A day at Navagio Beach, Zakynthos – Greece
Navagio beach, also known as Shipwreck beach is an exposed cove and is sometimes referred to as Smugglers Cove.
A little bit of history about how this beach got its name…
The shipwreck itself is the MV Panagiotis, a freightliner which ran aground in the waters around Zakynthos Island right on Navagio Beach after stormy weather and bad visibility on October 2, 1980. The beach’s alternate name, Smugglers Cove come from stories of contraband such as women, wine and cigarettes being smuggled on board. The MV Panagiotis Captain, Charalambos Kompothekras – Kotsoros recently revealed the truth and whilst the smuggling would have made for a great post, this was not true. If only the captain knew that his vessel would come to rest on one of the most famous beaches in the world!
Navagio beach is located on the north-west coast of Zakynthos. It is simply breathtaking. It is defined by its sheer limestone cliffs, white sandy beach and amazingly perfect blue water. It is understandable why this beach attracts thousands and thousands of tourists every year.
What makes this beach more amazing is that it is only accessible by boat. You can pick up regular boat tours from different parts of the island. After doing plenty of research, we decided to leave from Agios Nikolaos as the boat trip to Navagio was a lot shorter and usually means you arrive at the beach before the larger tourist boats that come from Zakynthos town.
We covered Navagio Beach on our 5 day trip, to view our itinerary click here: 5 days in a Greek paradise; Zakynthos (Zante)
You will need two separate days to visit Navagio beach as you need to see the beach from the water and also from above.
Why you need to see Navagio beach from above
If you’re wondering if you can just do the boat trip and skip the view from the top…. The short answer is NO! You will thank me for it when you see it for yourself. I can’t describe in words the moment I stepped over and looked at the beach for myself. The colour of the water is like no other water you have seen before. It is electric and if you were to tell me about it, I wouldn’t believe it until I saw it for myself.. It is simply a must do when you’re visiting Navagio.
Driving to Navagio Beach
To get to this spot, it is quite easy, all you need to do is punch in Navagio Beach in to your GPS and it will take you to the parking spot and the walk down to the viewing spot which is only a minute away. We used Google Maps and it worked perfectly for us during our holiday. But, make sure you check out our tip blog about using your mobile phone abroad!
What time of the day to visit Navagio Beach
We visited Navagio lookout area twice on our stay. The first day we stopped in mid afternoon, it was overcast and a little rainy. Even then, the water had the most magical colour to it. The benefit with the overcast weather was that there weren’t too many people there so we got the place virtually to ourselves.
We thought we should visit again when it was sunny to see the beach in a different light.
We got up super early and beat the tourist buses and car loads of people… it was great in theory but because we were there so early, we ended up with a lot of shade over the beach. It isn’t the end of the world, the beach was still spectacular but the shades of blue certainly stood out more on a consistently overcast day compared to a bright and sunny, yet shady morning.
To the left of the viewing platform, there is a gap in the safety railings where if you’re brave enough and trust the ground not to crumble away, provides a great angle and incredible views over the beach. As you can see I’m certainly not afraid of heights so whilst Jenna blatantly refused, I was quite happy standing on my little patch of dirt. It made the moment that much safer when i then had to turn around and take a life endangering selfie!
Navagio Beach Base Jumping
We happened to wander through some bushland to a different vantage point and saw some guys setting up for their jumps the following day! The walk down to where the base jumpers were setting up has quite a slope down and whilst they had their safety harnesses tied up so I was very glad when they kindly took a few snaps on our GoPro for us – I don’t know about you, but this 200m drop is enough to make Jenna’s stomach feel funny, which means I’m constantly in trouble when I go near the edge!
Navagio Beach by boat
The second trip will be via boat so you can swim at the beach and explore the shipwreck.
We pre booked our spot on a tour with Theodosius Cruises and the boat departed at 10.30am from Agios Nikolaos in Volimes. This spot is located near the top right of the island and took us around an hour to get there from our hotel. It’s a lovely little spot with some restaurants and some tourist shops. Jenna picked up some rock shoes to help her walk on the pebbly beaches which allegedly either hurt or tickle. The pebbles win either way.
We had emailed Theodosius Cruises prior and pre-booked our spot on the boat, so we just popped over to their kiosk and collected our tickets! You can’t miss them with their bright ticket booth!
The tour cost us €15 per person (as at August 2015) and lasted a couple of hours. It was a 20 minute speed boat journey to get to Navagio Beach. The boat was comfortable and had plenty of room for everyone.
We arrived at Navagio Beach an the water is even more amazing at the bottom than what you see from above. The colour is magical!
We got to spend an hour on the beach to explore the shipwreck before heading back to the port. However, you could arrange to stay an extra couple of hours and jump on a later return boat with another group!! We chose the 1 hour option simply because we had a fun filled day exploring other parts of the island as well.
Here are a few snaps from our time on the beach. We thoroughly explored the shipwreck and enjoyed a swim in the water. It was incredible!
After exploring the shipwreck, we decided to head out for a swim. It was surprisingly really deep so we had to hold on to the rocks, which is not as easy as it looks!!! The water was a nice refreshing break from the scorching heat!
On our way back to the port, we stopped in to some gorgeous caves and a swim stop!
Overall, Navagio beach was an absolutely amazing stop on our incredible journey throughout Zakynthos. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Zakynthos!
Take only memories, leave only footprints – Chief Seattle