A lovely romantic downtown with cozy streets, a great place to stay for radial travelling around Peloponnese.
It is the capital of the prefecture of Argolida.
According to Greek mythology, Nafplio was founded and named after the hero Nafplios, father of Palamidis. It was later under Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman rule. In 1829, after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, Nafplio was chosen as the first capital of the newly-founded state under Governor Kapodistrias. His mansion (Palataki, or "Little Palace") was on the square in front of today's town hall. In 1833 the capital moved to Athens, and Nafplio remained the capital of the prefecture of Argolida.
The town is built in two parts, the old, covering all the peninsula and the new, expanding to the north and the east.
Upon your arrival you will probably drop off at the central bus station, which is at the east end of the old town, or at the port, hosting a large parking area, at the north seaside of the town.
It is sometimes confusing to some that the hill overlooking the town is on the south of the town and the sea on the north. But once you notice it is easy to walk around the orderly shaped blocks.
The major reference point of the old town is Syntagma square, a very large square, with many Venetian-style buildings all around.
Just two blocks north and west is the Philellinon square, by the sea and at the end of the seaside part of the road. Here lies also the old Customs building.
The reference point for the whole town, new and old, is the conjunction of the road coming from athens (Argous street) and the one going east to Epidavros and Porto Heli (Asklepeou street). It is named "endekate", meaning "eleventh", after the bus-stop numbering system of old times. It is from here that a large park starts, covering the old train route, leading to the beginning of the old town.
By carFrom Athens the trip is 1½-2 hours by car (147 km). Follow the signs to the harbour where you'll find a large parking area which is free of charge (as of Sep 2018). If your accommodation is within the old town, it should be easily reachable within 10 to 15 minutes by foot.
By busBuses connect the town with Athens, Salonica and all the major cities of Peloponessos.
From Athens, there are 12 to 14 daily buses (from the Eleftherios Venizelos airport take the X93 bus till the last stop). The buses of KTEL leave Athens from Terminal A in Kifissos central bus station. The journey takes about 2 hours and the price is €11.8 one way, €18 return (June 2010). You can buy tickets online.
There are buses from the Corinth-Channel Bus Terminal to Nafplio via Argos (June 2010), priced €5.8 one way, but not from Proastiakos Corinth Train station, due to their competition.
By seathe town has a good protected port which can host several yachts providing them with all facilities.
By trainThe train station is at the port, providing tickets, info, etc., in an old wagon. Including a change for "proastiakos" train in Corinth the total time from Athens is 2hr 10min. If you find the departure time convenient it will provide you a more comfortable cheap and accurate journey. €17 for a two way ticket (in two parts, one till Korinthos, one for the rest). Stops also at Argos and Mycenae.
In July 2015, it was canceled till further notice; from Athens you can get only as far as Corinth (50 min, about 10 trains daily).
The municipality is providing free bicycles for a day, just in front of the Town Hall, by the KTEL bus station.
VouleftikonThe first parliament of the Greek nation, right south of the Syntagma Sq, earlier used as an Ottoman Jami.
Venetian ArsenalsOn the same square, now an archeological museum.
St Spyridon churchaddress: on the mid of Kapodistriou str(1702) where the first governor of Greece was killed, with traces of the killing bullet. The street is named after him.
St George(17th century), the metropolis of the town, on Plapouta str.
St Nicolaus(18th century), on Philellinon sq, by the port.
Small JamiOn the east of Syntagma Sq, now used as a theater.
Frangokklisiaaddress: Fotomara strThe oldest church in the town, built on several periods, still having traces of the old Catholic (Franc) Monastery.
The Archeological Museumphone: +30 2752 027502The museum is right on Syntagma Square, in a Venetian building of 1714 with impressive stone arches. It was renovated and restored internally and externally, reopening October 2008 after 5 years. It includes new showcases and exhibits, accessibility and facilities for people with disabilities, and air-conditioning. In the new multimedia hall you can see documentary films, whereas children can take part in the regular programs that take place. The most important exhibit of the museum is the impressive bronze armor suit dating back to the 13th century BC and once worn by a Mycenaean soldier. Get the full story in the multimedia hall and travel through time to the era of ancient Greece.
The War Museumaddress: Amalias Othonos 22In a beautiful historic building that served as the first military school in Greece, on the middle of Amalias str. Hosting war relics, guns, maps, paintings and photographs from the Greek revolution till the Second World War.
