Authentic Naupaktos: The Hidden Jewel of Western Greece
Naupaktos is largely an unknown quantity. The serenity of this Greek coastal town in western Greece is unrivalled and with good reason. Everything you need is right here; clean air, fresh produce and a sense of purpose. Oh yeah, and literally like no tourist in sight.
Naupaktos definitely ticks most of the boxes. Like most Greek towns it combines the seaside with the mountainous with functionality and style. And at just 200 km from Athens, you really can’t go wrong.
Particularly if you visit in October, which is when the most significant event in the town is celebrated; The Battle of Lepanto Festival. The town has history. Part of the festival narrative centers around the actual battle that took place in 1571. Back then, Greece was being passed around the great powers like prison cigarettes. At the time, Venetians and Spanish were the ones in charge, managing to break the Ottoman offensive that would’ve yielded a significant chunk of land to the Muslim crusaders. And so every year on the 7th of October the festival takes place to commemorate the epic fight. As far as military re-enactments go, this ones up there with Chios’s rocket war.
As with most parts of Greece, one can trace its history through the different buildings that still stand. In Naupaktos one can see traces of the Venetians, Ottomans and the pirates in the castles and fortifications that were built. The Venetian castle of Naupaktos is one of the most impressive and well-kept in Greece.
The Tower of Botsaris is but a stone’s throw away from the castle. The two towers (I know, confusing) that make up the actual edifice were built within a century apart from each other (15th and 16th) and were primarily used by the Ottoman head. After the war of independence they were re purposed as museums and exhibition spaces. How’s that for inventiveness?
Also worth noting is the statue of Miguel de Cervantes (yes, that one) in the central square. The statue is there to celebrate the great Spanish intellectual after he fought in the battle of Lepante where he lost his left arm.
Seeing as this is a primo spot for romantic canoodling with your significant other, its more than likely that you’ll want to explore. And that’s a great thing, too. Naupaktos is nothing if not an outdoors-y type of place.
The Oreini Nafpaktia is a natural paradise covered in chestnut, walnut and pine trees, with lush waterfalls and equally beguiling fauna. This mountain forest is home to warthogs, deer, foxes, wolves, hares, hedgehogs, lynx as well as a number of endemic bird species such as gold eagles and woodpeckers. And that’s before we get to the many rustic villages (around 45) that dot the mountainous slopes.
And of course, there’s the beach. The glorious beach, which you’re never really that far away from. And naturally, Naupaktos has 2 super dope beaches complete with blue flag status and sweeping views of the gulf off Patras and its state of the art bridge.
That’s Greece, though. You think you’ve seen it all, and then this beauty comes waltzing in and suddenly you just have to go to Naupaktos.