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Nafpaktos: The Enchanting Citadel

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The Rio–Antirrio Bridge. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

With a proud beauty that speaks for itself, Nafpaktos captures your gaze, then your heart.

Travellers can view it at a distance from the town of Rio, surrounded by lush forest and crowned by an imposing medieval fortification. One visit to Nafpaktos is enough to win visitors over with its unsullied beauty and the cultural aura exuded by its ever-present historic monuments. Nafpaktos invites its visitors to get to know it and its immediate surroundings. Fun adventures in the city give way to exciting experiences at sea in nearby mountain villages and on trails that meander through the area’s luxuriant nature.

The Impregnable Castle

A staunch and silent witness to the long and colorful history of this land, the well-preserved Venetian Castle instills pride in the inhabitants of Nafpaktos, sitting at the top of the hill, holding sway over the entire town. The views from the ramparts of this sturdy medieval fortress are quite breathtaking. Similarly, albeit more modernly breathtaking views can be experienced from a modern architectural wonder that is suspended above the Corinthian Gulf, the Bridge of Rio-Antirrio; its majestic lines a triumph of aesthetics and engineering. Atop the bridge, visitors can pick out the colorful yachts and sailboats traversing the gulf below, making it quite the romantic spot.

Stroll into Culture

The Venetian castle is just the beginning of a travelers’ acquaintance with Nafpaktos. Other attractions include the Venetian towers, the Nautical Lighthouse, the Fetihie Mosque as well as the statues of the freedom fighter of 1821 Giorgos Anemoyiannis, and renowned Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes who bore witness to the Battle of Lepanto in the Gulf of Patras in 1571.

Ascending from the Holy Metropolis, the Cathedral of St. Demetrios, visitors will see the famous town clock, erected in 1914. The path then leads to Stenopazaro, which is teeming with life, and Botsareika, where the impressive Botsaris Tower hosts a permanent exhibition on the Sea Battle of Nafpaktos. The locals actually take to the water to mark its anniversary with a magnificent reenactment as part of a grand-scale celebration. On their tour, visitors should also visit the Papaharalabios Library, the Farmakis Museum, and then take a well-deserved sip of some water, fresh from the mountains at the Fountain of Love.

Breathe in the Beauty

From coastal Nafpaktos, set off on a road trip through Mountainous Nafpaktia. This delightful mountain range will reveal landscapes with trees ranging from fir, chestnut, plane, to walnut, whose collective thirst is quenched by snow waters running down off the peaks. Venturing further, sometimes with the clouds for company, the traditional stone-built villages will pop out one by one from their forest hideaways, each with a welcome as inviting as the nature around you. Ano Hora, where the celebration of Chestnut and Tsipouro is held every year, Platanos with its interesting Folklore museum, Kato Hora, Terpsithea, Elatou, and Ampelakiotissa are just a few of them waiting to be discovered.

Nature on the Move

With nature’s own astonishing arena as the main venue, it’s high time to get the adrenaline pumping. Rafting, canoeing/kayaking on Evinos, hiking on the footpaths connecting Ano Hora to other villages, mountain biking on specially devised trails, off-roading expeditions with 4x4 SUVs are all opportunities waiting to be grabbed.  As if that were not enough, the slopes of Mount Varasova can put visitors to the test with its abseiling and mountain climbing challenges.

Summer in Nafpaktos

The area makes an ideal destination for summer holidays. Travellers couldn’t ask anything more than the pristine beaches of Psani and Gribovo, both organized and shaded by plane trees. Then, after a day in the sun, the Medieval Castle of Antirrio hosts performances that put a perfect punctuation at the end of a wonderful summer’s day.