Not to be confused with Nafplio, Nafpaktos in mainland Greece is a place I’d vaguely heard of, but wasn’t sure exactly where it was. When I was invited to go and explore this neck of the woods with Go Nafpaktia, I jumped at the chance.
Things to do in Nafpaktos – where is it?
As you can see from the map above, Nafpaktos is located just opposite the Peloponnese area of Greece and is approx a 3 hour drive from Athens (depending on weather and traffic), on the western mainland on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth. The region is known as Aetolia-Acarnania and zoom in on the map above, you’ll see a small bridge spanning the Gulf (near Patras). This is the rather spectacular Rio-Antirrio cable bridge – one of the world’s longest multi-span cable bridges and the longest fully suspended bridge at 2250 meters. It crosses the Gulf of Corinth from the town of Rio on the Peloponnese to the town of Antirrio, near Patras. Hence the name.
You can also cross the Gulf by small roll on/off car ferries. The journey takes 15 minutes and cars cost approx €6.50. I travelled on the minibus by ferry as it’s cheaper than crossing the bridge: €13.20 at time of writing for a car . Double check here for updated prices.
Either way, the view is stunning.
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Things to do in Nafpaktos
Battle of Lepanto
If you happen to be in Nafpaktos on 7th October, every year the Battle of Lepanto is celebrated. Basically, in 1571, during the heart of the Ottoman rule, the Christians wished to take back control of their region and the Battle commenced in the Gulf of Lepanto – an inlet in the Ionian Sea between the Peloponnese and Northern Greece. It was a huge success for the Christians, but with many lives lost (primarily on the Turkish side).
Every October 7th, there is a battle re-enactment in the harbour of Nafpaktos and we were lucky enough to be there during this time; fireworks explode, whole families with their young children and grannies and grandpas attend and the street is alive with everyone craning to see the puppet like re-enactment on the harbour walls, with the important few such as the town’s Mayor, the priest and head of Police sitting on a raised stage.
Tip: Get there early, say 6pm and hold onto each other’s hands! You may very well get separated in the goodnatured revelry.
The Kastro (Castle) of Nafpaktos
Thought to be built on approx. 5 levels (from the pyramid shaped hill at the top of the town all the way down to the harbour), the Castle is one of the largest in Greece and very well preserved. Its construction was actually completed by the Ottomans in the 15th Century and its picturesque location with stunning views across the Bay of Patras means it’s popular with tourists who visit, making it a good afternoon trip for your Nafpaktos itinerary.
Where to stay in Nafpaktos
There are a number of choices of accommodation. On this trip I was hosted at the Hotel Akti and my room was huge with a view of the sea and a four poster bed.
Don’t take my word for it though, check out other people’s views on the hotels:
Hotel Nafpaktos kindly provided evening meals during my trip.
Conclusions for visiting Nafpaktos Greece
- I’d say Nafpaktos is a wonderful weekend (or even slightly longer) getaway from Athens. It takes roughly 3 hours by KTEL bus, the long distance buses that leave from Athens (Kifissos stations) and costs approx. €30 one way (this includes the road and bridge toll) at time of writing.
- Go Nafpaktia who can seamlessly organise all aspects of your Nafpaktos adventure.
More activities in mainland Greece:
- Read about Hiking in the Pelion region of Greece
- Stuck to know what to pack for a visit to Greece? Read my Greek Island All Round Packing guide to help you
- Some tips on how to travel responsibly when in Greece