The Komboloi Museumphone: +30 2752 021618address: Staikopoulou 25The first Komboloi (or worry-beads) Museum – said to be the only one worldwide – was founded in Nafplio in 1998 by Aris and Rallou Evangelinos, who have been collecting and studying the history of komboloi since 1958. The museum has had more than 55.000 visitors so far and the unique collection consists of approximately 1500 kombolois (from Asia Minor, Greece, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Persia, etc.) that date from 1700 to 1950 and are made of various precious and rare materials. On the ground floor there is the workshop where old kombolois are repaired and new, either original or copies of the old ones, are produced.
phone: +30 2752 028947address: 1 V. AlexandrosThe permanent exhibition at the museum is dedicated to the “Greek town – Nafplio 1822-1922”. On the ground floor, miscellaneous museum items are presented in a daring and free arrangement in order to emphasize on the multiformity of the collections, while one can also visit the new expanded museum shop.
The Stone Museum
Lygourio. Containing among others specimens of fossils from the Epidaurus field, maybe the largest ammonites field in the world. Free admission. 16 Apr-14 Oct: 09:00-14:00 & 17:00-21:00, 15 Oct-15 Apr: Tu-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00.
The Ouzo museumbelonging to Karonis distilleries, it is in the Ag. Paraskevi area.
The National GalleryAnnex of the National Greek Gallery. In a building that a century ago served as the hospital of the town. Hosting paintings of famous Greek painters. M Th Sa 10:00-15:00; W F 10:00-15:00, 17:00-20:00; Su 10:00-14:00. Free M.
The Municipal Art Galleryon Vasileos Konstantinou str in old town, hosting various seasonal exhibitions
Nafplion Art Galleryon Vas ALexandrou 5. M-F 11:00-14:00, 19:00-21:30; Sa Su 11:00-14:30
Alpha Bank Cultural Centeraddress: At Kolletti 4
Palamedes Public LibraryOn Koletti and Amalias str. In a former girls school building. M-F 08:00-18:30.
PalamidiStanding like a crown over Nafplio, Palamidi fortress (build by the Venetians around 1686 and completed to its present form in 1714) was so well designed that all attempts to conquer it were unsuccessful, making it a legend at the time. Finally, in 1822, the Greeks succeeded, creating surprise and amazement. In very good condition, you can visit it by taking the legendary 999 (in fact 857) stairsteps, or simply drive there. The view is unique, and you will also see many historical monuments, such as the small cave-prisons (also prison of the national hero Kolokotronis) and the church of Saint Andreas. At night, drive back there to enjoy a scenic view of Nafplio under the moonlight, as well as a big part of the Argolic gulf and plain, the lighted castle of Argos to the north, and the lights of small villages along the road to the neighboring prefecture of Arcadia and the town of Astros, at the north-west.
BourtziThe first part of the Venetian fortress of Bourtzi was built around 1400, on top of a rock-island at the entrance of the port. The architect was the venetian Antonio Gambell. During its history it has been used as a fort, as a shelter for the Greek government, as a home for unwelcome executioners, even as a hotel. Occupied by the Turks from 1715 to 1822 Today, it only takes 5 minutes to visit Bourtzi with the small boats available at the port and observe the town from the opposite side. Don’ t miss it (€4 round-trip).
Old town fortificationsAll of the town used to be fortified, with two parts, the seaside merchant quarter, being the present old town, and the uphill, the barracks quarter, now an open archeological site, partly hosting a hotel. At the old town fortifications only remain in the east limit, just in front of the central bus station. The large protecting trench now has been covered and it is part of the city's park.
CuriositiesAt the other end of the gulf there is the undersea fountain of Anavalos, protected by an in-sea dam, hydrating all the area.
Due to the quality of the soil there are some interesting dolines (sinkholes) in the general area, some of which are hosting various old relics.
Tirynsaddress: Archeo TirinthaReally wondeful walled Mycenean palace about 4 km from town. The site is very well preserved and easy to follow with a guidebook. This is where Herculese came back to between labours. To walk or cycle there go to the old railway station in the park next to the bus stop and follow the tracks as far as you can before cutting across to the main road. You cannot miss the site
Strolling in the old city of Nafplio
One of the best characteristics of Nafplio is that everything in the Old Town is within walking distance. In fact you can walk from one end to another in less than 15 min, and that's why you can see couples in love, happy kids, and large groups of friends everywhere in the town, at the port, in the alleys, always walking around and enjoying every part of the town. Because of the small distances and the paved ways, there are few areas cars are allowed to pass, and there is no bus service in the old part of town, only the central station that takes you to the new part of the town and the rest of the prefecture. So, leave the car in the parking and enjoy walking around Nafplio all year round. Alternatively, you can take the horse carriage or the small train for a tour in the town.
