Celebrity Edge is coming to Europe in 2019 and the revolutionary new ship from Celebrity Cruises is about to introduce you to a brand-new port of call. In addition to the Italian port of Santa Margherita, gateway to the picturesque and ever-popular Portofino, Celebrity Edge will become the first ship in the fleet to sail to Nauplion, often dubbed the most romantic destination in Greece. If you’re looking for ancient ruins, white beaches and crowd-free tranquillity, you’ll find it all here in Italy’s Peloponnese.
THE ANCIENT GREECE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN YET
Nauplion, also known as Nafplio, sits in the heart of the Argolis region. The little-known seaport town is just a couple of hours from Athens but having served as the capital of modern Greece during the early 1800s, it has a history and culture all of its own. For those who have done the Parthenon and Acropolis to death, Nauplion promises alternatives that are equally impressive but minus the swarms of camera-toting tourists. Some of Greece’s most awe-inspiring and important UNESCO sites are within a few miles of Nauplion, including Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaurus. Epidaurus, once known as the Sanctuary of Asklepios, is especially exciting as the home of the Epidaurus Ancient Theatre, famous for its natural acoustics.
NOT JUST ANOTHER OLD TOWN
Few European destinations are without a beguiling old town but Nauplion’s will stick in your memory for years. Stroll a narrowing network of alleyways, fuchsia bougainvillea creeping up and over the surrounding walls and the smell of jasmine in the air. Nauplion has not one but two Venetian castles, both of which glare down over the old town as any self-respecting ancient fort tends to. Both Palamidi and Acronafplia are equally dramatic but the all-encompassing views from the top of Palamidi’s 999 steps make it the must-see of the two. Throw neoclassical mansions and a cosmopolitan promenade into the mix and Nauplion’s old town will have you hooked.
GET OUT OF TOWN
The town of Nauplion itself has enough to hold your attention for a month, never mind a day. However, some of its star attractions are found just outside town. A half hour’s drive will take you to the beaches of Kastraki or Tolon, two glorious stretches of white sand washed by crystal seas. Forty-five minutes in the opposite direction will reach the wine regions of Nemea, where the winemaking history spans more than 3,500 years. Home to Greece’s most-important red wine appellation, the region surrounding the tiny ancient village of Nemea is home to around 40 wineries, each with a jaw-dropping view of its own. There’s no better place in Greece to sit back with a good glass of red and take in the scenery.
HOME TO THE FIDGET SPINNERS OF OLD
Long before fidget spinners found their way to our shores (or should we say fingers), Nauplion’s locals had another way to keep their hands occupied. Komboloyia have been handmade in the town for decades and they’re the best-selling souvenir in the old town’s shops. The ‘worry beads’, traditionally large amber beads strung loosely on a silver chain, are used to keep the hands occupied and relieve stress. They’re a far more attractive version of the fidget spinners sweeping our streets today.