Beautiful Nafplio sits on the Argolic Gulf, with views across the water to the mountains of the Peloponnesos. This seaport town boast three castles - the Palamidi high above the city, the Acronauplia a bit lower down at the foot of the hill, and out in the harbor, the Bourtzi, which looks like it's floating on the surface of the water.
Nafplio - not Athens - was the first capital of Greece after independence from the Ottoman Turks in 1829. (Athens was chosen as the capital in 1834, after a period of messiness in Nafplio following the assassination of the the head of state at the time.) It's steeped in history from ancient times through the Byzantine era, through the rule of the Franks and the Venetians, and then the Ottomans.
It's a great town for strolling. There's a beautiful waterfront lined with lovely places to get a drink or some food. There's also a charming older part of town, full of narrow alleys spanned by swooping sprays of bougainvillea. There are tidy little shops selling traditional komboloia (worry beads) and boutiques with funky jewelry and beach wear. Around the point of the town is a long swath of very nice beaches. There are places to stay for every budget. It does get crowded in the summer, though, as it's an easy drive for Athenians looking to escape the city.
This is a lovely and romantic town, and one of my favorite spots in Greece. Whether you're a beach bum, a history buff, a foodie, a shopper, or a walker, Nafplio has something for you.
All photography by me or Barry Sweet.
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