What to say about Nafplio that hasn't been said before? It's one of the most popular destinations in the Peloponnese, not only for foreign tourists but certainly also for Greek holidaymakers. The city owes its fame and attraction to the aristocratic and romantic atmosphere of its old houses, narrow streets, steep stairways (called "dromoskales" in Greek), and the fascinating view on the Bourtzi castle just outside of the harbour.

Nafplio was the first capital of the Independent State of Hellas for over ten years (from 1823 until 1834). The first Greek parliament was housed in "To Vouleutiko", a building close to the central Syntagma square. Nafplio's citizens had suffered a lot under the occupation by the Turks - no wonder that their city was one of the focal points of the War of Independence and that it was able to preserve that aura until today. There are still a number of architectural remains dating from the Ottoman Empire present in the city: a few mosques and some interesting fountains with Arab inscriptions.

The city's long history dates back to Mycenaean times (1500 - 1325 BCE), but not much about this period is known as the Mycenaean settlements seem to have been limited to the hilltops of Akronafplia and Palamidi Castle, which are in need of more archaeological excavations. Nafplio's archaeological museum, however, is definitely worth a visit as it holds a very rich collection of objects excavated in the surrounding area of the plain of Argos and important Mycenaean sites like Midea, Dendra and Asini.

The importance of Nafplio as a harbour, trading place, and gateway to Argolis was recognised by the Venetians. They modernised the harbour and constructed a number of very impressive fortifications around the city and on top of Akronafplia. Most prominent of all is the complex of no less than five castles, linked to one another by impressive walls and stairways, called "Palamidi". It can be reached by climbing the famous "999 steps" (in reality there are only 857), or you can simply take a car and drive up the hill on the other side.

The mix of Venetian, Ottoman, and Greek architectural styles makes Nafplio into a very interesting place to stroll around in and photograph. Its location in the heart of Argolis makes it into an ideal starting point from where to visit other important sites like Mycenae, Epidavros, and Ancient Tiryns (Tiryntha). And its romantic atmosphere is surely enhanced by stunning sunsets framed by the mountains of Arkadia and elegant cruise ships floating in the bay.

Keywords:

romantic, harbour, castles, history, Venetian, Ottoman, aristocratic, flowers, sunsets, cruise ships, pastel colours, architecture.

Practical Information:

  • Our photo walk through the old city of Nafplio is a classic. In its shorter version of 2,5 hours we take you to picturesque places in the more quiet streets, alleys and stairways, and visit Akronafplia from where we can take panoramic photos of the city, the harbour, the Bourtzi castle, and the city of Argos on the other side of the bay.
  • The longer version of a whole afternoon also features a walk on the famous Arvanitia promenade and a visit to the Bourtzi castle or the impressive fortifications of Palamidi.
  • Finally, a whole-day photo walk with Nafplio as its central point of interest will also take you to nearby Tiryns, with its world-famous Cyclopean walls, or the other archaeological sites of Mycenae, Midea and Dendra.