With a few bars and a couple of small eateries, Karathona shares many seaside mainstays in common with other Greek beaches. It’s only from my where I’m standing in the clear, sparkling waters that I can appreciate how it sets itself apart.
I’m knee-deep in the still, warm water looking out at the bay admiring the shades of blue fading from deep azure out in the open sea to aquamarine along the shoreline. On the mainland, loose blades from the grass umbrellas dance in the warm breeze above the heads of dozing holidaymakers. The hiss of cicadas mingles with reggae beats coming from the DJ’s speakers, their muffled hybrid sound carries across the water.
Beyond the beach bars and strategically placed palms are native eucalyptus trees and patches of dusty ground. Further in the distance, lofty, arid cliffs overlook the beach. All of this is set to the backdrop of blue, cloudless skies.
Karathona beach is one of many alluring features of the nearby seaside town, Nafplio.
Nestled in a nook in the Peloponnese, Nafplio has long been a favourite holiday destination for Athenians escaping the city in the summertime.
The town was once under Venetian rule and now boasts architecture that looks and feels like small town Italy. Nearly all of its narrow winding paths, crowded on both sides by rows of beige and burnt orange townhouses, eventually open out onto a public square, which are constantly filled with lounging locals and tourists alike, even in blistering summer heat. Nafplio has its own distinctly laid-back feel.
Which is basically to say that the aim of the game here is eating and drinking, for the most part, so make sure to sample some of the town’s dreamy restaurants, like Karimo Kastro or Omorfo Tavernaki.
Overlooking the town from its highest point is Palamidi Castle. The castle sits some thousand steps up from ground level, making it another in Greece’s long line of historical sights perched up on a mountain. Make sure to stop in to learn of its long and bloody history involving invading Ottomans, political prisoners and impressive artillery. Beyond exploring the many architectural features of the18th century fortress, visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of the town down below.
For history buffs with a taste for archaeology, a day trip to Mycenae is a must. Only a half-hour bus ride from Nafplio, this site is one of the more important in Greece’s history, playing home turf for King Agamemnon in The Iliad, and where war was declared on the Trojans. Its crumbling architecture begs hours of exploring, though summertime visitors will want to take several air-conditioned breaks in the adjoining museum.
How To Get To Nafplio
A couple of hours from Athens, getting to Nafplio is a minor challenge. The best course is to take a bus from Athens’s Stathmos Kiffisos terminal—just a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre.
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