Some distinguished buildings are
- the First New Greek Gymnasium (built 1833)
- the old Town Hall building (Iatrou building)
- the house of the Viceroy
- the Alevras-Lambiris building (1830)
- the old train station (1890)
Climb 999 (in reality 857) stairs to the castle of Palamidis. You may get tired but the view is said to be worth it. We walked the paved road down to the crossing and went right down to "Karathona Beach". From "Karathona Beach" there is a walking path along the coast-line back to "Arvanithia Beach" and Nafplio. Its a nice scenic walk and takes about 1 hour.
Enjoying the sea
Very close to the town is the quiet sandy beach of Karathona, just south of Palamede castle hill. There the locals gather to enjoy swimming in this blue flagged clean beach.
At the back of the castles, 10 minutes' walk just south of the town, is also the Arvanitia beach.
Even more south, approachable by local bus or car, there is a series of marvelous beaches, very popular during the summer.
Daily Cruises in the Argolic Gulf
If you have time you van try this cruise, giving you the pleasure to enjoy the sea and the seaside attractions of the area, including a bath stop! On the promenade where the boats for Bourtzi depart, usually once a day in summertime.
EntertainmentIn the town there are two cinemas, both on 25 Martiou Str,
- One serving during wintertime, by the fire brigade, near the bus station and
- One serving during summertime, a must go open air, well in the Greek open air cinema tradition. Usually it hosts all latest productions. It is located at the other end of the 25th Martiou str, at the east end of the park, just underneath Palamede castle. Usually starting at 21:00. Tel 2751068855.
There is also a theater, the Trianon, on Syntagma Sq., serving various plays during all year long.
Around Holy Easter (moving fiest) there are several local festivities:
- 50 days before, Apokria fiest (the Greek Carnibal), with masqueraded parades, music and events around the town
- 49 days before, the Kathari Monday (the Greek Mardi Gras), with outdoor picknicking, kite flying, music
- 7 days before, start of the Holy Week, having on of its most beautiful moment on
- 2 days before, Holy Friday, a large parade out of each of the three main churches of the town, leading to
- day 1, the Holy Easter Sunday
- 7 days after, Sunday, the burning of Judas, at the nearby Asini Village
- 50 days after, the Monday of the Holy Spirit, a celebration of two days (starting on Sunday) in the nearby village of Lygourio and of Agia Triada.
Other festivities are:
- 25 March, National day celebration and religious fiest
- The first Sunday of May is the fiest of artichoke, in the nearby village of Iria
- On the last week of June, the Nafplio Festival , a week of classical music concerts in the historic sites and castles of the place, very much worth attending.
- On the 15th of August, the day of Madonna, a large fiest with religious parade around the town,
Nafplio has a history of Greek traditional culinary products, based on the tradition of locally produced crops.
In the last decades it has also become famous for its kombolois w:Worry beads, or else worry-beads, made from amber and other materials. There is a museum for kombolois as well as many such shops.
SnackOne has to try some of the goodies served in the various traditional bakeries around the town.
- Alevri+Zahari, at the middle of Sid. Merarhias str. The bakery-pastryshop, another local hit.
One should also try the locally made ice creams.
- Zorbas the Greek: family run, staff very nice. Salad, drinks and main for two persons about €27.
- Nafplios, best known as "Karamalis", at the port and near the start of the old town
Popeyeaddress: Staikopoulou StItalian style pizza, burgers, salads, pasta and sandwiches everything is fresh and made to order. Also have a good selection of Greek micro brewery beer.
There is also the usual choice of the Greek fast restaurants, best exemplified by Goody's, at the west end of the park, just before the end of the old town, a hundred meters from the bus station. Of course also numerous souvlaki and pizza spots, most around the north of the park area.
Mid-rangeThere are many restaurants with medium quality, usually targeted around the Greek tradition. A lot of them are spotted across Staikopoulou str. in the old town, or in the streets near the promenade. A few proposals:
Kipos (Garden)phone: +30 2752022978address: 5, Ethnikis Antistaseos str.Mediaterranean - Italian style, probably one of the best choices.
- Omorfo Tavernaki is a good medium priced choice (if you manage to get a table), at the first parallel behind the port, Kotsonopoulou and Vas. Olgas str,
- Allaloum next to the Saint Nicolas Church.
- Koutouki Greek traditional cuisine. Next to St. Nicolas Church (Vas.Olgas str. 44)
- Iliostasio a cafe & cocktail bar opposite to bourtzi, a beautiful and romantic place, at the west end of the promenade,
- To Lathos (the Wrong), one of the most atmospheric-psychedelic bars in Greece (!), at Vas. Konstantinou str, a few meters east of Syntagma Sq. Great Gin & Tonics.
