Nafplio

NAFPLIO - Distance from Ermioni: 78 kms/1.1 hours

Nafplio (Nauplia) lies North-West of Ermioni.  It is been classed as one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, and was the first capital of Independent Greece, 1829 to 1834.  Today it is the capital of Argolida, with a population of approximately sixteen thousand inhabitants.  Nafplio is a main tourist destination throughout the year, not just for its history, but also for the surrounding areas.  From an architectural point of view, the old town of Nafplio is a collection of Frankish, Venetian and Turkish buildings, both secular and neo-classic.  Its broad streets and small alleys, its squares, fountains, monuments, statues and beautiful parks, make this charming city captivating for its visitors. There are numerous waterfront cafes, charming tavernas and traditional cafes in the old town, mostly situated around Syntagma square and the 'avenue of tavernas' above the square.

The name of Nafplio was given to the city after the name of the mythical hero Nafplios, son of the god Poseidon.  The main symbol of the city is the Bourtzi fortress (above) built by the Venetians in 1471.  Situated in the old harbour, opposite the Miaouli promenade with all its cafes and bars.  This fortress later became a prison, then a hotel, and now, a tourist spot for visitors.  The car-park on Bouboulinas Street, near the Bourtzi fortress, offers free all-day parking and is very close to the centre of the old town.

There is a scenic coastal pathway that starts at the far end of the Miaouli promenade, opposite the Bourtzi fortress, that takes you around the peninsula and brings you back to the bus station area of the old town.  This walk gives you wonderful views of the surrounding coastline, and you pass the small Panaghia church, the Acronafplia castle and the base of the Palamidi fortress.  Near the bus station, next to the reconstructed 'Shore Gate' and childrens park, there is the old city railway station, complete with steam train and carriages, where you can have a coffee or cold drinks following your scenic walk.

The early 14th Century Byzantine castle of Acronafplia and the Venetian Palamidi fortress, completed in 1714, offer visitors fantastic views of the whole city from their battlements.  Access to Palamidi can be walked up the 857 steps, taking approximately 25 minutes, or 3 kms by car or taxi to the rear fortress entrance.  Admission to Palamidi: 4 Euros.  Admission to Acronafplia: Free.

The fortifications overlook the old town which houses the new Archaeological Museum of the Peloponnese in Syntagma Square. On the second floor of this museum, there is an excellent exhibition of all the historical finds of Ermioni, Ancient Hermione, in addition to a section showing the history and finds from the pre-historic Cave of Franchthi, opposite Kilada.  A separate room shows a film of the discovery of the unique Mycenaean bronze suit of armour from Dendera, which is on display in the museum. Really worth visiting. The museum is open daily 08:30 - 15:00.  Closed Mondays.  Admission: 2 Euros. 

Other Museums worth visiting:

The Folklore Museum - One of the most important museums in Greece.  It consists of national costumes of the region, with over 20,000 items on display, including traditional local art, woven and embroidered articles, various utensils and implements as well as old maps of Nafplio.  On the second floor there is a small shop where visitors can purchase CDs with local music, books and calendars.  The museum is open daily 09:00 - 14:00.  Closed Tuesdays and the entire month of February.

The War Museum - This building was the first Military Academy, and displays assorted weapons and uniforms from the War of Independence to the Second World War.  There is also a large collection of other historical items, old paintings from the 19th Century and photographs from the early and mid 20th Century showing the Hellenic nation at war.  Descriptions in Greek, French and English. The museum is open daily 09:00 - 14:00.  Closed Mondays.  Admission: 3 Euros.

The Children's Museum - Situated at the old city railway station.  It houses a steam engine and vintage freight and passenger cars, with a playground and sandbox in front.  There is a Cafe within the old train station, ideal for a coffee or a long cool refreshing drink. There is a childrens park next to the railway station, where there is a playground area situated under tall trees offering shade.

The Komboloi Museum is where you will learn about the history of the famous Greek 'worry-beads', and is the only museum of its kind in Greece.  It has over 1000 komboloi on display from the 18th to 20th Century.  Souvenir books and quality replicas of these komboloi can be purchased here, hand-made from wood, amber, sea shells, corals, crystal, as well as modern man-made materials. The museum is open daily 09:30 - 20:30  Closed Tuesdays.  Admission: 2 Euros. 


On the outskirts of Nafplio, near the road that leads up to the Palamidi fortress, there is the 'Sleeping Lion' war memorial.  It was commissioned on the orders of King Othon, the first King of modern Independent Greece, and sculptured by Siegel.  It was created in memory of his Bavarian officers and soldiers that were killed or died helping the Hellenes establish their freedom following the Greek War of Independence, 1821-1832, and for those who died in the plague epidemic of 1833.

Location

Nafplio Old Town - Syntagma Square
Greece
37° 33' 57.6864" N, 22° 47' 47.4648" E
Picture Gallery
The old town with the statue of King Othon Syntagma square in the old town View of the old town from the archaeological museum The archaeological museum next to cafes and bars An Ottoman building now used for art exhibitions The 'avenue' of tavernas above Syntagma square Typical neo-classic buildings View from the old town towards the old harbour Miaouli promenade view of the Bourtzi fortress The Bourtzi fortress - the symbol of Nafplio The Liberty memorial by the old harbour Waterfront harbour fishing by the locals Cafes and bars guarded by the Byzantine Acronauplia castle Looking up to the Acronauplia castle from Syntagma square The 'Sleeping Lion' war memorial to the Bavarian soldiers Close up of the 'Sleeping Lion' and inscription by Siegel View of the Venetian Palamidi fortress from the old town The covered access of the Palamidi fortress steps The Venetian Palamidi fortress alarm bell View of the old town and Bourtzi fortress from Palamidi Interior view of the Venetian Palamidi fortress A small chapel and storeroom within the Palamidi fortress The secondary Venetian fortress of Palamidi View of the new town looking towards the Tiryns citadel The Nafplio archaeological museum of the Peloponnese Mycenaean bronze suit of armour, with boars' tusks helmet A Corinthian helmet originally found in ancient Hermione A small selection of antiquities found within Ermioni Large vases originally found in a tholos tomb near Arcadiko Typical vase art from classical Greece Classical figures from the 5th Century BC Plan of the 'old town' in Nafplio