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Nafplio or Nauplion or Anapli is the capital city of Argolida and it is located in the Eastern Peloponnese. Being among of the most beautiful cities of Argolic land and the whole Greece, the town was built, according to the mythology, by Nafplios, the son of Poseidon and Amimoni. Historically, it was the first capital city of the newly established Greek Nation from 1827 to 1834.

The starting point of our tour around Anapli is the old town with the seductive charm of its paved narrow streets, the bougainvilleas being in full bloom, overflowing the balconies and the courtyards of the elegant neoclassical and well-maintained mansions as well as the Turkish fountains.

In the center of Nafplio we come to Syntagma Square of Italian aesthetic which is full of monuments and historical buildings around it, such as the Archaeological Museum which is accommodated in the imposing in size as well as strict in symmetry, stone-built Venetian structure and the “Vouleutiko” the old House of Parliament (1825-1826) as well.

Continuing with our tour we come to the 999 steps which lead us to Palamidi Castle which dominates the town standing up on the top of hill at 216 meters height.

At the foot of Palamidi hill, the rocky peninsula of Akronafplia spreads out forming a crown over the old town. Another fascinating landmark is Bourtzi fortress built on the islet of Agioi Theodoroi.

Other places worth visiting: The building of the first Evelpidon School which houses the War Museum nowadays/ the carved, stone Bavarian lion in the area of Pronia/ the awarded Peloponnesian folklore museum / The Children’s Museum / the unique Komboloi Museum / Theodoros Kolokotronis park with the marvelous statue / the newly restored Gate of land/ the annex of the National Gallery and “Palamidimis’ library.

In the old city, there is a large number of restaurants, taverns, fish taverns, snack bars, cafe’s and clubs along the streets as well as traditional little shops.



The fort of the Palamidi, which has been preserved in excellent condition, is one of the greatest achievements of Venetian fortification architecture.

The hill of Palamidi, which takes its name from the Homeric hero Palamidis, does not seem to have been systematically fortified until the second Venetian occupation. The construction of the fort was basically carried out during the time of Venetian General Superintendent of the Fleet, Agostino Sagredo, from 1711 to 1714, marking the fort not only as a major feat in terms of its fortifications, but also in terms of the speed with which it was constructed. The engineers Giaxich and Lasalle designed a fort that was based on a system of mutually supporting and mutually defending bastions, which are built one above the other on a east-west axis, and are connected to each other by a wall.

The total of eight bastions are self contained so that if one of them was breached, the rest could continue their defence.

Today, the fort can be accessed either by the road which terminates at the eastern gate or by the famous steps which are located on the western side to the east of the Grimani bastion. These steps are traditionally supposed to number 999, the thousandth having been destroyed by Kolokotronis’ horse. However, in reality there are less and they were constructed during Otto’s reign by prisoners who were held in the Palamidi, under the supervision of the Bavarian army. From here there is an excellent view of the castle of the Acronauplia.

The Acronauplia

The rocky peninsular of the Acronauplia comprised the walled settlement of Nauplion from ancient times until the end of the 15th century.

The Acronauplia walls bear witness to its rich history, which it must be confessed, is a little difficult to follow, due to its long uninterrupted inhabitation. The current form of the castle, although quite changed by modern intervention, basically crystallised during the Frankish and first Venetian occupations from the 13th to 16th centuries. Evidence of a pre-historic settlement has been found, and on the west side, a section of the ancient polygonal walls from the 4th century BC has survived. There are also remains of the walls from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods.

During the years of the first Turkish occupation, there were only a few re-enforcements and additions made to the castle, which was known by the Turks as Ich-cale, in other words the interior castle. It was inhabited by ordinary citizens, Turks and Christians, as the officers’ residences had moved to the lower city.

In 1686, when the Venetians seized the city from the Turks, they ordered that there was to be no habitation of the castle. Those who were resident there would be moved to the lower city, which had been created using artificial banks at the end of the 15th century. The Acronauplia was from then on only to be used by the military.

In 1829, Ioannis Kapodistrias, the governor of Greece, created a large barracks and a military hospital on this site.

