Greece is a 2 city country. There, we said it. After Athens and Thessaloniki, you won’t find urban settlements of that size anywhere. What you will find is a smattering of small towns and villages that have stood the test of time and held on their traditions and beliefs. They are the rural backbone of Greece. And none stands out more than the ex-capital of Greece: Navplion.

This tranquil sea side port has been active since the Bronze Age; Greece is only ever 2 to 3 meters away from any bit of history. Dig a hole and you’ll find something or other. The history in Navplion is evident in the form of fortresses and castles. 3 of them to be exact. Palamidi, Bourtzi and Akronafplia. And one of them actually sits on an islet right next to the harbor. History buffs will almost certainly enjoy the ruins at the fortresses, particularly the Bourtzi fortress (the one on the water). Palamidi fortress, up top offers spectacular views and some pretty instagramable opportunities.

Navplion is frequently referred to as the prettiest town in Greece. And with good reason. The Venetians really did up the place while the rest of Greece was under the Ottoman yoke (and they left a parting gift: one of the best gellaterias this side of the Ionian). Of course, the Ottomans would eventually settle briefly, surprisingly leaving everything semi-intact. Grand plazas, cobblestone streets and alleys, neo-classical buildings and Venetian style houses and a distinct cosmopolitan ambience pervades the town.

Nafplion is picturesque and cozy. Ideal for weekend escapades for couples and family alike, it also serves as a great base from which to explore Myceanae and Epidavros.

At a mere 2 hour drive from Athens, Nafplion ticks pretty much every box. Great food, stunning architecture and beaches for days.

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