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Navagio Beach on Zakynthos Island

Navagio Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach) in Zakynthos is in the northwest corner of Zakynthos Island. It is 250 kilometers from Athens in the Ionian Sea. Navagio Beach is in the area of the island opposite the capital town, so it’s best to rent a car if you want to go to Navagio Beach. It is currently closed for the summer season in 2024 due to the danger of landslides (more details below). 

 

It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Greece and definitely on the island of Zakynthos. It was originally called the beach of Agios Georgios, but that changed with the arrival of the shipwreck in 1980.

 

Navagio Beach is most famous for its shipwreck. In 1980, a smuggler ship called the “Panagiotis” shipwrecked here. It is said that the ship smuggled cigarettes, and the Greek government sent the navy after the boat. On the 5th of October, the marine police found the boat with 2000 boxes of cigarettes and around 30 million Drachmas.

When Should I Visit Navagio Beach?

Navagio Beach is one of the most popular sites in all of Greece. For this reason, it’s best to visit as early in the day as possible to avoid the crowds. Be aware that you might only get 20 minutes of viewing time on the beach at once. 

Navagio Beach Scenery

Even without the shipwreck of Panagiotis, the beach is gorgeous. It is impressive because of the limestone cliffs that rise 200 meters in the background, and because of the special blue color of the water. 

 

The water around Navagio Beach is special because there are sulfur caves which, when the tide is rising, make the sea turn a lighter shade of blue. 

 

Accessing Navagio Beach

The beach itself is only accessible by boat. You can embark on a tour boat from either the bay of Porto Vromi or from Agios Nikolaos. 

 

If you want to snap a picture, you can take a trail to the top of the cliffs and a viewing area lets you see 200 meters down to the beach. Be aware that the line to take a picture at the top of the cliff can be long. 

 

Safety at Navagio Beach

The cliffs on Zakynthos Island can be treacherous because not all sections of the viewpoint are protected. Sections of rock crumble away sometimes due to natural erosion, and the winds can pick up without notice. We recommend taking the necessary precautions and not straying from the path.

The Shipwreck’s Backstory

Locals from the island of Zakynthos first thought that the shipwreck would hurt the image of the island in the eyes of tourists. However, instead, it become one of the most famous beaches in Greece. 

 

The captain of the ship, Kefalonia-born Charalambos Kompothekras–Kotsoros, says that there was nothing illegal on the ship. He says “I reported the accident to the authorities, but due to the fact that the beach was not accessible on foot… we were not able to protect the ship from thieves and other dangers… Part of the shipment was stolen along with various equipment (radar, radio, etc).”

 

When Charalambos was cleared of char     ges against him, the Greek authorities told him to take the vessel away from the beach himself. However, when he went to beach to see how he could move the wreck, he found the shipwreck remains so beautiful that he left it at the beach.

2024 Navagio Beach Closures

The beach is closed for the summer season in 2024. This is because there are risks of landslipes due to erosion on the slopes of the cliffs around the perimeter. This is not unprecedented as the beach was closed temporarily in 2018 and for part of 2022. The shipwreck beach will be closed, but you can still approach the beach by boat. Our team recently spoke with the Zakynthos Port Authorities, and there is still no update on the schedule for re-opening. 

 

This isn’t all bad news, because there are plenty of other beautiful beaches on Zakynthos. These beaches are likely to be larger and more comfortable than Navagio Beach, where hundreds of tourists flock and do not have access to food, shade, or toilets. These picturesque beaches include Filippoi Beach, Agios Andreas, White Beach, Kremidi Beach, and Vathi Lagadi Beach.

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