The first capital of modern Greece, Nafplio (aka as Nafplion) is a romantic blend of past and present surrounded by postcard-perfect scenery. Loved by locals and visitors alike, it is situated a stone’s throw from Athens and is the perfect destination for either a day trip from Greece’s capital or a short getaway in this beautiful country. The city has something for everyone, and if you don’t know where to get started, check out this list guide to Nafplio Hotels, things to see and do and lote more.
Further reading: Peloponnese holidays
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Nafplio weather – when to visit Nafplio and surrounds
Like most Greek destinations, Nafplio is extremely popular – and crowded – in summer. If you can’t imagine Greece without swimming and sunbathing, the best time to visit is between July and September due to the scarce rainfall and perfect average temperatures between 25°C and 29°C.
If swimming isn’t a must, we recommend visiting in spring or autumn, either from April to June or between October and November.
During these months, the air is still warm enough for sunbathing but not as hot as in the summer months, while the city has a more relaxed vibe due to the decreasing number of tourists. Winters in Nafplion are also relatively mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 0°C.
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October
How to get to Nafplio, Greece
Located 139 kilometres from Athens (around a 1.5-hour drive), Nafplio is easily accessible by car. Renting a car from Athens airport is recommended if you want to move seamlessly around the region and enjoy day trips to the nearby archaeological sites and wine region.
Alternatively, you can get to Nafplio from Athens by bus with KTel buses. The journey takes around two hours, and there are multiple daily departures from the Kifissos Bus Terminal. Excellent bus connections are also available from Thessaloniki as well as other Peloponnese cities.
The city is also easy to reach by boat/ferry if you’re coming from one of the Greek islands or plan to hire a boat or yacht for the trip.
Where to stay in Nafplio
There is a good range of accommodation right across Naplio including the Port, the Beach and the newer suburbs in the outskirts but for our money the Old Town is the place to be. It is mostly car free, festooned in fairy lights and vibrant bougainvillea and the cobblestone streets are lined with wonderful, authentic tavernas, excellent boutiques and shops, modern bars and more.
There is a central square which is very lively at night and numerous small alleys and narrow streets to explore.
There is a range of accommodations to suit all budgets and situations.
Gambelo Rooms is a small boutique hotel just a few steps from the Old Town with views over the bay. The décor is modern and chic and yet the rooms are surprisingly affordable. Try and book a room at the front that has a balcony.
Another great option is Nafsimedon Hotel .
For a splurge its hard to beat uber cool 3 Sixty Hotel, right on the square and with a very funky bar and restaurant.
For families and groups:
Porto Bello Nafplio has spacious family rooms with panoramic views and bicycle hire. Plus they are located a short walk from both the Old Town and the beach!
Avra Nafpliou is on the outskirts of town with a gorgeous pool and beautiful shady gardens, so it’s also very popular with families, especially in Summer.
Marina’s Luxury Rooms are in the heart of the Old Town and a short stroll to everything. Very well priced and each room has a small kitchen.
If that’s unavailable then Pension Omorfi Poli is in a beautiful pink neo-classical building nearby and has quiet rooms that are great value.
Nafplio Villas and Airbnbs
For families and groups check out incredible Villa Konstantina just outside the Old Town with a shaded in-ground swimming pool, a leafy garden terrace and panoramic views that sleeps up to 12 people!
For something quite unique you can stay at Marianna which is literally hidden under the rock of Akronafplia, with rooms styled in a very traditional way. You really feel like you have stepped back in time here.
3 Sixty Hotel and Suites
Where to eat in Nafplio
Kalimera means ‘good morning’ in Greek and it is also the name of this charming breakfast cafe. Here you can get all the wonderful things you’ve become addicted to at your hotel breakfast like the yoghurt, fruit, honey and pastries for a very reasonable price.
There are numerous cafe in and around the town square as well as along the waterfront. The ones on the water have great views and are a nice place to have a quick drink but there is better dining elsewhere.
