The Fortresses of Nafplio

  • by XpatAthens
  • Wednesday, 18 February 2015
The Fortresses of Nafplio

Located approximately twenty miles away from Epidaurus, Nafplion is a small and charming harbor with a Venetian port and alleyways of Italian influence. The fortress, on the cliff road, was a secure spot for pirates in the 14th century. Then, under the Ottoman Empire, the executioner used to live there. Finally, it was transformed into a hotel in the 1970s, and is now a historical site in Nafplion that can be visited. Shuttles go back and forth all day long.

During the summer, you can enjoy sound and light shows here. Visit Nafplio to discover the Ancient Fortress of Akronafplio along with two Venetian Fortresses - Bourtzi in the harbour and Palamidi crowning the hilltop.

Naflio came to prominence as the first capital of Greece. When the capital moved to Athens, Nafplio settled into the role of quietly beautiful seaside resort. Located in the Peleponnese, Nafplio is a two and a half hour bus ride from Athens, or one hour fifteen minutes from Corinth. The old part of the town is situated on a spit of land that protrudes into the Argolic Gulf.

Sail out to Bourtzi Fortress

Walk along the harbourfront and you can’t help but notice a fortress covering an entire, tiny island in the gulf. The Bourtzi Fortress was built by the Venetians 600 meters from shore and can be reached by boat from the harbour along Akti Misouli. In modern times the fortress is sometimes used as a venue for the Classical Music Festival held in late May and early June.

Walk up to the Akronafplia Fortress

The second fortress in Nafplio sits on a promontory above the old city. Start from Saint Spiridons Square and walk up Potomaino, a stepped street. Enter the fortress through the gate at the top. Some of the walls here date back to the Bronze Age. Although the site was used as a political prison until the 1950s, most of it has since mouldered into the ground. The view however remains spectacular.

Hike up to the Palamidi Fortress

The largest and most spectacular fortress in Nafplio sits 216 meters above the city. The Palamidi Fortress was built by the Venetians from 1711-1714 and at the time was considered a masterpiece of military architecture.

Within the extensive outer walls are several independent bastions located across the site at strategic points. The Agios Andreas Bastion stands at the top of the stairs that come up from town. Originally the home of the Garrison Commander, it is named after the small chapel that sits in its inner courtyard.

The largest bastion, Miltiades was used as a prison for condemned criminals from 1840 – 1920. Theodore Kolokotrones, a War of Independence hero spent time there after being condemned for treason. Although you can drive up the backside of the mountain to reach the fortress, it is much more impressive to climb up the innumerable stairs– 999 according to locals. Be sure to pause along the way to catch your breath and enjoy the increasingly stunning view.

Enjoy the Ambiance

After a long day of discovering the sites, take time to unwind. Choose one of the many seaside restaurants, order a bottle of wine and revel in the fresh sea air. Remember, you’re in Greece where of an evening there is nothing more pressing than a leisurely meal in the company of friends. When the last after dinner coffee is gone, enjoy a stroll long the waterfront. The lights dazzling the Bourtzi Fortress across the water bring an excellent close to your day in Nafplio.

Source: Easy voyage
By Gwendolyn Copeman