Nafplio is a seaside town in the Peloponnese region of Greece, famous for its romantic charm, historical legacy, and cultural diversity. Nafplio is one of the most beautiful and visited towns in Greece, attracting thousands of tourists every year.
What is Nafplio Known For?
Nafplio is famous for many things, such as:
- Its castles and fortresses. Nafplio has three impressive castles that dominate the town and the bay. The first one is Palamidi, a Venetian fortress that stands on a hill above the town. It was built in 1686 and has 999 steps leading to the top, where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the sea. The second one is Bourtzi, a small castle on an islet at the entrance of the port. It was built in 1473 and served as a defense and a prison. You can visit it by boat and admire its architecture and scenery. The third one is Akronafplia, an ancient fortress complex that overlooks Nafplio. It was the first fortification of the town and has traces of Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman influences. You can explore its ruins, walk along the fortified walls, and enjoy the stunning views of the town and the Argolic Gulf.
- Its Old Town and Promenade. Nafplio’s Old Town is a charming area with narrow cobblestone streets, neoclassical buildings, and vibrant squares. You can stroll around and discover many shops, cafes, restaurants, museums, and churches that reflect the town’s history and culture. You can also visit Syntagma Square, the main square of the town, where you can see important monuments such as the Archaeological Museum, the War Museum, and the former Mosque of Aga Pasha. Nafplio’s Promenade is a lovely walkway along the seafront that connects the port with Arvanitia Beach. You can relax and enjoy the view of the bay, the castles, and the mountains.
- Its beaches and nature. Nafplio boasts several beautiful beaches where you can relax, swim, or soak up the sun. Arvanitia Beach is the closest to the town center and offers a scenic setting with crystal-clear waters and pebbles. Karathona Beach is a long and sandy beach that is ideal for families and water sports lovers. Tolo Beach is a popular resort town that has a golden beach with shallow waters and many facilities. Nafplio also has many natural attractions that are worth exploring, such as Tiryns, an archaeological site that was a Mycenaean citadel; Nemea, a wine-producing region that has ancient ruins and vineyards; and Epidaurus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a famous ancient theater.
Famous Drinks in Nafplio
Nafplio has a delicious and varied cuisine that reflects its Mediterranean climate and traditions. Along with its food, Nafplio also has some famous drinks that are worth trying. Some of them are:
- Ouzo: This is a traditional alcoholic drink made from distilled grapes flavored with anise. It has a clear color and a strong taste. It can be drunk plain or mixed with water or ice. It is usually served in small glasses or shots with meze (small dishes) or seafood.
- Wine: Nafplio is close to Nemea, one of the most important wine regions in Greece. The region produces mainly red wines from local grape varieties such as Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero, Roditis, and Malagousia. The wines have a ruby color and a fruity aroma. They are usually served at room temperature in large glasses or carafes with meat or cheese.
- Coffee: Nafplio has a strong coffee culture that is similar to other parts of Greece and Turkey. The most common coffee drink is Greek coffee (also known as Turkish coffee), which is made from finely ground coffee beans that are boiled with water and sugar in a small pot called briki. It has a thick layer of foam on top and a layer of sediment at the bottom. It is usually served in small cups with a glass of water and a sweet treat.
- Tea: Nafplio also has a variety of herbal teas that are made from plants that grow on the island or in the nearby mountains. Some of the most common herbs used for tea are: sage (faskomilo), thyme (thimari), oregano (rigani), mint (dyosmos), chamomile (hamomili), linden (tilio), rosemary (dendrolivano), lavender (lavanta), lemon balm (melissa), mountain tea (tsai tou vounou), and dittany (diktamo). These teas have various health benefits and soothing effects.
Famous Sports in Nafplio
Nafplio is an ideal place for sports lovers, as it offers many opportunities for fun and adventure on land and sea. Some of the most popular sports in Nafplio are:
- Water sports: Nafplio has many beaches and bays that are perfect for water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and fishing. You can rent equipment or join tours to explore the coast and the nearby islands.
- Hiking: Nafplio has many trails and paths that lead to scenic spots and hidden gems on the island. You can hike to the peaks of the mountains, the depths of the valleys, the entrances of the caves, or the outskirts of the villages, enjoying the nature and the history of the island. Some of the best hiking routes in Nafplio are: Palamidi Castle, which offers a panoramic view of the sea and the town; Tiryns, which is an archaeological site that was a Mycenaean citadel; Nemea, which is a wine-producing region that has ancient ruins and vineyards; and Epidaurus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a famous ancient theater.
- Cycling: Nafplio is also a great place for cycling, as it has many roads and tracks that offer different levels of difficulty and scenery. You can cycle around the coast, the plains, the hills, or the fields, admiring the landscape and the culture of the island. You can also join tours or events to see more of the island or meet new people. Some of the best cycling routes in Nafplio are: Nafplio-Tolo-Nemea-Epidaurus, which follows the south-east coast and the countryside; Nafplio-Mycenae-Tiryns-Argos, which passes through the north-east coast and the archaeological sites; and Nafplio-Karathona Beach-Arvanitia Beach-Nafplio Promenade, which explores the town and its surroundings.
Famous Streets in Nafplio
Nafplio has many streets that are worth exploring for their charm, atmosphere, and history. Some of them are:
- Staikopoulou Street: This is one of the most picturesque streets in Nafplio’s Old Town. It is a narrow and cobblestone street that runs from Syntagma Square to Bourtzi Castle. It has many traditional houses with colorful doors and windows that create a cozy atmosphere. It also has many shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars that offer local products and specialties.
- Vasileos Konstantinou Street: This is one of the most impressive streets in Nafplio’s New Town. It is a wide and elegant street that runs from Palamidi Castle to Arvanitia Beach. It has many neoclassical buildings that date back to the 19th century when Nafplio was the capital of Greece. Some of them are: The Town Hall, The Court House, The National Bank, The Archaeological Museum, and The War Museum.
- Othonos Street: This is one of the most lively streets in Nafplio’s Old Town. It is a long and busy street that runs parallel to Staikopoulou Street. It has many bars, clubs, pubs, and restaurants that offer music, drinks, and fun until dawn. Some of them are: Sokaki Cafe, Mediterraneo Wine & Deli, Aiolos Tavern, Scuola Pizza-Bar, Alaloum, Kellari, Pseiras Taverna, Kalimera, Stavlos, Il Porto, Nafplio Falafel
FAQs about Nafplio:
- How do I get to Nafplio? You can get to Nafplio by car from Athens or other cities in the Peloponnese; by bus from Athens or other towns in the region; or by boat from Piraeus or other islands.
- When is the best time to visit Nafplio? The best time to visit Nafplio is from March to June or from September to November, when the weather is mild and sunny, the flowers are in bloom, and the town is less crowded. However, avoid August, when the temperature is high and the town is full of tourists.
- What are some things to do in Nafplio? Some of the things to do in Nafplio are: visit the castles and fortresses of Palamidi, Bourtzi, and Akronafplia; enjoy the old town and promenade of Nafplio; taste the cuisine and drinks of Nafplio; join a tour or a cruise to see more of the town or nearby places.
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