In 1926, the infamous prison was transferred from the Palamidi and housed in the barracks created by Kapodistrias. In 1937 these prisons also became civil and operated there until about 1960.

The demolition of the prisons began in 1970-71 in order to construct the ‘Xenia Pallas’ hotel, which involved the destruction of a large section of the walls and buildings of the Castello dei Greci. At the same time, Kapodistrias’ military hospital was also demolished. The only thing that remains of the hospital is the chapel of Aghii Anargiri.

Today, one can visit The Acronauplia climbing east from Staikopoulos Park through Arvanitias Square, or climb the steps from the Catholic church through the Castello di Toro.


The fort on the sea, which has remained known by its Turkish name ‘Bourtzi’meaning tower, has become Nauplion’s trademark.On this small island, which is in the middle of the city’s harbour, there was once a Byzantine church consecrated to Aghios Theodoros.

The Venetians, having understood the strategic importance of this site for the protection of the port, built a tower on the rock in 1473. The Italian architect, Antonio Gambello, who had undertaken the building of the Castello di Toro, designed the fort, which was then completed by the engineer Brancaleone. The fort was designed to fit the narrow shape of the island. The centre is taken up by a tower, in the shape of a rough hexagon, with covered cannon positions on either side at a lower level.

The interior of the castle has three floors which were connected by moveable stairs for reasons of safety. Water was supplied from a large circular water tank that was located in the cellar, under the tower. There were entrances to the north and south. A small harbour was created on the north-eastern side to enable safer access to the fort. Between the fort and the sea wall there was a narrow passage, which could be closed with a chain to protect the port from enemy ships.

The fort bears the signs of many alterations and repairs from different times. The Turks surrounded the fort with the so-called ‘porporella’, in other words an undersea barricade of stones to make it impossible for large ships to approach. In the 18th century the Venetians proceeded with additions to the Bourtzi. They raised the height of the central tower and almost the entire island was covered with defensive positions.

During the time of the Greek revolution, the Bourtzi was known as Casteli or Thalassopyrgos, sea tower. It was here for a short while in 1826 that the Greek government sought shelter, when the rebellious nation fell into civil strife. The Bourtzi was active as a fort until 1865. It then became the place of residence for the executioners who carried out the death sentences on the prisoners in the Palamidi.

In 1935 it was turned into a hotel after alterations by the German architect Wulf Schaeffer. 

Today one can visit the Bourtzi by boat from the seafront.

The Land Gate

The Land Gate was built in 1708, by the French engineer, and succeeded the earlier gate dating from the first Venetian occupation. It was the only entrance to the city by land and, in fact, the gate would be closed at sunset. Whoever remained outside after that time was obliged to spend the night outside the city, usually in the Pronia suburb. In front of the gate was a moat filled with seawater, which ran along the eastern wall of the city. Access was only possible via a wooden drawbridge.

The gate was gradually demolished between 1894 and 1897. In around 1894 the moat was also filled in. Only a few of the gate’s architectural structures have survived, such as the stone lion from the crown, which is missing the head, the wings and the tail. There is also the family crest of the commander Grimani, with the date 1708.

Basically, the structure of the gate is simple: an arch with two pillars on either side; while at the highest point there was a statue of a lion, the symbol of the Venetian state. Near to the left-hand pillar there is a plaque, which has been inlaid into the wall, commemorating the liberation of the city by the Venetian general-in-chief, Francesco Morosini in 1687.

Today, the facade of the gate has been reconstructed following a special study of its original form.

The Lion of Bavaria

In Michael Iatrou Street between the church of Aghii Pandes and the modern graveyard, the visitor will find an exceptional sculptured monument, one of the most important of 19th century Greece; known as the lion of Bavaria, which dates from 1840 -1841.

The lion, which is carved into the rock on a monumental scale, seems to be sleeping. The sculptor of this beautiful monument was the German, Christian Siegel, who was the first professor of sculpture at Athens Polytechnic. The model for the work was the Lion of Lucerne, by the famous Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorwaldsen.

