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  • Janis Nunez

Greece Part 2: Mycenae and Nafplio

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Our next stop was Ancient Mycenae. It's a fortress city atop a hill. These are the oldest ruins in Greece. A ticket is good for the archaeological site, museum, and Treasury of Atreus. It costs €12 for an adult ticket, and €6 for a reduced ticket. Our boys got in free here. Take water with you as it can get very hot.

The Treasury of Atreus is just down the road. It's a quick stop to a huge domed tomb.

We dropped off our luggage at the Airbnb and headed to the Old Town. Nafplio was the original capital of Greece. The streets are filled with cafes, shops, and beach views. There are flowers and fruit trees scattered throughout the area along with two pedestrian streets for touristy shopping.

Day 5: We started our day with breakfast at Gallika Salon de Thé and French Bakery. There was an amazing view of the Palamidi Fortress from our table. We then headed over to check out the farmers market. The market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday until lunchtime on Martiou Street. It's definitely worth checking out. We were surprised to see that they also had fresh fish available for purchase.

We walked around the old town and saw St. George Square and the Church of Ayios Georgios, Bourtzi fortress (reachable by boat), remains of an 18th century Turkish fountain, the Church of Agios Spyridon, and the Funerary Monument of Dimitrios Υpsilantis.

We had lunch at Mitato, and then stopped at Dodoni to cool off with some ice cream in Syntagma Square. It was okay, but you are really here to people watch. A Greek flavor that they serve is Kiamaki. Definitely skip it. It's an acquired taste. My oldest son ordered it and couldn't handle it.

Next, we headed to the Palamidi Fortress. You can take a cab to the top or walk up. We chose to take a cab since it was in the 90s that day. The castle costs €8 per adult, €4 for students, and kids under 18 get in free. It's beautiful! It's definitely a must see.

We did choose to take the 999 steps to the bottom. You will get some amazing views going down. Be sure to have water if it's a hot day. There are some spots to stop and take a break if you need to. It was definitely a great experience.

We stopped for a bite to eat at the Gyro Grill which was underwhelming, and then back to our Airbnb for some wine and dessert. The cheesecake that our host's mother made was amazing. I don't eat cheesecake and loved it. It was also nice to grab a bottle of wine from the store on the corner, as well as some snacks to enjoy while looking out at the water. The boys also enjoyed a game of chess on the terrace.

Afterward we took a walk on the pier out in front of the apartment. It was a beautiful night, and we got to see a few fishermen come in with their catch. It was also nice to see the castle lit up in the evening.

Day 6: We started at the Land Gate which at one time was the only entrance to the walled city of Nafplion. We walked over to Arvanita Beach. It's a bebble beach with cafes and restaurants between the castles. From here you can get to the path that takes you for a scenic walk around the side of the peninsula. There are breathtaking views along the way, and we saw several kids from the area jumping off the ledges into the cool waters. It looked so refreshing.

We found this wonderful restaurant just off of Syntagma Square. I Gonia Tou Kavalari was a great spot filled with locals. Definitely check it out. That last photo is from a wine shop in Nafplio. You can get a box to take your wine back home from this shop. We also got a couple of bottles that he suggested.

Greece is just amazing. We loved it! There are some places we didn't get a chance to see either because of not having a car or simply running out of time. Here are some things you might want to see when you visit:

National Archeological Museum - Worlds best collection of ancient Greek art. Rick Steves has an audio tour you can use here.

Mount Lycabettus - Great place to watch the sunset. You can climb up the mountain or take the funicular for €5 per person. There are benches along the way if you do decide to make the climb. At the top there is a church and cafe with excellent views.

Panathenaic Stadium - For €5 you can head inside the Olympic Stadium, which is all made of marble.

Filopappos Hill - This is a free park with ruins. There are views of the Acropolis from the top. The hike up should take about an hour. You can see the Church of Agios at the foot of the hill, Socrates Prison on the path to the top, and The Monument of Filopappos is at the summet. The Shrine of the Muses is just below the crest of the hill.

Sounion - A drive down the coast to Sounion would take about an hour and 15 minutes. You can stop along the coast at various beaches and cafes, or go straight to the Temple of Poseidon. It's a great place to see at sunset from what I've read.

Wineries - Nemea is known for its wineries on the peninsula. We went to Palivou Estates, but also was interested in several other wineries: Domaine Bairaktaris, Gia Winery, Domaine Spiropolous, Semeli Winery, Papaioannou Estates, Gofas Family Winery, and the Wine Cooperative of Nemea.

Acronafplia Castle - This is the oldest castle in Nafplio. You can drive or take the steps to the top.

Karathona Beach - It's a sandy beach with cafes, tavernas and watersports.

Tolo Beach - It's a sandy beach with shops, cafes and restaurants. It's supposed to be the nicest beach in Nafplio

The Tiryns - Ruins close to Nafplio with a beehive tomb.

Arkadiko Bridge - The oldest bridge in the world.

Island of Hydra - Island without cars or roads. You can get around on foot or donkey. You can get there from the bottom of the peninsula and it's only about a 25-minute ferry ride.

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