Nafplio ticked all the right boxes for me
✅ Two hour bus trip from Athens
✅ Seaside promenade
✅ Narrow streets with bougainvillea, wrought iron balconies
✅ Historical sites
✅ Lots of great cafes, shops and restaurants
I originally planned a week here, but have stayed two! The weather has been lovely around 20oC, though we are getting some rain today it isn’t cold. For me anyway! The locals are wearing their parkas.
In the high season Nafplio is swarming with tourists and Athenians escaping the city. During the winter it is slower, but still 90% open. Restaurants may close for a day or two each week, as opposed to staying open all week in the summer, but there is still more choice than I can work through.
Bourtzi Fortress (1471) is on a small island
Tons of outdoor seating areas, but most are now enclosed with glass or plastic walls and have heaters.
Palamidi Fortress dominates the town at 220 metres. It was built during the Venetian occupation in the early 19th century.
There are eight bastions which were self contained to ensure if one was breached , the others could be defended independently. But on the night of November 29, 1822, a unit of Greek rebels, lead by Staikos Staikopoulos, launched a surprise attack and seized the Palamidi from the Turks.
There are two ways to access the fortress, a road or stairs. It was also used a prison, and as physical labour the prisoners built 999 steps.
But the view was worth the climb!
On Sunday they had their annual ‘Castle Run’ which is a 5 km that starts with 850 m up the 999 steps. This is picture from their website😳
From Palamidi you can see Acronafplio (‘acro’ just means upper) on the lower elevated area. The first organized settlement in this area was in 4th century BC, and there are remnants of several castles and fortifications. Two hotels were also built around 1960 and 1970. One is open but the other sadly abandoned in a prime site.
The Land Gate (1708) is located on the road to Acronafplia and at the foot of Palamidi. Long ago it was the only entrance to the city by land. There was a moat filled with sea water and a drawbridge that that was brought up at night.
Statue of the Greek rebel, Staikos Staikopoulos
My favourite area has been the Arvantia Walk which goes around the water. Old city walls line one side before it transitions to steep cliffs.
As in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, there are many stray cats. Depending on the grace of locals, some have a more steady source of food. I’ve been buying cat food and giving the guys along the sea wall some treats. It is only one kilometre, but there about 30 that come out so a 2 kg bag doesn’t last long!
There is one I call ‘MiniMac’ as he looks so much like my old guy!
And a marching band and parade, which I never found the reason for.
There was a good art museum, a division of the National Gallery
I took the bus to Mycenae, an archaeological site. It was an hour on a local bus that took a very circular route, but for €6 return, compared to €60 for a taxi, I didn’t complain.
In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization. At it’s peak in 1350 BC, it had a population of 30,000.
It’s most memorable feature is the Lion Gate grand entrance, which is the oldest monumental structure in Europe. The triangular stone balances the weight of the wall.
Figures from 1200 BC
Copy of the gold funeral mask of Agamemnon (1650 BC), original in Athens Archaeological Museum
One of the grave circles.
I’m staying in a small five room pension in the old town. I have the top floor and feels very spacious with two patios and windows on three sides. I also have my own elevator in case I can’t do the stairs😉
And of course, the food is wonderful.
Traditional, like dolmades with a warm lemon sauce
Roast lamb (which was three meals worth!)
Stuffed pepper and tomato
The best Falafel donair I’ve had, especially appreciated with the spicy sauce!
And some pasta, as the Venetians did occupy the area twice!
My pension doesn’t provide breakfast, but I have a fridge so I’ve been buying Greek yogurt (best ever😋) and fruit at the grocery store. Today I had breakfast ‘out’, but the picture is missing my fruit salad and little jars of amazing carrot and apple jams.
My favourite so far is this menu, because it’s so true!
I really enjoyed my stay in Nafplio. I walked along the sea, and many miles going into the new town as well, where there were lots of shops and activity. The weather was beautiful and the crowds light.
But now back to Athens for a final three days.