Nafplio, like many other small towns, is one of those places that you rarely hear about unless you’re actually in Greece and most likely having a conversation with a local. Abroad, Greece is more famous for its islands (the likes of Santorini and Mykonos) hence I like to think of places like Nafplio as hidden gems, true pieces of paradise that not that many people know about.
I travelled to Nafplio from Thessaloniki via bus. And yes, it was a solo trip. A couple of people have mentioned to me that I am “brave” for doing this. I still don’t understand why travelling alone is considered brave, more people should do it…but that’s a blog post for another day.
It took me two bus rides to get to Nafplio. One from Thessaloniki to Athens (about 6 hours on the road) and another from Athens to Nafplio (about 2 hours on the road). I love road trips and it’s been a while since I took one. I was quite excited to travel from Northern Greece to Southern Greece by road, so as to take in the vast views. Unfortunately for me though, I fell asleep for most of the Thessaloniki – Athens leg of the trip. I remember waking up to the sight of snow-capped mountains and the most amazing greenery and architecture. I believe we passed Mount Olympus (Greece’s highest mountain) however, I barely managed to fumble for my camera and get a shot from the bus window.
While in Nafplio…
Nafplio felt homey to me because, despite the winter, it’s a lot greener than Thessaloniki (where I live). The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the gorgeous, enchanting Palamidi Castle, resting effortlessly on top of Palamidi hill (the castle is actually a fortress that was built in the early 1700s). After grabbing a cup of Greek coffee to-go (when in Greece…), I asked the lady at the coffee shop how I could get to the top of the castle. I was directed to the starting point of the legendary 999 steps that I would climb in order to make it to the top. I didn’t hesitate, despite having the wrong shoes (I always seem to be wearing the wrong shoes), I pulled out my camera, and started climbing.
The view is definitely worth the climb! I was thrilled to make it to the fortress as the views along the way had already made my day. I was able to get a panoramic view of Nafplio from above. At the top, I explored the insides of the historic archaeological site until the cold wind started to get the better of me and I made my way down.
Nafplio has a second castle, on the water! I took a walk to the port (somehow my feet could still move, even though I’d really put them to work at Palamidi) and simply gazed at the castle. One can take a boat to Bourtzi Castle (when the weather allows) and I’ve read that several musical and cultural events are held at the castle during the summer.
PS: a trip for another day.
More Nafplio views
The next day, I was up for some more exploring and picture taking. I saw more of the city as well as the scenic Arvanitia beach. While looking across at the beach, I noticed a man casually swimming in what must have been ice-cold water…now that’s brave!
Have you visited Nafplio before? Do you know of any other “hidden gems” in Greece or the country where you live? Let me know in the comments below. X