23 July 2024

A weekend Escape to Nafplio

Escaping to Nafplio, is always a wise choice. This city can never disappoint. Its charming center with the neoclassical buildings embraced by colorful bougainvilleas and orange trees, the sea surrounding the Venetian castle of Bourtzi  and the fortress of Palamidi, nestled on the crest  of 216 meters hill, contribute to its overall charm. In addition its proximity to Athens, ( only a 2 hour drive) makes it the most popular weekend destination for all seasons.

Nafplio, once the country’s capital, is one of Greece’s most impressive cities, backed by a rich history, alluring monuments, including Venetian and Ottoman-era attractions scattered along narrow charming pedestrian streets.No matter how many times we visited this place there is always something that will make you want to go back.

5 reasons why we keep on coming back to Nafplio

1. The Amazing Thematic Walks

Nafplion itself is an interactive guide to Greece’s revolutionary path towards its  Independence. While you walk through the narrow streets of the city you become part of the country’s history.

Our historical exploration of the city starts with the monuments dedicated to Greek Revolution heroes of 1821; the statue of the fighter Staikos Staikopoulos – the famous conqueror of Palamidi, At Nikitas Nikitaras Square, hosting the court building, we can see  the monument created in honour of Nikitaras, the military chief celebrated for his fighting prowess.We look for the statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias, modern Greece’s first Governor  and as we move on we visit the church of St Spyridon where Kapodistrias was assassinated.On Papanikolaou Street, we see the marble plaque indicating  the house resided by Mando Mavrogenous, a heroine of the Greek War of Independence. Each monument is part of a puzzle that, when put together, gives s clear picture of the people who sacrificed their lives for a patriotic vision.

2. The wide selection of boutique hotels

Every time I visit Nafplio I am amazed by the numerous boutique hotels that are there to meet even the most demanding needs. This time we stayed at Impero Hotel, situated in the heart of the old town. The hotel has a breathtaking view facing the beautiful Bourtzi fortress , and within just a few minutes walk, you are in the center of the town with  all the shops, restaurants and bars. The building represents the neoclassical  architecture of the 19th century of stone built houses with high ceilings, mosaic floors and hidden courtyards. In 2019 the hotel was fully renovated with modern minimal elements that bring more light and add more space to the interior. The service was exquisite and the staff welcomed us and made us feel immediately like being at home. The breakfast with the home made sweet and savory pastries, the local sweets, the award winning honey, the freshly squeezed orange juice,  and the 4 different types of jams prepared the chef of the hotel won our hearts and this is why we recommend it 100%. A huge point that adds an extra star to our review is that the hotel is pet friendly , so you won’t need to leave your fury friends behind.

3.The off the beaten path opportunities

Right next to our hotel we found an inviting winery  with a huge selection of greek wines. We sat there just before dinner to have an aperitif, and the staff guided us through the different choices and served us our wines accompanied by sesame breadsticks and olive mousse. If you ever visit this place make sure you try the a glass of rose dry wine from the brand MIKRI KIVOTOS

The artistic concept stores are one of the strongest characteristics of this town which is a favorite spot to artists and designers. As we  were strolling around we were drawn by a store window that sold tshirts with ancient quotes,  poems and lyrics from Greek folklore music which is a separate treasure for the Greek culture not highly appreciated by the youngest generations. While the music is known for the captivating tunes and specific rhythm, what often goes unnoticed is the profound messages and life lessons that the lyrics offer through their poetic devices such as metaphors, allegories and symbolisms. The founders of ARMIRIKI  gave birth to this idea which is a collective effort of artists that offer their designs behind each quote while the final touches of cutting, sewing the embroidery and pre washing the 100% cotton t-shirts is taking place in the workshop in Nafplio which also  operates as a little museum that talks about the history of the local textile industry.

Designers in Nafplio draw inspiration from the city’s multi faced character. Amongst them, there is a jewlery workshop that treats silver with a different approach. Edgy designs that explore the concept of minimalism and Doric beauty can be found at EX NIHILO  offering a live experience of silver crafting. also  operates as a little museum that talks about the history of the local textile industry.

4.The culinary experience

The blending  of new with the traditional gives Nafplio the character of a continuously evolving historical city that has very smartly embraced the idea of novelty in order to expand its appeal.

While there are traditional taverns of high quality food made food like TO OMORFO TAVERNAKI which happens to be very popular in the town, for its fresh ingredients, and mamma’s style cooking, we could not ignore the New Age greek cuisine of WILD DUCK which can be extremely appealing when the chefs’ s creativity offers traditional Greek tastes with an international twist.

5.The cultural heritage

In the heart of the town you will be introduced to the BPF Foundation the former  Peloponnesian Folklore  Foundation, a non profit institution that aims to present, document and preserve the modern greek culture from the 19th century and onwards. The museum is housed in the neoclassical building , residence of Vasilis Papantoniou and its first exhibition that took place in 1981 was called “Local Costumes of the Peloponnese”. The second floor is a live experience of the greek lifestyle and clothing of the 19th century showcasing objects , jewelry, clothes and furniture of the Peloponnese in the 19th century.

The first floor is dedicated to the art of hand woven textiles and the use of loom.

The ground floor houses the museum shop which offers a variety of books and art pieces for your collection while the hidden courtyard hosts contemporary art exhibits like the paintings of Mina Valiraki.

Beautiful surprises

On our way back we stopped to buy the famous oranges and mandarins of the region directly picked up from the trees by the local farmers. While we were searching for a nice tavern to have lunch, our friends suggested us this family owned fish tavern that operates since 1964. KAVOS offers an exceptional selection of fresh fish, sea food and accompaniments and if you book a few days earlier they can prepare for you the most amazing sea food pasta.The restaurant is located a few minutes off the National Road near Corinth making it the perfect spot on the way back from your weekend escape to the Peloponnese. Lastly the magical seating in front of the sea makes it ideal for a short excursion.

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