Welcome to Nafplio, a city steeped in history and romance that will captivate your heart from the moment you arrive. From its origins as a port for Mycenae to its time as a Venetian capital, Nafplio has a rich past that is reflected in its stunning architecture and breathtaking castles.
In this blog post, we'll take you on a journey through the top places and points of interest to visit when in Nafplio, so you can make the most of your historical adventure in the Peloponnese. To navigate to a specific section, use the short links below.
Nafplio has a long and storied history that is reflected in its impressive architecture, which was greatly influenced by the Venetians. It used to be a well-to-do merchant town and, due to the port's ideal location, the Venetian capital in the late 1600s to early 1700s.
A mosaic of Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian architecture in bougainvillea lined cobblestone streets invites you to get lost in an aura of old world charm. As you stroll around the terracotta-topped stone mansion houses through narrow cobblestoned streets past colorful facades, you will realize that the entire city of Nafplio is a real gem—whether you choose to wander through the alleys or visit some of its restored mansions, museums, or beautiful shops.
If you'd like to explore the city's most popular sites, such as the Cathedral, the square of Saint Spiridon, and Syntagma Square with its Archaeological Museum and the Vouleftikon, together with a local guide, look no further than our city walking tour of Nafplio. And in case you're the adventurous type and prefer discovering uncharted paths along the coast of the Argolic Gulf to serene riverbanks, then our popular (guided) hiking tour in Nafplio is for you!
Plenty of majestic castles were built in medieval times by this former maritime republic of Italy. The oldest one is Akronafplia. It was built during the Bronze Age to protect Nafplio from pirates and invaders from the sea and is definitely a must-see for visitors of the area, due to its fascinating architecture and scenic views of Arvanitia Beach and the Arcadia mountains, as well as a cactus forest, thick with delicious prickly pears.
This is actually the old town of Nafplio and its walls used to hold the whole city. It lies on a peninsula and is separated from the town by a moat, although now accessible by lift as well, from Plateia Politikou Nosokomeiou in the west of the town. There are stone walls where the naturally steep part of the peninsula does not protect this medieval acropolis, as well as buttresses and spaces for cannons.
Another scenic stronghold here is Bourtzi, built in 1473 by the Venetians. An elegant stone structure which rises out of the sea and is beautifully lit up at night, it lies 600 meters away from the shoreline of Nafplio and initially acted as a deterrent for pirates, but has fulfilled multiple roles since then.
It has housed government members and was even a hotel and restaurant during the late 20th century.
Today, it can be visited by boat for a small fee.
The newest fortress to be built in Nafplio is Palamidi, which is actually held inside the old town of Akronafplia and was constructed during the 1700s by the Venetians. Though it is regarded as a great feat of military architecture, it was successfully stormed by the Greeks during the revolution in 1822. Now it is one of the city's most popular landmarks, to be reached by car or on foot. With its imposing stone arches, built on a steep hill and overlooking the Argolic Gulf in a truly breathtaking panorama, it is an impressive sight and absolutely worth the uphill walk!
We also offer a thrilling (guided) medieval castles kayak tour where you paddle along the magnificent coastline and gaze upon the breathtaking views of all four of Nafplio's fortresses—stunning natural scenery, refreshments and family photographs in the kayaks included!
Enjoy a drink at one of the countless cafeterias and restaurants in the peaceful port area, while noting that this is where the argonauts allegedly set sail with Jason in search of the golden fleece. It is not surprising to hear that the town was founded by Nauplios, son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. In fact, wherever you roam in the area, you will find that mythological characters and legends are to be found under every stone and in every name.
Enjoy the magnificent views of the Argolic Gulf and Bourtzi as you sip an iced coffee or nibble on succulent, freshly caught fish. And in case you'd like to indulge in an even bigger culinary adventure through the charming streets of the Old City, take a look at our (guided) food tour in Nafplio!
Art lovers should take the opportunity to mix a weekend break with a visit to some of the exhibitions on show in the town of Nafplio, which was once the capital of Greece and has continued to retain its aristocratic status and appreciation of all cultural things.
The National Gallery is an impressive neoclassical building worth visiting in itself that houses historic works of art relating to the Greek War of Independence and a range of temporary exhibitions.
From the old to the new, there is something for everyone, including younger visitors, who will find a range of artworks to stimulate their creative energy.
Also worth visiting is the Peloponnese Folklore Museum, a private foundation that hosts a large range of artefacts, garments and publications reflecting the traditions and customs of Greece with the emphasis on ethnography, fashion, and children. From children's toys to old world maps, a fascinating journey through time can be enjoyed by all.
Once you have delved a little into the area's past, come back to the 21st century with a trip to the Fougaro Artcenter. Once the location of a tomato canning factory, the building was converted into a vibrant centre for the arts & sciences, with exhibitions, concerts, art workshops, a funky cafe and art shop. Children can take part in theater plays and creative games such as Getting to know autumn, while adults can enjoy a wide range of contemporary Greek cuisine in Le Café restaurant after admiring the works in the gallery, which has hosted the works of many famous names such as Herbert Mehler and Francesco Moratti.
In fact, just walking around the city of Nafplio will give you an insight into how important art has been throughout the city’s history and how much a part of the everyday life of its residents, from the elaborate neoclassical buildings now turned into banks or museums and the private collections in beautifully preserved houses that are open for the public to appreciate.
Get ready to fall in love with Nafplio, the most romantic destination in Greece. With its stunning port town, endless options for eating, swimming, and walking, and a treasure trove of historical sights, this enchanting location is a must-visit for travelers looking for an authentic taste of Greece's rich history.
And with Perivoli Country Hotel & Retreat's ideal location in the heart of the Peloponnese region, you're perfectly situated to explore all that Nafplio has to offer. Start planning your next escape today!
Please don't hesitate to contact us in case you require any assistance. Our team will go above and beyond to ensure that your vacation will be an unforgettable one.