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Nafpaktos is a large seaside town on the north shore of the Corinthian Gulf with a long beach and an impressive Venetian castle that includes a small fortified harbor. It was an important Athenian naval base during the Peloponnesian War due to its proximity to the western entrance of the gulf. When the Venetians took control they called it Lepanto. In 1499 it fell to the Ottoman Turks and was the site of the Battle of Lepanto in 1577 when the Holy League, led by Venice and Spain, defeated the Ottoman navy. It was the last naval battle of rowing ships and the largest ever, with over 400 vessels taking part. The battle marked the end of Ottoman expansion into Western Europe and was in its own way as important as the Battle of Salamis which marked the end of Persian expansion. Though the Turks were defeated at sea they kept control of Nafpaktos until the Greek Revolution of 1821. Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, lost the use of an arm in the battle. He is known in the Hispanic world as el manco de Lepanto (the one-armed man of Lepanto). There is a statue of Cervantes in the port.

Nafpaktos, Rion-Antrion Bridge

Nafpaktos is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Greece and the castle and fortress are well preserved. The coast is full of restaurants, cafes and nightlife and though it is not well known to foreign tourists its charm is no secret to the Greeks who come here for summer holidays or stop here for an afternoon swim and a meal on the road that connects Delphi with the west coast of mainland Greece. Travelers crossing the Rio-Antirion Bridge a few miles west who are familiar with Greek history stop here to walk the cobblestone streets, visit the Turkish Mosque of Fethiye Tzami, built in 1499, and explore the castle and the harbor fortifications.

Nafpaktos Harbor and Castle

Nafpaktos Beaches

Psani Beach, Nafpaktos

Nafpaktos has two Blue Flag beaches with plenty of shade, fish tavernas and cafes within walking distance of the harbor. Gribovo Beach (above) on the east side has changing rooms, showers and other facilities and the beach road is closed to automobiles in the summer. Psani Beach (below) on the west side has similar facilities.

Psani Beach, Nafpaktos

There are several other beaches outside of Nafpaktos on the coastal road. Monastiraki to the east in a picturesque fishing village, and Platanitis to the west, which has an amazing view of the bridge, one of the architectural wonders of the world, and some lovely sunsets. Both beaches are somewhat organized with sun beds, umbrellas, changing rooms and restaurant and cafes, as well as hotels.

Nafpaktos Restaurants


Perigiali Mezedopouleion serves mezedes to go with your ouzo or tsipuro and is located on Psani Beach. Nearby Spitiko is more "homestyle" food like your mom or grandmother would cook, assuming you are Greek. Classic dishes like gemista, papoutsakia, etc.

Evinos serves Greek/Mediterranean fusion and is located on Gribovo beach.

Captain Cook is a popular seafood and steak restaurant in town close to the harbor with a great view, fresh seafood and excellent service. Kouzina Loi, also in the port, is a modern Greek fusion restaurant owned and run by Maria Loi who is a famous Greek chef who you can see on TV and also has some restaurants in NYC.

Meat eaters will love Thompoulos Taverna, a grill house on the outskirts of town, that features grilled and roasted lamb, pork, beef, kokoretsi (above photo), kondosouvli, paidaikia, loukanika and other meat dishes, as well as your favorite salads and appetizers. It is on Lygeio Neokastrou Street in Lygias which is northeast of Nafpaktos.

For wood oven pizza, calzone and other Italian dishes go to Xilofournaki on the coast road just west of the harbor.

Nafpaktos castle

Things to Do In and Around Nafpaktos

Those younger than myself and in better shape can climb to the Venetian fortress above Nafpaktos and if you still have the energy explore it. Those more like me will be happy to know that you can drive to it. It is one of the most well preserved castles in Greece as well as one of the most important historical and archaeological sites.

The nearby Evinos River is popular for rafting and kayaking as well as hiking and horseback riding on the paths. Rock climbing is popular on Mount Varasova and people stay overnight in the villages of Krioneri, Vassiliki, Hani Bania and Poros Rigani. There are also ancient hiking trails between the villages of Ano Chora, Kato Chora, Abelokiotissa and Krioneri.

