A day trip to Nafplio is one of our favourite activities. It is only 60 kilometers from Live-Bio, on a picturesque route guaranteeing beautiful views and numerous opportunities for picture taking. Usually we like to combine the tour to Nafplio with a visit to the Ancient Theatre of Epidavros as it is on the same route. We wrote about both sites in our earlier post about Top 10 things to do in Peloponnese in case you are keen to read up more about them.
With Tish and Roland on a day trip to Nafplio
Not long ago we had a pleasure to host our friends, Tish and Roland, who decided to pop in from Austria and spend a long weekend at Live-Bio. One of the attractions on the schedule was a day trip to Nafplio, which they later told us was an excellent experience.
We took off straight after breakfast, early enough to have time to stop on the way, shoot some photos, buy fresh oranges and mandarins on a side of the road and slowly drive through the town of Epidavros which at this time of the year is blessed with an intoxicating orange blossom smell. I don’t know if you are familiar with the smell of orange blossom. I wasn’t. It felt like someone has just sprinkled a ton of Issey Miyaki perfume all over! If only I could take a little bit with me…
The Palamidi and Bourtzi castles
What is the first thing you do when you enter Nafplio? You look up. You cannot miss the view of the Palamidi castle confidently presiding over the town and its’ inhabitants. We parked our car near the harbour, where it would stay for the day and started our discovery of this Venetian gem of the Hellenic land. Palamidi castle had one surprise for us we did not expect: 999 steps to climb! First we thought we would not be able to face the challenge, but the reward of the views as we got higher kept us going. We made it!
We found out that the Palamidi castle was actually a fortress built by the Venetians in the 18th century, later on conquered by the Ottomans before it was liberated by the Greeks in the 19th century. As we were walking around discovering various corners of this impressive, baroque style construction, we wondered how often did its inhabitants come down to town?
There is also Bourtzi castle located on a small island just off shore, easily accessible by a local ferry. Unfortunately we did not manage to see it this time, but it is not to be missed so make sure you fit it in your schedule.
Strolling the cobblestoned streets of Nafplio
Thank goodness the way down was much easier! As we entered the old part of Nafplion, Tish and Roland immediately noticed the similarity of the architecture to neighbouring Italy. There was one thing that stood out as typically Greek though – the bougainvilleas everywhere!
The walk in the old town is such a treat. The best thing to do is to get lost in the small streets, discovering numerous artisan shops, galleries, jewellery artists and creatively designed coffee shops. My personal favourite spot for artistic jewellery is Camara Workshop run by a sweet German lady, Sigi and her lovely Greek husband Jorgos. Both of them create pieces of art mostly from silver and gold. Great idea for a unique souvenir or gift to take back home.
Eating and drinking
While on a day trip to Nafplio one cannot miss the ice-cream! Supposedly the best in Greece. And if you are a bit more hungry, there is quite a variety of local tavernas with authentic Greek food. The best thing to do is to ask if they serve cooked food. There should be a choice of fish, seafood, meat and of course various vegetarian dishes. Enquire about okra, horta or fava, as local and authentic as it gets! If you fancy some wine to accompany your meal, have a look at the wine list and choose one from the nearby Nemea region. Well priced and tasty!
Now that both our bodies and minds were satisfied, we jumped into our comfy Live-Bio 7-seater VW and went back home. And there, as always, was the calming view of the Aegean and romantic lights of Poros island waiting for us to be admired yet again.