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.
Nafplio was the second capital of newly formed Greece after Misologgi until the capital eventually became Athens. It is an historical city due to its meaning to the Greek Revolution. It has a fantastic centre with small neoclassical historical houses, squares and churches.
It is the capital of the prefecture of Argolida.
A sovereign naval nation-city in ancient times, Nafplio was founded and named after -according to Greek mythology- by hero Nafplios, father of Palamidis. A target for Franks, Venetians and Ottomans, they all repeatedly tried, and succeeded quite a few times, to conquer it. In 1829, after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, Nafplio was chosen as the first capital of the new-founded state and democracy. His palace was on the square in front of today's town hall. In 1833 the capital moved to Athens, the town remaining capital of the prefecture.
Nowadays, when taking a walk in the picturesque alleys of the Old Town, visitors are drawn by the venetian balconies and the wonderful neoclassical buildings and mansions, images that bring feelings of sweet nostalgia. Relax at the numerous cafés on the port whilst viewing the sea, and visit Palamidi fortress for a scenic view of the Argolic gulf.
Travelers mix: Many Greeks come here for weekends from Athens.
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 sq., a very large square, where the Venetians held their headquarters at old times. Just two blocks north and west is the Philelinnon sq., 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 str) and the one going east to Epidavros and Porto Heli (Asklepeou str). 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.
From Athens the trip is 1.5~2 hours by car (147km).
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 11.8e one way, 18e 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.
the town has a good protected port which can host several yachts providing them with all facilities.
The trains 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 (Jan2011) canceled till further notice.
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.
If you plan to stroll around, Nafplio is a good base to head out to the numerous archeological sites surrounding it. Epidaurus theater, Mycenae, Tiryns 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.
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.
The Archeological Museum
The museum is right on Syntagma Square, in a Venetian building of 1714 with impressive stone arches. Recently renovated and restored internally and externally (reopens 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 B.C. 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. Entrance 2€ general / 1€ over 65 or students out of the EU / Free under 18 and EU students. M 1:30PM-8PM, Tu-Su 8AM-8PM.
The War Museum
In a beautiful historic building that served as the first military school in Greece, on the middl of Amalias str. Hosting war relics, guns, maps, paintings and photographs from the Greek revolution till the Second World War. Tu-Sa 9AM-2PM, Su and national days 9:30AM-2PM.
The Komboloi Museum
The 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. 9:30AM-9:30PM daily. Entrance fee for the museum: € 3,00
The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Museum (PFF or PLI in Greek)
The 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. Exhibition W-M 9AM-2:30PM, 6PM-9PM, Tu 6PM-9PM. Museum shop W-M 9AM-2:30PM, 6PM-9PM, Su 6PM-9PM. Full admission : 4 € (morning)/ 3 € (afternoon), Reduced admission for persons over 65m and an adult accompanying a child. Museum Tour : 3 €
The Stone Museum
An extension of the relevant museum in Lygourio. Containing among others specimens of fossils from the Epidaurus field, maybe the largest ammonites field in the world. Free admission. 16Apr-14Oct 09:00-14:00 & 17:00-21:00, 15Oct-15Apr 09:00-17:00, Sundays 10:00-16:00, Mondays closed.
The Ouzo museum
belonging to Karonis distilleries, it is located at Ag. Paraskevi area.
the National Gallery
Located on Sidiras Merarchias str, just opposite of "alevri+zahari". Annex 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 10AM-3PM; W, F 10AM-3PM, 5PM-8PM; S 10AM-2PM. Free M.
the Municipal Art Gallery
on Vasileos Konstantinou str in old town, hosting various seasonal exhibitions
Nafplion Art Gallery
on Vas ALexandrou 5. M-F 11AM-2PM, 7PM-9:30PM; Sa S 11AM-2:30PM
Alpha Bank Cultural Center
Presenting the exhibition "Fred Βoissonnas,pictures of Greece", till October 31, 2010. At Kolletti 4, Tu-Sa 10AM-2PM, 6PM-8:30PM, Su and holidays 10AM-3PM.
Palamedes Public Library
On Koletti and Amalias str. In an ex girls school building. M-F 8AM-6:30PM.
Standing 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) stair-steps, 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. Daily 08:30-15:00, 4e/2e.
The 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 (4e round-trip).
Old town fortifications
All 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Around Holy Easter (moving fiest) there are several local festivities:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
A lot of good choices in this range, most of which are around Syntagma sq., offering views of the old town and local mood.
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.
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.