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5 Must-See Destinations in Greece (Excluding the Islands)

Fifth (and Final) Stop: Nafplion - Part 5 of 5

By Crystal A. WolfePublished 8 months ago 7 min read
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Image captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker

In the heart of the magnificent Peloponnese, where ancient legends intertwine with breathtaking natural beauty, lies the enchanting town of Nafplion, Greece's hidden gem. Nestled along the shores of the sparkling Argolic Gulf, this captivating destination exudes a timeless charm that transports visitors to a bygone era. As you wander through its labyrinthine streets, adorned with Venetian architecture and colorful bougainvillea, you can almost hear whispers of history echoing from the ancient walls. Nafplion's rich tapestry of tales encompasses tales of Greek gods, Ottoman sultans, and heroic revolutionaries, all blending seamlessly with its vibrant present. Prepare to be enthralled as you step into a world where the enchanting past meets the captivating present, and discover the allure of Nafplion, a place that will forever hold your heart in its grasp.

Join me as I take you through my road trip through Greece (in five parts):

  • Athens
  • Meteora (with a bonus stop at Thermopylae)
  • Delphi (with a bonus stop at Arachova)
  • Olympia
  • Nafplion
Image created by the author using Google Maps; Graphics added via Photoscape X

History of Nafplion

Nafplion was an important port that can be dated back to the Bronze Age. According to mythology, the city was named after Nafplios, who was the son between Poseiden and the daughter of Danaus (Danaida) Anymone. It's also said that this area was famous as the birthplace of Palamidis, the local hero of the Trojan War. The city has been ruled by various empires, including the Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. Today, it is one of Greece's most popular tourist attractions, a mere two-hour drive from Athens!

💡Tip: I recommend stopping at the Corinth Canal en route from Athens. If you visit at the right time of year, they offer bungee jumping in the canal!

Corinth Canal clip created by the author, Crystal A. Walker on her Instagram

What to Do When Arriving

Image captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker from her hotel balcony

As a self-declared travel guru, I firmly believe vacations are for three purposes: Rest, Relaxation, and Making Memories. Therefore, my first recommendation is - to unpack your bags and relax. Grab a glass of local vino, open your balcony, and soak in the salty sea breeze.

No balcony? No problem.

Unpack your bags and go for a stroll along the waterline. There are plenty of restaurants along the waterway that will give you some much-needed R&R as well.

However, if you are up for more adventure, the town is divided into Old Town, the Palamidi Fortress, and the more "touristy" area (aka the waterline). But, as a bonus, there's also an archaeological site not far from Nafplion that I highly recommend: The Ruins of Mycenae and the ancient Beehive Tomb of Agamemnon.

"Touristy" Area

Collage of images captured of Old Town by the author.

I won't sugarcoat this: This is like every typical tourist trap you'll go to in any city. Street carts and hustlers are trying to talk you into looking in their shops and claiming they have the best deals. However, it's for a tiny portion of the town, which is relieving. Then again, I went in the shoulder season, so I am unsure if my limited experience is typical.

I speak of this "touristy" area along the street that hugs the waterline. So, if you can find your way more into the "Old Town," then the better your experience will be the locals. Don't get me wrong, Old Town still has some tourist traps, but you'll also get unique stops, including the Komboloi Museum and the oldest restaurant in Nafplio, Ellas.

Image of the Komboloi Museum, captured by the author Crystal A. Walker

Like other places in Greece, the chances are high that you'll encounter a few stray animals where you are, especially along the shoreline. If you are like me, you may fall in love with one...or two. (Note: I went out of my way to eat at the same restaurant twice to have another opportunity to feed a stray cat I fell in love with again, which I did!...and his sibling.)

If you want a hybrid of touristy that meets Old Town, I highly recommend finding your way to Syntagma Square. Here, it reminded me of when I visited Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) in Rome, and I was suddenly in ultimate bliss...sans fountain...and Italy. Still, my mind took me to that place, which was a win because of the same ambiance.

If you want to get away from the occasional hustle and bustle of "the tourists," then I highly suggest chartering a boat ride to Bourtzi - the 15th-century fortress that later served as a home for executioners.

Image of the Bourtzi captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker

When I visited Greece (and at the time of this writing), the Bourtzi was closed and being renovated. However - after inquiring with many locals - no one could tell me what it is being renovated as, but the most popular guess is a hotel or a museum. We will have to wait and see!

