The Peloponnese is a region in western Greece, a peninsula that confines an antique world dating back to the year 3000 BC or even earlier. There are plenty of historical sites, mountains, beaches and vineyards to explore. Nafplio is in the eastern part, the capital of Argolis region, it also used to be the capital of Greece. The location is tempting; a confined port at the end of the bay, it is also a highland.
The city has multiple names Greek Nafplio, Byzantine Nafplio, ancient Nafplia. The ottoman also called it Mora Yenişehir, or Peloponnese’s new city. Strategically speaking it has three castles, one uphill called Palamidi, you need to climb 1000 steps to get up there, or simply drive upwards from the other side which I didn’t know till it was too late for my mother’s misfortune. The view is incredible though and it was worth the climb as each level provides a different perspective. The Palimidi complex is big, so give your self some time, take some snacks, a cold beer and savour the journey.
Another fortress in the middle of the sea called Bourtzi; the classic post card icon for the city and on many local products labels. There are boat trips near the marina every 30 minutes till sunset, I took the last one to enjoy the scenery. In any case you are surrounded by hills and land, but that’s not a disadvantage since it exposes a fascinating colour palette with the sky and clouds.
The third was also a royal palace, the Akronafplia, lies at a lower altitude than the Palimidi but still up hill. it’s adjacent to Eleni’s pension where I stayed, a large parking slot and other houses uphill that you can access via a set of tiny elevated streets and stairs leading to the old town centre. Or from the main street by the sea that ramps up by the old castle walls and a set of cannons. It’s also accessible via a coastal promenade, a 10 mins walk from Arvanitia beach, it’s a sort of a triangle surrounded by water. The view would be awesome wherever you are.
There two sides of the town, the old centre around Syntagma square that borders the sea, Acronafplia and Palamidi as well as the new town centre with the normal bakeries, shops, more locally frequented restaurants and slightly modern buildings. There are a couple of cultural folklore museums as well.
The Old town transport you to a different time, the cobbled stone alleys and flowery balconies, cats sitting on windows where you can peak to sea families huddled around food and wine, laughter filling the place. Stray dogs and cats are well treated, they are well fed, well overweight as well.
Friends gather in restaurants and bars, specially the old ones: those small locals where the waiter knows everyone, the walls are decorated with memories and old souvenirs, those places that feel alive on their own. The ones that encourage you to be more sociable and you start engaging in conversation with the customers and hosts. More like hallucinations influenced by gallons of Ouzo that you had under the warm winter sun.
There is no such thing as boredom in Nafplio, There are plenty of museums and ancient churches, not to mention two mosques that are now used as theatres and galleries if you are into culture. There are hikes, beaches and nearby camping spots if you are into nature. You could fish in the pier facing Bourtzi castle or jump on one of the boats. Food is as delicious and fresh as it gets. If you are into tasting tours, you can do Karonis distillery visit in their old town shop. Just don’t forget to book ahead…
Nafplio is one hour drive or less from Nemea wine route, Mycenae, Tyrins, Franchtiti and Didima caves, Epidavros, Corinth and if you like observing fishermen, you can simply go to Nea Kios, a 10 minutes drive and minimal traffic.
Now I leave you with more photographs: