Nafplio’s Sights

Syntagma Square (Platia Syntagmatos) is Nafplio’s heart. Here the Nafpliots sit with a coffee in the morning, or the children play in the soft evenings, while parents and grandparents enjoy dinner, couples and friends meet over wine or beer. Syntagma means Constitution, and you will find squares by this name all over Greece.

Platia Trion Navachon (The Three Admirals’ Square) gets its name from the three admirals who fought (and won) on the Greek side in the battle of Navarino in 1827: the British Codrington, the French DeRigny and the Russian Heyden. Sir Edward Codrington later became the assistant to Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

“Megalos Dromos”, Great Road, the Nafpliots still calls it, although it’s long ago named Vas. Konstantinos. This is the main artery through Nafplio, mainly car-free and full of life, ambience and culture. We begin at Syntagma Square. Megalos Dromos is the road that starts just to the left of the old mosque in the east of the square.

Palamidi is the fortress that dominates the city, in the sense that it almost floats on a steep hill (216 m) over Nafplio. Between 1711 and 1714 the Venetians built the castle (an amazingly short time), and this is in fact the final fortress of importance the Venetians built outside own country. It’s also considered one of the most impressive. Yet, in 1715, one year after completion, the Turks defeated the castle.

The Venetians built the small fortress Bourtzi, located in the Argolic gulf and close to Nafplio, in 1471. Bourtzi was originally part of the city’s defenses, and thick chains ran from the castle to the mainland to prevent enemy ships from docking.

Nafplio’s oldest castle, Acronafplía, rises at the top of the old town. Once the whole city existed within these walls. Parts of the castle was built already in the Bronze Age, and there are still remnants of these ancient walls in the western part of the castle. Acronafplia was later extended and amplified by respectively Romans, Franks, Venetians and Turks. The thick castle walls form a nice backdrop for the city, but sadly most of this castle has disappeared.

Vouleftikon, or Parliament, is the big, gray stone building pictured above, off Syntagma Square to the south. The Turks built it in 1730 as a mosque, but later it housed the first Greek People’s Assembly, which met here for the first time in 1825. Right behind Vouleftikon is Medrese, a building that used to be a Turkish religious school in connection with the mosque.

Nafplio’s Beaches

Nafplio’s town beach is called Arvanitia, a beach with pebbles and small rocks pleasantly situated between Palamidi and Acronafplia. The beach offers sun loungers / parasols, a cozy cafe, toilets, dressing rooms, etc. It is also fun to dive and swim from the low cliffs nearby.

The Arvanitia name comes from a Greek word for Albanians. In 1779 the Turkish Aga Pasha wanted to get rid of some, in his opinion, annoying Albanians. He asked them to come to Palamidi, after which he relentlessly pushed them off the steep mountainside to a certain death on the beach.

Karathona is a long, sandy beach about 3 km from Nafplio. You can walk there on a nice path that begins at Arvanitia beach (about 45 min.), or drive via 25 Martiou Street. The beach is well developed, including several taverns, sun loungers / parasols and water sports, while there is also usually enough space for those who want to sunbathe in more peaceful surroundings. In summers, bus connection with Nafplio. Check also here for small walks you can enjoy at / near Karathona. Karathona is a “Blue flag” beach.

The resort town Tolo, 9 km from Nafplio, has an almost endless and well-organized sandy beach, with a wealth of sun loungers / parasols, taverns and cafes. You get here by simply taking the bus from Nafplio, which runs every hour during the day (with a few exceptions).

Quite often, a whole lot of people will be at this beach, because there are a plethora of hotels and campsites nearby.

Once again a long beach, this one is covered in fine gravel. Usually with quite few visitors, especially if you walk southeast. Also, nudism seems to be ok at the south-eastern part of the beach. The water in the northern part of the beach is quite deep, just after a couple of steps into the sea. The picture was taken one evening close to sunset, and the small white church that can be seen on the promontory, Ag. Nikolaos, can be visited by wading or swimming there.