Palamidi castle/fortress is built in the top of a 216 meter high hill inside Nafplion town around 1714 by the Venetians,one should climb the 875 steps(approx.i really didn't counted it!) to reach the top though,it can be reach by a car too.The castle/fortress is named after Palamidis (a son of Nafplius)who have invented the currency,weight & measurement and the lighthouse.The view while climbing up is breathtaking,you will be able to say the whole Nafplion town.The bastions of the fortress was first named in greek but later change into turkish when the turks invades Greece and once back into greek names when the turks was overthrew by the Greeks.One of bastion was used as prison cell of the greek revolution hero Theodoros Kolokotronis.Climbing up on sundays is free of charge, & weekdays do have a charge!
This place is so easy to find, it is near to the bus station.
Nafplion offers a great opportunity to walk around the small area at the harbor and you will find many photo ops. The piazza are cleaned daily, and the shops are tidy. If you look up on the hill you will see the old castle, worth attending later on for sure.
After coming down from Palamidi and walking and having a coffee at Nafplio, we decided to have a bath in Arvanitia. the beach is quite small The water was calm and refreshing, just what we needed in a hot August day. The walk along Arvanitia to go back to the city around the cape was delightful.
Palamidi fortress was between 1711 and 1715. The Venetian Govervnor odered its construction, but it fell into Ottoman hands before it was finished. There are 8 bastions coonected with one another by a wall.
Apart from the militar architecture, the visit is worth for the views over the city, the gulf and the plain, where Argos can be easily seen.
You can walk and take the stairs that go up to the fortress, as I did the first time (it was April and the ascent was bearable) but if you happen to go in the hottest days of the year, as we did last time, better go up by car and after the visit, go down by walking.
It was late Fall but everyone was outside still enjoying the fresh air and coffee. Four km beyond the city is the ancient fortress of Tiryns from the 15C BC. Here we are in the Syntagmatos Square. Near by off the quay Plateia Iatrou, is a monument to French heros of the Greek independence.
Above Nafplio there is the Akronafplion which contains constructions named after the ancient inventor Palamedes of the 13C BC. The Palamidi fortress stands out along the side of the mountain built by the Venetian governor Sagreda in 1711. After a 10 day siege in 1715 it was taken by the Turks. Venetians built the castles on the summit which can be visited.
There are two other fortresses in Nafplio in addition to the Bourtzi fort.
The Palamidi castle, also Venetian, was built between 1686 and 1715. We saw it looming over the town but didn't have time to visit. It looks really interesting though. You can get to it by road (a bus goes up there), or climb 999 stairs to the top.
The Akronafplia fortress is the oldest one, but I think it is more difficult to reach. We didn't even see it.
Head to the harbor and take a short boat ride across the bay to the Bourtzi fortress, built in 1471 by the Venetians to defend the city from pirates. The fortress is on a small island 450 meters offshore. It is one of three Venetian fortresses here.
If you visit Nafplion, visiting Palamidi Fortress is the one thing you MUST do. Although the castle itself is quite interesting and suprisingly large, it's the view that makes it all worthwhile.
Set 216 metres above the town, Palamidi sits dominating Nafplion's sprawling old and new towns. Built around 1711, it was the last fortress to be built by the Venetians in Greece. It contained eight small forts and a large, central fort. It was named after Nafplion's most legendary son, Palamedes who invented the die, lighthouses and measuring scales. A worthy memento indeed!!
The fortress also is home to the prison where the War of Independence hero Thoedore Kolokotronis was held for several years after being tried for treason. This is a tiny doorway leading down into the dank and dark depths of the castle into a minute space with no light whatsoever. Not pleasant accommodation.....
The cobbles and steps are slippy with wear so make sure you wear sensible shoes. There are also sheer drops over some edges, some only with a low railing. Keep a very close eye on children.
There are drinking fountains scattered about and outside, if you arrive by road, is a drinks stall selling fresh juices among other things.
Entrance 2006 : €4 adults.
Open: Summer: Mon - Fri 8am -7pm.
Sat and Sun. 7.30am - 3pm.
Winter: Daily 7.30am - 3pm.
Not for the fainthearted, especially on a hot day when you'd be well advised to go up early in the morning (and bring water!). Supposedly there are 1000 steps (tho have also heard 857 mentioned, which is less romantic) and I did try to count them but I kept losing my place every time I looked at the town below. The going is not particularly hard and no doubt there are some who would consider this a pleasant uphill jog but I was pleased enough to get to the top and have a breather.
