One of the most beautiful towns in the area of Argolis (in eastern Peloponnese) as well as one of the most romantic cities in all Greece, Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born modern Greek state between 1823 and 1834.According to mythology, the town was founded by Náfplios, the son of god Poseidon and the daughter of Danaus (a Danais) Amymone. The town’s history traces back to the prehistoric era when soldiers from here participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War alike. The town fell into decline during the Roman times and flourished again during the Byzantine times. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors left their mark in the town and strongly influenced its culture, architecture and traditions during the centuries. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues, Ottoman fountains and Venetian or neoclassical buildings mesmerize the visitor with their unique architecture and beauty.
While you are here:
- Follow a dream trail to discover Náfplio’s precious gems starting from the medieval Old Town, the narrow cobblestone alleys, the neoclassical well-preserved mansions with the Bougainvillea trees adorning their yards and balconies and the Turkish fountains.
- In the very heart of the city stands the Italianate Syntagma Square where you can admire important historic buildings and monuments. Two Turkish mosques (the first used to house the first “Mutual Learning” School and now operates as a cinema/theatre whereas the second was home to the first Greek Parliament), the Archaeological Museum with important artefacts from the Prehistoric and Mycenaean Era and the Municipal Gallery are among the buildings that stand out. Very close to the modern city stand the church of Agios Spyridonas, in front of which the first governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was assassinated in 1831, and the church of Agios Georgios boasting important murals such as a copy of the famous Leonardo Da Vinci work “The Secret Dinner”.
- Next stop: the Palamidi Castle, which proudly stands 216 m above sea level. In order to reach it you have to climb all of its 999 steps carved into the rock. Not to worry, though: the view from above here is totally rewarding! Venture into a place drenched in history, where the famous hero of the Greek Revolution Theodore Kolokotronis had been imprisoned; it seems as if its battlements -named after the renowned ancient heroes Themistocles, Achilles, Fokion, Leonidas, Epaminondas and Miltiades- are still carefully protecting the city. Agios Andreas battlement built at the top of the Castle by Venetian conquerors undoubtedly offers stunning views to the Argolic gulf and the Mycenaean plain.
Akronafplia is the historic rock at the foot of Palamidi hill, also known by its Turkish name “Its Kale” (meaning inner castle). Inhabited since prehistoric times, the peninsula consists of three levels, among which stand three independent castles, the oldest being the western one. It was there that the ancient acropolis was situated, fortified with polygonic Cyclopean walls.
The most photographed spot of Náfplio –and its point of reference as well– is Bourtzi, the Venetian small fortress standing on the rocky islet of Agioi Theodoroi. During the Venetian rule it was connected to Akronafplia through a huge metal chain that secured the port against enemy ship attacks. At the beginning of 1860 in Bourtzi used to live the executioners of Palamidi prisoners. In the summer you can reach the fortress by boat departing regularly from the port. If you are lucky enough you may even be able to attend one of the fascinating festivals taking place on the islet!
Also worth visiting : The War Museum, housed in the buildings of the former (first) Military Academy; the houses of Regents Armansberg and Mauer; the “Lion of the Bavarians” standing in the suburb of “Pronia”; the prestigious Peloponnesian Folk Art Museum; the Children’s Museum; the one of its kind “Komboloi Museum”; the Town Hall in the Trion Navarhon square; the statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias, modern Greece’s first governor in the square bearing the same name; Theodoros Kolokotronis Park with his statue standing there; the recently renovated “Pili tis Ksirás” (Shore Gate).
Activities : at sunset take a romantic stroll around the so-called “Arvanitia Promenade”, the most popular walk in town (1 km in length) dominated by the rocky landscape of Akronafplia; use the tourist trains to enjoy a leisurely tour around the town/ buy some souvenirs from the Old Town’s souvenir shops, certainly “kombolóyia” (a circular chain with beads, usually made of amber used by Greeks to keep hands occupied and ease stress) for the production of which Náfplio is particularly famous; enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious meal in Syntagma Square; sip a drink at the port taking in the amazing view of Bourtzi – always lit up at night.
Beaches : In the summer, take an invigorating swim on the beaches of Arvanitia, Karathonas, Nea Kios, Miloi and Kiveri. You will also find a nice beach offering all kinds of facilities in Tolo, only 15 min away from the town.
Short escapes :
- Tiryns (7 km N) is worth visiting for its famous archaeological site, Ancient Tiryns. The first buildings were constructed during the Neolithic Period. The cyclopean walls were built in the 14th and 13th century B.C. and embrace the upper, middle and lower acropolis. The city extends around the acropolis. You can also visit a Mycenaean tholos tomb situated 1km NW. All are Unesco World Heritage sites.
