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Nafplio - A view from our expert author


Fishing boats port Nafplio Peloponnese Greece Europe by imagIN.gr photography  Shutterstock
Fishing boats in the port of Nafplio © imagIN.gr photography, Shutterstock

Nafplio is easily the prettiest large town in the Peloponnese, a fact not lost on the nearby Athenians who flock to visit on weekends and holidays – times when you’d be well advised to have a reservation if you want to stay here. It is well worth the effort as Nafplio is a delight, even when thronged with people. Its faded, neoclassical elegance has been updated over recent years with a layer of trendy chic (even the branch of the Goody’s fast-food chain looks like a designer bar) and the shops, cafés and restaurants are up to Athenian standards (often with prices to match). This comes hand in hand with a beautiful setting, with the placid harbour set below not one, but two, dramatic castles.

One of the best things to do in Nafplio is simply to wander the streets and alleys of the old town, many of them no more than narrow stairways.

The old town is centred on the large, marble-paved Syntagma Square, ringed with cafés. At one end is the old town Arsenal, a handsome building that now houses a museum. At the other end is an old mosque, which now occasionally serves as a cinema. The surrounding streets are lined either with tavernas or shops; shopping is a serious business here, with designer names mixing with local artists and crafts.

The waterfront has lovely views over to the Bourtzi, a mini castle built by the Venetians in 1471, which has served variously as an executioner’s home (it kept them safe from vengeance) and a hotel. Now it lies abandoned. If you want a closer view harbour cruises run in the summer. 

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