For a light lunch and decent coffee have a look at Mavros Gatos and Xenon Cafe ( which is really a great spot all day and into the night). There is also fresh juice and crepes at many places. We like Dal Campo Vitamin Bar in the Old Town.
Nafplio Tavernas and Restaurants
There are some truly outstanding tavernas in this town. With so much fresh produce in close proximity, the Chefs are able to source high-quality food to create delicious, authentic dishes that are as good as you will find anywhere in Greece. Seafood, of course, is particularly good with fresh catches coming in daily.
Along the waterfront are a number of excellent seafood tavernas such as Bounas Psarosavouras Taverna. Here you can select your fish from the refrigerated cabinets and have it cooked to your liking. Olive oil and lemon juice are often all that’s needed!
Further back in the Old Town you will find Ellas Taverna, purported to be the oldest restaurant in Greece ( although by that they mean the oldest at the time Greece gained independence).
Other places worth seeking out are Cavo Wine Bar Restaurant, Mediterraneo Wine and Deli, Espero Fine Taste and Pergamonto.
Bounsa Psarosavouras Taverna
Where to drink in Nafplio
Allotino All Day Bar is in the Old Town and serve fabulous cocktails. Its a real hot spot, especially at night time. Alkioni Wine Bar has an extensive wine list of both foreign and local wines and is tucked away in one of the many beautiful alleyways.
There is a lovely wine bar also in the luxury 3 Sixty Hotel that is great for a quiet drink at the end of the night or before heading out. Acrobats Tavern is one of the most lively places in town with live music every night as well as karoake nights. Its bright decor and late nights make it hard to miss!
Karonis Distillery is just outside the old town and is a 5th generation Ouzo Maker. You can learn how Ouzu is made and sample the different things that are made from it including, of course, the famous drink.
Things to do in Nafplio
Nafplios unique architectural and cultural heritage has been shaped by the many civilisations that ruled over it in centuries gone by, including the Franks, Venetians, and Ottomans.
Their passage left behind a rich landscape made up of ancient remains of temples and laic edifices, medieval castles, and fortified islets, as well as cobblestone alleys flanked by neoclassical buildings. Throw in some gorgeous beaches and you’ve got a destination capable of attracting all kinds of travellers.
Stroll through the Old Town
Boasting some of Nafplio’s most important landmarks, the Old Town is easy to define as the vibrant heart of the city.
Start your itinerary from Syntagma Square, which is surrounded by modern bars and cafés as well as buildings rich in history. One of them is the Vouleftiko, a building that housed the first Hellenic parliament back in 1825. The palace lost its function when the Greek capital was moved to Athens, and it now serves as an exhibition and cultural centre.
Nearby, the Turkish madrasa and the Trianon stand as proof of the city’s Ottoman heritage. Over the centuries, this place was used as a mosque, then a church, school, and even a theatre.
The church of Agios Spyridonas is another important landmark to see while exploring the Old Town. Erected in 1702, it is a fine example of Christian Orthodox architecture embellished with beautiful paintings and frescoes. Among them a work depicting the Council of Nicaea stands out, the first ecumenical council that contributed to the formation of the Christian doctrine.
From here, just get lost in the maze of cobblestone alleys and admire the colourful buildings, sip a coffee in one of the many cafes, and shop for local souvenirs.
Nafplion has some of the best shopping with Greece, with a plethora of wonderful boutiques, shops, galleries and artisans studios along the many cobblestone streets and back lanes in the Old Town. The jewellers send much of their work out to islands like Mykonos to sell ( for much bigger prices).
Hang out at Nafplio’s Beaches
Greece is synonymous with crystalline waters and golden sand beaches, and Nafplio is no different. Of all the beaches around the city, Tolo is perhaps your best bet for lazy sunbathing and swimming. This expanse of fine golden sand is sprinkled with a wealth of sun loungers and parasols, beach bars, tavernas, and cafes.
