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Navagio Beach
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Navagio beach, Zakynthos Island

The beach with the shipwreck of the metallic ship lying on the beach, semi-buried in the white sand is the most easily recognisable and the most photographed beach in Greece. It is situated at a distance of some 36,5 kilometers northwestern to the town of Zakynthos and 4 kilometers western to Volimes. The beach is accessible only from the sea, but you may also see it from above, standing on the high rocks that overlook it.

Apart from the name “Navagio” (meaning shipwreck in Greek), the beach is also known with the name “the Smuggler's Cove”. Only a few remember and nobody use its official name “Aghios Georgios”, as it has been named after the homonymous monastery of Aghios Georgios “ton Krimnon” (“of the cliffs”), found some 2,5 kilometers before arriving to the shipwreck, at the East.
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The story of the shipwreck recalls the old pirate stories of the Venetian period. It was in 1980 when the Greek pursuit authorities detected a ship, suspected for smuggling of cigarettes and liquors, sailing in the open Ionian Sea. They ran after it and, because of the very bad weather, the ship was forced to stand on the sandy beach of the cove, where it lies ever since. It was an old ship, built in 1937 in Scottish shipyards and it had changed various owners until ending up on this peaceful cove, whose became the “trade mark”. Millions of photos of the shipwreck have been made and some people pretend (not without exaggeration!) that the place is more photographed than the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon.

The beach is not organised at all and the thousands of visitors who arrive here to see the shipwreck and swim in a wonderful crystal clear sea, have to bring along the necessary provisions, water above all. Although access is quite difficult, hundreds of visitors arrive here every day. If you decide to swim here, be careful, as the sea is very cold in this area. Also, avoid entering the rusty shipwreck, as it might be dangerous.

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Access to the beach is possible only from the sea, by tourist boats running regularly and very frequently in summer; even if the place is not their final destination, all tourist boats sailing in the northern part of Zakynthos, stop at the beach for a while. The boats depart from the port of the town of Zakynthos, from Laganas, from Aghios Nicolaos at Volimes, or from Porto-Vromi. This latter is the closest one: the boats depart to Navagio every hour and the journey lasts some 30 minutes.

Of course you can arrive here by car (less than 37 kilometers from the town of Zakynthos); you will follow the road plates to “Navagio” and park just before the steep rocks of the shore, on a flat area. After a few minutes walking, you will find a terrace, from where you can admire this original beach from above. The spectacle is worth the visit: you will see the steep white rocks overlooking the small cove with the clear blue sea and shadowing the beach with the white sand and the relics of the ship; a fascinating contrast. Only when you visit it you can fully understand why this place is so famous. No photo can reproduce the variety and the tones of colours, which change dramatically, following the position of the sun and create one of the most amazing landscapes you have ever seen.
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