Below the lion there is an inscription in German that informs us that this monument was commissioned by Ludwig of Bavaria, father of Otto first King of Greece, in memory of the Bavarian soldiers in Otto’s escort who died during the typhoid epidemic in Nauplion which devastated the area between 1833 and 1834.

The Bavarians were buried in the graveyard of Aghii Pantes and in an area north east of Evaggelistria which became known as the ‘Bavarian monuments’. Later, their bones were exhumed and were taken to the crypt of Nauplion’s Catholic Church.

Today, the area in front of the Lion of Bavaria has been turned into a small park with benches, to provide a place to rest during a tour of the city.

Syndagma Square

Syndagma Square, the most important and historic square in Nauplion, comprises the centre of the city. It is assumed that from 1540, the time of the first Turkish occupation, the Turkish commander of the Peloponnese, Mora-Pasha, had his seraglio here.

The square was also once home to the residences of many of the great fighters of the Greek revolution, such as Nikitaras and Theodoros Kolokotronis.

The episode known to modern Greek history as ‘Psorokostaina’ took place here. In 1826, when the rebellious Greek nation was in dire financial need, the man who became known as the teacher of the nation, Georgios Gennadiosdelivered a moving speech from under the plane tree, encouraging the people of Nauplion to contribute to the appeal for the nation.

His speech was so moving that the poorest woman in the city, known mockingly as ‘Psorokostaina’, gave all her possessions, which were nothing more than a silver ring and a gross.

On the spot where the National Bank now stands, there was once the home of Kalliopi Papalexopoulou, which was built after the liberation of the city from the Turkish yoke. Mrs Papalexopoulou, the wife of the mayor of Nauplion, Spyridon Papalexopoulos, was at the head of the revolutionary movement for the removal of King Otto from Greece. In fact, it is said that her home was the centre for the organisation of the Nauplian revolution, which lasted from February to March 1862. Today, there is a monument to her memory outside the National Bank. The building of the National Bank dates from around 1930 and is the work of architect Zouboulidis. It has been influenced by the palaces of Mycenae, and is only a step away from the neo-classicism of the 1930s.

Today, one can see many important historic buildings in the square, such as the Venetian Warehouse of the Fleet, which today houses the Archaeological Museum; the parliament, former mosque of Aga-Pasha and finally the Allilodidaktiko School, which came to be known as the ‘Trianon’.

Kapodistrias Square

This square takes its name from the figure who above all others is synonymous with the history of the city: Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of the modern Greek state.

More or less on the spot now occupied by the park today there was the bastion of Dolfin, or San Marco, which was demolished as part of the wider demolition of the walls and bastions of the lower city.

The statue of the governor, the work of the sculptor Michael Tobros, was placed in the square in 1932 and is carved from marble. Kapodistrias is shown standing, dressed in formal attire, leaning lightly on the trunk of a tree.

Born in Corfu in 1776, Ioannis Kapodistrias was the son of a noble family. He studied medicine in Italy, but was finally won over by politics and diplomacy.For many years he was at the forefront of European diplomacy, chiefly as the Russian Minister of the Exterior, during which time he was able to give timely assistance to the Greek struggle for indePentence.

In April 1827, the 3rd National Congress elected him as governor of the country for a period of 7 years, and he landed in Nauplion, the then capitol, on 8th January 1828. He governed the newly constituted Greek state for 3 years and 8 months, until 27th September 1831, when he was murdered outside the church of Aghios Spiridonas.

His career as governor was bright, and it is not by chance that he is considered one of the greatest politicians in Greek History.

Archaeological sites

Ancient Epidaurus

A living ancient theatre, a one-of-a-kind archaeological site and the famous Asclepius of antiquity – all within a natural landscape that makes for an ideal beach and culture holiday

You are in the Peloponnese, in the concave of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. On the upper tier of the ancient theatre you’ll gaze, entranced, at the horizon. Peace, tranquility. You’ll understand immediately why the ancients chose this place to construct the most famous Asclepion, or holistic healing centre. Take a deep breath and look around at  the grandstand, the seats, the place where the musicians play and the stage from which you can hear the proverbial pin drop and where all eyes are fixed. You’re in the most beautiful open-air, ancient theatre in the world. In the birthplace of Psychagogia, meaning entertainment, in the fullest sense of the word. The theatre was built with the intention of being a place for patients to have therapeutic fun.

