Navpaktos, previously known as Lepanto, is a tiny fortified harbour on the north side of the Gulf of Corinth just to the east of the Rion Bridge. It has been settled since antiquity and has been much fought over due to its strategic importance.
It has been the site of two decisive naval battles. In 429BC the Athenians beat the Spartans and in 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, the combined forces of the Pope, the Venetians and the Spanish defeated the Ottomans. Throughout its history the town has changed hands many times although from the 13th century onwards it swopped back and forth between the Venetians and the Ottomans. The Venetians seem to have left the most obvious mark with the massive fortifications around the town and its port. But there is also an old mosque in the town.
The fortifications around the old harbour are almost completely intact and are very impressive. The town and castle walls remain to full height in places and lead to the main castle keep on the hill top above the town.
The town is pleasant and the harbour is very picturesque, surrounded by restaurants. It is also tiny with room for just about one yacht. We anchored just outside the harbour and spent two nights there, the 23rd and 24th, to have a look around.
The main attraction in Navpaktos are the fortifications and it is quite a walk up to the main castle entrance. The castle is impressive but there is little in the way of explanation and it is a little difficult to appreciate the scale of the place as there are so many trees inside! The views from the top across the Gulf of Corinth as fantastic and the visit was well worth the effort.
Navpaktos was quite lively and crowded in the evenings and we found it a little on the expensive side. The ruins are impressive and provided a wonderful backdrop to the anchorage.