Palamidi Fortress

Image captured of the Palamidi Fortress by the author

No matter where you turn in Nafplion, ignoring the Palamidi Fortress that stands watch on the cliffs above you will be difficult. The climb will be daunting, but rest assured - you can take a taxi to the top, and the view is worth it.

Why check out this fortress?

From an architectural point of view, it has a lot to offer, as it was built by the Venetians between 1686 and 1715, then captured under the Ottomans until 1822, when it was captured by the Greeks. Today, the Palamidi fortress is considered "probably the best castle in Greece and the finest sample of the Venetian fortifications in Greece."

After spending a few days at the bottom of the fortress in Old Town, I was intimated by the idea of climbing 999 steps to the top. However, if you don't have the energy, a taxi costs approximately six euros per person to take you from the bottom to the fortress's entrance. However, note that it is around eight euros to enter the fort itself after getting to the top. I was fortunate to have (coincidentally) visited during a holiday, so I got in for free, but I want you to be able to budget appropriately in case.

Is 8-10 € worth it?

The view from the top is B-E-A-UTIFUL and I can only imagine what historical whispers the wall holds and what the occupants have seen so many years ago.

Palamidi Fortress clip created by the author on her Instagram

Ruins of Mycenae and Tiryns

Image captured by the author, Crystal A. Walker

To maximize your time around Nafplion, I encourage you to check out the Ruins of Mycenae and Tiryns - approximately a 25-minute drive north of the city, both incorporated in UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Mycenae and Tiryns hold great importance because:

When first arriving at the ruins of Mycenae, you'll have a choice to visit the site or the museum first. I highly recommend the museum before the ruins to understand how the city is laid out. That way, you'll greatly appreciate and understand what you see or stand on.

If you trek to the top of the ruins, take in the view. According to the guide, the mountain range is King Agamemnon's profile.

Image captured by the author; Text & graphics added via Photoscape X

Not far down the road, you can also visit the Tomb of Agamemnon.

Tomb of Agamemnon (aka Treasury of Atreus)

While in Mycenae, I heard about the Tomb of Agamemnon, also called a few other things, including the Treasury of Atreus and a tholos (beehive tomb). The name Tomb of Agamemnon and Treasury of Atreus is a little misleading, though, as neither Agamemnon nor Atreus was buried at this location. In 1879, German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann gave the tomb its name in error; Contemporary archeologists believe it was built for a prior ruler whose identity remains unknown.

Mycenae clip created by the author, Crystal A. Walker on her Instagram

Constructed between 1400 and 1200 BC, this tomb was the largest in the world until the Roman period and remains the world's largest corbelled dome.

There are nine tholos tombs in Mycenae, but the Tomb of Agamemnon is considered the most impressive.

Having a chance to tour the inside, I understand why!

It'd take your breath away if you could imagine the smooth facade, ornaments, and artwork that helped make up this building. Despite its test to time, the tomb is well kept, and the acoustics are exceptional. If you can sing, this would be the location to belt out a few notes as the softest whisper could be heard from the center.

Thank You for Taking a Tour of Greece with Me

Image of the author, Crystal A. Walker, at the Palamidi Fortress.

Thank you so much for allowing me to take you on a tour of my road trip through Greece in five parts. If this is the first part you are reading, don't worry! Head over to my profile to check out previous articles about Athens, Meteora, Delphi, Olympia, and some bonus stops!

Blogging on my writing platforms is an incredible way to capture my memories and feed my soul, which I want to share with others! I hope my insight and adventures get you excited about your next experience.

If you want to read more, I have some unique articles in mind as I pack up and move cross-country. Join me on my Florida to California adventure as a full-time RVer!

If you like this story, consider giving these articles a read! 👇

Add to the Karma Jar to provide some 'Good Vibes.' Hearts ❤️ and tips ️💸 are always welcome and much appreciated as they help support my writing and contribute to the next adventure I can share with you! 🙏

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About the Creator

Crystal A. Wolfe

Blogger | Creative Writer | Traveler | Full-Time RVer

You can find all of my articles on my blog as well on Medium where I'm most active in Humor, Lifestyle, and Travel. I've self-published one fantasy fiction with the sequel in the works.

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran8 months ago

    King Agamemnon's profile on that mountain range was so fascinating! All your pictures were so beautiful!

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