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Nafplio Itinerary

Hi! I would love some advice on a suggested itinerary from those who have gone to Nafplio. I have searched through forums and read and reread (thank you to the creator!) but it is a bit overwhelming because I'm not sure of the distance of each place listed from Nafplio and we are leaving for our trip in 10 days (we're going to Scotland first) so I'm running out of time to book tours and plan how we'll spend our time there. For reference, I am going with my husband, we are 28 and 30 and this will be our first time to Greece, but not to Europe. Our trip will be Santorini (3N), Naxos (4N), Nafplio (3N), then Athens (3N). I haven't booked our flight from Naxos to Athens yet, the flight options are 1:30-2:10 or 5:20pm-6. (booking this very soon!) Thinking we will take the 1:30 but it depends how much time we need for Nafplio vs. Naxos as I'm sure it will be hard to leave Naxos!

September 24 Tuesday Flight to Athens from Naxos then rent car to Napfio, staying at hotel Amymone and Adiandi
September 25 Wednesday
September 26 Thursday
September 27 Friday Travel to Athens, we're taking the Athens Free Tour at 5pm so arrive sometime around 3 or 4 (flexible) to return rental car and check into hotel (not sure if that's enough time)

Here's what I found that sounds interesting (we don't need to fit everything in!):
Nemea wineries (recommendations? should we stop at more than one? should we do this by ourselves or on a tour?)
Corinth Canal
Walk around town
Swim at arvanita beach or asine
Palamidi castle
Acronafplia fortress
Have a drink at waterfront bar at sunset
Syntagma square and sit at a cafe for dessert
Drive to one of the other beaches close to Nafplio (Kastraki? Tolo? Vivari? Karathona?)
Also on the maybe list: Tiryns, the archaeological museum, or a day trip to____?

One day I am thinking of taking a tour with Grecopaths, they suggested a custom tour of Nemea/Mycenae along with wine tasting (think this is at the same farm that dinner is at), farm to table dinner, and cycling. Then I'm not sure if we should use the other full day for a day trip and spend the arrival and departure days mostly in Nafplio (except for the time for Corinth Canal & Epidaurus), or if we should spend the whole day in Nafplio.

1) What would you suggest for an itinerary? Is there anything not on this list that you would recommend seeing/doing based on our interests? There are so many day trip options and archaeological sites to choose from, it's hard to pick.
2) Which beach would you recommend besides Arvanita? Karathona (we would drive there)? Kastraki? Or should we go to Tolo for a short beach day on our last day? Vivari? Are the sun loungers at these beaches free (I’m assuming not), and would they all be taken early in the morning?
3) Should we stop at Corinth Canal and Epidaurus to or from Nafplio? Should we stop at one on the way up and one on the way back, or both together? How long should we expect to spend at Epidaurus between the theater and museum?
4) Has anyone done any walking tours in town to learn about Nafplio? Would you recommend one, or should we just walk around ourselves and explore? I see there's a Greeking.Me tour
5) Are there any wineries you would recommend in Nemea? We'll have a car (my husband doesn't love wine so he wouldn't drink much but I do so he would drive :) We wouldn't need to do a tour at the winery, just a tasting.

In case it's helpful, we enjoy history, tours (walking tours, cooking classes, food tours,(relaxed) bike rides), eating, drinking, trips to the beach. Not huge museum people unless there's a tour to give it more context and we would prefer to see the ancient sites with a guide where possible because I have a feeling we wouldn't enjoy it as much without one to explain what we're looking at. (Thinking no guide for Epidaurus, though, since we can do that on the ride to/from Athens.)

Posted by
2764 posts

You can see Corinth, Nemea, Mycenae, and Epidaurus en route from/to Athens--not all of course, I'd pick one for coming and one for going. If you stick with the Mycenae/Nemea tour for one day, which sounds nice, then your other full day could be for a beach excursion. Unfortunately I did not get to the beach while there. Nafplio is quite small, you can do everything else on your list for in town at your leisure. Enjoy--it's a wonderful place!

Posted by
2900 posts

I would certainly take the 1:30, arrive 2:20 -- let's say, on your way by 3 if you don't dawdle, can go Nonstop without braking until AFTER Corinth Canal (save it for return trip). Here's my take -- this map is good for clarity about routes: (click to enlarge)

9/24: 4 pm -- ancient Nemea (1 hour) up to you re vineyards -- in Village of Nemea Main Str, there's a fascinating "bottling plant/tasting room" where a tiny assembly line labels bottles, & there are big barrels for tasting, sampling. I do't know that yu have time to seek out a vineyard w. your tight schedule. 6 pm -- check into hotel, and hustle over to seafront to canopied cafes where u can watch the sunset (its at 7:20 but get ther by 7). Dinner @ Aoleus?

