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The soul of this town resides in its old Venetian harbor, a place that romantically unites the mountain with the sea. The walls of the castle wrap around the town, giving the impressions of a solid, secure embrace. On the western rampart I greet the imposing statue of arsonist Giorgos Anemogiannis and a little further down I find the statue of Miguel de Cervantes, with his right arm extended upwards (he lost his left hand in Nafpaktos in the naval battle of 1571). Fishermen line the harbor with their day’s catch and old men sip on their coffee under the plane trees while I venture cast of the harbor square, onto the cobblestone streets of “Stenopazaro”, where the town’s central marketplace once stood.

village in Nafpaktia

village in Nafpaktia

I stop by the stone fountain under the enormous plane tree near Agios Dimitrios church before I head up to the castle. Boasting five separate levels, it is perhaps the best preserved castle in Greece. It may be the steep ascent, the heat and the deep imprints history has left on this land combined, but I suddenly witness apparitions passing before me: pirates in front of the Iron Gate on the second tier, Ottomans at the Vezir Tzami, Suliot captains outside the Tzavella house and Botsaris Tower.

Winding through cobbled pathways I arrive at the clock tower and the picture – perfect view of the town from the top takes my breath away. I get my final dose of “old Nafpaktos” at Tzavella square with its age old plane trees and tavernas  before heading for the mountains of Nafpaktia. Picturesque villages sprout amongst fir, chestnut, holly oak and plane trees while fresh herbs infuse the air with a mystifying fragrance.

Nestled in the forest-clad slopes of Mt. Syrta, the village of Ano Hora exudes time-worn aromas of roast chestnuts and freshly – distiilled tsipouro. From sea to mountain, from the town of Nafpaktos to the mountainous heights of Nafpaktia, the triptych of nature, tradition and history will curb your urban reflexes,  And all this just over 2 hours from Athens.

Info
Evinos River (Hani Bania)
A recreation space next to Evinos river, for rafting, kayaking, flying fox, rappelling and more

Althaia Hotel
Stone-built residences and a maisonette with metal beds and living rooms with fireplaces. The hotel organizes mushroom and wild strawberry collecting excursions, as well as activities such as trekking and mountain climbing

Papoulis
Delectable meze, roast, homemade pies and fish, usually accompanied by live music.

Distance from Athens 222 km

Categories: Featured, Touring

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