Palamidi Castle, Nafplio | by Vida Hospitality

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One of the most well-known landmarks of the city of Nafplio is the main fortress in the city, the Palamidi Fortress. In the old times where there were not cars and gps people who wanted to reach Nafplio were using Palamidi as the point of direction in order to know how to reach the city. Built in the highest point of the city, on top of the 216m hill, Palamidi is visible even from many kilometers away.

So, Palamidi is the final important fortress that was built from Venetians’ outside of their own country. They started the construction in 1711 and by 1714 the massive fortress was already built. One year after the completion of the Fortress the Turks defeated and took control of the castle. During 1822, when Greeks won their independence, in one night they were able to take control of the city by controlling the Palamidi fortress.

The Palamidi, which takes its name by the Homeric hero Palamidis, was built based on the design of Giaxich and Lasalle and was based on a system of mutually supporting and mutually defending bastions, which are all connected each other and were built in different levels and with different directions in order to protect the city.

The Aghios Andreas bastion that was the best equipped was the headquarters. Each occupant of the fortress was changing the name of the bastion with heroes or important people form their nation. Nowadays the names of the bastions come from Geek people that are directly connected with the Greek history.  To the North of the fortress there are the Leondias and Miltiadis bastions, to the North-West the Robert one, to the South the Themistocles and to the East side is the Achilles bastion. All the above bastions were constructed by the Venetians while the last one, the Epameinondas was completed during the Turkish occupations and the Fokion one was entirely built by the Turks.

In the 29th November of 1822, Staikos Staikopoulos lead a unit of Greek rebels and within one night was able to take control of the Palamdi fortress with a surprise attach that started from the bastion of Achilles.

Some of the bastions of Palamidi were used as a prison later on the history. In 1833, Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the leaders of the revolution, was imprisoned in Palamidi, during the time of the regency, when King Otto was still a minor. The Miltiadis bastion was converted also as a prison from 1840 till around 1926.

There are two ways to reach the top of the Palamidi hill, either by car driving around the hill or by the staircases that are located at the West of the fortress and lead to downtown Nafpio. Locals still support that there are 999 steps and the last one was destroyed by Kolokotronis’ horse. Some support that this story was created by some people who wanted to emphasize how greedy was Theodoros Kolokotronis. Once you are in the Palamidi fortress you can see the impressive water tanks that are used even today to collect rainwater.

Things to do in Nafplio, Greece | Full Guide for Nafplio | Vida Hospitality

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Nafplio, the most beautiful city in Greece

Nafplio was the first capital of modern Greece . – today, Nafplio is the most beautiful city in Greece and one of the most romantic places you ever visited. Nafplio offers you a range of different things to do in and close to the city, being a great destination for your next vacation.

Nafplio is an ideal places for both families with kids and couples. The city is family friendly and in the same time, Nafplio can be a great romantic place for couples who really want to enjoy some great time together.

2 castles, 1 fortress, 2 must see archeological sites, more than 15+ different beaches, a picturesque old city downtown full of pedestrian streets and squares, many hidden paths next to the see, great spots for city views, best dining options – all these make Nafplio a top destination for your holidays.

Nafplio, a top destination for your vacation

What to do in Nafplio, Greece

Nafplio city paths

Nafplio is a city full of pedestrian streets. More than that, Nafplio has some really amazing paths that you will love. Explore all of them here.

Karathona Beach Nafplio
Nafplio Greece Arvanitia Beach

Places to visit in Nafplio

Nafplio has many landmarks that deserve your time to visit. Palamidi castle, Acronafplia castle, Bourtzi fortress and an amazing old city downtown.

Restaurants & Cafe in Nafplio

Nafplio offers a big range of dining options. Many nice restaurants and cafes with great city views are located across the city’s old downtown and port.

Nafplio Greece Bourtzi

Byzantine churches in and close to Nafplio

Archeological sites in and close to Nafplio

Nafplio is a city of history. There are many archeological sites and museums inside the city but the 2 MUST SEE archeological sites are Ancient Mycenae and Ancient Epidaurus, both located on a short distance from Nafplio.

Nafplio old city downtown
karathona beach

Short trips from Nafplio

Nafplio, because of its location, can be your base to explore the Peloponnese region and the Saronic gulf islands.

