AND GREEK ISLANDS
Whatever the name or how you say it Nafplion is
the historical Jewel of the Peloponnese. A
history full of myth, occupancy and revolutions.
The name is in honour of Poseidons son Nauplis
and the Palamidi Fortress is named after Palamis
the local hero of the Trojan War. Palamis was
also known for supposedly inventing weights and
measures and the Greek Alphabet. The actual area
of Nafplion has been inhabited since ancient
times, but not much is know from then although
Palaeolithic and Neolithic objects have been
found near by. Nafplion during the Greek
Classical era again seems not to have played a
part of any significance and even Pausinas the
famous traveler didnt have anything to say
about the town. It does though come into it's
own during medieval times and played a major
part in the history and making of todays
Greece. During these times different occupying
forces have left marks of culture and
architecture in Nafplion giving it a
cosmopolitan atmosphere. In 1377 the Venetians
arrived and during this time, in the mid 1400s
the Bourtzi Castle was built. The Turks captured
the town from the Venetians in 1542 AD and
turned Nafplion into a major port for the Greek
mainland in the import and export industry.
Nafplion was retaken by the Venetians once again
and during this time the Palamidi Castle was
built and the Acronafplia fortress
reconstructed. Their hold over Nafplion though
only lasted for a few decades and was then put
back into the hands of the Turks. Over the next
few hundred years Nafplion flourished under
Turkish rule until the Greek War of Independence
in 1821. Nafplion was liberated a year later and
due to its strong participation during the
revolution was named as the first capital of the
newly liberated free Greece in 1823.
Kapodistrias was the newly appointed Prime
Minister until his assassination in 1831. King
Otto arrived in Nafplion and decided to move the
capital to Athens in 1834.Over the next century
Nafplion begins a calm and unobtrusive era until
the next major event which was the arrival of
tourism in the 1960s.
The historical picturesque island of Hydra is
renowned as a cosmopolitan and artistic centre.
Hydra, long and narrow, is extremely rocky and
dry. But it has an enchanting natural
amphitheatre shape around the horseshoe harbour,
virtually unchanged since the revolution of
1821. The town itself, of red tilled houses and
white chapels rising onto the steep hills,
encloses the natural harbour. The port is
crowded with fishing boats,
yachts, and lined with colourful cafes and bars,
jewellery, art shops and boutiques. Most
vehicles, including bicycles, are prohibited.
Donkeys and mules form the main means of
transport, in addition to the little boats that
provide a taxi service along the coast..
Spetses is a small oval island opposite the area
of Porto Heli on the Peloponnesus mainland.
Anciently known as Pityousa, or Pine Tree
Island, Spetses has an abundance of aromatic
pine forests, in addition to beautiful sandy
During the last few centuries Spetses
flourished, and great fortunes were made by the
sailors and sea captains. The latter built
impressive mansions and churches, many of which
still stand today. Spetses was the first of the
Saronic islands to revolt against the Turks
during the 1821 Revolution.
The Laconians, 2000 years ago, settled in on a
rock 350 meters in height on the southeast shore
of the Peloponnese. Over the centuries the city
of Monemvasia grew, and became known as the
Gibraltar of the eastern Mediterranean. The name
Monemvasia means one approach. The town is
divided into two parts: the upper town where
only ruins remain, and the lower town, a walled
fortress town inhabited and maintained in the
style of 200 years ago.
What to see/do - Nafplion
Bourtzi island fortress:
This defines the postcard view of Nafplion by
the sea. This, and the hill the town's houses
and period buildings climb, create the unique
picture of the town. The little island "Bourtzi"
at the entrance of the port was fortified with
cannons during the Middle Ages.
Built in 1471 by Antonio Gambello, an architect
From 1930 until 1970 it was run as a hotel
(perhaps we will re-open it one day). There are
tours to the islet that leave from the harbour
Akronafplia fortress (where Nafplia Palace Hotel
sits) - rises from the old part of town - it is
the oldest of Nafplio's castles.
Built by the Franks, completed by the Venetians.
The Fortress was built during the Second
Venetian Period (1686-1715) and is 216 meters
You can take the road up the hill, or brave the
999 stairs (it's not so bad on a cool day - a
bottle of water is advisable!)
From the top you can see the Argive plain and
across the gulf of Argos or towards the Aegean.
Admission: 4 Euros but Free on Sundays and
public holidays from 1 Nov- 31 March.
