Nafplio is the first of the Peloponnese cities that we visited to explore the city itself, rather than a city that just happened to be near an ancient ruins. Although it is a relatively small city, it is loaded with charm. The city’s history effectively dates back to the 13th century, when its ports became a focus of challenges from Turkey and Venice. While the city’s awesome network of fortresses protected it from most such challenges, it temporarily (for about 50 years) fell under Venetian control from the mid-17th through the early 18h century. Its modestly (at least in European terms) historic section dates back to this period.
This section, generally centered around Syntagmatos Square, the city’s primary meeting place, is home to many of the city’s older churches and mosques (some of which have been converted into churches and in a couple cases, commercial buildings.
Of these religious institutions, St. George’s Greek Orthodox church, with its painted dome and brooding darkness, is probably the most interesting.
Most intriguing to us, however, were the:
- Narrow streets lined with bright, cheerful, cream-colored buildings with red-tile roofs;
- Flowers that lined and flowed over many of the streets and alleys;
- Lovely shorelines with views across the gulf;
- Steep, fortress-topped mountains that climb from the flat, city center and the stairs that climb to those homes that cling to the hillsides;
- Beautiful, somewhat awe-inspiring Arvantia to Karathona Walk, a 2.5 km walk that takes you around the city’s beaches, next to soaring cliffs and past and under the city’s Venetian-era castles and fortresses, including Bourtzi Fortress (on an island in the bay) and the huge Palamidi Castle that tops and plunges partway down the 700-plus-foot hill that watched over the city.
We had only one dinner in the city. It was a good one:
Allaloum Restaurant was recommended by our host at one of the wineries we visited. Regardless of whether the recommendation was based on the food, the service or the fact that it carries so many of the winery’s products, we don’t really care. We were pleased with it all. We had two dishes: tuna souvlaki on a spit with onions, peppers and tomatoes, with a salad and plate of wafer-thin fried potatoes that we tend to prefer to French fries; and an equally good fried calamari (although we thought we asked for grilled, we were not about to complain with the result). Our wine, a 2017 Ktima Gerovassiliou blend of asirtiko and malagouzia, went well with both dishes.
We stayed at the Nafsimedon Hotel Sideras Merarxias which is right by the port and in the interesting areas in which to walk. The exterior of the building looked like this would be a real nice stay. While going into the room gave less of that feeling, it was still comfortable, the AC worked and the bed was comfortable. It is a little dated feeling, but it still works fine. Breakfast was in the courtyard. If location is key, this is the place to stay.