NOTE: the next 2 days can be interchanged depending on Weather/Energy etc
Day A - up EARLY & drive (40 mins?) to Mycenae by 9 AM (3 hrs) ... enroute back, u could stop at Tiryns for 30 mins to compare. Afternoon: SWIM -- I say go to Arvenita, it's great fun; stony beach, but u can get in from a platform & steps. You can walk at sea level around point of Peninsula - GREAT foto ops! OR drive to parking lot, come down steps.
Day B - Walk Around Town, on main square Small Arch MUSEUM (45 mins- FAB), walk up ramp to high square, cliff elevator to peak Point of Peninsula then to Acronafplia Clock tower overlooking town ... off to beach -- if weather is nice, you can drive in 20 mins to Asine, & tiny cove there... there's a taverna where u can change.. ..& dine?

SEPT 27 -- Up early check out, drive across "Thumb" of Peloponnese toward EPIDAURUS (btw, en route on LH side, theres the oldest in-use bridge in the world )-- EPIDAURUS 9- 11, don't dawdle in ruins, hard to interpret, & skip museum (best stuff all in Athens), but THEATRE is main thing. Leave & drive up EAST coast road to ISthmus, jump off to see/photo Corinth Canal & grab a snack (30 minutes), then head for Athens on the Biggie highway. Just remember, at the Fork in the intercity highway at Elefsina, go LEFT!!! or you'll be trapped on nonstop truck-route to city center!! Going left u return car @airport, taxi to hotel easily by 4pm.

As for other questions: BEACHES - you'll have had great beaches like Plaka on Naxos, skip Karathona, town beach is quicker handier AND fun (in afternoon, winds make water whirl, it's like a massage!). Tolo is boring to me, touristy bldgs lining the beach, nowhere to change.

TOURS - you mention a lot, such as walking, cooking, vineyards, etc but those are for extended stays, you have 2 full days, and 4 hours on arrival day, 4 hours on departure day... you really would need morer time for those day-long things. GUIDED TOURS? There used to be a 1-day combo out of Nafplio (Mycenae-Epidaurus) but no more LICENSED GUIDES? You might see if there are any guides lurking at the gate at Mycenae. D-I-Y? -Did you invest in a guidebook for our 2 weeks in Greece? No? Too much money?? Tsk Tsk. How about you get a USED copy of ROUGH GUIDE older edition, for $10 or so on Amazon -- and pull out the sections on Cyclades Islands, Peloponnese, and Athens. (U can "bind" them with ducttape & they become instant guide-ettes). I've advised this forever; it works.

Posted by
65 posts

thank you both, those are great tips!

travelerjan, thank you for simplifying my itinerary! I made sure to write down those suggestions, especially the tip for heading back to Athens and avoiding traffic and your thoughts on Tolo!

Posted by
2339 posts

One other suggestion: Nafplio has a well-known wine store and bar which does tastings. I think it was 10E/person. You get to try many different Greek wines.

Nafplio Old Town (where you will be) is not large. You don't really need a guide. We just wandered around, and it was quite fun. From the bus station to the beach (old town), it's maybe 3/4 Km, and the same across. The new town is just another bustling Greek city, and we didn't bother going there.

One other note: You may wish to consider taking the bus. Convenient, inexpensive, easy to use.

Posted by
65 posts

I welcome any and all suggestions, thank you! I'm still very much planning :)

Do you happen to have the name of the store, Paul?

Posted by
2900 posts

Kbm -- WINE STORE -- just ask your Hotelier about the wine store... I think its on the main wide street just the other side of the Main Square, going toward the sea.

BUS -- the other contributor v. helpfully suggested the intercity (KTEL) bus, which is indeed prompt, modern & economical; however I believe you've decided on driving, for more flexibility in short time.

DRIVING - I DO hope you have obtained a IDL (interntional driving license), you get it in 20 minutes from AAA - u also of course bring along your rgular license. You don't mention if you've yet reserved a car, best do that fast. all of us regulars have had very good exprience with AthensCarRental -- good fleet, good prices, they meet u at Airport & t ake you to a car ready to go. Of course u can use Google but a paper map in addition is always useful as a check ... google sometimes gets confused when there are 2 towns with similar names in the area.

Posted by
65 posts

janet I'm sorry, I'm mixing up the different forums and called you travelerjan! sorry about that! We did get the drivers permit but I'm so glad you mentioned renting the car because we would have saved that for the last minute if you hadn't because we're so used to renting them quickly here. I will book that today or tomorrow.

I'm not sure yet what we're going to do as far as phones... when we went on our last trip I think we left them off and just used wifi at places but I'd like to be able to use data to use google maps as we walk or drive places. We have verizon, so I'll have to look into options there. Feel free to share any tips on that! When we rented a car in Italy 4 years ago we got a GPS with it, are those still reliable when renting a car?

Posted by
2900 posts

IT's Ok what you call me, just don't call me late for dinner

.... about driving, y es you can get a GPS with the car, inquire when you contact the agency.... I always like to write n actual e-mail LETTER not just fill out a form, then you can ask qustions like that ... from Athenscarrental we had for €44 per day a 4-door car like a honda accord type, white, brand-new. Smaller cars are less but we had 3 poepl and the other 2 were substantial size,

Verizon for our I-phone on our program is VERY pricey.. about $10 day if u use for data & connect to satellite. I kept that turned off & just used phone when there was wi-fi... most hotels & cafes have free wifi. Also used it for podcasts. I also had a cheepie- greek flipphone I keep charged up, I got €10 worth sim card put in.... I just used it to contact hotels ahead on my trip and phone my 2 friends when we were in different places on an island.

