Between Mountains and Sea: Easter in Nafpaktos

The medieval port town of Nafpaktos is ablaze with torchlight on the evening of Good Friday, offering a truly unique experience of Greek Easter.


The culminating point of Holy Week in Nafpaktos is undoubtedly the evening of Good Friday when the town’s Epitaphioi, or funerary processions of the bier of Christ, converge in front of the settlement’s Venetian Port. There, hundreds of torches along the walls are lit, illuminating the entire port. A large burning cross adds to this spectacle, which is viewed by hundreds of people who gather to watch.

On the next day – Holy Saturday – most local residents attend the evening service that celebrates Christ’s resurrection and exchange the traditional Easter greeting of “Christos Anesti” (“Christ is Risen”). This service is held, among other places, at the Metropolitan Church of Aghios Dimitrios; the Church of Aghia Paraskevi; and at the Church of Metamorphoseos tou Sotiros (Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior), just 6km outside of Nafpaktos and a favored choice as it offers worshipers a unique view of both the town and the Rio-Antirrio Bridge.

What to see

Nafpaktos is an ideal base for short outings and nature walks. The seaside town of Galaxidi is only an hour away by car along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Corinth. Alternatively, visitors can choose to enjoy the beauties of springtime in the villages of Oreini Nafpaktia: Ano Chora, with its many guesthouses and tavernas; Platano, with its large square; and Elatou, located at an elevation of 1,000 meters.

With many exceptional forest trails, the region offers unique hiking experiences, including the trek from Elatou to Kato Chora, a total length of 6.2 kilometers, and the Deer Path, close to Ano Chora, that runs for 9 kilometers.

Where to stay

Porto Enetiko Boutique Hotel (Port Square, Nafpaktos, Tel: (+30) 26340.277.28, double rooms start from €100 including breakfast) is located near the Venetian Port of Nafpaktos, where the Epitaphioi gather on the evening of Good Friday. All five double rooms have wooden floors, natural lighting and anatomical-support beds. There’s a triple room with a loft and a view of the port and the town’s castle, and a quadruple room with a view of the port as well. The suite on the roof of the hotel, with its big balcony and its jacuzzi, is ideal for couples.

At Battaglia di Lepanto Boutique Hotel (37 Ilarchou Tzavella, Nafpaktos, Tel: (+30) 26340.222.64), double rooms start from €80 including breakfast. This 1820 structure was fully renovated in 2020 with a respectful approach to its architecture and identity. In many of the 11 rooms, the hotel has retained original features such as wooden ceilings and moldings. In addition to double rooms, the hotel also has triple rooms and quadruple rooms.

 

Apollon Library Suites (18 Georg. Athanasiadi Nova and Thermou streets, Tel: (+30) 26340.386.15) offers suites starting from €57 including breakfast. Centrally located close to the Venetian Port, this hotel has a theme; each of the 12 suites celebrates a different story or character from literature, ranging from Moby Dick and Don Quixote to Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland and Odysseus. Each suite has a small collection of books relevant to its story or character, while the hotel’s reception area has a library with a wider selection of books. The suites are comfortable, modern and spacious, and there are double-room options that can easily accommodate families. Every morning, breakfast made with local products is served in an elegant courtyard.

Amaryllis Hotel (Port Square, Nafpaktos, Tel: (+30) 26340.255.25, double rooms start from €87 including breakfast) is a historic hotel located in front of the Venetian Port in the center of town. The hotel has a dozen rooms, some with a view of the port and others with castle views. All rooms benefit from natural lighting, have balconies, and are decorated differently. The hotel also has a roof-garden where you will find a restaurant and bar.

At Nafs Hotel (33 Athanasiadi Nova Street, Psanis Beach, Nafpaktos, Tel: (+30) 26340.382.16), double rooms start from €76 including breakfast. It’s modern both in design and in furnishings. Some of the rooms have a view of the Gulf of Corinth, while others have a view of the Rio-Antirrio Bridge. There are also charming attic rooms.



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