It is one of a few cities in Greece that has survived for 30 centuries of turbulent history, imprinted forever on its monuments. Built at the foot of Pindos, it is embraced reassuringly by its mighty Castle, whose walls reach down to the Corinthian Gulf. It is a picturesque city with neighbourhoods to match, full of warm, welcoming inhabitants and it lies in a historic region whose visitors are treated all year round to spectacular mountain ranges, traditional villages and beaches with crystal clear waters.
Things to do in Nafpaktos
The Venetian harbour
Amongst the most beautiful and picturesque harbours of the country; it will be love at first sight. It’s a meeting point for the locals and this is where you will enjoy a coffee in the shade of the plane trees with a view of the sea surrounded by the Venetian walls of the Castle.
On the way to the Castle…
Starting at the harbour and making your way along steepening cobbled streets, passing through neighbourhoods with gardens in bloom, the climb to the lofty fortress that is Nafpaktos castle is a very fascinating one. On the way you will come across Botsaris’ Tower, an impressive 15th century building serving as a museum and the town clock dating from 1914. The castle itself, while acclaimed for its beauty throughout Europe, also represents one of the best preserved examples of fortification of this type in Greece. The view from the top of the hill to the sea, where the impressive Bridge of Rio-Antirio rises from the water, is unique.
Let your imagination travel and see in your mind’s eye the Sea Battle of Nafpaktos raging. It was the decisive battle through which the coalition of the European powers put paid to Turkish dominance in the Mediterranean.
Down by the sea
The two beaches of the city, Psani and Gribovo, stand out for the centenarian plane trees which sway along to the sound of the waves, treasuring the memories of several generations. Both beaches, having won the distinction of a blue flag, offer you hours of revitalization in their azure waters as well as an opportunity for relaxing strolls.
The castle of ‘Roumeli’, as it used to be called, was built at the sea’s edge in the 15th century. Today, you could be forgiven for imagining it stretching out to join forces with its impressive counterpart on the northern shore of the Peloponnese; not surprising really when you think that both the castles of Nakpaktos and Antirio were the tireless guardians of the Corinthian Gulf for centuries. Cultural events, especially in the summer, have now replaced some of the more brutal exploits of the past!
From the seafront splendor of Nafpaktos, start out on a road trip to Mountainous Nafpaktia, one of the most exciting mountain destinations in Greece. The dense forests, the river Evinos and its lake, Evinolimni, the ravines, the stone built taps with the free flowing water will have you thinking you’ve walked into a chapter of one of the Grimm brothers’ finest tales. Along enchanting trails through the lush slopes, with the oak, fir, beech and chestnut trees, you will begin to see emerging; one after the other, villages perched on the peaks overlooking their own little valleys. Ano Hora, most geared to tourist needs, Ampelakiotissa, with its monastery of the same name, Terpsithea, Elatou, Platanos, Simos, Kato Hora, Kryoneri are but a few of the villages whose luxuriant nature and warm hospitality await your pleasure.
Making nature fun
Naturally, such an unspoilt location has myriad experiences to offer the alternative tourist. All you need to do is get stuck in! Heave those boats into the water and start rowing with all your might down the Evinos. With rafting, canoe & kayak, hiking along the Evinos, abseiling and mountain climbing in Varasova, the mountain that rises vertically from the sea to 900m., and rides in 4Χ4 SUVs, you and nature will become so well acquainted that once back home the call of the wild and the promise of action and adventure will be impossible to resist.
Hidden gems of Nafpaktos
At a height of 1300m.and surrounded by a dense fir tree forest, it is an exceptional place for recreation in union with nature. A mountain cycling trail has been creatively devised for you to get the most out of the surroundings while on two wheels. All in all, Agia Kyriaki makes the perfect starting point for a spot of high-altitude exploration.
The beech tree forest
With the village of Grammeni Oxia as your base, set out on an excursion to the beech tree forest, the southernmost beech forest in Europe. The symphony of colours, shapes and images offers an incomparable treat for the senses.
This is an oak tree forest of unique beauty at an altitude of 820m. If you’re lucky enough to be there in July, you can join in an original and fascinating event reviving the traditions of pastoral life.
- The Venetian harbour
- Antirrio Castle
- Mountainous Nafpaktia
- Making nature fun
- On the way to the Castle…
- Down by the sea