The famous ancient theatre of Epidaurus which is situated about 27 Km off Nafplio.

And it is an ancient theatre that is still alive today. Since 1955, sensational performances of ancient tragedies have found their natural home here. A Unesco World Heritage Site, it is still a therapy for the body and soul, whether  you attend a play or not.

What to do in Ancient Epidaurus

The ancient theatre of Epidaurus: A Unesco World Heritage Site
The famous theatre at Asclepius of Epidaurus is one of the most important monuments of ancient Greece and a world-class attraction. It combines perfect acoustics, elegance and symmetrical proportions. It was built around 340-33 BC, so that the patients of the Asclepion could watch theatrical performances and was in use until the 3rd century AD. Imagine it how it once was, when musicians, singers and actors performed here every four years in the spring. Imagine the dramatic performances and rituals that honoured the god of medicine, Asclepius, and be transported to another time.

A living theatre and modern myth
An institution from 1955 onwards, the ancient theatre of Epidaurus once again holds a prominent position in modern Greek culture. It has hosted acclaimed  ancient dramas, operas, symphonies and dance performances, featuring top  Greek and foreign actors, directors, set designers, choreographers, musicians and composers. The most famous of all the performances were those  of the Greek National Opera in 1960 and 61 when the legendary diva Maria Callas sang Bellini’s ‘Norma’ and  Cherubini’s ‘Medea’ respectively.

The Epidaurus Asclepion: the ‘mother’ of medicine in the Peloponnese
This lush green landscape in the Peloponnese, with its sunny climate and numerous thermal springs was the perfect location in which to build the Asclepion – the headquarters of antiquity’s god-physician and the most important healing centre in the Greek and Roman world. Its fame travelled beyond the borders of the Argolid and it is known as the birthplace of medicine. Its monuments are renowned masterpieces of ancient Greek art and have borne witness to the practice of medicine in ancient Greece. The worship of the god Asclepius was established here in the 6th century BC.

Coastal and cosmopolitan Old Epidaurus
This seaside settlement in the Peloponnese, with its latticework of  beaches took life thanks to the performances in the ancient theatre. Every summer dozens of yachts and sailboats moor at its harbour. Actors and theatre aficionados have chosen it as their ‘hangout’ and many celebrities have built their villas here, among the citrus and olive groves.

Nea (New) Epidavros: a picturesque settlement in the heart of the Peloponnese
This picturesque settlement spreads across the rocky slopes. The sheltered little harbour has a marina and from the Venetian castle you can admire the Vothylas gorge.

Lygourio: a town with a long history
Built at the foot of the Arachnaio Mountain chain, Lygourio comes to life every summer thanks to the famous Epidaurus Festival. Its many sights are indicative of the long, rich history of the region. At the highest point of the village you’ll see the ruins of the walls of ancient Lyssa.

Hidden gems of Ancient Epidaurus

Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus
Built at the end of the 4th century BC, the little theatre of Ancient Epidaurus was discovered after 23 centuries of silence and oblivion, in 1972. The seats and thrones of the theatre are inscribed with the names of donors. It opened its doors for the first time ‘in some while’ with the Greek Festival, ‘Musical July’, in 1995.

Travel to the hangouts of legends
At a number of the traditional tavernas in the area, there are numerous reminders of the big names that have passed through here – actors, directors and opera divas, who dined here during rehearsals and after the premieres of their great performances in the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. The tradition lives on.

Kotsiomitis Museum of Natural History
At the entrance of Lygourio you’ll find this museum, which features rare exhibits that showcase the mineral, paleontological and natural wealth of the Peloponnese and of Greece. Its most impressive exhibit  is  a 235 million-year-old  ammonite  found at the site of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus.