Open: May-Oct weekdays 8:30am- 7:00pm, weekends
8:30am-2:30pm, Nov-April *
The Archaeological Museum of Nafplion
Between Staikopoulou Square and Panagia Church,
on 13 Sofroni street in a fine neo-classical
building. Many findings from the Mycenae era
with some Paleolithic and Mesolithic items.
Open: Tuesday-Sunday 08.30-15.00. Mondays
Folklore / "Laografiko" Museum
Has traditional costumes. More than 20000 items
on display (traditional local art and regional
costumes, woven and embroidered articles,
various utensils and implements as well as old
maps of Nafplion).
On the second floor there is a small shop where
visitors can buy small items, CDs with local
music, books, calendars etc. 6 km west of
Open: 09.00-14.00 daily. Closed: Tuesdays and
entire month of February.
War Museum (Nafplion Branch)
The building was the first Military Academy. Not
only weapons but many other historical items.
On 22 Amalias Avenue. Open: daily 09.00-14.00.
Children's Museum /Gallery
The old train station. Steam engine and vintage
freight and passenger cars, children's museum -
with a playground and sandbox in front.
Only museum of its kind in Greece!
Has over 1000 "komboloia" (worry beads) from
Some well-made copies of these can be purchased.
Made of amber, sea shells, coral and crystal.
25 Staikopoulou street.
Agios Andreas- in Palamidi Castle.
Agios George -(Mitropolis) Cathedral. Built in
16th century on Plapouta street, houses the
throne of King Othon.
Agios Constantinos - formerly a mosque.
Agios Nikolaos- Opposite Papanikolaou square,
the oldest surviving church in Nafplio.
Agios Spiridon (built 1702) - in Agiou Spiridona
Square. Kapodistrias (the forst governor of
independent Greece) was assassinated outside
this church in 1831. The bullet is shown in a
glass case on the wall.
Agia Triada & Agiannakis: Two churches on the
way to Palamidi.
Panagitsa Church, by the waterfront, on the edge
of Akronafplia just tip of the peninsula, marked
by a ship's beacon. A shrine at the beginning of
the path leading up to the Akronafplia walls.
"Metamorphosis tou Sotira" Church: 4 km north
west of Ancient Asine, 16th century church, has
The cinema, the building with a dome in the
central Syntagma Square, was once a turkish bath
and at other times a school or court building.
Shop called "Enition"
On 40 Staikopolou street (close to the Komboloi
This shop sells shadow-puppets of the
traditional Greek character: "Karagiozi" (a
fictional character). An original souvenir
At Myli, 12 km south-west of Napflion.
Ancient mythical lake where Hercules killed the
Lernea Hydra (many-headed monster).
The Epidavros (Epidaurus) festival
Performances of classical Greek tragedies. Late
June until August. 36 km from Nafplion.
Arvanitia beach is the closest and you can walk
to this round past the harbour or downhill from
(and behind) the Palamidi fortress.
By car - Karathona is a mostly sandy beach 5
minutes away - one of the closest but by no
means the best. This is just south of the town.
Also south, but a little further west (turning
south off the road towards Epidavros) the
archaeological site at Asini can be visited in
the same breath as a visit to its beach.
There are also several easily reached (by car)
beaches beyond Asini, at Kadia, and Irion.
To the west of Nafplion, for a change of mood,
the beach resort areas of Kios and Mili offer
more typical beach amusements and beach-holiday
atmosphere - all 5-15 minutes by car.
The route continuing south from Mili becomes
very scenic for about 10 kilometres, followed by
a 16 km detour inland, then at Agios Andreas the
coastline drive to Leonidio is rich in scenic
beauty with the meeting of trees, sky, rocks and
sea-stunning. Extend this by another 20-23 km
for a stop in Kosmas - for contrasting dramatic
drive passing 2 monasteries along the edge of
the Dafnon river and gorge.
Archaeological sites and similar - around
Nafplio (in the region):
Tiryns (5 km north of Nafplio), with impressive
fortifications, occupied even in Neolithic
times. Panoramic views.
The ruins of Ancient Asine, 12 km south east of
Nafplion and 3 km south of modern Asine. Above
the sandy shore are the ruins of a prehistoric
settlement, tombs of kings, the acropolis and a
Mycenae: Well-known archaeological site.
Prehistoric Acropolis with Cyclopean walls and
gates. Original walls were built before 1300 BC.
The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus (Epidavros):
Carved on rock. A masterpiece of architecture.
Amazing natural acoustics.
Ancient Greek drama performances are still held
here in the summer months. 30 km east of