Nafplio (or Nafplion) was the first capital of Greece after independence. Today Nafplio is a lovely seaside town about a 2.5 hour drive southwest of Athens on the Peloponnese Peninsula. Many visitors to Greece use Nafplio as a base for visiting the many ancient archeological sites nearby. Cruise ships love Nafplio because of its picturesque harbor, which is dominated by three citadels -- the vast Palamidi Fortress, the Akronafplia Fortress, and the Bourtzi Fortress. Cruise ships anchor in this wonderful harbor and passengers take a tender ashore.
Although Nafplio is a charming town featuring elegant Venetian homes and towering fortresses over the harbor, the town is also a good place to use as a base for shore excursions to two nearby World Heritage sites -- Epidaurus and Mycenae.