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A romantic port town made up of elegant Venetian houses lining narrow streets, Nafplio was the first modern capital of Greece. It attracts a happy mix of visitors and the best places to stay in Nafplio reflect this with a wide range of accommodation from pensions and guest houses to boutique hotels.
Weekending Athenians mingle with international travellers in the cafes and tavernas along the waterfront, browsing the upmarket boutiques and sampling the local cuisine.
Some of its beauty, and romance comes from its position, beneath the Palamidi Fortress, a vast citadel built on top of an outcrop of rock 200 metres above Nafplio's port. But this is an ancient town and so the fortress is not its only attraction, there are many museums, several smaller forts and some charming churches to explore.
Nafplio has been an important Greek port since the Bronze Age, and has been targeted, and taken by the Venetians, Franks and Ottomans, who all left marks on the architecture and culture of what's now a relatively small town. It was the constant threat of invasion which lead to the construction of three different fortresses in Nafplio:
- the Palamidi Fortress, which is the spectacular, Venetian style citadel sitting atop the rocky outcrop;
- the Akronafplia Fortress, which is the oldest, dating back to the Bronze Age, and sits above the oldest part of town, and used to mark the town's walls;
- and Bourtzi, also built by the Venetians, which sits on an islet just west of the main port.
The Old Town, which covers the peninsula, is the most romantic part of town and is one of the best places to stay in Nafplio if you appreciate fine architecture. It has a very Italian feel to it, but look closer and you'll begin to see the Byzantine and Ottoman influences. Everything within the Old Town is within walking distance and one of the greatest pleasures of any stay here is just strolling the lovely streets.
The area around Psaromachala, is less grand than the other parts of town, but has its own Greek Island feel. Several of the larger mansions in this area have been converted in to guesthouses, and this is one of the best places to stay in Nafplio if you want to feel like you're away from other visitors.
Some of the little fishing villages around Nafplio are worth exploring, and you'll discover some beautiful lagoons, quiet beaches, picturesque old churches and friendly tavernas.
What Not To Miss
- Nafplio has a fascinating Archaeological Museum, which is set in one of the beautiful old Venetian buildings overlooking Syntagmatos Square, Nafplio's main square.
- The Nafplio branch of the National Gallery is also housed in a particularly lovely building.
- Alternatively, spend an afternoon at the well-regarded Folklore Museum or the War Museum.
- The ancient town of Argos is also worth popping out to if you get a chance, it's quiet and rural now, but it's also thought to be the oldest town in Europe.
- Lastly, Nafplio is an excellent base for visiting Mycenae and the Epidaurus Theatre.
During the summer high season, like elsewhere in Greece, the town can get very booked up so in order to snag one of the best places to stay in Nafplio be sure to book well in advance.
The Best Places to Stay in Nafplio
For those on a budget
Given that some of the best places to stay in Nafplio are guesthouses, there will be something for everyone no matter what your budget is. Our favourite is:
- The Hotel Byron. This townhouse has been converted from an ancient building, right in the heart of the old town. Take one of the balcony rooms and you'll have a wonderful view of the rest of the town and the sea. With rooms starting from only €40 per night B&B, the value is unbeatable.
For an old town location
- The Aetoma Hotel is a must. The hotel has been created from an 18th-century mansion and is located in the heart of the Old Town. Its five rooms are traditional and comfortable and some enjoy marvellous sea views. Breakfast is a highlight too, with home-made bread and jams.
- The Nafplia Palace is one of the best places to stay in Nafplio if you're here for a special occasion, or you just want to treat yourself to a beautiful setting, sweeping sea views, a private beach and plenty of luxury.
For An Apartment or Villa
If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering apartment then we suggest you browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- If you're here for the weather then come in July and August, with the average temperature rising to 31°C in these months.
- This, however, is peak season, so for a cheaper and quieter alternative consider coming in the spring or autumn instead.
- Fly into Athens International Airport before taking a bus or a train over to Nafplio.
- If you fancy the freedom of having a car then browse through the wide selection available with our partner, Rentalcars.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Nafplio
Aetoma Hotel 5 rooms from £68Nafplio
Charming 'neoclassical' pension in an 18th century mansion in the old Venetian town of Nafplio with wonderful sea views. An excellent base for exploring ancient Greek sites in the Peloponnese. Family run, the delightful owners give a warm welcome. Everything from the jams to the bread are homemade.Town - Picturesque streets and alleys, neoclassical architecture, Venetian balconies, old forts, cafes and restaurantsLocal exploring - The historic seaport of Nafplio is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in GreeceB+B - Wonderful breakfasts in the sunny first floor dining room served until midday!Families
Nafplia Palace 84 rooms from £182Nafplio
Highly luxurious hotel in a beautiful setting. Sea-facing rooms and suites in contemporary style with private balconies, all the mod cons and private pools. Two excellent restaurants, pool, and private beach. A holiday haven for romantics.Views - Over the Bay of ArgolisLuxuryBeach LifeRomantic BreakRecommended by - Tablet