Visiting Zakynthos, Greece’s renowned shipwreck beach

Shipwreck Cove Navagio Beach
How to get to the sunken beach of Zachinsos Island
Zachinsos, Greece
Navajio Beach (also known as the sunken ship bay) on Zachinsos Island, Greece can be said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here is how to see the sunken ship beach with your own eyes.
Zachinsos, on the southwest coast of Greece, is one of the quieter islands in the country. However, it has a particularly incredible highlight, called Navajio Beach (also known as the sunken ship beach). This is a sandy cove surrounded by towering limestone cliffs — and rusty old wreck.
This charming Greek beach surrounded by brilliant blue water is the favorite on Instagram. Many tourists have included Zachinsos in their itinerary to visit this amazing beach in Greece.
We spent 3 days renting a car to visit Zachinsos, including several trips to the sunken beach, and want to organize a small guide for you.
Where is the shipwreck beach?
The shipwreck beach, known locally as Navajio Beach, is located in the northwest corner of Zachinsos Island. The island is located in the Ionic Sea, about 250 kilometers west of Athens.
To reach Zachinsos, you can fly directly from Athens, or take a ferry from Kirini on the mainland. There are seven ferries to Zachinsos every day, from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and the one-way cost per person is about 10 euros. If you take the bus, it is 35 euros.
How to get to the shipwreck beach
Navagio Beach Cliffs Greece
The cliff above the shipwreck bay (Navajio beach).
Cliff Top Scenic Spot
The most popular postcard photo of the shipwreck beach comes from the top of the 200 meters (650 feet) high cliff overlooking it, not from the beach itself. Although it is great to visit the beach in person, the view from the cliff is much more spectacular.
But please remember that Navajio Beach is located on the other side of the capital of Zachinsos (the same name as the island). So the best way to go there is to rent a car like us, or find a travel company to take you out with a van. You can also rent a taxi from the capital, but the round-trip cost is about 100 euros.
It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Zachinsos to Navajio Beach. When you get there, you will walk along an entrance road to the parking lot, where there are some stalls selling food, ice cream, drinks and souvenirs. Parking is free.
Navagio Beach Platform
Official viewing platform
Shipwreck Cove
View the scenery from the platform
Viewing platform
There is an official viewing platform directly below the parking lot. It is safe and secure, and it usually takes a long line to take pictures.
However, the photos you get from this platform are not so good! You can’t get the whole picture. You can’t see the whole beach. If tourism officials want to avoid people going out from the side path, they really need to improve this platform The scenery there is much better.
Shipwreck Beach Cliff Trail
The entrance of the cliff path
Navagio Beach Viewpoint
The scenery is much better!
Cliff Walk
In order to get to the best place to take photos of the shipwrecked beach, you need to take a small hiking trip. There is an enclosed area next to the viewing platform (on the right) with only one entrance (and many warning signs).
Go out from here and you will find a rough path leading to a place far away from the parking lot and tourist shops. This road is not really maintained, and may not be safe for the elderly or super young children. In the hot sun, it is a long way to walk through uneven rocks, and there are no benches or trees nearby.
The best time to take beach photos in a day is around noon, when the sun shines directly overhead (and the cliff does not cast shadows). Sunset is also a great time to visit.
Shipwreck Beach Crowd
Tourists are on the beach in the shipwreck
Tour the beach by boat
There is only one way to really set foot on the beautiful and quiet Greek beach in the Boat Bay. by boat. Many tourism companies offer cheap boat tours to the most famous beach in Greece.
Some of the ships set out from the nearby town of Agios Nikolaos (if you have experience, you can even rent a boat there and be the captain yourself), while others set out directly from the town of Zachinsos.
On the way to Navajio Beach (Sunk Bay) by boat, you will also visit other beautiful places off the coast of Zachinsos, such as Blue Cave and Xygia Sulfur Beach.
Please remember that the sunken ship beach is the most popular tourist attraction on the island, so the beach will be very crowded. And you don’t actually spend too much time on the beach (about 20 minutes) because they shuttle tourists all day.
If you want to visit the beach with the least number of people, or want to stay on the beach for as long as possible, please join the earliest tour group — or better, rent a private boat.
History of sunken ships
MV Panagiotis
The Italian Smuggling Ship Maifa?
So, how did the sunken ship in Shipwreck Bay come from? On October 2, 1980, a 157-foot transport ship named MV Panagiotis ran aground here.
Obviously, when the Greek navy began to chase the ship in bad weather, the ship was smuggling cigarettes from Türkiye for the Italian mafia. The crew abandoned the ship in Navagio Bay and tried to escape. Since the crash, the rusty hull began to fall apart slowly.
This is why this beach is sometimes called “smuggler’s bay”.
Although Navajio Beach itself is beautiful, the addition of abandoned sunken ships adds mysterious and conspiratorial elements to the beach. It’s like coming out of a pirate story!
Keep safe on the cliff
Memorial with Flowers
Monument at the edge of the cliff
In the past few years, several tourists have died on the limestone cliff 200 meters high above the sunken ship bay. Like all popular tourist destinations, there will always be some people who challenge the limit of safety or do not consider safety at all.
There is a memorial bench near the end of the path, but contrary to people’s idea, it is not built for people who fall from these cliffs and die. Dennis Arvanitakis, a Greek Australian, died in Spain. His family built this monument on the island because it was his favorite place.
However, the cliffs around Zachinsos may be dangerous if they are too close to the edge. Due to geological and natural erosion, some rocks occasionally fall into the ocean below. The wind will suddenly increase, or people will simply lose their balance.
Therefore, if you decide to go to the best scenic spot on foot, just make sure you are far enough from the bleeding edge of the cliff. You can still take many amazing photos within a safe distance ★

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