Worth climbing to from the older part of the town, known as Nissi. It's a star shaped hill from which the castle gets it's name. Long, long ago, this hill was an island.
Lovely old houses with colourful gardens lead you up some steps to the castle, away from a square with a large, new looking church.
The castle was built during the Greek War of independance, on the site of a Venetian fortress.
Superb views of the hinterland(rural bliss) and over the sea and town. Excellent views of our accommodation also.
Not a lot left of the castle but beautifully peaceful and worth the short walk.
You can drive up and park by the large church or various sets of steps lead you up through the old part of the town, known as Nissi.
This year, 2006, I walked up in the morning and didn't meet another soul. Absolutely amazing.
Greece's first capital and port for ancient Mycenae and Argos, Nafplio is only half an hour away by car . You can bus it to Argos from P. Astros and change there for Nafplio.
It's a pretty (in parts) bustling town with an old town and a sprawling modern mess of a newer town. I have to admit, we never actually stopped to have a look round the place, only drove through and visited Palamidi. The traffic is atrocious and it took us all our time navigating the junctions, (one which is horrendous - see warnings) and quite honestly we were glad to get out. If we had had more time, we would visit again and have a decent wander around to see if it lived up to it's reputation.
I know it's supposed to be the prettiest town in Greece and it could well be, but you have to drive through miles of urban mess to get there.
Parking is in a large free carpark on the quay. There is a pay beach (what???!!!) and the fantastic Palamidi Fortress, our main reason for visiting Nafplion. This you can either drive to or walk from the old town up 857 odd steps. Guess which we chose to do??
There is also a very attractive beach 2km out of town, on the Palamidi road.
More pics and info to come on my Nafplio page.
Being a mere hour's drive away and Al's enthusiasm for the place, we just had to visit Epidavros.
We left early (for us) and arrived before 10am. Even at this time of the day, the place was full of tour coaches and school children. What a combination! It didn't bode well.
The tree covered grounds provide much needed shade but even so, you can work up a sweat on the walk to the theatre.
Yes, OK, it's wonderfully preserved and it's a masterpiece of architecture but do we really have to sit and listen to amateur thespians spouting their stuff and not even having the decency to know the proper words? And all that silly happy clappy singing... some people just think they are IT don't they?
Obviously the thing to do is climb one of the many sets of slippery smooth steps to the top of the amphitheatre and enjoy the overall view whilst cringing at the show-offs in the arena. I'm afraid it did spoil it for us, not to mention all the English and American accents. I know, we would never get to see the place on our own, but it put us off visiting anymore mega sites. Rather do the off the beaten track ones.
There are also ruins in the archeological site of the centre for healing which are far quietre to look round. A museum houses statues, surgical instruments, inscriptions and other such antiquities.
The 3rd c. theatre of Epidavros is one of the finest preserved classical Greek buildings and accommodated 6,000 people in 34 rows and later another 6,000 in an additional 20 tiers. Today, performances are put on in the summer of ancient Greek dramas.
I thought the admission price of 6 euros was very reasonable and particularly like the fact that children gain free admittance to all sites.
Amazing amount of public toilets spread around the site. As we were there reasonably early in the day they were still clean and had toilet paper!!!!
From Paralio Astros it's not too far to the Argolida, the piece of the Peloponnese on the far east. It's surrounded by the Saronic and Argolis Gulfs and is worthy of a visit. It's impossible to see much in one visit, as roads are mountainous and interesting places far apart.
The Argolida is home to mega resorts such as Ermioni and Portocheli as well as the popular islands of Spetses, Hydra and Poros. I'm afraid we avoided these "on the beaten track" places and opted to have a look at Didima, Kilada and the Frachti cave, which are more "off the beaten track".
For more info, please look at my Argolida page.
Paralio Astros has it's fair share of beaches. The main town one extends from the harbour for about 10 km. southwards to Paralia Ag. Andreas.The further you walk, the wilder and remoter it becomes. There is a track along the first part, as far as the campsite and there are trees for shade. It also has a lifeguard post not too far away, although these are only manned in peak season. The beach is a mixture of soft sand and shingle although the nearer to town you are, the rockier it becomes, owing to a reef in the water.
Astygaros beach, on the road out northwards along the coast, is another sandy/shingly beach, again with trees behind, a lifeguard post and picnic pagodas. There is a parking area here but the road also runs behind the beach a bit further on and over the road are a lot of new apartments, some still being built. This beach is shallower than the main beach.
