4 Stunning Nafplio Beaches Not To Miss
Nafplio, a captivating coastal town in Greece, boasts a treasure trove of pristine beaches that will leave you in awe.
You could keep driving all day down the west coast of the Peloponnese region and see beautiful beach after beautiful beach, but Nafplio beaches are arguably the best. However, like me, you could max out your driving time to about an hour and spend longer on four beautiful beaches near Nafplio (and one in town!).
This is a relatively undiscovered part of Greece. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top beaches in Nafplio, highlighting why they are worth visiting, their proximity to Nafplio, how to reach them, and what exciting activities await you. But first…
Does Nafplio have nice beaches?
After an incredible morning hiking up to the Palamidi Fortress in Nafplio, I jumped in my rental car for a mini-beach road trip. I had not done any research on Nafplio beaches beforehand, I just wanted to drive and see what I could discover. Pristine beauty is what I found. From secluded coves to family-friendly stretches of sand, each beach offers its own unique charm.
Three of the beaches are blue flag beaches – Karathona, Kondyli and Tolo – which is an award given for beaches that have excellence in water quality, cleanliness, and commitment to the environment. So, if you’re wondering whether Nafplio has nice beaches, the answer is yes; they have the flag to prove it. You don’t have to go to overcrowded Greek Islands to enjoy beautiful beaches in this European country. You may want to visit all these beaches like I did on a half day road trip, or you might want to choose just one of these to spend a few hours. You have options.
Karathoas Beach | © Caroline Makepeace
How to Visit Beaches in Nafplio: Get A Car Rental
To visit the beaches near Nafplio, you’ll need your own vehicle. You still can explore two of the beaches mentioned in this post without one. So, keep reading! I rented a car from Athen’s airport which I used for my Peloponnese trip. You can also rent one from Nafplio.
I searched and booked my car via DiscoverCars.com and had a positive experience. They are now my preferred rental car booking partner. I had an issue the other day with my Italy booking (for the summer) and the customer service in helping me fix it was outstanding. Make sure you have adequate rental car insurance. My annual travel insurance with Allianz Travel covers me for rental car loss/damage coverage. Fill your tank up with gas as well. There are small towns along the way but it’s one less thing for you to worry about on your day’s adventure.
My rental car | © Caroline Makepeace
The Best Nafplio Beaches
First things first, sync your playlist up to Bluetooth, and blast your favorite road trip tunes. For me, it was Pearl Jam. For a heightened sense of freedom, I rolled down my windows and sang as loud as I wanted to. I was traveling for 10 days as a solo mom. This was a total bliss moment. Certain memories just stick, and for me, singing Just Breathe at the top of my lungs while enjoying this stunning scenery of the Aegean Sea and Argolic Gulf was a moment to savor.
1. Karathona Beach
Your first beach in Nafplio to visit is only 3 km South of Nafplio, about a 10–15-minute drive from Old Town. Drive slowly as the expansive views are pretty as you come over the hilltop. There aren’t a lot of areas to pull over for photos. Karathona Beach is a popular choice for locals and tourists alike because of its proximity to Nafplio and its wide sandy beach. The long beach in town is tiny and filled with pebbles. The beach is quite shallow and clear for some way out, which families especially love. In the summer, there are a lot of watersports, including banana boats, jet skis, and an inflatable sea park.
Karathonas beach | © Caroline Makepeace
Karathonas beachfront is well organized with sun beds and beach umbrellas close to the bar and restaurant. There are also beach showers and public toilets that you can use. So, pack a picnic or buy something from the cafe. After a long day, grab a drink and watch a breathtaking sunset at the Big Fish Beach Bar. The beach is easily accessible by car, bicycle, or even on foot from Nafplio town and there is free parking. Before you settle in, drive around to the other side of the beach, where you can pull over and appreciate some stunning panoramic views of Karathona Beach. There was quite a breeze blowing here, which was unlike the other Nafplio beaches that were more sheltered. As it was May it made it a little too cool for me, so I kept driving on.
Want to hike to Karathona Beach?
I wish I knew about the hike to Karathonas Beach before arriving in Nafplio. I would have made time for it. There is a trail from Arvanitias Beach that goes around the coastline to Karathona Beach. It takes about 45 minutes and is meant to be a flat leisurely walk with beautiful views the whole way!
2. Tolo Beach
Tolo beach | © Caroline Makepeace
Tolo is a popular beach vacation town that has the spirit of a small fishing village. It’s only 11km, or 15 minutes’ drive from Nafplio. It’s a beautiful beach with smaller coves to the north and south. There are little islands offshore you can boat out to that would make a fun excursion. Tolo is clean and shallow and because it’s in an enclosed bay, the crystal-clear waters are often calm. Tolo beach is a terrific family swimming beach, a three-minute walk from many hotels.
As this is a town beach, you’ll have convenient access to everything you require, ranging from suncream to grilled octopus. The area offers several amenities, including beachside cafes, comfortable sun loungers and umbrellas. However, there are no bustling beach bars that would disrupt the peaceful serenity of an idyllic afternoon by the shore. At the western end of the beach, the shore is lined with charming tavernas, their tables right at the blue water’s edge. It makes for some pretty views for lunch. Further south is a wider, sandier stretch of beach for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. There are cafes and beach bars opposite here on the main road. I chose this spot for lunch and coffee break.
