Navagio Beach or the Shipwreck is an isolated sandy cove on Zakynthos island and one of the most famous and most photographed beaches in Greece. Navagio Beach is also referred to as the Shipwreck Beach or just simply “The Shipwreck” because it is home to the wreck of a ship believed to have been a smugglers ship.
Also known as “Smuggler’s Cove,” the beach became a mini ship graveyard in 1983 when the shipping vessel called “Panagiotis” crashed on the scenic shore. According to reports, the ship was smuggling cigarettes, booze, and maybe even humans when the authorities caught onto their trail and chased them through bad weather, right into the cove, where it ran aground. Ever since the crash, the hull has sat on the shore and is slowly falling apart; however, it was far from lost.
The small and isolated, yet strikingly beautiful, sandy cove, is located on the northwest shore of Zakynthos Island, near the Anafotiria village and quite opposite of the island’s capital Zakynthos. The area is defined by its sheer limestone cliffs, the white sand beaches, and crystal clear blue water. This amazing scenery attracts thousands of tourists every year and is ideal for extreme sports such as cliff diving, para dropping, etc.. The strip of beach is accessed only by boat, but you can see it from above if you stand on the high side of the cliffs that overlook it.
The crash site soon became a popular destination for vacationers looking not only for an untouched beach but called by the siren song of the decaying ship. As the bulkhead of the ship rusts away, the hull seems to be sinking into the sands, but most of the vessel still sits on the beach. Today, the beach is still a popular site for people looking to get off the beaten path.
Access to the famous shipwreck may become limited though eventually if a conservation program proposed by the island’s authorities is implemented. The authorities’ plan includes erecting a fence around the shipwreck and hiring a guard to supervise it because the beachgoers are responsible for some of the damage to the eroding vessel.