Karathona beach could be a more appropriate choice if you love water sports. Like Tolo beach, Karathona also boasts modern facilities including sunbeds and parasols.
If you don’t want to get out of town and don’t mind exchanging the fine sand for gravel and pebbles, the urban beach of Arvanitia can cater to everyone’s needs with state-of-the-art facilities and beautiful scenery.
Here, you can sunbathe, swim in the azure waters, dive, or snap that Insta-worthy shot of the low cliffs rising from the sea.
Visit a Museum
Culture and history are easy to find in Nafplio, but if you want to experience this place to the fullest, a visit to one of the many museums is a must.
The Archaeological Museum is an unmissable landmark. Set inside a classic Venetian building in Nafplio’s Syntagma square, the museum aims to introduce visitors to the history and geology of the Argolid region.
The collections displayed over two floors are divided historically by civilisation, and here, you can admire unique artefacts that date back to the Dendra civilisation, circa fifteenth century BC.
Not far away from the Archaeology Museum, the War Museum of Nafplion welcomes those who want to learn more about the city’s more recent history. The permanent exhibitions include artefacts and arms from the Greek War of Independence as well as remains from the Second World War.
Artwork dedicated to the Greek War of Independence can also be admired at the National Gallery located only a short walk from the Old Town in a beautiful neoclassical building. Besides the war-themed exhibits, the gallery houses numerous collections dedicated to travel and the history of the region. Here, you can also admire other themed collections and a small library of history and art books.
The former is devoted to the preservation of regional arts and crafts and displays an impressive collection of traditional costumes, toys, furniture, textiles, and other cultural items.
The latter is dedicated to the traditional Greek worry beads, most made of amber, ivory, coral, ebony, or bone. In addition to the rich collection of Komboloi beads, the museum also exhibits stunning Catholic rosaries as well as strung beads belonging to the Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu traditions.
Explore Nemea Wine Region
Located in the northeast of the Peloponnese peninsula, Nemea is arguably Greece’s most important red wine destination. People here have been producing wines for centuries, mostly from the native Agiorgitiko grape variety.
Traditionally a deep, dark ruby colour, the Nemea wine has a round body with concentrated aromas of dark chocolate and red fruits. Its rich aromatic complexity makes it perfect to pair with most Greek dishes, from goat’s cheese to seafood, meat skewers, stews, as well as vegetarian delicacies.
The range of wines includes both complex aged wines as well as lighter, younger, and fresher varieties, but the wine isn’t the only reason to visit Nemea. Rich in local culture and legends, the ruby red nectar here is believed to be the blood of the Greek half-god Heracles.
Skouras winery, Nemea
Discover the Ancient Sites of Tiryns, Mycenae and Epidavros
You don’t have to be an archaeology geek to learn more about Nafplion’s history. The ancient sites of Tiryns, Mycenae, and Epidavros can easily wow you with their beautifully-preserved vestiges.
Tiryns is perhaps the most popular due to its proximity to Nafplio. A UNESCO World Heritage monument, it originally had a defensive character, and today, it stands as proof of the outstanding achievements of Ancient Greek architecture.
Built in three separate phases and gradually fortified, the site comprises a variety of laic and worship buildings. Legend has it that this is where Hercules performed his Twelve Labours.
Mycenae is another vast archaeological area worth your time. Among the numerous remains, the most noteworthy include an impressive acropolis entrance as well as a gate.
An on-site museum also houses a variety of relics, including pottery and other artefacts. This was the Kingdom of King Agamemnon and leader of the Greek Army in the Trojan War.
According to Homers The Iliad ( the first published western book) Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus was married to Helen who was abducted by Paris and taken to Turkey.
Epidavros (aka Epidaurus) was a small city and is mostly known for its ancient theatre, one of the best-preserved Hellenistic theatres in Greece.