There are several monasteries in the area. The Monastery of St. John the Baptist is near the village of Analipsi built around a Byzantine church. Monastery of Transfiguration is a modern monastic community on the east side of the village of Skala. The active Monastery of Panagia Ambelakiotissa supposedly built in 1456 A.D. is one of the most important monasteries of Nafpaktia, and is located near the village Apodotia. The Monastery of Varnakova is one of the oldest in Greece, founded in 1077 on the edge of the Vardousia mountains, is known for the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. The Monastery of St. Augustine and Seraphim Sarof was built in 1980. The bell tower has 400 bells and is considered to be one of the biggest in the world. The Monastery of Panaxiotissa is located in a wooded area 2km north of Lake Gavrolimni the village of Hania Gavrolimnis.

The Castle at Rion in the Peloponnesos and the one other one across the way in Antirion are both in the shadow of the bridge and strategically guarded the straits into the Gulf of Corinth. The castles were built in 1499 by Soultan Vagiatzit II to defend what was later known as the Dardanelia of Nafpaktos. Antirrio was called Kasteli of Roumeli, while the castle across the way in Rio was called Kasteli of Moria. Both castles have been restored and like many others around Greece are now used for concerts and cultural events.

The town of Missolonghi is known as the place where the great friend of Greece Lord Byron died during the Greek War for Independence, and for the wetlands which border it, one of the most important wildlife areas of Greece.

Hotels in Nafpaktos

Nafs Hotel, Nafpaktos

Nafs Hotel

Just 300 m from the Venetian port, on the beach of Psani, a stone's throw from the commercial center, Nafs Hotel inspired from the elements of nature is dedicated to hospitality. From the hotel's Coffee Lounge and verandas guests may enjoy views of the Rio - Antirio bridge and the panorama of the Corinthian Gulf. Nafs Hotel disposes spacious and sound-proof rooms featuring a mini-bar, safe box, satellite plasma TV, direct dial phone, high speed internet connection. Full Buffet breakfast is served in the Mezzanine Lounge and verandas, overlooking the sea. Coctails, drinks and snacks are served at the hotel's bars, located at the main building and by the pool. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Spon Boutique Hotel

Spon Boutique Hotel

Housed in a 19th-century building in the Venetian port of Nafpaktos, Spon Boutique Hotel offers rooms panoramic views of the port and the Corinthian Gulf. It has a cocktail bar-restaurant, where breakfast is also served daily, and provides free WiFi throughout. The Neoclassical-style rooms of Spon Boutique Hotel have wooden floors and a furnished balcony. They are fitted with a flat-screen TV and DVD player, air conditioning and mini-bar. Bathrobes and slippers are also offered. Within a 10-minute walk, you can reach the beaches of Gribovo and Psani, while many bars, restaurants and shops are also a few steps away. The town and the port of Patra are within 12 mi of the hotel. Free parking is possible nearby. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Hotel Nafpaktos

Hotel Nafpaktos

Offering views of the Corinthian Gulf, Hotel Nafpaktos offers a breakfast room with outdoor terrace, and soundproof rooms with spacious bathrooms and large verandas. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Hotel Nafpaktos rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a TV set, a small refrigerator, a safe and a hairdryer. Most offer a view of the sea or the castle. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Spacious and tastefully decorated lounge and cafe-bar spaces are available, as well as a breakfast room where a generous breakfast buffet is served. Hotel Nafpaktos is located on the beautiful Gribovo Beach, which is lined up with century-old plane trees, and features restaurants, cafes and playground facilities. The Venetian Port is only a 10-minute walk from the hotel, while the castle is a 15-minute drive. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Flisvos Hotel, Nafpaktos

Hotel Flisvos

Enjoying breathtaking views of the Corinthian Gulf and the suspended bridge of Rio-Antirio, Hotel Flisvos offers 24-hour front desk service very close to the center of Nafpaktos. The well-furnished rooms at Flisvos Hotel ensure comfort and luxury. Each has a private bathroom, office area and sea-view balcony, and is equipped with cable TV, wireless internet connection and mini bar. Flisvos Hotel also provides rooms for the disabled. The Venetian Castle, the Botsaris Tower and the magnificent bridge are among the many local attractions. Alternative activities surround the region of Nafpaktos, rafting at Evinos River, mountain climbing, walking, cross country riding, paintball and more. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Pepo's Guesthouse, Nafpaktos

