Nafplio is roughly 200km southwest of Athens. Now don’t get me wrong I love Athens, but it gets to be a little too much. It is a city of five million people after all. Arriving in Nafplio after a bustling three days in Athens was like waking up in a different world. The streets were less crowded and a little cleaner, the food was authentic, and the people were friendlier. Plus Old Nafplio is right on the water.
Nafplio was the original capital of Greece before Greek Independence. The city holds a strategic location on the Argolic Gulf. As a result, it was a major player during Ottoman and Venetian control of the country. The fortress atop the mount, the Palamidi Fortress, is one of the first places to check out. The views are spectacular! Be warned: bring comfortable shoes. At 999 steps, this is no time for flip-flops. Especially if the stones are wet – it gets slippery!
I couldn’t have been happier at the prospect of spending three days on a Greek beach. Our hotel, Isioni Pension, was a fantastic bed and breakfast. Our host welcomed us at our late arrival and took great care to ensure we were comfortable. Every breakfast served was a typical Greek breakfast: jams, Greek yogurt and honey, and a ham and cheese sandwich. One on first morning, unfortunately, the rain started and it barely stopped for three days. The next best thing: sitting at a Greek cafe with coffee and mezes.
Along the pier, there are lovely restaurants with delicious sea food (and, of course, moussaka) with a great view of the sea and the Bourtzi. But during the day, the cafes in Syntagma Square are a great place to sit and people watch. If, by chance, you visit Nafplio and the weather does not cooperate (as in our case), a short 30-40 minute drive west will bring you to the ruins of Mycenae.
Nafplio is a beautiful town to visit at any time of year. If you’re going for beautiful weather, May to October are the best time to go. If you are looking for a cultural experience and to meet locals, the off-season from November to March is your cup of tea.