One of the most significant archaeological destinations in Greece and a Unesco World Heritage site

The most important, and lavish, palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece: Homer’s “gold-rich Mycenae”. According to the mythology of Ancient Greece, its founder was Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae. The myth of the Cyclops and the story of Heinrich Schliemann’s discovery of the so-called Mask of Agamemnon is fascinating, as is a tour of the archaeological site in the Peloponnese.

Mycenae is situated near Nafplio, about 24 km off.

What to do in Mycenae

The Cyclopean Walls
According to myth, Perseus, the founder of Mycenae, commissioned Cyclopses – huge, one-eyed mythical creatures from Asia Minor – to build the walls. Hence their name.

Lion Gate
A symbol of the power of the Mycenaean Kingdom, it’s perfectly symmetrical and unique in Europe. The main entrance to the citadel of Mycenae dates from about 1250 BC. The monument is named after the relief sculpture of two lionesses that stands above the entrance. As yet, nobody has discovered how it was constructed. So why not stick with the  Cyclopses theory?

The Mask of Agamemnon
Five gold-plated masks were discovered in Mycenae by the renowned archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who excavated this citadel because he believed Homer’s stories. He was convinced he’d discovered the remains of King Agamemnon and named his historical findings after the famous king. More recent studies revealed that the masks were from  1500-1550 BC, nearly three centuries before Agamemnon supposedly lived. However, the name remained and the findings can now be viewed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Tomb of the House of Atreus
One of the largest and best preserved of the famous vaulted beehive tombs found in Mycenae. Since the time of the traveller and geographer Pausanias, the inhabitants of the area knew that this monument was the “treasure” of King Atreus, and today it is still known as the Treasury of Atreus, or Tomb of Agamemnon. It was looted before Pausanias got to it and for centuries before that, shepherds used it as a refuge.

The Archaeological Museum of Mycenae
The exhibition is divided into four distinct sections. You’ll learn about the history, life and activities of the Mycenaeans, their burial customs and their use of space.

Hidden gems of Mycenae

The religious centre of the Mycenaeans
Situated on the southwest point of the citadel, this building complex was created for religious purposes. Aside from the existence of architectural elements supporting this, artefacts used in religious ceremonies have also been found here.

Palace on high
It stands at the highest point of the citadel, built on man-made terraces.

Grave Circle B
Located on the west side of the citadel of Mycenae, this burial complex is one of the most important monuments in the area and in Ancient Greece, giving us insight into Mycenaean funeral architecture and burial customs. It hosts a total of 26 graves and dates back to about 1650-1550 BC. Among these, six of the shaft graves belonged to the ruling family and rich ornaments were unearthed, including a death mask made of electrum.


The low hill of Tirynth, in the 8th kilometer of road Argos-Nafplio, was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic Age to Late Antiquity. In prehistoric times, the area flourished mainly during the early and late Bronze Age. In the second phase of the EH era (2700-2200 BC) a major centre with dense population and a unique construction circular building, 27 meters in diameter, must have been here on top of the hill.

During the Late Bronze Age, Tiryns fortified hill gradually and surrounds within the “Cyclopean” walls of the palace complex and other buildings used primarily by the ruling class as places of worship, warehouses and workshops as well as residences.

Pausanias, who visited Tiryns the 2nd century AD, found it deserted. During the Byzantine era in Upper Acropolis a funerary temple was founded and possibly a small class settlement in the west of the Acropolis. The end of the small longer settlement must be connected with the conquest of Argos from the Turks in 1379 AD. In Venetian sources, Tirynth was referred to as Napoli vecchio, while the name Tirynth was given again in the modern era replacing the usual name “Paleocastro.(old castle)”.

The discovery of the excavations of a monument protected for centuries under the soil and long-term exposure without maintenance care to weather conditions and the actions of visitors caused significant damage to the archaeological site. Through actions of D Conservation Unit of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquity Items, competent service of the Ministry of Culture and the direct support of the Peloponnesian Region, the monument were included in projects funded by the Second and Third Community Support Framework.

The participation of the German Archaeological Institute which funded the last decade studies of German architect Jan Martin Klessing implemented in Tirynth, was funded.