Pepo's Guesthouse

Pepo's Guesthouse offers accommodations in Nafpaktos right in the Venetian harbor close to the beach and all the restaurants and cafes. The property provides a shared lounge and free WiFi. All rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer. All guest rooms will provide guests with a closet and a electric tea pot. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Illion Hotel, Nafpaktos

Ilion Hotel

Ilion Hotel is amphitheatrically positioned within the Venetian Castle of Nafpaktos, enjoying great views of the town and the Corinthian bay. The hotel also features a 24-hour reception and private, free parking facilities. All rooms have balconies with panoramic views of the sea and the town. The marina and Psani beach are only 150 m from the hotel. Each comes with free Wi-Fi, ironing facilities, air conditioning, hairdryer, safe deposit box and refrigerator. A rich breakfast, including homemade cakes, yogurt and fresh juice, is served each morning at the large veranda between 08:00 and 11:00. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Villa Pietra de Mare Nafpaktos

Villa "Pietra e Mare"

Located just a couple minutes from the beach in Nafpaktos in the Sterea Ellada region, Villa "Pietra e Mare" features a terrace and sea views. This villa has air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi. This villa comes with 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a flat-screen TV, a seating area and a bathroom with a shower. Guests at the villa can enjoy a continental breakfast. Speaking German and Greek, staff will be happy to provide guests with practical information on the area at the reception. Villa "Pietra e Mare" has a grill. A playground is available on site and cycling can be enjoyed within close proximity of the accommodation. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Hotel Niki, Nafpaktos

Hotel Niki

Hotel Niki enjoys a convenient location in Nafpaktos, only 100 m from the Venetian port and the Beach of Gribovo. All its rooms are air conditioned and have free WiFi and large balconies with outdoor furniture. Each room is classically decorated and styled, with earthy tones and wooden furnishings. They all include a fridge, private bathroom with shower and a TV. Hotel Niki’s central location allows easy access to the town’s restaurants, cafes and other points of interest. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Venetiko Villas

Venetiko Villas

Just 701 m from Platanitis Beach in Nafpaktos, Venetiko Villas features four single luxurious villas surrounded by a grassy garden and sun terrace. The property offers self-catering accommodations with a spacious living room and four balconies. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas. Made of stone and built with respect to traditional architecture, all air-conditioned villas have two floors and central heating. The first floor has two bedrooms with a bathroom featuring a bath tub. The ground floor consists of a seating room with fireplace, an open plan kitchen and a bathroom with shower. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels, DVD player and radio is included. Toiletries and baby cots are provided. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Apollon Library Suites

Apollon Library Suites

The creatively decorated Apollon Library Suites has a garden, as well as accommodations with free WiFi and a kitchenette in Nafpaktos. The condo hotel offers a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries, a hair dryer and shower. A fridge and stovetop are also available, as well as a electric tea pot. Apollon Library Suites offers a continental or buffet breakfast. The accommodation has a terrace. Guests can also relax in the shared lounge area. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

Hotel Akti

Hotel Akti

Overlooking Gribovo beach, beside the walls of Nafpaktos’ Venetian castle, Hotel Akti in Nafpaktos offers a mountain or seaside break with free internet. Each of the 46 rooms is unique, with its own style. Every unit features modern design and includes safety deposit boxes, satellite TV, internet access and mini-bars. Breakfast, coffee and drinks are served in the stylish lobby area, offering contemporary works by Philippe Starck combined with antique furniture. Akti serves as an ideal base for swimming in the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Corinth or rafting and mountain biking in the Evinos River. Click for more photos, guest reviews and booking information

You can find more hotels as well as holiday homes, villas and Air BnB style accommodations in Nafpaktos by location, price, whether or not it has a swimming pool, and see photos and reviews by using this link to Excellent prices and many hotels you can book and then cancel with no cancellation fee. For those who want to book without using a travel agency this is the best way to do it. If you can't find availability or you need assistance combining Nafpaktos with a Greek Island itinerary see Matt Barrett's Travel Agency Page

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