- The cafeterias in the Syntagma Sq, a quite atmospheric place for all times, where a lot of locals gather,
- The cafeterias by the sea, west of Philellinon Sq, offering superb views of the Bourtzi castle and the sea, but a little more pricey,
- The train station cafe, within the park, not very much known, but keeping something from the old times of the area.
BudgetThe best choices might be found in the new town, north of the train station/park, or along the Argous street. In the villages around there are various choices also, ranging from rented rooms, camping sites, to small hotels.
phone: +30 27520 59338, +30 27520 36511Very hospitable people and near a small beach.
Acropole Hotelphone: +30 27520 97677, +30 27520 27796address: 9, Vasilissis Olgas Str
Argolis Hotelphone: +30 2752 027695address: 32, Argous Str
Mid-rangeA lot of good choices in this range, most of which are around Syntagma sq., offering views of the old town and local mood.
phone: +30 27520 99477, +30 27520 22073, +30 6972084554 (Mobile)address: 39, Othonos Str.Small and cozy family-run pension. Artistically decorated rooms, each inspired by its own flower and derives color from it. Daily room cleaning and change of towels. Internet (128kbps) available in suites. Common area on the ground floor -- great for a group of 5-6 people spending time together indoors.
Marianna PensionCozy hotel overlooking the downtown from the mountain, close to one of the fortresses. Roof cafe for breakfast, great view on the town. Be prepared for 5 minutes stair climbing to reach it from the downtown; may be also reached by car from the fortress side. Single: €65, double €75.
address: Kapodistriou Str. 8A charming place in the center of Nafplio. Its rooms are neat and perfectly clean in old town-house style. It offers any comfort: ensuite bathroom, tv, fridge and air cond. From the second floor you have a nice view above Nafplio. The owner is Greek, speaks English, and is aimed to make your stay as pleasant as possible. doubles start at
phone: +30 27520 27428address: 1, Dervenakion StrJust opposite of the town's central park, near the east limit of the old town. Very good value for money.
phone: +30 27520 22351address: Kapodistriou 20 & Platonos cornerVery nice, very quiet pension with balconies over looking the old town, close to the shops and tavernas. Excellent service.
Grande Bretagne HotelA very charming and small hotel but excellent service, beautiful view of the port and very good rooms,
Amalia HotelAt the outskirts of the town, spacious, good value for money,
Nafplia PalaceThe best hotel of Nafplio, with a magnificent view, overlooking the city and the sea. Bangalows with private pools.
Nafplio Bus Station 27520 27323
Nafplio Post Office 27520 24855
Nafplio Taxi Station 27520 24120
Nafplio Tourist Office 27520 24444
Nafplio Port 27520 22974
Nafplio Hospital 27520 27309
Nafplio Tourist Police 27520-28131
There is almost zero violence or mobbing in the city, except the occasional pick pocket when you relax too much under the sun. Nights are safe, you can walk around at all times with no danger. It is considered one of the safest places in Greece.
Begging children can be sometimes seen in the street but won't bother them after a strict "no!"
If you plan to stroll around, Nafplio is a good base to head out to the numerous archeological sites surrounding it. The Epidaurus theater, Mycenae and Tiryns (all UNESCO World Heritage site) are just some of them. Nearly all towns villages and tourist spots are serviced by local buses at all times.
The bus station is at the end of the park, just before the old town, at Sygrou str 8.
It is here you may catch the bus to the ancient (but still servicing) theater of Epidaurus, the ancient town of Mycenae.
Very close it is Argos, the most ancient town of Europe, now a quiet agricultural town. It has a castle overlooking the town, the ruins of its theater and the remainders of ancient settlements, and some interesting nearby monasteries.
It is also worth exploring the quiet nearby fisher-villages such as Vivari (with its lagoon and its wonderful sandy beach Kondyli), Hermioni town, Porto Heli with the ancient port of Aliis, the small fisher port of Koilada with its adjacent prehistoric Frahthi cave and the miniature churches in the doline wells near Didyma.
4 daily KTEL buses travel to Kranidi (30 minutes) and then to Kosta (to connect with local ferry to Spetses, about 10 minutes) through Porto Heli (high-speed ferry to Spetses, about 15 minutes), or to Hermioni (high-speed ferries to Hydra, about 30 minutes, and on to Poros and Pireaus, about 2 hours). The schedule is designed to coincide with the ferry departures.