Nafpaktos is one of the most picturesque towns of Greece which you do not manage to get bored of because it simply won’t let you! It is a town in western Central Greece which looks like an island but is not. It has history, culture, nature and diversity. Whoever visits it discovers from the beginning how it combines the beauty of the sea with the calmness of the mountains, tradition with modern everyday life.
The town’s two beaches
Nafpaktos bears worthy the title of one of the most beautiful seaside provincial towns. And that is because it has two beaches, Gribovo and Psani, where you can enjoy your swim and also enjoy a crispest stroll beneath the centenarian plane trees. Access to both beaches is direct, during summer months they are pedestrianized, the waters are cool and the cafeterias offer free beach chairs for all.
In the east, there is the beautiful beach of the neighborhood of Psani of a length of one kilometer with many plane trees that are said to be planted from the 50s. The beach is very well taken care of and when the wind blows north it is the best spot to go swimming. It has been repeatedly awarded by the E.U. with a blue flag for its clean coast. The waters are deep and cool. A feature of the beach is its large pebbles. Here you will find many nice modern restaurants/bars with comfortable sofas and music open all day and night.
In the west, there is the beach of the neighborhood of Gribovo, which has fanatic admirers who come again and again. Is it the large centennial plane trees with their cool shadow, the wind that blows, the cafeterias, the view towards the bridge and towards the amphitheatrical view of the town, or perhaps the friendly atmosphere? All together make you wonder “what else can one ask for?” The beach has sand and is rather shallow but as cool as the waters of Psani. The locals often prefer it for its good taverns beneath the plane trees. If you want something different, you just walk for only 10 minutes to reach the port, where the town’s night life begins.
The walk from Psani beach to the port and up to the dock, bouka as locals call it, to Gribovo, is one of the most classic stroll of the residents of Nafpaktos.
With its colorful boats and the sailing boats that harbor there adding their own touch to one of the most photographed places of Western Greece, the venetian portwith the lighthouse is the first stop that will enchant you as it is the most characteristic spot of the town.
Especially during summer, here you will meet people of all ages, others walking, others fishing, others just gazing at the view towards the castle and towards the open sea of the Corinthian Gulf and others just meeting for romantic talks or just enjoying their coffee.
At night, the area of the port turns into an open space party where you can drink beverages, talk with your friends and dream on.
A stroll through the Castle’s cobbled streets
At a small distance from the port, you will find Botsari’s Tower from where the cobbled paths start and are offered for a walk under the medieval veil of the old town.
[The impressive Botsari’s Tower, which dates from the 15th century, today belongs to “Dimitrios and Aglaias Botsaris Foundation” and where there is a permanent exhibition of replicas of paintings, maps, Spanish armor, countries’ banners, ship miniatures and depictions relating to the Naval Battle of Lepanto (Nafpaktos)(1571 A.D.). ]
The stroll we recommend is a part of the tour the locals offer their guests. Follow the path and let yourself get lost into this urban maze full of nostalgia and images from another era. You will walk by old and new houses, you will gaze at their gardens, their flower pots, the stray cats and in a few words you will discover another town, within the web of the old town.
Along your way you will come across the “Sideroporta”, the only gate of connection between the port’s neighborhood and the Mosque’s neighborhood. If you continue your tour you will find yourself at the town’s Clock which was built in 1914 by Archbishop Serafeim Domvoiti. The locals call it “Serafeim” honoring its inspirer.
Going uphill you walk by the entrance of the two storey mansion of the Tzavella family and then reach today’s Giannis Vlahogiannis’ square with the big plane tree and the stone built fountain. There are ruins of a Turkish mosque as well as hammams in a relatively good condition.
Continuing uphill you will reach the highest frieze of the castle, the “dapia” and one thing is for sure that you will sit at one of the cafeterias that you will find around the dapia and you will not get enough of the endless view of the Corinthian Gulf.
In the center of the city you will find Stenopazaro, a small, narrow cobbled street near the port with traditional two storey buildings, elegant cafes, taverns and very carefully taken care of shops that add livelihood to the area. Before you begin your stroll stop at the impressive stone built fountain at the base of the big plane tree, beneath Saint Demetrius, to drink cold water.
The Castle of Nafpaktos
The second destination that you must not miss out on is the Castle of the town. It is undeniably the emblem of the town. It is at the top of the hill that dominates at the west of the town, at an altitude of about 200 meters and is one of the most well preserved specimens of medieval fortressarchitecture in Greece. It was never conquered although it was besieged many times by many.
It owes its current form to the Venetians [1407-1499] [1407-1499]who tried to protect it from the advancing Ottomans by building a strong castle.
The view from the castle at the entrance of the Corinthian Gulf is unique, especially at night when Rio-Antirrio’s bridge’s lights light up. If you go up to the castle on foot, it will take you about 20 minutes from the steps at Saint Demetrius through picturesque cobbled paths. Of course, the most well-known route to the castle is from the one and only road, where if you are lucky you will have a pleasant encounter with the squirrels that live in the pine covered area and are familiar with people.