Nafplio

View of Nafplio old town

Nafplio (or Nafplion) is a small town in Peloponnese (Greece). Many times it is also referenced as Nauplio, Nauplia or Nafplia. The name is the remnant of the old venetian name Napoli di Romania, from the Greek "nea poli"="new town" of Romania, the name of the area during the late Byzantine times.

A lovely romantic downtown with cozy streets, a great place to stay for radial travelling around Peloponnese.

Understand

Nafplio was briefly the capital of Greece before the seat of power was eventually shifted to Athens. It is an historical city due to its Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman heritage, as well as its meaning to the Greek Revolution. It has a beautiful centre with small neoclassical historical houses, squares and churches. It is the capital of the prefecture of Argolida.

Brief history

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.

Orientation

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.

Get in

By car

From Athens the trip is 1.5~2 hours by car (147 km).

By bus

Buses 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 5.8e one way, but not from Proastiakos Corinth Train station, due to their competition.

By sea

the town has a good protected port which can host several yachts providing them with all facilities.

By train

The train station is at the port, served for tickets info etc. in an old wagon. Including a change for "proastiakos" train in Corinth the total time from Athens is 2h 10'. If you find the departure time convenient it will provide you a more comfortable cheap and accurate journey. 17e for a two way ticket (in two parts, one till Korinthos, one for the rest). Stops also at Argos and Mycenae. Presently (as of July 2015) canceled till further notice; from Athens you can get only as far as Corinth (50 min, about 10 trains daily)

Get around

Getting around within the town, recently, has been a lot easier, for those that love bicycles. The municipality is giving free bicycles for a day, just in front of the Town Hall, by the KTEL bus station.

See

At a first glance, Nafplio looks like an Italian city because of its architecture and the colourful houses. More fundamentally, Nafplio has a quite an interesting architecture, with many traces of eighteenth century European towns, Byzantine and Ottoman influences. Many of the old town's buildings date back to two hundred years ago.

Characteristic buildings

Museums

Cultural Centers

The Castles

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.

Curiosities

At 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.

Do

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’, 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 distinquished buildings are

Palamidi

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.

Psaromachalas

During your strolls in Nafplio, it is worth adding 15 minutes to your schedule to walk around Psaromachala (meaning fishermonger's), the area under the rocky hill of Acronafplia. In contrast with the large, classical style mansions and open spaces of the main parts of the old town, here you will see small, white houses, with yards filled by flowers, narrow alleys and stairways, cats lurking and mewing, and in general the feeling of a small, traditional neighborhood, reminding to many the Greek islands. Add to the picture some larger mansions that have been renovated and turned to guesthouses and hotels and you have a unique part of Nafplio, with great view and good hospitality.

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.

Entertainment

In the town there are two cinemas, both on 25 Martiou Str,

There is also a theater, the Trianon, on Syntagma sq., serving various plays during all year long.

Festivities

Around Holy Easter (moving fiest) there are several local festivities:

Other festivities are:

Buy

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 , or else worry-beads, made from amber and other materials. There is a museum for kombolois as well as many such shops.

Eat

Snack

One has to try some of the goodies served in the various traditional bakeries around the town.

One should also try the locally made ice creams.

Budget

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-range

There 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:

Drink

Sleep

Budget

The 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.

Mid-range

A lot of good choices in this range, most of which are around Syntagma sq., offering views of the old town and local mood.

Splurge

Connect

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

Stay safe

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.

Go next

Epidaurus

at the start of the old town is located the local bus station, Ktel. It is the same very spot at the old times one could find carriages and horses. From here depart local buses for all the villages and attractions of the area, on a tight schedule and very low fare.

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 sites) 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. For tickets/schedules check the link . 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 adjucent 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.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.