- Néa Kios (7 km W) is a very popular town by the sea, situated at the edge of Náfplio bay. It is worth visiting for the Cultural-Conference Centre (in the central square) and the Laskarideio Folk Art Museum. Enjoy fascinating events during Carnival, summer (“Mikrasiatika” and “Kiana”) and in September (“The Papalinas feast”).
- Mýloi (12 km SW), where the ruins of ancient Lerna stand; it is where Hercules performed his second labour by killing “Lernaean Hydra”.
- Epidavros, one of the best preserved amphitheatres in existence
If you’re already in Athens, bus No. 051 from the intersection Zinonos and Menandrou Streets, south of Omonia, will bring you to Stathmos Kiffisos.
Taxi from the centre normally costs between 10 and 15 Euros, depending on where the taxi picks you up.
Stathmos Kiffisos is a major bus terminal. Find the sign that says Nafplio / Argolida, and buy your tickets there. The buses go hourly on the half hour from morning to evening (some exceptions). The journey takes two to two and a half hours, going via Corinth / Isthmos and Argos. Nafplio is the destination and terminus. Price approx. 12 Euros.
Please note that the bus from Nafplio to Athens stops at Eleonas metro station (blue line) before it continues to Stathmos Kiffisos. From Eleonas the metro will take you to the centre, then continue to the airport. This will usually be a faster solution than to travel by bus. Just make sure you get on the right train, not all of them run all the way to the airport.
The simplest – and cheapest – is to get the hotel you will stay in in Nafplio to pre-book a taxi for you, or contact greek-taxi.gr. A taxi trip costs approximately 150 euros, and lasts a bit over one and a half hour.
It is possible to take the “Proastiakos” train from the airport to Corinth, but the train from Corinth to Nafplio is suspended at the time of writing. Yet, it will be cheaper to take a train to Corinth and taxi from there, than to use a taxi all the way from the airport. Ask the hotel you are staying in in Nafplio to book a taxi for you.
If you rent a car at the airport, it’s easy to find the way to Nafplio. From the airport you drive directly onto the motorway and follow the signs first to Elefsina, then Corinth, and finally the signs say Nafplio. The road is generally very good, except for a short distance between Corinth and Nafplio which is fairly narrow and winding. Calculate two hours if you keep to the speed limit.
Travel to Nafplio by ferry:
PIRAEUS – ERMIONI or PORTO HELI
There is a ferry (3.5 hours) and express ferry (2 hours) from Piraeus to both Ermioni and Porto Heli, via the Saronic islands. From Ermioni and Porto Heli you can catch the bus to Nafplio. Timetables here.
HYDRA/SPETSES – TOLO
In the summers, Pegasus Cruises arranges boat trips from Tolo to the islands of Hydra and Spetses. It is ususally possible to travel only one way, but arrange in advance with them.
Useful numbers and sites:
KTEL ARGOLIS (BUS)
(+30) 27520 27323
When in Greece you can also call 14505 for information on bus routes throughout the country
TRAIN – OSE
(+30) 21052 97777
or when in Greece call 1110
(+30) 27520 24120
The main taxi rank is in Sigrou Street, by the bus station.
CAR + DRIVER
If you want a car and driver to take you to the sites of Argolis, contact the local firm www.greek-taxi.gr.
There are several to choose from in Nafplio
Check for departures at: www.gtp.gr
El Venizelos: www.aia.gr
We are grateful to the following hotels that have provided discounted rates for the “Musical Odyssey” students and their families.
The hotels below are all in the Old Town of Nafplio and within walking distance to all course venues.
Single room €31 with breakfast per room per night
Double room €42 with breakfast per room per night
Triple room €55 with breakfast per room per night
Quadruple room €60 with breakfast per room per night
Tel: +30 27520 28167/28910
Single room €40 with breakfast per room per night
Double €50 or triple room €60 with breakfast per room per night
Tel: +30 27520 23217 – 27520 21021/2
Nafplio has a large number of boutique hotels with a variety of prices such as:
Aion Luxury Hotel
Double room €85 with breakfast
Tel: +30 27520-99377
Amfitriti Palazzo Design Hotel
double room with balcony 80 euros
Superior double room with balcony and sea view 90 euros
triple room 100 euros
all the above rates include all taxes and a delicious traditional breakfast served in a buffet in our terrace with amazing view to the old town and the sea.
Single room 55 euros,
double room 70 euros
All above rates include taxes and breakfast.
single room 50 euros
double room 65 euros
All above rates include taxes and breakfast.
Booking: When contacting these hotels to book your room please quote ‘Musical Odyssey” to have access to the special rates. Please note that these special rates are subject to availability, and therefore you are strongly advised to book early.