Beautiful old Nafplion (pop. 10,000) glories in its fortresses, Venetian architecture, and nearby pebble beaches. The town’s crown jewel is the 18th-century Palamidi fortress, which provides spectacular views of the town and harbor. To get there, walk or take a taxi (‚3) up the 3km road; or climb the grueling 999 steps up from Plizoidhou, across the park from the bus station. (Open in summer daily 8am-6:45pm; off-season 8:30am-5:45pm. ‚4, students ‚2.) To reach Bouboulinas, the waterfront promenade, from the station, go left and follow Syngrou to the harbor and the Old Town. Nafplion’s small, pebbly beach Arvanl-tia is along the road that curves around the left-hand side of Palamidi; if it gets too crowded on a hot day, follow the footpath for lovely private coves.

Buses leave from Syngrou, near the base of the Palamidi fortress, for Athens (3hr. every hr. ‚9) via Corinth (2hr. ‚4). The tourist office is on 25 Martiou across from the telephone office. ( 27520 24 444. Open daily 9am-lpm and 4-8pm.) For the Old Town rooftop views from Dimitris Bekas’ Domatia , turn up the stairs on Kokkinou, following the sign for rooms off Staikopoulou; climb to the top and go up 50 steps, (a27520 24 594. Singles ‚16; doubles ‚20-22.) To Fanaria 0, above the plateia on Staikopoulou in a trellised alleyway, serves tantalizing entrees in an intimate atmosphere. (Soups ‚2.50-3; fish dishes ‚6-8.) Postal Code: 21100.

DAYTRIPS FROM NAFPLION: MYCENAE AND EPIDAVROS. The head of the Greek world from 1600 to 1100 BC, Mycenae (MijKTvec) was once ruled by the legendary Agamemnon, leader of the attacking forces in the Trojan War. Excavations of ancient Mycenae have persisted for 130 years, turning the area into one of the most visited sites in Greece. Today, backpackers and senior citizens stampede to the famed ruins. The imposing Lion’s Gate, the portal into the ancient city, has two lions carved in relief above the lintel and is estimated to weigh some 20 tons. The Tomb of Agamemnon (also known as the Treasury of Atreus) is the large and impressive tholos. (Both sites open Apr.-Sept. daily 8am-7pm; Oct.-Mar. 8am-5pm. ‚6, students ‚3. Keep your ticket or pay twice.) The only direct bus to Mycenae is from Nafplion (45min. 5 per day, ‚1.80) via Argos (30min. ‚0.90). Join the ranks of Claude Debussy, William Faulkner, Allen Ginsberg, and Virginia Woolf by staying at Belle Helene Hotel , which doubles as a bus stop on the main road. ( 27510 76 225. Singles ‚20-30; doubles ‚40-50; triples ‚50-55.)

The grandest structure at the ancient site of Epidavros (Ejn5oapo<;) is the Theater of Epidavros, built in the early 2nd century BC. The incredible acoustics allow you to stand at the top row of seats 14,000 seats back and hear a match lit on stage. Near the theater and on the road to the sanctuary's ruins is Epidavros's museum. ( 27520 22 009. Open daily 8am-7pm. Ticket office open daily 7:30am-7pm, during festival season also F-Sa 7:30am-9pm. ‚6, students ‚3.) From late June to mid-Aug. the Epidavros Theater Festival brings performances of classical Greek plays on Friday and Saturday nights. Shows are at 9pm; purchase tickets at the site or by calling the Athens Festival Box Office. (210 322 1459. Tickets ‚17-40, students ‚9.) Buses arrive in Epidavros from Nafplion (45min. 3 per day, ‚2). [gallery ids=""]

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