Two weeks ago I flew off to Athens to celebrate my Greek grandma’s 90th birthday. What an incredible achievement, eh? She is still not only healthy and happy, but most importantly has a mind sharper than me! She really is one of the most wonderful and inspiring people I know, I hope we all have the opportunity to live this long surrounded by a big and beautiful family.
To mark the occasion, we flew from all over to have a big fat Greek weekend in one of my favourite places in mainland Greece, Nafplio. This is the second time I have visited this sweet town and I instantly fell in love. Situated just 1.5 hour drive outside of Athens, Nafplio is packed with colour and charm. I remember the first time I spent the weekend there, I felt like I had been transported to a quaint village in the north of Italy. Funnily enough this connection is down to the Venetians who ruled Nafplio for a number of years, which is why you can see the clear Italian resemblance. Colourful palazzi, ornate balconies and rustic shutters are my all time favourite styles of architecture. I have always said one day I will live in a grand building with a beautifully romantic iron balcony… One day!!!
What I love most about Nafplio is the fact that the majority of the old town is completely pedestrianised. It’s something you don’t realise until you start wondering the streets and see how tranquil and uncluttered they are! Every corner is framed with beautiful vines and bougainvillea, with quirky cafés and traditional tavernas dotted along. It is genuinely the perfect place for a weekend trip away, to wind-down and roam the streets at your leisure. For the more active, you can climb the 999 steps to the top of the Palamidi, the castle over-looking the old town. The views are unbeatable; venetian rooftops on one side and cliff-edges overlooking the sea on the other. There is even the option to take a boat out for a short trip to visit the Bourtzi, a mini castle out on a tiny island off the coast.
For me, Nafplio is the perfect mix of quaint hotel staying (here), cosy coffee drinking (here), Greek food eating (here) and ancient sight-seeing. And because it’s not that big you feel like you have really switched-off for a couple of days. So, if any of you yearn for a European winter/spring getaway, head to Nafplio and stroll into a weekend of picturesque streets filled with more cafés, colours and character that you could ever ask for!