Assini Beach | © Caroline Makepeace
Just to the east of the main beach is a tiny rocky beach called Assini Small Beach with quite a picturesque view. There was a small restaurant, the bar Red Rock that had a prime position here! Right near Tolo is Ancient Assini, which was the port of Mycenae. Homer refers to Assinians in the Iliad, for their part in the Trojan War. I think Nafplio is a far more interesting and charming place to stay. But if you want a true beach holiday, you may want to stay in Tolo.
3. Kondyli Beach
Agios Nikolaοs, or Kondyli Beach is known to be one of the best beaches in the area. It’s also known as Agios Nikolaos from the church on the opposite shore.
The drive along the coast through Vivari is quite beautiful. Unfortunately, I had someone on my tail and couldn’t quite pull over to snap pictures of the view. There were several elevated taverns that would have been beautiful for a drink, especially with the magnificent schooner sailing by in Vivari Lagoon. This area is a little different as a lagoon comes in from the sea so offers you quite a calm, sheltered beach and swimming experience.
Panoramic View of Kondyli beach | © Caroline Makepeace
The drive into Kondyli then swerves and narrows down to the beach. The view is spectacular. I was able to pull over on the way back up for these photos. It’s a wide stretch of beach that consists of part fine and coarse pebbles. There were few people on it when I visited. I’ve heard it can get terribly busy in the summer and will have beach bars, and water sports. There were no beach bars set up and no amenities. The only thing set up were a couple of tents beach camping on the left side of the beach. It doesn’t have campsites, but beach camping is allowed. I went for a walk along the beach to the point for a look back to Vivari and that boat. Nudism is popular here; there were a couple of nude bathers here. The beach in its largest part consists of fine and coarse pebbles. It’s meant to be beautiful at sunset.
If you want to keep going, I heard Katsigianneika Beach and Lepitsa Beach were great. Porto Heli is also in this area a popular luxury resort town in the south-eastern part of the Argolis (40 kms southeast of Nafplion). It is one of the more cosmopolitan and upmarket destinations in Greece and is home to the incredible luxury Amanzoe resort, which has Acropolis style vibes and which is situated on a hilltop and offers panoramic views of the Peloponnese coastline, a private Beach Club in a picturesque bay. I considered driving all that way to Lepitsa but, after long travel days previously, decided to return to Nafplio and swim in Nafplio’s Old Town Beach instead.
4. Arvanitia Beach
While this charming pebble beach is situated near the historic center of Nafplio, I saved it for the end of my road trip, so I could relax and swim there. There is a free parking lot above the beach where I had to park my car overnight anyway, as there is no hotel parking in Old Town. This is one of the Nafplio beaches you do not need a car for. Simply walk 15 minutes from Old Town and you’re there.
It’s a pebble beach so wear shoes down to the edge and the beach is small so come early to avoid crowds. My icy swim here in the May waters was very refreshing after a near perfect day hiking and beach road tripping. It’s quite sheltered here so it was lovely and warm in the sun. During the summer there is a beach bar, Blublanc – the only true beach bar in Nafplio, it’s the perfect place to pair a cocktail with a sunset – they are meant to be pretty here. After an hour swimming and napping in the sun, I walked back into Old Town along the Arvanitias Promenade – a short 1km walk that hugs the coastline offering panoramic vistas of the sea and cliffs.
Arvanitia Promenade | © Caroline Makepeace
I ended this fantastic beach road tripping day with a cold glass of wine at the Mentor Bar while people watching in Syntagma Square. Be sure to read my guide to Nafplio, so you don’t miss all my other great suggestions for Greece’s first capital city, including the Palamidi Castle. It was my favorite place on my Peloponnese road trip.
Where to stay in Nafplio
Nafplio offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. I loved my little pension at the Kapodistrias Hotel in the Old Town. I stayed in the Nafplion room, which was tiny, but adequate since I was rarely there. Thanks to the gorgeous views from my small balcony, easy access to walk to Nafplio attractions, and the price of sixty-five euro a night, I was very happy.
Here are a few other recommendations:
Hotel Grande Bretagne: Situated in the heart of the Old Town, this elegant hotel blends traditional charm with modern comforts. Its central location allows for easy access to Nafplio’s top attractions.
Amfitriti Palazzo: This boutique hotel offers luxurious rooms with comfy beds and air-conditioning, and breathtaking views of the sea and the town. It’s located near the waterfront, ensuring a memorable stay.
3 Sixty Hotel & Suites is located in the centre of Nafplio, just 100 metres from the port. This 4-star property offers free WiFi throughout and elegant accommodation with a spa bath. The restaurant and bar here are popular.
Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas located on the slope of the ancient fortress of Akronafplia. It offers rooms with views of the Argolic Bay and villas and bungalows with private pools.
Nafplio’s stunning beaches cater to all tastes, whether you seek vibrant seaside fun or secluded tranquility. With options such as Karathona, Arvanitia, Tolo, and Kondyli, each beach offers its own allure. There’s no need to keep driving to see all the beautiful beaches of the Argolid Peninsula. These four beaches will offer you the dream beach experience without having to spend too long in your car. Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a solo traveler, Nafplio’s beaches promise an unforgettable coastal experience, just a stone’s throw away from this enchanting Greek town.
Kondyli Beach | © Caroline Makepeace