Our Arrival to Charming Village in Greece – Nafplio
We arrived at the bustling Athens International Airport, went through customs and headed out of the airport for our rental car. We walked the short distance to the car rental lot and took in the beautiful warm Greece sunshine. After loading up our enormous bags and installing our car seat we were off.
We programmed our GPS for Nafplio; a coastal village town less than 100 miles from Athens. We couldn’t wait to arrive at this charming village in Greece!
The drive was much less stressful than we had imagined with not much traffic. The highways were in terrific condition that tunneled through mountainsides. As we neared Nafplio, we went through a few small villages with goats and road side vendors. There was a bit more traffic as we entered the small town and had our first views of the amazing Palamidi Castle. The castle sits atop the city overlooking the gulf and Aegean sea.
Accommodations at Omorfi Poli
After GPS tried to take us down the quaint, tiny alleys we realized that parking seaside and walking was much better idea than pulling up to our actual hotel. We found that the people in Greece will park anywhere and drive anywhere without reservation.
We walked along the boardwalk taking in the beautiful sailboats, as we found our home for the next two nights, Omorfi Poli. The small reception area directed us back to their adjacent cafe to check in. A kind woman led us up a flight of stairs to the “first” floor into our small suite with a bed and mini fridge in the first room, tiny bathroom, adjacent bedroom with stairs up to small area with a bed.
Quick Lunch Meal
As the housecleaner finished up and set up the baby crib we quickly changed into lighter clothing to get off for a real meal. We found a nice restaurant with tables set up along Syntagma Square for a late lunch of mezedes or “small plates”.
We ordered cheese pie (a half circle of pastry crust filled with white, oozy cheese), bread, tzatziki, eggplant salad, greek salad of fresh feta, tomatoes, onions and olives, grilled octopus and more dishes that overfilled our table. For dinner we walked the narrow, beautiful streets filled with small shops and beautiful white churches. We were reminded of Italy with the countless gelato stands. After the huge lunch and jet lag we opted for a spinach pie, while walking rather than a long seated dinner.
Exploring the Palamidi Castle
Our morning plan was to explore the Palamidi Castle which included climbing the 999 stairs up. There is an entrace fee of 8 Euros per person, but that entrance is at the very top. With just a few other people on the stair climb, we were happy here in the slow shoulder season rather than overcrowded July or August. Each step up revealed a more breathtaking view of the city and the water. We took a few breaks to catch our breath and capture pictures. After a few minutes we reached a point and paid our admission.We explored the many bastions with incredible views. We saw a tiny cell of the Kolokotronis prison that we crawled into (the infamous prisoner who played key role in liberating Greece from Ottoman rule).
Arvanitia BeachWe hiked back down the castle with wobbly legs, but still taking in the views. After that, we returned to our hotel to change and then headed to the beach. We decided to skip the 3m trail walk from the boardwalk to get to the view and walked just 5 minutes past the base of the Palamidi stairs to the local Arvanitia beach. Quite a few stairs down, we reached a beach area of large, hard white stones. We laid our towels out with the locals and joined the hundreds of people floating in the beautiful, calm water. The love of babies was apparent as we had a long conversation with a women is broken Greek and English.
More Great Local Food!
After a bit we returned to the city to find a proper lunch. We chose a crowded outdoor restaurant and smartly ordered less plates. We enjoyed fresh bread, fresh greek salad and a tasty trio of spicy cheese dip, tzatziki and roasted eggplant.
The area was crowded with Greek families on a long weekend. Children were everywhere and there were countless babies in buggies. Walking the streets, we saw men twirling their ‘worry beads’ a strand of colorful beads. We decided to take the short drive to see the mycenae ruins.
After a brief worry that the site was closing early, we were lucky to find that we had a few hours to see the area and the museum. While wearing Ari (and her napping) we explored the brightly lit modern museum. There were amazingly preserved artifacts of jewelry and housewares. The main entrance was an elaborate lion gate symbolizing Mycenae’s strength. We passed the grave circles and houses. We climbed up and enjoyed the views of the surrounding areas. In the back area, we trekked down into the deep, dark cistern that once supplied the area with fresh water. Our last quick stop was to see the massive Treasury of Atreus. It was a massive beehive tomb with sounds of bats at the top.
More Syntagman Square
After returning to Nafplio, we had a meze and drink at our hotel’s cafe. The area out front had great people viewing as we were just a block off the broadway and we could see all the couples and families making their way in for dinner. That evening, we let Ari explore the main Syntagma Square where she chased other kids and laughed at the dog ruling over the square. For our final dinner in Nafplio, we walked off the main Plapouta avenue onto hilly Kapodistriou Papanikoaou and had a traditional Greek dinner of appetizers, roasted eggplant and delicious tender octopus in red wine sauce.We loved our adventure in Nafplio. It’s a nice charming coastal village for anyone looking for an authentic Greek experience. It doesn’t have all of the amazing views from an island such as Santorini, but it’s a good place to start off your trip! It’s a nice getaway from Greece and offers so much to do. Hope that you enjoyed our post and let us know your thoughts below.