Nafplio | The Forgotten Capital

Walking the narrow streets and cute little back alleys of this Peloponnesian seaside jewel, it is almost hard to believe that Nafplio (or Nauplia) used to be the capital of the First Hellenic Republic and the Kingdom of Greece.

Yet the ruins of Palamidi Castle towering high above and the remains of the Fortifications of Acronauplia reveal a little bit of the importance that this town used to inherit hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

View onto Nafplio from the cruise ship pier

Nowadays, it is the typical Greek village charms that makes Nafplio a great place to visit. Wherever it is during a cruise as Port of Call or for a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of Athens, which can be reached by bus in roundabout 2 1/2 hours.


As the city grew around the steep and rocky surroundings, downtown Nafplio offers lots of beautifully arranged little sideways and back streets with countless shops and boutiques and a large variety of restaurants and bars. And the old part of town is just minutes away from the port entrance.


The promenade along the harbor invites for a relaxing stroll down to Acronauplia, the Fortification which is nowadays used by the locals as public swimming pool. This is probably one of the coolest naturally berthed pools I have seen so far, but beware: The rocks are covered with sea urchins, so please wear proper footwear when planning for a swim here!

If you continue the stoned path leading up right behind the Acronauplia, you will pass through a sea of cypresses where you can listen to the tunes of the thousands and thousands of cicadas.


The path winds around the rock and eventually leads to Nafplion Beach. The city´s rather loud but trendy beach for the hip crowds and fun seeking tourists with bars and constant music PA. There are not many real beaches around though as the coastline around Nafplio is rocky and sharp-edged and it can get quite hazardous to get into a water (not speaking of the risk of injuring yourself).


If you are looking for the best views over the city and the rest of the Peloponnesus, you might want to climb up to Palamidi Castle and/or the Kastro. Unfortunately, I did not get to go this time (you know by now that I am ALWAYS in for panoramic vistas!!!), but the day before I was unlucky enough to catch myself a heat stroke during our one and only day at sea. So regrettably, I will have to postpone this experience to another time (or you post your photos on my Facebook page, what do you think? 🙂 ).


Nafplio is a great spot to take things slow during the day. The atmosphere is relaxed and extremely laid-back and there are lots of cute cafés and restaurants to kick back for a little while. In the evenings, the city bursts with nightlife and the terraces are filled with young and energetic crowds.


I definitely would not mind to come back here sometimes soon. Even if it was only for mounting the 913 steps to the top of Palamidi Castle…


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