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A romantic looking port town of elegant Venetian houses lining narrow streets, Nafplio was the first modern capital of Greece. It attracts a nice mix of visitors and the best places to stay in Nafplio reflect this with a wide range 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 being impressed by Nafplio's treasures.
Some of its beauty, and romance, it gets from its position, beneath the Palamidi Fortress, a vast citadel built on top of an outcrop of rock 200ms above Nafplio's port. The fortress is just the literal tip of the historic points of interest here. Nafplio is an ancient town, with numerous museums, several smaller forts, and some charming churches. And it's got great bus connections to other ancient sites and sights nearby.
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.
Nafplio also has an Archaeological Museum, which is in one of the beautiful Venetian buildings overlooking Syntagmatos Square, Nafplio's main square. The Nafplio branch of the National Gallery is also housed in a particularly lovely building.
There is a very well regarded Folklore Museum and a War Museum. And it's an excellent base for visiting Mycenae and the Epidaurus Theatre. 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.
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 look to is, 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 and also invites strolling couples.
Several of the few larger mansions in this area have been converted 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, charming old churches and friendly tavernas.
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. And if you get one of the balcony rooms 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 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.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Nafplio
Aetoma Hotel 5 rooms from $89Nafplio
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 $237Nafplio
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