A secluded sandy cove on Greece’s Zakynthos Island, Navagio Beach or The Shipwreck, as it’s popularly referred to, remains one of the picturesque nation’s most photogenic coasts.
While it isn’t a secret that Greece’s isolated beaches and islands are a beacon for travelers seeking a relaxing coastal expeirence, this one’s truly intriguing owing to the fact that Navagio Beach is home to the shipwreck of a smuggler/pirate ship called Panagiotis (which is why the beach is also referred to as Smugglers Cove).
Nestled near Anafotiria village on the north-western coast of Zakynthos Island, the beach is marked by its dramatic limestone cliffs, power-white sandy beaches and clear deep azure waters, which draw tourists by the droves each year.
Though the coastal strip can be accessed only by a boat, it can be spotted from the elevated cliffs surrounding it.
Local narrative has it that the beach was originally called Agios Georgios. However, in 1981, Greek authorities received a tip off that a freightliner smuggling contraband (wine, women and cigarettes) was likely to make its way around Zakynthos Island.
A dramatic chase, followed by bad weather and visibility ultimately led to the ship being abandoned at Navagio Beach, where it still lies buried in the region’s milky white sand dunes.
To access this castaway paradise, visitors have to take a boat ride from the Porto Vromi port. The taxi boats ply hourly (with the journey itself spanning half an hour).
The best time to visit is in the early hours of the day or afternoon (before 15:00) as peak hours see a host of cruise ships anchoring here and the beach getting congested (sometimes as many as 20 boats moor here) with hundreds of visitors ashore at a time. Go during off-peak hours to ensure you have the beach to yourself.