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Nafplio – A historic town

Nafplio is one of Greece’s prettiest and most romantic towns. It occupies a knockout waterside location beneath the towering Palamidi fortress, and is graced with attractive narrow streets, elegant Venetian houses, neoclassical mansions and interesting museums.

It’s also chock-full of tavernas, posh boutiques and comfortable hotels and guesthouses. Because it’s a popular destination for locals from Athens, it fills up on weekends and gets overcrowded in high season.

Nafplio: The first capital of Greece

Nafplio was the first capital of Greece after Independence (between 1833 and 1834) and has been a major port since the Bronze Age. So strategic was its position on the Argolic Gulf that it had three fortresses: the massive principal fortress of Palamidi, the smaller Akronafplia, and the diminutive Bourtzi on an islet west of the old town.

“The town, though quite touristy, is still a charming and ideal base from which to explore many nearby ancient sites.”Lonely Planet

Nafplio

Top 5 attractions

There are many places you can visit in Nafplio, but these are our top five suggestions for anyone who visits the area:

  • Archaeological Museum

    Inside a splendid Venetian building, this museum traces the social development of Argolis, from the hunter-gatherers of the Franchthi Cave to the sophisticated Mycenaean-era civilisations, through beautifully presented archaeological finds from the surrounding area. Exhibits include a Palaeolithic hearth, Geometric-period pottery, a 6th-century-BC amphora that was a prize from the Panathenaic Games, plus – a real highlight – the only existing bronze armour from near Mycenae (3500 years old, with a boar-tusk helmet). Excellent audio guides available in several languages

  • Palamidi Fortress

    This vast, spectacular citadel, reachable either by steep ascent on foot or a short drive, stands on a 216m-high outcrop of rock that gives all-encompassing views of Nafplio and the Argolic Gulf. It was built by the Venetians between 1711 and 1714, and is regarded as a masterpiece of military architecture in spite of being successfully stormed in one night by Greek troops in 1822, causing the Turkish garrison within to surrender without a fight.

  • Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Museum

    The “V. Papantoniou” Museum has been housed in a restored and suitably modified neoclassical building of the early 20th century, located on 1, V. Alexandrou and Sofroni street, in Nafplio. The first exhibition held in 1974, was dedicated to Peloponnesian rural and urban costumes. The PFF’s collections now number over 45,000 artifacts, covering all the branches of study relating to modern Greek culture, with the emphasis on ethnography, fashion, and children. In order to improve the management of the collections, the “Aristeides” programme for electronic documentation was created, and designed from the outset on the basis of the expertise of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation. This programme is already being used not only by the PFF, but also by a number of museums.

  • Komboloi Museum

    In April 1998, Mr and Mrs Evangelinos -a couple who have been collecting and studying the komboloi since 1958- establish the first -and still unique in the world- Komboloi Museum in Nafplio. The couple takes their first lessons on komboloi and learns its secrets in Alexandria, Egypt, where Mr Evangelinos’ grandfather lived. The Museum has hosted more than 75,000 visitors since its opening.

  • Bourtzi

    The small island of Bourtzi in Nafplion is popular for its strong, impressive fortress. Still known by its Turkish name Bourtzi, meaning the Tower, it attracts many visitors all year round. Antonio Gambello, an architect from Bergamo, built the castle in 1471 on this tiny islet in front of the port of Nafplion, although the construction was completed by the engineer Brancaleone. The design was made specifically to fit the narrow shape of the islet.

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