Nafplion the Ancient Capital of Greece

Posted on February 26th, 2017

Located on the south coast of the Peloponnese in Greece, the ancient city of Nafplion is well worth a visit. It was under half an hour by car from where we were staying in Kantia and an easy destination choice for us.

Nafplion the Ancient Capital of Greece

The Ancient Fort of Nafplion

No visit to Nafplion is complete without a visit to the fort, but be prepared for a climb. My phone registered a whopping 47 flights climbed to reach the top. 

 

Steps up to the old fort at Nafplion

 

However the views are second to none and worth the climb for these alone.

 

Views from fort at Nafplion

 

It is only when you have scaled the mountain that you meet the ticketing lady at the top. It is quite possible to look from the steps and retreat back down seeing a good 50% at a glance without paying. However at 8 Euros entry we were happy to pay and explore the fort. Being built during the Venetian occupation in the early 19th Century it is more recent than the ruins at Mycenae and Epidavros and much more has survived which I enjoyed. Straight away you can see the holes in the fort for shooting arrows at the enemy and appreciate how the elevated position looking out over land and sea made it the perfect place to defend the city below. Large castle walls and sectioned areas were designed for the city to hide in during times of attack.

 

The fort walls at Nafplion

 

Within the fort there is even a little church, complete with burning candles. Visitors must wear a top when entering.

 

Church at the Fort of Napflion in Greece

 

For those not abiding by the rules there is a prison, I must say on the day we visited the depths of the prison offered a welcome coolness absent above ground.

 

Prison in the old fortress at Nafplion in Greece  

 

Back down at sea level we looked back up to see just how far we climbed. I actually found coming down harder on my legs tan going up.

 

Route by foot up to the Fort at Nafplion

 

Our birds eye view from the top had given us a clear idea of how the city was laid out and we set off exploring beginning with the port where the kids were impressed by a small American cruise ship that had come in for the day.

The port at Nafplion

 

I was more taken with the old railway line which finished at the port.

 

 

The city centre didn’t feel particularly tourist led, instead it is full of cafes and clothes shops typical of any Greek city.

 

Streets of Nafplion town

 

We stopped at a bakery for lunch and ate on a park bench in the shade. There was even a playground next to us for children and beautiful flowers in beds and adorning buildings.

 

Enjoying a picnic lunch in Nafplion

 

The city felt prosperous with little obvious signs of the economic difficulties Greece is encountering at the moment.

Tips for visiting Nafplion

  • Do visit the ancient fort but only in sensible footwear. Farmer Nick took his sandals off walking back down the steps as they had worn smooth and slippery in places and it is a long way to fall!

  • If you fancy the fort and can’t face the steps it is possible to drive from the rear of the mountain to the top as we discovered when asking the ticket lady if she climbed the steps each day.

  • There are toilets and fresh drinking water available at the top of the fort.

  • Parking in the city is very easy; we had no trouble parking right in the centre for free in July.

  • Cafes are abundant around the port for eating or there are plenty of take away bakeries in the town centre.

  • If you fancy a swim there is a beach well signposted and a short walk from the town centre. There is a beach car park but this fills quickly.

  • You could make a full day out of a visit to the city and one I thoroughly recommend. The town is easy to navigate with a pushchair but not the fort.