Nafplio is in the north-east Peloponnese, about 2 and a half hours by bus from Athens. Traffic out of Athens can make this longer at busy times of year.
The KTEL buses (Greece’s long distance buses) to the Peloponnese go from the bus terminal at 100 Kiffisiou. They are fairly frequent, about every 2 hours. There’s no metro line to the station, but it’s possible to get the 51 bus there. This goes from a stop just off Piraeus Street under Omonia Square (near the big church of Ayios Konstandions, at Zinonos and Menandrou). However it is a bit of a trek and luggage can be a hassle on crowded city buses. We opted to take a taxi from our hotel (the Attalos, near Monistiraki) . This cost us 13 Euros in December 2015 (taxi fares have shot up in the last couple of years) but is worth it for ease of travel. It took us about 15 minutes, but this was around 8.30am on a Sunday morning. Athens traffic could considerably extend this at busier times of day.
Once you are at the bus station there is a big hall, with lots of separate booths selling tickets to all the different destinations. These are marked clearly on the front of the booths.
Slightly confusingly this isn't where Nafplio tickets are sold. You need to go out into the main body of the station, walking between the shops and café, and bear across to your left through the row of taxis. After a short distance you’ll see a ticket office on your right, with the buses parked outside it. If you get lost, go back to the main hall where there is an information point, or ask someone – most people speak some English and will be helpful. If you are coming back directly to Athens it is worth getting a return ticket. This is cheaper than two singles. If you don't know exactly when you will be coming back you can get an open ended return. You then book a seat for your return at the ticket office in Nafplio.
On the return route from Nafplio to Athens the bus makes an additional stop at the Eleonas metro. This is the metro line that goes to the airport and also stops at Syndagma Square in the centre of Athens. This is really handy and it's worth getting off here rather than at the Kiffisiou bus station. When you get on the bus in Nafplio, remember to tell the bus driver that you want to get off at the metro, so he can put your luggage in the correct spot. Often the driver will stop several times on the way into Athens to drop off passengers at their request, but he'll announce when you are at the metro stop.
A return ticket to Nafplio in December 2015 cost just over 25 Euros.
The buses usually don’t allow anyone on until just before they leave, so you can spot ones that are about to go by the crowd of people around them.
When he’s ready, the driver will open the doors, call out the destination (which is also on the front of the bus) and direct you to the correct storage compartment to put your baggage in.
The seats are numbered – on the older buses this is on the back of the seat, leading to endless confusion amongst Greeks as well as tourists as to which seat is rightfully theirs.
The new roads out of Athens have considerably shortened this journey, which was closer to four hours the first time we made it. It takes about an hour to reach the Corinth canal (you’ll get a quick glimpse of this dramatic canal, which connects the Saronic Gulf to the Gulf of Corinth).
The route out of Athens is hardly scenic, a sprawl of small industry, car showrooms and Athens overspill turning into larger factories and industrial units. The outlook improves once you get across the canal. Look out for the dramatic hill-top fortifications of Corinth on your right. The route then winds through green valleys growing olives, grapes and oranges, with road-side stalls selling honey and Nemean red wine. You’ll pass close to the site of Mycenae, which is only about 30 minutes from Nafplio. There is another hill-top castle above the town of Argos, and you’ll get a clear view of the walls of Tiryns, on your left between Argos and Nafplio.
Nafplio bus station is on the edge of the old town, within easy walking distance of hotels, cafes and tavernas.