Posted by
2339 posts

Karonis Wine shop. We enjoyed the tasting. Found it by google "nafplio wine store tastings"

On this trip, I decided to get a sim card for my phone. I then re-upped the plan. Total of 40E, and I never used it once. I'm far more likely to look for wifi signal (almost every cafe has this) and do email. If I'm on vacation, why am I calling people? Email is better anyway as a record.

Posted by
5630 posts

We ported in Nafpllo while on a cruise. We spent a day there and enjoyed the city.
Also, we hiked up the many steps up to the fort at the top of the hill. It is a climb, be we did it in our mid-60s.

Posted by
2900 posts

If u have a car, why climb up the 999 Palamidi steps? It's a stamina test but takes time & you have many items on your wish list for a very short stay in Nafplio. (BTW, the formidable defense against sea attack never really was used.... the day of sea power ended soon after it was built, invaders mainly came up the back way including Nazis).

Posted by
65 posts

Thanks! I wrote that store down. I was only considering the phone for getting from place to place when walking around (using Google maps, etc), not for calling or texting. On past trips we would have loved to use our phone's GPS when walking around cities (especially when running late for tours!) so I was wondering if anyone did that.

We definitely will not be climbing up the steps! That item is not on our wishlist; we will be driving.

Posted by
2900 posts

If your eyes are on y our GPS on phone, you miss everything around you. Do what you used to do, before smartphones ... get a good basic map, and then just look around ... you will see more, enjoy more.

Posted by
65 posts

I updated our Nafplio (very flexible) itinerary, if you have any critiques/suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Day 1 September 24 Tuesday
Flight to Athens from Naxos 1:30-2:10
Rent car to Napfio, arrive around 5?
Stop at Corinth Canal on the way
Stop at Epidaurus on the way (switched this with Nemea to do on the way to Nafplio instead of on the way back just in case we want more time in Nemea and any vineyards there, we could do Nemea in the morning on the way back to Athens?)
Dinner at sunset

Day 2 September 25 Wednesday

Considering this farm to table tour with Grecopaths (3-4 hours)
Maybe free Nafplio audio tour around town
Maybe walk the footpath to karathona
Dessert at syntagma square

Day 3 September 26 Thursday
Mycenae - Audio tour + museum
Swim at Arvenita
Archeological museum
Palamidi fortress at sunset - driving there, not steps!
Karonis wine shop tasting (will have to email them and see if they have any while we're in Nafplio)

Day 4 September 27 Friday Go to Athens
Stop at Ancient Nemea in the morning + any wineries or wine stores in Nemea (I do wish there were audio tours of ancient Nemea)
Arrive Athens by 3/3:30, drop off rental car at the airport, taxi to Athens Mansion Suites on Evripidou St, free tour at 5 meeting at Hadrians arch (not sure if 3:30-5 is enough time to drop the car, get a taxi, check into hotel, and get to Hadrian's, might need to get there sooner)

Posted by
2900 posts

Day 2... the footpath to Karathona is pretty much from Arvenita. Do not neglect that sealevel stroll around the point to Arvenita either outbound or inbound.... from the row of Nafplio seafront cafes, go around the point at sealevel, path goes thru a natural arch just after the point ... fab photo op... Also, just around point there's a chained-off swim area if one isn't going as far as arvenita.

Another place I like to swim is when driving from Epidaurus, just before you get to Tolo, whoops! another ancient site, Asine, and a tiny rocky cove beach with just ONE taverna ... several tmes we've stopped there, changed in their restrooms into swimwear, had a lovely dip, then had either a drink or early fish dinner there at sunset. Asine is mainly an old stone fort-wall... behind it a stunning sand beach with a couple of piers into hte water ... no facilities... empty.

Posted by
1795 posts

I think your plans are a bit ambitious. It is about two hours to Nafplio--two and a half with a stop at Cornith and your plan doesn't arrive until 2:10. I think you would be stretched to get to Nafplio by 5 pm without stopping at Epidaurus.

We walked to Karathona. It is a gorgeous walk from the parking lot of the Arvenita. It is also about 2 miles and much of it is in direct sun. It wasn't fun after a point. We had a large group and my husband and his brother drove. I took the car back and they walked in the early evening and it was one of their favorite things in our two weeks in Greece. The beach is nice than Arvenita and there iare restrooms and a food stand. We liked Arvenita as well and had lunch there and managed to snag a few beach chairs in the process. You really need water shoes for all the stones though.

And Janet is right that beaches on Naxos are better. It was very hot when we were there and touring in the morning was all we could manage. And we enjoyed the beaches just the same.

It takes an hour to get into Athens from the airport so no way you can return a car, take a taxi, check into a hotel and make a tour 1.5 hours later.

And make sure you have a good map with you. Our car rental company did not give us one and we had a few mishaps with directions.