Top Things to Do in Nafplio: A Guide to 10 Must-See Hidden Gems

On our Eastern Peloponnese and Cythera road trip, Nafplio was a natural choice for one of our main stops. Not only is it a city rich in history, but it’s also incredibly beautiful. In this post, we’ll share the top things to do in Nafplio that captured our hearts. From its charming streets to stunning historical sites, Nafplio is a place where memories are made. Stay tuned as we dive into what makes this city a must-visit on any Greek adventure!

1. Step Back in Time at the Palamidi Fortress

Drone view of Nafplio city and Palamidi Fortress, a top thing to do in Nafplio, Greece
Where history meets the sky: Nafplio from above.

Our first stop was the imposing Palamidi Fortress. To be more precise it was our first flight with our drone ??! Perched high up on a hill, this 18th-century fortress is a real treat for both history lovers and view seekers.

Imagine climbing up those famous 999 steps. No, we didn’t count! This is what they say! Can you confirm?Or, if you’re like us and prefer a more relaxed approach, take a scenic drive to the top. Once you’re there, it’s like stepping into a storybook, with ancient walls and secret chambers that have seen centuries of history. And the views? Absolutely breathtaking! You’ll have the whole of Nafplio spread out before you, with the sparkling Aegean Sea in the distance.

Don’t forget your camera – this place is a photographer’s dream!

2. Visit Epidavros theatre

Panoramic photo of Epidaurus Theatre
Standing where Sophocles, Eyripides and Aeschylus performed

Just a short, scenic drive from Nafplio, about 30 minutes away, lies the ancient wonder of Epidaurus. Steeped in Greek mythology and history, this UNESCO World Heritage site is most celebrated for its extraordinary theater. Renowned for its near-perfect acoustics, this architectural marvel allows even the faintest whisper on stage to be heard clearly at the furthest seats, an impressive feat even by modern standards.

Epidaurus, originally a sanctuary dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, is more than just a historical site; it’s a place where the ancient Greek spirit of art, healing, and innovation comes alive. Whether you’re watching a performance or simply soaking in the tranquil atmosphere, a visit to Epidaurus, standing where Sophocles, Eyripides and Aeschylus performed is simply a magical step back in time.

3. Explore the Bourtzi Castle

This tiny island fortress, sitting pretty in the middle of Nafplio’s harbor, is just a short, breezy boat ride away. As you approach, you’ll feel like you’re entering a fairy tale, with the fortress emerging from the sea like a scene from a storybook.

Bourtzi isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s a slice of history too. Once a formidable guardian of the city, it’s now one of the most picturesque spots around. Strolling around the fortress, you can almost hear the echoes of its dark past even if today serves as a cultural center..

4. Discover the historical POIs in Nafplio old city

Nafplio’s Old City is a living museum, steeped in history at every turn. Naturally wondering around the city is among the top things to do in Nafplio. As you meander through its narrow, winding streets, you’re transported back in time. Within the city itself, the Syntagma Square, surrounded by historic buildings like the Archaeological Museum, tells tales of the city’s Venetian and Ottoman past.

Don’t miss the Church of Saint Spyridon, where the first governor of modern Greece was assassinated, adding a dramatic chapter to its history. Each corner of the Old City reveals layers of stories, making a walk through Nafplio a journey through the annals of time.

5. Wander Through the Charming Old Town

Kate strolling through Nafplio's bougainvillea-lined streets in a white dress
Nafplio fashion: White dress, pink flowers, blue skies.

Nafplio’s Old Town is a maze of narrow streets, colorful buildings, and hidden squares. It’s like stepping into a different era, where every cobblestone, every corner tells a story. Picture this: colorful, neoclassical buildings, charming cafes tucked away in nooks, and the gentle hum of local life unfolding around you.

The Old City is a treasure trove for those who love to lose themselves in history and culture. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself chatting with friendly locals or being lured into a quaint shop by the aroma of fresh Greek pastries. And the best part? There’s no set path or plan – just let your curiosity lead the way. Whether you’re snapping photos, savoring a coffee, or hunting for unique souvenirs, Nafplio’s Old City is a delightful maze that invites you to wander, wonder, and fall in love with its timeless charm.

Kate posing in front of a painted classic door, a picturesque moment in Nafplio Greece.
Did you know that Nafplio was the first capital of Greece?

6. Relax at Arvanitia Beach

Kate emerging from the waters at Arvanitia Beach
Beach bliss in Nafplio: Sun, sea, and smiles.

Nestled at the foot of the imposing Acronafplia is easily accessible from the heart of Nafplio. A leisurely walk from the town center, through the quaint streets lined with vibrant, bougainvillea-draped buildings, leads you to this beautiful pebbled beach.

