An eye catcher city, once capital of the newly- born Greek state, wreathed with one of the most beautiful castles in Greece and with a historic center so pretty that could easily be part of a fairytale. And that’s not all.
In contrast to many places in Greece that are considered in our collective consciousness as purely "winter" or "summer" destinations, Nafplio is for all seasons. In spring you can come to drink ouzo and meze (finger food) at its beach taverns, in summer you can visit for swimming at the beaches all around and to go to Epidaurus and Mycenae, in autumn to watch the sun setting from Palamidi and stroll down the old city during a sunny afternoon, and in winter to snuggle in its cozy taverns and the romantic dorms. And do not be fooled by the size or the small distance that separates it from Athens, and think you can fit it in a weekend. It has so many things to see and do that if you leave after two days, the only sure thing will be that you will soon return.
The Acropolis of the old times had been inhabited since prehistory. The oldest wall of the ones you see today, the dizzying height of which reaches the 85 meters at some points, was built in the 3rd century B.C. The Franks and the Venetians added later fortresses and canons- the most famous canons of which are the Venetian “Five Siblings” at the Fortress of Toro. The Ottomans called it “Ich- cale”, which means the inner castle. In 1822 Kolokotronis raised here the flag of the Greek Revolution. Nowadays, Akronafplia is one of the best places to stroll in Nafplio, with its uphill revealing behind every corner another postcard- like view of the city and then the sea and so on.
The biggest and the most well-preserved Venetian castle of Greece, Palamidi, was built in 1714 during the second Venetian rule. Its name derives from the hill it is on, which is named by Palamidis, the son of Nafplio, who was part of the story told about the Mycenaeans that on their way to Troy send someone to Ithaca to bring Odysseus, but he played crazy and started sowing the fields with salt so that he wouldn’t have to go. Palamidis was the one that went to Ithaca and managed to convince Odysseus to follow. From that castle that carries his name started many, many years later the emancipation of Nafplio, when Staikos Staikopoulos won it back from the Ottomans on November 1822.
According to the local legend, the steps of Palamidi were a thousand, until one day Kolokotronis horse broke the last one and remained 999. But don’t be scared that you have to climb them one by one, if your stamina doesn’t allow it. There is a nice road that leads you and your car to the castle’s entrance. On the inside, Palamidi offers beautiful routes, fantastic view of the city of Nafplio from the walls and chills down the hole- prison of Kolokotronis that is not recommended for the claustophobic.
Who said that the new town of Nafplio hasn’t got any sights? When you find yourself in Michael Giatrou Street, a little further from the city’s cemetery, remember to look up: The giant lion of Bavaria sleeps, carved on the rock, for almost 200 years. It is the work of the German sculptor Christian Siegel that was custom made for the father of Otto, Luis, to honor the memory of the Bavarian soldiers of the young king’s escort, who died from typhus. The locals, however, tell a different story, in which typhus didn’t kill them, but on the contrary, it was the consumption of many cucumbers that did, thus, the unformal name of the monument is “Aggouroon”, meaning “of cucumbers”.