Ever since Roman noblemen flung off their togas and splashed about in her warming waters, Nafplio has been a place to come for a taste and feel of little Italy. This is especially the case at weekends, when the huge marble square is filled with children playing and grandma’s nodding. They are all here for one thing, to lick their lips and saviour the delights of the Italian ice-cream.
Nafplio was the first Greek capital after the War of Independence, so it holds a special place in Greek hearts. It has a large modern town and port but if you are looking for somewhere with a bit of atmosphere, head over to the medieval quarters. Here you will find small boutique hotels are dotted through out the stepped allies and each has unique feel with handsome views over the surrounding cobbled streets. Tatty wooden doors, enormous sash windows and rusty wrought iron balconies add character and contrast as you wander around.
A few more photo’s…click to enlarge.
The front parade near the harbour offers a handful of burger joints and fast food cafes but one street back and it feels a completely different place. A blend of shabby, chic shops and quaint restaurants with wooden table and chairs. All offering traditional Greek food with aromas that make your mouth water.
When we’d had our fill on window shopping we took a long ride up the nearby hill to the cliffs to Acronafplia.
Here we wave ‘yeeasas’ to Bourtzi Fortress, a small island castle located just off the harbour. This 15th century island castle may look romantic and idyllic but once you discover it was home to the town executioner, its dreamy halo fades in to the backdrop of rolling hills. If looking down makes you feel dizzy then turn around and look up. Behind stands the second imposing and dominating Venetian castle, Palamidi.
Standing at the top of the castle you can see for miles around. A bustling town below with schools, churches, markets and grand town halls. As we look further, out across the Argos plain we see at least 4 tiny hilltop settlements and ruins. Teensy piles of ruins and rubble to mighty imposing fortresses, all around the area are outstanding castles and archaeological sites with a great many of them built during the Venetian and Turkish battles.
For 2 nights, we based ourselves at Karathonas beach just outside of Nafplio. The beach is a large secluded sand and shingle stretch of beach. It is here we met up with Margit & Neil and spent hours chatting about all sorts of entertaining stuff. Felt great to chat & catch up with another English couple.
However, the conversation ceased when a couple of roaming horses gate crashed the party. Despite our best efforts to move as far away as possible the horse would not leave us alone until they’d had their pound of flesh. Poor Craig got the full blow of Neddy’s nashers right on his shoulder blade. Fortunately it bit him through his fleece, so no contact with saliva but it did break the skin and give him a pretty big bruise the size of my fist. Naughty Ned! I don’t think my hubby is having much luck with arms and shoulders at the moment…its literally only been a day or two since his arm full recovered from the sprain.
On the second morning, we walked to the edge of bay, passing the town drunk clearly amused by his own conversation, 101 stray cats and a rather large abandoned boat. At the end we had two choices, up to the rubbish dump (that explains the flies) or right to the headland. We opted for the less smelly option only to be greeted by yard with a chain-link fence, behind a couple of dogs named Snap and Yap. As soon as we arrived they leapt to life and came flying down to the front. Fling themselves repeatedly at the fence, barking and baring their teeth and wanting to strip the flesh from Mac n Tosh.
The beach is a great place for campers and I guess there are are 20 or so vans dotted along the beach and sandy car parks. We chatted with English, Dutch, German, Austrian and Swedish campers. It was a great atmosphere until…on our second day, the police turned up and asked everyone to move off the beach and park in the rear car park. They were extremely polite and in no way rude or harsh.
It’s always enchanting to watch one of Greece’s sunsets blaze over the mirror smooth sea and especially when its shared with half a dozen other motorhomers who share the same passion. We sat around the toasty camp fire sipping wine, enjoying sizzling sausages and enjoying each others company. Autumn time, the crowds have departed, the temperatures have eased and the air is laced with the sweet scent of the pine trees and wild rosemary.
Our sleepy spot: Long Karathonas beach cove is a reasonable beach with mini harbour to the north and a restaurant to the south of the cove. Loads of official parking spaces both in and out of shade. Handful of beach showers and fresh water points along with beach cubicles and portable toilets. Although they did remove the portable toilets whilst we were there, so guess that signals the end of the season.
Wild Camping GPS position Karathonas N037.542534, E022.822940
The next day, we decided to move on. After another quick visit in the town we hugged the coast and followed the road until we found an quaint fishing village. We turned off the road on to a narrow lane through the steep village. Like most villages, we negotiated various ridges and ditches before we parked on a beautiful open bay overlooking the impressive town of Nafplio.
Wild Camping GPS position Kiveriou N037.527688, E022.731561
Tomorrow, we join a couple of campers as we prepare to conga down the coast of Arcadia all the way to the Laconian Gulf.