Wineries close to Nafplio

Nafplio is located close to Nemea and Argos, where some of the most well known wineries of Greece are located.

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Monuments in Nafplio city

Nafplio, heaven on earth

Beaches in and close to Naplio

Nafplio and all the area close to the city is full of amazing beaches. Karathona, Arvanitia and many many more.

Nafplio, Greece, Karathona beach

Kids outdoor playgrounds in Nafplio

Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece

Nafplio city

Called one of the most beautiful and most romantic Greek cities, located  only 120 km from Athens, Nafplion takes pride in being also the first capital of the modern Greece.

Ideal destination for families

Turbulent  history  has shaped its architecture and overall culture and tradition, so expect to experience Frankish, Venetian and Turkish influence combined in one idilic mosaic picture that will make you fall in love with this city.

Romantic Nafplio

Nafplio is the first capital of Greece and is considered as “The Capital of Romance” in Greece. There are so many things that can bring you closer to him and help you create unforgettable memories from a Romantic Gateway! It is called also “The Venice of Greece”

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TOP 4 Monuments to see in Nafplio

Nafplio, the first capital of the modern Greece, is highly connected to the Greek history from the ancient world until the modern Greek history. The first pharmacy, the first hospital for the poor people, the first prime minister of Greece were all in Nafplio. Today the city is a destination for tourists from all over the word who visit Nafplio for its natural beauty, the walking paths, the fortresses. Families with kids, couples, summer, winter, the city has something different to offer to everyone who decides to visit it. Located only one-and-a-half-hour drive from Athens and ideally located in the East part of the Peloponnese region.

The best part of the city that deserves your attention is the part located in between the port, the Palamidi Fortress and the Acronafplia Fortress. On a radius of 350m around the main square of the old city, the Syntagma square, you will find some of the treasures of Nafplio and you will travel to a different era.


One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the old city of Nafplio is called “Psaromachalas”. It is the part of the old city underneath the Acronafplia hill to the street called Staikopoulou. Psaromachalas was a very popular area since the end of the Byzantine times, in 13th century. The name comes from the people who were living in this district that were fishermen and were using the west part of the port as a parking for their boats. The first component of the word Psaromachalas comes from the Greek word meaning fish.

The ground is inclined due to the Acrnafplia hill that allows almost all the houses having an amazing view to the Argolic gulf. Psaromachalas is a district full of paths with staircases, with some very old houses with different colors and small balconies.

Agia Sofia

In Psaromachalas district you can find the first hospital of the country, the Agia Sofia church and the first Greek parliament.  Agia Sofia is the only Byzantine church in the old city of Nafplio. It was built aprox. In the 11th to 12th century AD. During the periods that Turks had control of the city they had converted the temple into a haystack. The church was renovated in 1825. In terms of its architecture, the church follows the pattern of the small tiled, octagonal dome-shaped basilica with an inscribed cross and has a west-facing two-storey façade. The sanctuary is semicircular with a double window.

Greek Parliament

The first Greek parliament is one of the oldest buildings from the Ottoman architecture. The parliament originally was a mosque that was built back in 1730 during the second Turkish occupation, the “Agha Pasha Mosque” that was built in order to atonement Agha’s soul after a cruel crime that he had committed, by killing to young men and stealing from them the treasure that they had found. In the same building during the years 1824-1825 and 1827-1828 it was operating the first Parliament of the modern Greece. Over time the Parliament was used for different purposes, such as Greek school and prison.

Today the historical building hosts the Municipal Gallery of Nafplio with a collection of paintings by Greek artists.

The Trianon

Another historical building connected with the history of Nafplio is the building located in the South East corner of the Syntagma Square called Trianon. The building had different uses over the time and originally was built from Turks during the Turkish occupation in the 16th century as the Grand Mosque in the city of Nafplio.  The Trianon was a simple rectangular plan covered by an almost octagonal dome of provincial style. During the second period of the Venetian occupation in 1687, the building was converted into a Christian Roman Catholic church, dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, donated by the Venetian commander Francis Morosini to the Franciscan battalion.

