You'll be impressed by the shipwreck in Navagio beach, its crystalline water and fine beaches, and Zakynthos island will be one of the highlights of your trip in Greece! Our suggestions will help you to get the most from your visit.
We are not sure why so much accent it's put on the shipwreck, when all of the beauty of this stunning natural place is actually due to its incredible rock formation, the white sand beach and the crystal blue water. You might not believe it, but the colours of the photos are actually not retouched, the water looks seriously as turquoise as you can see in our pictures! We have never seen anything else like this in our trips around the world. The sea water is said to have this blue tone because of the sulfur coming from the caves.
Probably the modern popularity of the Shipwreck Cove is also due to the fact of having being for many years the main photo of Tripadvisor, the most used travel website for reviews of tours and attractions, so that even if you didn't know where was it, you have seen it regularly.
It is possible to admire the best spot in Zakynthos Island (also known as Zante) for free from the top of the cliff, and we will tell you how, or by boat from the sea joining a tour, as we will discuss more in detail later.
Why is it called Shipwreck beach?
The shipwreck beach was originally named Agios Georgios, and it got its current denomination only after the MV Panagiotis ship got stranded in its white sands in 1980 while being chased by the Greek navy, they say. Supposedly its crew was trying to smuggle cigarettes or alcohol and they abandoned the wrecked boat here, where it remained ever since.
This is the most popular version of the story, even though it is mostly based on suppositions and speculations. In fact the owner of the ship recently diffused the real story, and he claims that the wreckage was simply due to bad weather and a mechanical problem. You would agree that this version of the story is not fun and mysterious as the other, that's why people still prefer to tell and believe to the inaccurate but picturesque legend.
Best free location to see the Shipwreck beach
The Shipwreck viewpoint can be reached either from the south road from the town of Anafonitria, or from the north-east town of Volimes, from where it's less than 4km away (2.5 miles). There are signs on the road pointing to Navagio or alternatively to Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery, so you shouldn't get lost. Most of the tourists rent a car here, but we easily managed to get there for free hitchhiking. While generally looking for rides doesn't work well in Greece, it's great in the islands because there are plenty of foreign tourists.
Once you reach the viewpoint location there is a parking and a visitor centre, and a few steps away a terrace suspended on the edge of the cliffs, that is taking the breath away of the tourists mesmerizing at this unique mix of marine beauty. It's here the furthest place where most of the tourists adventure to take photos and selfies.
While for the majority of the visitors their visit will end here, you better want to follow our suggestion and get to the best viewpoint just a few minutes away, from where all of the postcards and our photos were taken.
Disclaimer: The decision to go to this viewpoint is your own responsibility, it can be a dangerous place, on the very edge of the cliff, and it might be forbidden or not to go there, it's up to you to make sure you are allowed on the area and you feel safe. We advice against going there if you have kids with you.
So if we didn't scare you enough and you want to continue to reach the best viewpoint in Zakynthos Island, it is actually quite easy to do so and it takes no more than 4 minutes. After the visitor centre and the terrace just go to the right north in the map below) and continue along the edge: you will see a small track on the cliff going all the way to the tip of the headland, the yellow area that we highlighted on the map.
Explore your possibility and choose a good location to take your panoramic shots. It might look a little scary because of the steepness of the cliff, but if you are careful enough there is nothing to worry about and there are strong rocks acting as fences, where to lean to.
We are sure that you will wonder as we did why 90% of the people just reach the terrace and miss the best viewpoint of Zakynthos: either they are too lazy, or they didn't read our article!
We stayed hours here moving just a few centimeters at a time, trying to grasp every existing detail of this memorable place. It was like saying good-bye to your beloved family when you are leaving for a very long trip. Once you will take the hard decision to leave, you could try the other path going to the south from the visitor centre, still visible on our Navagio beach map, and you will end up right on top of the shipwreck. At the time of our visit, this location was partially closed, because there was an extreme sport event getting ready, probably base jumping.
Even if from the map it looks like the path it's ending really close to the Shipwreck beach, it is actually because of the steepness of the cliff, so that its projection is reaching the beach, but there is stlil a consistent height difference. There is no way to reach Navagio beach by feet, the only possibility is to take a boat.
Boat tours to Navagio beach in Zakynthos Island
It might not look so from our photos, but while we were in Zakynthos Island heading to the Shipwreck cove, the sea was very rough so that all of the tours were cancelled and there were no boats going to the Navagio beach. That's why you don't see the dozen of boats and hundreds of tourists in the cove as in most of the photos around the web!
So if joining a boat tour and visiting the Shipwreck beach and the Blue Caves it's a priority for you, you better try to get there the first day of your arrival, so that just in case anything goes wrong, you have some extra days to try again. The main harbours to start the boat tour are Porto Vromi, Agios Nikolaos and Cape Skinari. Longer tours are available also from Zakynthos city.
As for the prices, they don't differ much from one company to the other if you are planning just to visit Navagio cove and the Blue Caves, and we also find out that there was actually no difference in price between the closest departure point, and the other harbours. But prices might have changed in the meanwhile. While we haven't tried it, we know that there are special boat tours with a glass bottom boat, but we can't say if it's worth or not the extra money.
Now that you were told everything you need to know to get the most from your Greek holiday in Zakynthos island and to visit the shipwreck in Navagio beach, you just have to relax and to enjoy this amazing beauty!