Further north again, on the same road, you come to Vervena beach which is even shallower and great for wallowing in the tepid water! A couple of rivers run in to the sea here and boys being boys just have to attempt to dam them!!!! There is parking along the road and also at the far end, a parking place which seems to also be an outdoor disco, not functioning in May. Usually there are a couple of motorhomes parked here.
These beaches all have beach showers.
For those who like snorkelling, there is a tiny pebbley/rocky beach just over the harbour wall, near the theatre.
Having taken longer than we thought to get as far as we did , we decided we'd left Philip on his own back at the apartment long enough. By the time we got to Orini Meligou ,we decided to about turn and wind our way back down to Paralio Astros. Orini Megilou is situated on a plain, high in the mountains, surrounded by rural grasslands and rolling fields.Just beautiful.
The views on this route back down to the coast were lovely.it's a shame it was rather hazy to produce really clear pictures.
It's definitely worth the journey and we would love to have proceeded further on a circular route over the mountains, coming back out at Aghios Andreas, a little south of Astros. Still, another time.
One hot afternoon we decided to wind our way up the mountain road from Astros, through Elliniko and to Orini Meligou, calling at the monastery as an afterthought. We left Philip in the coolness of our apartment and prepared for a hot journey. Boy, it certainly was that. There wasn't a breath of wind up there and temps. soared into the high twenties.
This road kept climbing and climbing, twisting it's way around the mountain. We spotted the monastery in a ravine and followed the newly paved road to it. As we stopped, the heat struck us and we were relieved to find a pretty, shady courtyard to sit in.The older part of the monastery was a building site leaving the newer building for the residents. Again, these solitary religious folk certainly know where to build their monasteries. Pretty as a picture, with superb views over the mountains and down to Astros and the coast.
Disappointing as major work is being carried out (at times) and there is no admittance to the site.It's fenced off and photography isn't allowed.
From what we could gather, this is a major find and is going to be an extensive site. It's in the process of being "tented in" to preserve it. Would seem to be a "soon to be on the beaten track antiquity."
Built in 2 AD for the extremely wealthy Roman founder of the Theatre of Herodes Atticus (Athens) it's an extensive place.
Commanding magnificent views over the Argolid Gulf, some 10,000 sq. metres of mosaics have been uncovered and are left in place waiting for the public's attention once the roof has gone over.
Findings are on display at the museum in Astros which was closed when we passed.
This lovely nunnery is a few miles north of Paralio Astros, on the Tripoli road. it's in a stunning setting with pretty, colourful gardens. The whole place just oozes calm and tranquility. The church here is Byzantine, from the 1100's although foolishly we weren't dressed appropriately so didn't feel we should enter.
There are lots of shady seating areas and you are allowed to look in the refectory which was like stepping back in time.
The strangest thing about this place was the absolutely enormous car park. Obviously major events attracting the hoardes occur at times. We didn't mmet another soul apart from a Greek lad looking for one of the nuns.
An idyllic spot which we were really glad we visited.
An evening stroll along the prom and around the harbour area is a must. There's just so much to stop and look at as well as the views over the bay and town.
The mermaid statue and fountain is illuminated at night as well as the anti-aircraft gun.
You can't miss the wonderful duck house floating in the harbour nor the brightly coloured boats casting amazing reflections in daylight. Stop and sit on a seat for a while and simply take everything in.
Everywhere is clean and tidy and well kept.
Just near the harbour wall is an anti-aircraft gun, left over from WW2. It is in working order; ie you can position the gun and manouvre the whole thing . Both Nick and Philip found it fascinating and spent a great deal of time "shooting down the enemy." It's floodlit at night.
Some ***, at one stage we visited, had managed to manouvre the gun so a tree was stuck in the middle of the gun barrels. They had caused damage to the tree. Fortunately we managed to "free" the tree thus making the gun "playable" again.
This is a small, modern outdoor theatre built in the amphitheatre style. In the summer months there are performances but in May, it was just a nice place to have a wander around. The views over the bay to the Argolid and back over the town are lovely. It appeared to be the ideal spot for sleeping cats!!!
I can imagine it's a lovely place to sit and watch an act and expect it's buzzing in the summer.
Philip decided it was the ideal place to get a little excercise and ran along every tier. He even had me time him; 4 mins. Personally I thought it a little ambitious in the heat!!!!
While visiting Paralia Astros do not miss the opportunity to take the short trip around the bay to visit Nafplio.