In 1828 it was used by the Greeks as the first interdisciplinary school for males. In 1893, after the necessary repairs, it was transformed into a conservatory and a theater, and in 1937 it became the Trianon Municipal Cinema, a brand that is still known and maintained in very good condition. Since 1993 it has been the seat of the Nafplio Municipal Theater.

The TOP Byzantine Churches in Nafplio, Greece to visit

Byzantine Churches

Argolida is a region where there are located some of the most well-known Byzantine Churches in Greece.

The term “Byzantine” derives from Byzantium, an ancient Greek colony founded by Byzas. The site of Byzantium was ideally located on the European side of Bosporus, the lining of the Black Sea and Mediterranean, as a trade point between Europe and Asia.

In 325 A.D, Roman Emperor Constantine I established Christianity as the official region of Rome at the Council of Nicaea. Five Years later, Constantine chose Byzantium as the site of a “New Rome” with Constantinople as its capital.

The citizens of Constantinople were Romans and Christians, though many of them spoke Greek. The Byzantine Empire was the only organized state west of China that survived from the ancient times until the beginning of the modern age without interruption.

After Constantine’s death in 337, in 364 Emperor Valentinian I divided the empire into two sections. His brother and he became the power men of the Byzantine empire. Valentinian I was leading the West Empire and his brother Valens the East Empire.

Over the next centuries, constant attacks from German invaders broke the empire until the point where the only territory left under the Roman control was Italy. In 476 Romulus Augustus, the last Roman Emperor was defeated by the barbarian Odoacer and the Rome had fallen.

The Eastern Roman Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire or Byzantium, was able to survive for centuries after the fall of Rome. The Eastern Roman Empire was benefited first from Constantinople’s geographic location that helped a lot with the capital’s defense and secondly, the internal political stability and the great wealth generated from the eastern emperors helped the Empire last for so many years.

Byzantium was ruled by the Roman law and Roman political institutions. Its official language was Latin and students received education in Greek history, literature and culture and this is the reason that the Greek language was so widely spoken. Christian was officially established as the religion of the Empire in 451.

Justinian I, who took power from 527 until his death in 565, was the first great ruler on the Byzantine Empire. During his reign, the empire included most of the land surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.  Under Justinian’s reign, many great monuments of the empire would be built, including the spectacular domed Church of Holy Wisdom, or Hagia Sophia. It was also Justinian who reformed and codified Roman law, establishing legal code that would endure for centuries and help shape the modern concept of the state.

Byzantine Churches can be found in different places along Greece and in Argolida region are some great momentums of the Byzantine Empire.

The Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary

Click HERE for directions to the Church of Assumption of Virgin Mary.

The most well-known church is the church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary located aprox 5kms North from Nafplio. The location in which it is built was named “Vouzi”, but presently utterly forgotten or unspoken of by the residencies. There seems to be much speculation surrounding the exact date of the church’s erection with the most prevailing one among scholars being either at the end of the 12th century or the early 13th one. The temple’s frescoes are placed at a period around the end of the 13th century or even at the dawn of the 14th century; however, they would have been created much earlier than the actual assembly of the temple itself.

The church is located in a small village called “Agia Triada” or “Merbakas”. It is said that “Merbakas” was named by Willien Van Moerbeke, a Dominican orientalist and philosopher, who had resided for a lot of years in the monastery.

The church has such measurements (15, 67×8, 45) and is potentially built upon ancient grounds, seeing that the church counts a number of tombstones, fragments of marble and ancient Greek dwelling stones.

Monastery of Agios Dimitrios Augos, Iria

Click HERE for directions to the Monastery of Agios Dimitrios Augos.

The monastery is located aprox 1 hour drive East from Nafplio and is a three-storey complex, consists of cells and churches and is built into the hollows of the rock. The monastery is dated from the 11th century and is said that it have taken its eventual fortified in the 16th century under the Palaiologos dynasty. The labyrinthine interior and the gun loops over the entrance, emphasize the defensive nature of the monastery. It is said that the monastery used to be a water-mill and still possible to see on the surrounding plateaus, storage buildings, guest rooms and threshing floors. The Ministry of Culture carried out reinforcement work on the monastery at the end of the 1980’s.

The Sacred Church of Koimisi of the Theotokos in Neo Iraio

Click HERE for directions to the Church of Koimisi of the Theotokos in Neo Iraio.