During this time, a large number of collaborators (archaeologists, designers, skilled and unskilled workers) participated in the program of upgrading one of the most important archaeological sites of the Argolida which is included in the list of monuments of world heritage of Unesco.

Besides the responsibility of the Directorate of Restoration of Ancient Monuments, Ministry of Culture implemented modelling works for the archaeological site, open to visit, which now includes organized routes, buildings convenience, new entrance and parking.


Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum is accommodated in the imposing in size as well as strict in symmetry, stone-built Venetian structure which covers and encases the central, Syntagma Square on its west side. It was first built in 1713, during the second reign of the Venetians, under the Naval Proveditore Augustine Sagredo to be used as the navy’s depository, according to the marble inscription fitted on the building’s frontage, written in Latin. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best well-preserved Venetian structures in the whole of Greece.

The permanent exhibition spreads along two halls of the same facade, within the building’s two floors and is then historically divided into several themes, from the remotest pre-historical exhibit to the period of antiquity, demonstrating the walk and the mark of every civilization setting foot in Argolida Prefecture.

The exhibit regarded the remotest in history here, is a Paleolithic cluster of altars (hearths) from the “Klisouras” gorge rocks or boulders in Prosymna. (32.000-21.000 BC).

The archaeological exhibition comes to its end with the donations to the Museum. Figurines and jugs from Attica, Viotia and Corinth are proudly revealed, gifted by collectors-donors of Glymenopoulou, Potamianou, Archbishop Nikandrou, Thermogianni families.

War Museum

Located in the area where the first Army Cadet School were, the War Museum was inaugurated at the end of 1988.(Amalias,22). The Museum is a directive of the history of the Army Cadet School and that of contemporary history of the Greek state, the participation of the citizens of Argolida prefecture in all rebellious acts, from the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire to the liberation from the occupation troops.

Divided into two floors, the Museum follows a thematic presentation of the Greek state fightings and struggles.

Folklore Museum “Vasileios Papantoniou”

The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation “Vasileios Papantoniou” of public benefit was established back in 1974 and is located in Nafplio. Its primary aim is the research, study, demostration and conservation of the Hellenic cultural activity.

It is located on King Alexander’s 1 street and has been awarded with the European Museum of the Year Main Award (EMYA) in 1981. The year 1999 was the time that the Foundation celebrated its first quarter of the century birthday, in an unforgettable ceremony.

The newly presented exhibition “The Best of PFF” (Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation) aims at demonstrating the depth and wealth of the foundation’s collection, which numbers more than 27.000 different items.



The most popular beach. It is regarded as the point of reference for summer sea swimming. A large scale beach, accommodating both all tastes, busy and quiet spots.

In close proximity to the city of Nafplio. Sandy throughout, sea bottom sandy as well. Large scale beach, shallow waters, proper for children and families. Access by car, spacious free parking lots available.

Facilities: Sea sports, W.C, shower, deck chairs, rented sun umbrellas, cafes, restaurants-taverns.


The nearest to Nafplio beach, behind the city centre, on the south of Akronafplia.

Pebbled on its center. Rocky on its edges, access through small metallic ladders. Middle sized beach, sandy and small pebbled. Sea bottom: Sandy.

Driving or walking the uphill road, next to the Arch of Land, one will find the large parking space, leaving the center of Nafplio behind him. Then, you will have to follow the steps which will lead you directly to the main part beach.

Facilities: Cafeteria, deck chairs, showers, rented sun umbrellas, showers, W.C, spacious free parking space to the entrance of the beach.


Between Vivari and Candia. Thin and large pebbles, sand. Quite large as a beach. Its seabed is for the most part rocky and at some points on the left it is sandy as well. Quite deep, with a steep incline.

Can be reached by car or if lucky, by boat. Leaving Vivari area and driving the road Candia-Iria, you will come across a sign, which signals a right turn for the beach. Once you have turned right, you will see the Vivari Bay and later the Kondyli beach.

Facilities: Cafeterias, rented deck chairs and umbrellas, showers, free parking along the beach.  A great spot for those who love clear waters.

Texts and photos – Source: www.nafplio.gr (Municipality of Nafplio)