When people ask me about my favorite place I’ve ever visited, I always tell them Nafplio, Greece. I spent a couple of days in Nafplio when I studied abroad in Greece in 2009 and it forever has a place in my heart. I’ve always wanted to tell you about this charming town and I thought this year would be the perfect time for some Throwback Travel content. I’ve been obsessively reading travel content lately, planning all of the dream trips I want to take someday. So today, we’re taking a trip back in time to my college days so you can fall in love with Nafplio and add it to your bucket list!
Nafplio is a seaside town in the Peloponnese in Greece, about two hours from Athens. With sweeping views of the Aegan Sea’s Argolic Gulf, dreamy sunsets, and streets that look like an old Hollywood movie, Nafplio is easy to fall in love with. It’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the most beautiful mainland towns. It looks like a movie set! Nafplio is only half an hour from both Epidaurus and Mycenae so if you’re into Greek history and ruins (which I am!), Nafplio is a great base for some wonderful day trips around the Peloponnese. There are daily bus services from Athens to Nafplio, making it quite easy to get to for international travelers.
Palamidi is one of the best reasons to visit Nafplio! By Greek standards, Palamidi is not that old. The fortress was built in the 1700s by the Venetians (later seized by the Greeks in the 1800s) and has the most incredible views of Nafplio and the Aegan BUT you’ll have to work to see them. Palamidi sits high up on a cliff; it’s about 900 steps to reach the top!
Architecture-wise, Palamidi is a masterpiece. It’s fascinating to walk amongst the old stones, crouching down to walk through the tunnels. The famous Greek Revolution hero Theodore Kolokotronis was imprisoned here and you can still see his cell today. Definitely bring water and sunscreen when you visit. You’ll largely be in the Mediterranean sun and it’s quite a hike to reach the top. Looking out at the ocean from Palamidi is one of my favorite memories of Greece.
The Streets of Nafplio
Charming, charming, charming are three words I would use to describe the streets of Nafplio. I was positively giddy walking around. Red bougainvillea dances overhead, gelaterias are on every block, and many restaurants are right on the sea oriented towards the sunset so you can have a leisurely dinner enjoying one of the most famous sights in Nafplio: Bourtzi Castle, a water castle just off the shore of Nafplio. Nafplio honestly looks like Disneyland’s take on a Greek seaside village.
A trip to Nafplio is not complete without a leisurely walk along the Argolic Gulf. The cliff meets the sea at the epic Arvanitia Promenade. Since wandering to nowhere in particular is one of my favorite activities, I loved this walk. The scenery cannot be beat! You’ve got the cliffs reaching up to Mount Olympus on one side of you, ocean waves crashing against rocks on the other side of you, and the charming town behind you as you walk to a Greek beach. What’s not to love? You even go through a rock tunnel, for Pete’s sake! It’s just epic. And it’s less than a mile, so it’s not even very strenuous. You can easily do this walk before dinner. It’s about ten minutes back to town from the end.
Strolling along the Arvanitia Promenade is where I took one of my most iconic photos from Greece, a photo which I’ve since printed on canvas and hung in my bedroom. When I think back on my time in Greece, this is what I picture.
Take a Dip in the Sea at Arvanitia Beach
At the end (or beginning) of the Arvanitia Promenade is Arvanitia Beach. This pebble beach sits at the base of Palamidi in a small cove and the water is fairly calm. You can rent lounge chairs, take a picnic, have a swim, or watch the sunset.
Nafplio is known for its sunset! Take a romantic stroll and enjoy the sparkling view of the sun dipping down into the Aegan. This was the view from our table:
I hope you enjoyed our little virtual trip to Nafplio. Stay tuned because next week, we’re taking another trip back in time!
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