opened in 1993, Nafplio RS was relocated next to the port. Today, the site of the old railway station operates as a recreation area!

Find More Information from Mythical Peloponnese

If you want to find more information for the peninsula of Peloponnese, you should visit the wonderful website of Mythical Peloponnese!

It’s Sunset Time

The ruined building of customs promises a wonderful sunset that will overwhelm you!

Must Things To Do in Nafplio

Climb the 999 steps of Palamidi Castle to enjoy the views over Nafplio.

Enjoy a coffee at the square of Syntagma.

Explore the neighborhood of Psaromahalas, the most picturesque ditrict of Nafplio.

Follow the seaside round of Arvanitia with your other half.

Lose your way in the majestic neoclassical mansions of the old town of Nafplio.

Pay a visit to the Komboloi Museum and the Distillery Museum of Karonis.

Rent a bicycle from the municipality of Nafplio.

Visit the island fortress of Bourtzi

Walk at the seaside promenade of Bouboulina with the impressive neoclassical mansions and the palm trees.

Run in the Sun: Nafplio Marathon

Birthplace of the Olympic Games, Greece is the place where Marathon was introduced for the first time. Few know its origin honors the legendary Greek soldier Phidippides who raced from Marathon to Athens to announce to the anxious Athenians about the glorious victory against the Persians in 490 BC; he had the strength to deliver the message just before he collapsed and died. If your aim to recharge your body and mind, Greece has it for you! Every year, the Nafplio Marathon Race takes place in the city of Nafplio!

Souvlaki at Myli Village

Myli village is famous for its delicious souvlaki!

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Bourtzi Fortress: Shutterstock

Land Gate: Shutterstock

Syntagma Square: Shutterstock

View from Palamidi Castle: Shutterstock

Alley in Nafplio: Dimitris Sarantos by Panoramio

View to the Argolic Gulf: Mztoday by Panoramio

Palamidi Fortress: Juan Lianos by Flickr