At the top are the Palamidi fortifications. These were for their day (1710 or so) state of the art and having just experienced the climb up and then marveling at the state of preservation of most of the individual bastions you'd expect they would have been impregnable. In fact, they fell within 3 years of being constructed and do not appear to have put up much resistance at all.
You can go and see the cell that Kolokrotronis was kept in although to be honest if you're not interested in Greek history the main attraction of being up here is the view. Once ready to leave you can either walk back down by the longer but gentler road or head back down the steps.
I wasn't sure about this beforehand. How interesting could a museum of worry beads possibly be? Aut as soon as I looked in the windows of this fascinating workshop and museum I had to go in.
This is a one man mission to save the beautiful old-style komboloi, traditionally made of lovely, 'living' materials like amber or nacre, but made of ugly synthetic materials these days.
The museum shows how the (secular) komboloi derived from prayer beads and how the concept of prayer beads passed from one religious faith to another. There are examples of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Catholic prayer beads on show - many of them exquisite.
I was very moved by the experience in a way I can't quite describe or account for. It was partly a sensuous experience : the sight and sound and feel of the beads, and the light at the heart of the amber. In part, perhaps, it was the idea of these beautiful beads being a link between many faiths, and a link back to our past.
The owner has written an interesting and rather fantastical book about his pursuit of the komboloi: you can buy it from the website. You can also buy key rings and komboloi online.
I loved walking along the shore, looking how the city turns its lights on. It was very relaxing, peaceful and we could always sit down for a beer or glass of wine at one of numerous embankment`s cafes.
There were also boats offering a ride to a fortress on the island 600 meters from the shore - Bourtzi Fortress.
The Palamidi fortress would look especially cool during that time. Almost surreal.
Napflio is a beautiful town with cute Venetian streets. We walked everywhere of course, but it was the small, hidden streets we enjoyed the most.
Imagine passing along old buildings.. water from the wet laundry on a balcony is dripping on a pebble road, a laughing family is ready to sit down for dinner, someone is still cooking and it smells fantastic, old ladies are talking on a bench.. and flowers everywhere.. and no tourists.. just you and this experience.
Mmm.. I already miss these memories. :)
There are three fortresses in Nafplio:
- Bourtzi Fortress which was built by the Venetians 600 meters from shore and can be reached by boat from the harbor. Nowadays it is used as a venue for the Classical Music Festival held in late May and early June.
- Akronafplio Fortress - the oldest. Some of the walls here date back to the Bronze Age. It has been used as a political prison until the 1950’s, but is turned into a hotel complex nowadays.
- Palamidi Fortress - overlooking the town and harbor, the largest and highest of three, it was built by the Venetians in the early 18th century.
The view from the Fortress is great 360 degrees. Cool picture opportunities. You can also find a few quiet spots there (especially around 11-12pm when the tour groups are leaving). We went at the very far end of the Fortress and sat there for a good hour, enjoying the view, sun, wind and piece and quiet.
I always enjoy myself more when there are no crowds of tourists around. I am sure I am not alone in this. :)
HOW TO GET THERE:
- drive up in your own car.
- hike up its 999 steps.
- take a taxi (5 euro from the square at the bottom of the hill where the fortress stands).
I highly recommend to drive up there and then walk down, because the climb is very steep and will prevent you from enjoying the view. Going down however will be relatively easy and pleasant.
HOURS: 9am - 2.30pm.
PRICE: As of May 2008, tickets cost 4 euro per person.
If you plan on staying in Nafplio for a couple of days during warm months, I recommend you take advantage of it and go to the nearby beach of Karathona, located anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes walking, depending on where you stay and how you choose to walk there.
There are two ways to get there:
- a scenic, long one. Along the embankment, passing the boats and fortress Bourtzi on a small island. Takes about 30-40 minutes.
- a short one. Cutting through the square with fountains, between two remaining fortresses - Palamidi and Akronafplia. 10 minutes from downtown.
The beach is pretty small and not all that nice (pebble stones, sea urchins) but I still had a lot of fun being cradled by warm waves in the late afternoons.
NOTE: If laying on rocks does not thrill you, sunbeds are for rent and cost 6 euro each. If there are two of you, you will have to rent two beds, not just one.
There is a cafe/restaurant on the shore, toilets and also changing rooms (I think you have to pay to use them).
There is another beach (people say it`s better), located within 1 hour of walking. If you wish to visit it, just continue to walk along the shore line or take a taxi to save some time.