This theatre could accommodate 15,000 people over 55 rows – counting the last 21 rows added by the Romans. The acoustics are so perfect that you can hear people whispering on stage even if you are on the back row (we can confirm this is true!)
It was a famous sanctuary in ancient times and was highly regarded for its treatment and healing properties and was frequented by nobles and wealthy citizens.
TIP : Despite being so big Epidavros can be quite hard to find. It is confusing as there is also a small village near the sea with the same name so try to look for the Sanctuary signs and symbols or ask a local!
Climb to Palamidi Fortress
One of Greece’s most evocative castles, the Palamidi fortress, overlooks Nafpolio from its privileged position atop a hill that rises at 216 metres above sea level.
Built by the Venetians in 1686, it impresses with its imposing style and the intricate beauty of its eight bastions.
Its history is as impressive as the fortress itself; indeed, it was so well built that all attempts of conquering it failed miserably. At least until 1822, when the Greek patriots ultimately managed to take over control from the Ottomans.
The Palamidi fortress can be reached by public transport, but climbing more than 900 steps to the top is well worth it if you want to enjoy the stunning views over its surroundings.
Take a boat ride to Bortzi Castle
Perched on a fortified island just offshore of Nafplio, the Bourtzi castle is one of the most romantic landmarks you can visit during your stay.
It was initially an integral part of the city’s fortification system built by the Venetians to protect the mainland from pirate invasions.
After the liberation of the city in the nineteenth century, the castle was transformed into a prison and then into a hotel.
Today, it hosts the city’s music festival and is one of the most visited places in Nafplio.
To get there, you can either hop on a ferry or taxi boat at the harbour near the promenade or opt for a kayak adventure if you want to spice up your journey with a unique experience.
Visit the Fougaro
Standing as proof of everchanging times and modernisation, the Fougaro is a must-see if you like arts. Originally a tomato canning plant, today, the building houses one of the liveliest cultural centres in Nafplio.
Impressively renovated yet still preserving its industrial allure, the building has been smartly transformed into a creative space and is the perfect place to visit if you want to discover the city’s contemporary vibe.
Besides temporary exhibitions, you can attend art workshops, book readings and launches, concerts, and other community events.
A selection of lovely bars and restaurants also makes the Fougaro the perfect place for a relaxed lunch, dinner, or coffee break away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Learn to cook like a local
A Mediterranean country at its core, Greece brags with a rich culinary heritage made up of amazing flavours and aromas. And the local cuisine of Nafplio is a must-try during your stay.
While eating out in one of the many tavernas can satisfy your palate, learning to cook like a local takes it to a whole new level.
One of the best dishes to try – and learn how to cook – is the deliciously unique Bogana. It’s lamb cooked in a pot, served with whole potatoes and homemade Argolida pasta.
If you don’t eat meat or would rather try something simpler, you can satisfy the chef in you with a traditional Greek salad or appetizers, such as melitzanosalata, tzatziki, or local cheese pies.
Those who lack cooking skills or want to effortlessly enjoy all the goodness Nafplion has to offer should also visit Nea Kios. This charming seaside village, at only 6 kilometres from the city, is one of the best places for tasting fresh fish and seafood dishes.
Watch the Sunset from Arvanitia Promenade
Winding between the Argolic Gulf and the Akronafplia Castle, the Arvanitia Promenade is a delightful must-do during your trip. This flat path is not only easy to navigate; it offers a unique perspective over the bay.
Flanked by steep rocky cliffs on one side, it is particularly beautiful at sunset when the last rays of sun colour sky and sea in mesmerizing shades of red and purple.
During summer, start from the harbour and end your stroll at the Arvanitia beach, where you can have a cocktail and enjoy some music at the beach bar. In the colder months, you can start from the beach and walk all the way to Nafplion’s harbour lighthouse near the city centre.
Don’t have time to stay in Nafplion?
We recommend at least 3 days here but 5 or 6 would really do it justice. If you only have a day however you can do these day tours from Athens.