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Introducing Nafpaktos

West of Galaxidi, the coastal highway winds in and out of a number of seaside towns and villages, including picturesque Monastiraki, 12km before the bustling town of Nafpaktos. Nafpaktos spreads out from a handsome circular-walled harbour, dotted with plane trees, trendy cafes and a good swimming beach (Psani). An open market takes place every Saturday.

Nafpaktos was known as Lepanto in medieval times, and it was here on 7 October 1571 that the naval battle of Lepanto took place between the Ottoman Empire and the combined navies of the Vatican, Spain and Venice. The decisive victory over the Turks temporarily ended their naval domination of the Mediterranean.

The Spanish author Cervantes fought in the battle of Lepanto (and lost an arm). A small statue on the waterfront honours him, along with a Greek hero, Giorgos Anemogiannis (1796–1821), who, during the Greek War of Independence, tried to burn the Turkish fleet that was moored in the harbour (he failed and was killed by the Turks).