Last Updated on 2023-03-12
Nafplio is a town located in the Peloponnese region of Greece, about a two-hour drive from Athens.
It is known for its charming old town, narrow streets and breathtaking views of the Argolic Gulf, as well as the Fortress of Bourtzi and Palamidi.
Here are some of the top attractions and activities to include in your list of things to do and visit in Nafplio.
Best things to See and Do in Nafplio
Explore the old town of Nafplio
The old town of Nafplio is a picturesque area with narrow streets and colorful houses.
Here you will find shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as several historical landmarks such as Palamidi Castle, Bourtzi fortress and the Church of Agios Spyridonas.
I loved walking through the streets of the city center and see the bougainvillea hanging from the buildings.
It is very easy to walk and find your way around the old town from Syntagma Square, that is, the main square of Nafplio.
There you can observe some of the most emblematic buildings such as the Archaeological Museum, the Vouleftikon, which was the first Parliament of modern Greece.
Go to the Bavarian Lion
The Bavarian Lion is a giant sculpture carved into a hill on the outskirts of the city. It is very easy to go there on foot, as it is about a 15-minute walk and believe me, it is well worth the walk.
It is strange, but the Bavarian Lion in a residential area.
In the photograph you can’t see it, but around the small garden with trees, there are houses and buildings.
Anyway, don’t forget to include this tourist attraction in your itinerary of places to visit in Nafplio.
Visit Palamidi Castle
Palamidi Castle is a fortress located in Nafplio, on a hill overlooking the city and the Argolic Gulf.
It was built by the Venetians in the 18th century and is one of the best preserved castles in Greece.
It consists of eight levels, with a total of 999 steps leading to the upper level. Well, they say it’s actually 913 steps, but who’s going to count it?
Visitors can explore the castle and see the different levels, including the prison where the Greek War of Independence hero Kolokotronis was imprisoned.
Entrance to Palamidi Castle costs €4, but I must say it is worth every cent. To get there, you can climb the steps or take a taxi.
For the taxi, expect to pay around €10 for each journey, but if you prefer the taxi driver to wait for you for 30 minutes, the total cost is €30.
Walk along the promenade in Nafplio
The promenade in Naplio is the place for people to gather at the end of the day.
During the days I spent in Nafplio, I realized that the promenade is typically busier at night, when it’s cooler and more pleasant to walk along the seafront.
In any case, whether you choose a family walk or a romantic evening walk, in both cases the experience promises to be memorable.
The promenade is lined with cafes and restaurants with terraces, as well as shops and benches to sit and enjoy the view.
Furthermore, the promenade stretches along the Argolic Gulf and overlooks the Castle of Bourtzi, which seems to emerge from the calm waters of the bay.
Take a boat trip in Nafplio
How about including a peaceful boat trip on your vacation?
Nafplio is an excellent starting point for boat trips to nearby islands such as Hydra, Poros and Spetses.
These tours are a great way to see the beauty of the Saronic Gulf and visit some of the smaller, less touristy islands. Anyway, believe me you will thank me for this tip!
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Nafplio
The Nafpli Archaeological Museum is located in the old town and has a collection of artefacts from the ancient world, including pottery, sculptures and jewelry.
I really like visiting museums, as it’s a very visual way of getting to know the past of places.
So, make sure you include museums in your itinerary in Nafplio.
Take a day trip from Nafplio
The city of Nafplio is a great base for exploring the rest of the Peloponnese region.
Some popular tours from Nafplio include Mycenae, Corinth and Epidaurus, such as this Mycenae, Epidaurus and Nafplio tour from Athens.
Accomodation in Nafplio Greece
There are many interesting places to sleep in Nafplio, from comfortable hotels to super funky local accommodation.
I stayed at Hotel Ippoliti in the heart of the city and I can only recommend it. This is a very comfortable boutique hotel, with exquisite decor and five-star service from the staff.
In addition, breakfast is quite varied, with local products such as yogurt and Greek pastries and other alternatives more to the taste of the Portuguese, such as croissants.
Even so, if you are not convinced by this description of the hotel I stayed at, I suggest you see other suggestions below.
Gastronomy and restaurants in Nafplio Greece
Eating in Náuplia is a feast for anyone who enjoys Mediterranean food.
Indulge in tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber sauce), moussaka (a baked dish made with eggplant and minced meat) and sweet baklava (a sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough filled with nuts and honey), which proves the Ottoman influences in the region.
Then, on almost every menu there is Trahana soup, which is similar to chicken soup, but can be simple, with meat, chicken or vegetables.
Cheese is present in several dishes, especially in starters.
The grilled octopus and the fried prawns were delicious, and they usually serve a portion of french fries as a side dish. Be sure to try some of these dishes while you’re in town.
I have to say that I loved the experience in all the restaurants I went to in Nafplio, so it’s hard for me to choose just one.
Both the Kakanarakis 1986 Restaurant and the Omorfo Tavernaki are good options for lunch or dinner, but honestly, from what I realized, most restaurants in the city have a very good atmosphere.
How to get to Nafplio (Nafplio) from Athens
If you have a rental car, Nafplio is about a two hour drive from Athens, depending on traffic. Leaving Athens, take the Athens-Corinth highway, which has tolls, and enjoy the scenery along the way.
On the other hand, there are regular bus services from Athens to Nafplio departing from the central bus station (KTEL Kifissou), which can be a good solution. The journey takes about 2.5 hours and tickets can be purchased at the station or online.
Another alternative is to go by train, in which case the journey from Athens to Nafplio takes a similar 2.5 hours and trains depart from Larissis Railway Station.
Finally, if you are visiting Athens and are not thinking of staying overnight in Nafplio, joining a guided tour is a good option.
The tour suggestions below include round-trip transportation, guided city tours, and most can be canceled free of charge 24 hours in advance.
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*I traveled to Peloponnese at the invitation of Turismo do Peloponnese, and in the context of TBEX Europe 2023, which will take place in Kalamata between May 8th and 11th, 2023.
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