The church of Koimisi of the Theotokos (dormition of the Virgin) is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Argolida region. It is located aprox 15 min drive North from Nafplio. During the Venetian occupation different parts of the church such as the octagonal dome and the gabled ends were reconstructed. The church has all the important Mid-Byzantine churches in Argolida region. To the east it has three-sided arches and to the west a narthex. The exterior of the church has large stone bricks form stone crosses, while the masonry has ceramic decoration.

Unfortunately, the original pictorial decoration in the interior has not survived. The monument was built in the beginning of the 12th century.

Monastery of the Metamorfosi Sotiros in Asini

Click HERE for directions to the Monastery of the Metaforfosi Sotiros in Asini.

The monastery is located aprox 8kms South from Nafplio, in an isolated position South West from Asini, with a view to the Karathona beach. It was in operation until 1834.

The monastery belongs to the cross-shaped type, while to the west there is a newer elongated building. The interior of the catholic is decorated with notable murals, dated from 1570, according to the detailed foundation inscription which is the south wall of the church. In the north east wall of the catholicon still survive the ruins of a tall tower.

Find full information for your next Greek vacation in Peloponnese Region and in Nafplio at our blog HERE.

Things to do in Nafplio, Greece – Top things to see in Nafplio

Nafplio Bourtzi

Planning a visit to Nafplio and want to know “the things to do” and “what to see”? Then, this page will be a great support for you, making your Greek vacation in Nafplio a great one.

Nafplio offers you a range of different things to do in and close to the city. Nafplio is a great option for those of you who want to enjoy a family or romantic getaway, offering you top things to see.

Well, let’s start from this. Nafplio is located only 120 Km away from Athens (140Km away from Athens International airport) which means maximum 1:45 hours drive.

Nafplio is a city next to the sea, has two castles and one fortress! Nafplio is also located close to the two MUST-SEE archeological sites of Greece, Ancient Epidaurus and Ancient Mycenae.

You can visit Nafplio 365 days per year. The weather is 340 days sunny and warm (15-35C) and only 20 to 25 days per year it might be rainy. For those of you who want to enjoy the beach and the sun, the best period to visit is between end of May until end of September (some people enjoy swimming even during November).

Nafplio has also some special periods that for sure you will love to visit. During the end of February or beginning of March, Nafplio hosts the carnival festival – for those of you that you are parents, your kids will love the city during that period. On 25th of March, Nafplio celebrates the National day with a very special way – the city’s main church celebrates with a huge street market this special day and Nafplio attracts thousands of visitors. Easter period is also a great time to visit Nafplio – the city offers a unique way of celebration. More than the above periods, Nafplio from early March until the end of October is alive – the amazing weather helps the city to be a great vacation destination for millions of visitors. You will love to explore Nafplio during this period.

Below you can find two different links to our special guides for Nafplio city. We created two – one for those of you who will visit the city during Autumn and Winter – the second for those of you who will visit Nafplio during Spring or Summer. Both of them were created with a purpose to be your support on your vacation in Nafplio.

Find the full guide for Nafplio (Autumn & Winter) – click HERE.

Find the full guide for Nafplio (Spring & Summer) – click HERE.

Special Tip

Nafplio because of its location can be your base for your Greek vacation. Located on the East part of Peloponnese, one of the most beautiful regions in Greece, Nafplio can be a great city-base for you to explore the whole region. You can explore the biggest part of Peloponnese on daily trips without to change very often locations – plus, your base will always be the most beautiful place.

In case of you need more support with your visit to Nafplio, feel free anytime to contact our customer service – to live chat with us click HERE.

By the way, we operate the best family holiday apartments in Nafplio, so you can take advantage of us and enjoy a great accommodation during your visit. Feel free to explore our apartments – click HERE.

Vida Hospitality Team

Vasileios Totsikas is the Property Manager at Vida Hospitality – his English are not the best (I am sure you already got it from the above article), but his hospitality is great! Now, that I wrote the above sentence in the third person to look smarter than I am, I will continue in the first person – If I can be of any assistance regarding your vacation in Greece, feel always free to contact me via phone/message/whatsapp at +30-6979005260.

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