As you approach, the path unveils itself, hugging the rocky coastline and offering stunning views of the Argolic Gulf. The sound of waves gently lapping against the shore creates a tranquil ambiance, inviting visitors to relax and take a refreshing dip in the clear, azure waters.

7. Taste the Local Flavors

tasting gourmet shrimp dish one of the top things to do in Nafplio
Enjoying this tasty shrimp with mussels and kritharoto is a highlight when exploring the top things to do in Nafplio.

Nafplio isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s a paradise for food lovers too! This charming town is a culinary treasure trove, where every meal feels like a celebration of Greek flavors. As you wander the quaint streets, the aroma of freshly baked bread, grilled seafood, and simmering stews invites you in.

Fava and veggies, a healthy and delicious choice in Nafplio.
Nafplio’s taste of health: Fava and color.

In Nafplio, two dining spots you absolutely must try are “The Nest” and “Pidalio Tavern“. These restaurants have quickly become favorites among both locals and travelers for their exquisite dishes and enchanting atmospheres. “The Nest” offers a delightful fusion of traditional Greek cuisine with a modern twist, making each dish a unique culinary adventure. On the other hand, “Pidalio Tavern” is the go-to place for a more authentic, rustic Greek dining experience, with its mouth-watering local specialties and warm, welcoming ambiance.

Be aware, though, their popularity means that snagging a table can be a challenge. We highly recommend making a reservation in advance to ensure you get to experience the fantastic flavors and hospitality that both “The Nest” and “Pidalio Tavern” are renowned for. It’s a small step that makes a big difference in guaranteeing a memorable dining experience in the heart of Nafplio.

8. Invest a day being almost totaly alone in a beach

Polemarcha's beach heart shape. Visiting such beaches is one of the top things to do in Nafplio Greece
Heart-shaped nature’s wonder near Nafplio.

Visit beaches is one of the top things to do not only in Nafplio but generally in Greece. If you ask locals it is very propable that they will advice you to visit Tolo beach. A 15 kilometers drive from Nafplio. It is considered one of the best beaches in the area but on that case we will have to strongly disagree. Don’t missunderstood us. Maybe Tolo beach is increadible during the low season but it is not defenitely our style.

Kate on a lollipop mattress
Sweet seaside relaxation in Nafplio

The summer that we visited Eastern Peloponnese being in Monemvasia, Mani, Cythera and the world famous beach in Elafonisos Simos, the Polemarcha beach standed out proudly! Incredible green blue waters, natural shade from the trees, warm waters and silence that helps you totally clear your mind. It could be easilly part of commercial for promoting an entire country. For us at least, is the definition of summer vacations.

9. Visit Mycenae Acropolis, Agamemnon Palace

Mycenae Acropolis, an ancient site to explore near to Nafplio Greece
Echoes of antiquity at Mycenae, near Nafplio

Just a quick 30-minute drive from Nafplio, this UNESCO World Heritage site feels like stepping into a page from a history book. Imagine exploring the remnants of the majestic palace where the legendary King Agamemnon, famed for his role in the Trojan War, once ruled.

The Acropolis, with its impressive and time-worn ruins, echoes the stories of a civilization that thrived over three millennia ago. As you roam this historic site, you’re transported to an era of myths and legends. It’s a captivating excursion for anyone, whether you’re a history enthusiast or just love to explore. Plus, it’s so conveniently close to Nafplio that you can return to the city in time to enjoy a relaxing Greek meal after your adventure!

It is a 3500 years old palace so having a guide it would be the best for you and your family and as always Getyour guide is the best place to get one!

10. Stay in Nafplio’s old city in one of the boutique hotels

Nafplio old city plaza, a vibrant spot to visit in Nafplio. Geting a hotel there is one of the top things to do in Nafplio Greece
Heartbeat of Nafplio: The old city plaza.

Choosing to stay in the Old City of Nafplio is like being part of a delightful story that unfolds around every corner. It’s a special experience, quite different from staying outside this historic heart. Imagine waking up to the sounds of a city steeped in history, where every narrow street and charming neoclassical building has a tale to tell.

Strolling out of your door, you’re instantly part of the vibrant local life – sipping coffee in quaint cafes, browsing through unique artisan shops, and enjoying the authentic flavors of Greek cuisine in cozy tavernas. Here in the Old City, you’re not just visiting; you’re living the real Nafplio experience. It’s a wonderfully immersive way to connect with the city’s rich heritage, something that staying in the more modern parts just can’t match. That’s why we felt that it is important to write a post dedicated to Naplio hotels and where to stay! Don’t miss it!

Kate enjoying a scenic balcony view in Nafplio
Nafplio views: From balcony to beauty.

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