Destination Inspiration: Nafplio, Greece

Destination Inspiration: Nafplio, Greece

A charming coastal city in the Peloponnese, Nafplio is a must-visit destination for history buffs, beach bums, foodies and those seeking a lazy, off-grid Greek adventure.


Nafplio, Greece.

Why now?

Just a two-hour drive from Athens, Nafplio is exactly what you’d picture a
charming Greek getaway to look like: sun-drenched tavernas, leafy squares, steep,
higgledy-piggledy streets and beaches beautiful enough to rival
those of the Caribbean. Made the official first capital of the
newly liberated Greece in 1829, this remains a thriving port city
thanks to an idyllic position on the Argolic Gulf. This is a top
destination for those seeking a Greek escape minus the crowds of
better-known hotspots – Mykonos, Rhodes and Paros, we’re looking at

The beauty of Nafplio is that it doesn’t take long to explore
the entire city. Gaze at colourful flowers and overgrown palm trees
hugging Venetian villas, swim between various sandy beaches (Neraki
is the best of the bunch) and feed your inner boffin with a tour
around the many ancient ruins.

Don’t miss

We’d argue that one of the best ways to get to know a city is by
exploring its most ancient architecture, and Nafplio is blessed on
that front. Start with a wander around the hilltop Acropolis –
built by the Venetians and later inherited by the Byzantines and
Ottomans – then gear up for a visit to the legendary Palamidi
Castle. You’ll have to climb a staggering 999 steps to reach it,
but it’s worth it for the panoramic sea views at the top. Artsy
types, meanwhile, should drop by the Komboloi Museum,
where a phenomenal collection of beads is on display, including 700
different types of rosaries.

Where to stay?

Converted townhouses, family-run guesthouses and quirky boutique
hotels are in abundant supply in this buzzy metropolis. There’s
Carpe Diem
Boutique Hotel
in the centre of the city, where a private
outdoor courtyard promises a glorious sun-soaked stay, and the
unassuming Regno Di Morea, where interiors are so chic they could
almost pass as a contemporary art gallery. Also in the centre is
Anthemion Suites
and Villas
, whose in-house restaurant is known for rustling up
some of the finest Greek grub for miles around. Whether you’re in
town for a romantic retreat or a mini-break with your best mate,
there’s a place sure to suit your vibe.

Where to go for dinner?

Often it’s the restaurants with the gritty interiors that serve
the tastiest meals. Enter, Pidalio Taverna. Just a short stroll from the water’s
edge, its tempting menu offers traditional Greek cuisine with a
contemporary twist. Start by ordering the zucchini croquettes,
before grabbing a plate of the prawn orzo with a side of the spicy
feta dip. Seafood lovers will appreciate the sea bass fillet with
grilled veggies.

And for a drink…

The sexy and stylish 3Sixty bar is home to one of the finest-looking
cocktail menus we’ve ever seen – and that’s seriously saying
something. Snag one of the dark-leather banquettes or one of the
bar-facing stools. We suggest the latter, partly for its close
proximity to the vast collection of spirits, but largely so that
you can watch bow-tied mixologists whip up all sorts of playful
conocotions. Insider tip: party people should rock up after 9pm,
when talented local DJs take to the decks.

Creamy Seafood

Who to take with you?

That friend who makes an annual pilgrimage to Athens. They can
squeeze in a trip to the capital, too, and get the best of both

When to go

Ask any sun-worshipper when the best time to visit Greece is and
they’ll likely say July. While we love nothing more than sunning
ourselves on the high-season Greek sands, there’s also something
blissfully beautiful about visiting in the early autumn. The light
is golden, the air is fresh and the landscape, serene. For that
reason, we suggest planning your trip during the month of

Essentials to pack

Nobody wants to be sporting a pasty poolside look. Which is why
you need these Amanda Harrington tonal tan drops, which
promise a natural olive glow. No tangerines here.

How to get there

Take a direct flight from London Gatwick to Kalamata
International Airport, from where Nafplio is just a 90-minute drive


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