Nafplio: A getaway for history buffs and beach bums alike

Nafplio: A getaway for history buffs and beach bums alike

by Megan Waterhouse
Stripes Europe

The white sand beaches of Mykonos and feats of architectural brilliance such as the Parthenon in Athens are what has put Greece on the bucket lists of millions of tourists. However, if you stray off the beaten path just a tad, you will find the seaside escape that is Nafplio.


Nafplio is a port town within the Peloponnese, with a population of about 33,000. A little-known fact about Nafplios is that it was the first capital of Greece between 1823 and 1834 in the early days of the country. Athens eventually became the capital; however, you can smell the history on the wind in Nafplio. According to legend, the city of Nafplio was named after one of its founders, Nafplios, the son of Poseidon. The city has strong military roots that date back to the Trojan War, which many of the popular sites in town are credited to.


Palamidi Castle is a fortress and was built by the Venetians in the year 1714. It runs up the hill of Palamidi and is categorized as a bastion-style fort complete with eight fortifications. The idea behind such an extensive number was that if one of them was breached, the others would and could continue to defend the fort. Several battles occurred within the fort and it is said that it was the site that spurred the liberation of the city from the Turkish army in the 1820s.

Side view of Palamidi Castle.


Beaches are a trademark of Greece and Nafplio has no shortage of them. A gorgeous one abundant with activity is Arvanitia Beach. Breathtaking views are just a short walk from the city center. Visitors have access to free restrooms, a shower to rinse off sand as well as rooms to change. There is also a bar along the beach that offers refreshments and chairs usable upon purchase of something from the bar.

Gorgeous Grecian beach.

On the smaller end of the beach spectrum is Neraki Beach. This stony beach with a sandy bottom is perfect for adventure seekers who are willing to rough it a bit. It is a bit of a trek away from town, as you must park and then walk about fifteen minutes or so. There are no restrooms, changing rooms or food options along this beach, so bring your own snacks if you plan on exploring. While there are no modern amenities, that is part of the beauty of Neraki. Guests are not distracted by the hustle and bustle; they can truly focus on the natural coves hidden in several spots near the sand and dive into the cool, crisp water.

Sunset over the ocean.

Next on the list is an excavation site, the Mycenean Cemetery of Dendra. Exploration of this site began in the 1920s by Axel W. Persson, a Swedish archaeologist. One of the most famous attributes of this site is the “Tomb of Armor”, which was discovered in the 1960s. Archaeologist N. Verdelis uncovered it and a few other chambers were discovered in the 1970s by various professionals. The tombs themselves contained pits that were used as long-term graves where remnants of horses were found among the human remains. Arguably the most exciting find in this excavation was a suit of armor. The armor itself is relatively plain, however the helmet adds pops of color and pattern that add dimension and personality.

Archaelogical excavation site.


Whether you are interested in Greek history, archaeology or gorgeous beaches, Nafplio has something that is sure to impress!

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