Sometimes the places you have the lowest expectations of turn out to be the most wonderful. When Seabourn Odyssey deposited us off in Navplion, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Surprisingly, Navplion, the port I knew nothing about and, quite frankly, had never heard of, was perhaps the highlight of the entire cruise. From the moment I arrived, I was seduced by its European charm. It oozed romance. Now this was a place I knew I’d like. Clean and pretty, Navplion is not actually one of the Greek islands; it’s on Greece’s mainland. Buildings with old facades and Juliet balconies line the streets and it’s easy to forget just where you are. Someone said it looked like the French quarter in New Orleans while others compared it to Paris. It’s old. It’s historic. It’s beautiful. And it’s romantic. Like Santorini, there are lots of shops and tavernas to while away an afternoon in but the real treat is exploring the town on foot. You’ll come across the small but beautiful homes of the locals and lots of churches.
If you’re up for it, set out on foot to climb the 852 steps that lead up to the Palamidi Castle, which towers high above the town. Be sure to take water and sunscreen with you and wear a wide-brim hat. The views from the top are worth the huffing and puffing it’ll take you to get there and it’s because of this walk that we discovered a beautiful beach on the other side of the island. We took a taxi down. While the walk up was quite a workout, taking the stone and marble steps down seemed infinitely more dangerous – they’re slippery and there’s no guardrail. Cab, please! A five-euro ride brought us right back to the center of town where we began our trek to find the pretty pebble beach on the other side of the island.
Despite the heat, the walk could not have been more picturesque. We walked a path alongside the water until we found ourselves at the beach. The water was so warm and inviting, I never wanted to leave. I’m a very weak swimmer, paralyzed more by my fear of water than an innate inability to swim. But I have never felt calmer and more at ease than in Navplion’s clear and tranquil waters. I would visit this tiny town again in a heartbeat, just for this beautiful beach.