Most likely you’ve seen Navagio Beach, Greece in your favorite films. Even though the beach is famous, it’s a bit difficult to reach as it’s located deep below a C-shaped cove. Its beaches are white and sandy, with a beautiful aquamarine blue water. A perfect location for taking beautiful photographs —both from the cliffs and from the bottom!
Navagio Beach is also known as Shipwreck Beach, as it has a famous shipwreck from the last century on its shore. And beware those waters, as you don’t want to get shipwrecked too!
How to Get to Navagio Beach
Thousands of people venture here yearly. If you’re already visiting Greece, you may wish to book a tour to take in this exciting and tranquil location—unless there’s stormy seas ahead!
Navagio Beach is located in the Ionian Islands, which are off the western coast of Greece. There are seven larger islands and many smaller ones. These islands are often called the “Heptanese” which means the “Seven Islands”. The beach was originally called Agios Georgios.
It’s located on the northwestern shore of Zakynthos or Zante, in the municipality of Elation. The beach is surrounded by the blue sea on one side, and steep and sheer limestone cliffs on the other.
Viewing the beach from the top of the cliffs is the most magnificent way to see it. But many still take the journey to see the beach itself. Once there, you may not be so impressed, as it’s just another beach. But the shipwreck does stand out, and its story.
You may view the photographs of Navagio Beach and wonder if there is a secret staircase from the tops of the cliffs down to the beach. Perhaps you wonder if it’s connected with an adjoining beach that has access. Neither is true. The only access to the beach is by boat. This is why the beach is only accessed by thousands of tourists each year, and not millions, like many other road-accessible beaches in Greece.
Your best option is to book a tour from a trusted tour operator in one of the cities near Navagio Beach. Located to the south of the beach is Porto Vromi. There are regular tours each week that you can take. If you’re in the northeastern part of the island, you can book from Cape Skinari or Agios Nikolaos in the north. There is also the option of taking a boat from the harbour in Zakynthos City to the northeast, though expect a much longer journey.
Some of the boats that travel to the beach are also glass-bottomed. Not only will you have a fantastic view of the cliffs and ocean, but also the ocean life in the water.
Exciting Shipwreck History of the Beach
The most recent known shipwreck was the MV Panagiotis, on October 2, 1980. It’s believed it had been used to smuggle in illicit goods before it got stuck in the sand. The ship was abandoned, but still rests on the beach. Now everyone simply calls it “Shipwreck”.
Not only is this shipwreck located on the beach, but it’s also in an extremely prominent spot, right in the center! The ship is starting to rust out, but if it had been built only from wood it wouldn’t have lasted this long.
There has been much speculation about what happened the night the ship was grounded. Originally, the captain was blamed for smuggling. But the truth of the story is quite boring. Which is likely the reason why the captain kept quiet for many years, to let the legends live on.
According to Captain Kompothekras–Kotsoros, the ship suffered from bad weather conditions and mechanical failure. The ship’s accident was reported, but they could do nothing to stop looters and scavengers. The police got involved, 29 people were arrested, and all the loot was recovered. The captain’s name was cleared, and he was free to recover his ship. But once he arrived there, he found that the rusting carcass of the ship was quite beautiful, and decided to leave it there.
Even though the true story isn’t so exciting, it’s still fun for travelers to visit the beach and see this real-life shipwreck.
Extreme Sports in Navagio Beach
For the adventurous, there are some extreme sports you can try that will get you from the top of the cliffs down to the beach. This is called BASE jumping, which is a form of parachuting. How it works is that you put on a suit that is tethered to a parachute. When you jump off the cliff, the parachute opens up, helping to soften your landing once you land down on the beach.
Training is provided, but expect to pay an expensive fee. It’s definitely a different and unique way of getting down to the beach!
Down on the Beach
While the beach does have nice white sand, there are also many rocks and pebbles. Ensure you bring some good footwear. If you want to bring flip flops that’s great too, but do have a good pair of walking shoes or boots for exploring too.
Once you’re down on the beach, you’ll quickly find your tour time running on the clock. So, ensure that you do take a nice swim, then dry off, and snap your photographs. Do walk around a bit and see the cliffs up close. You may wish to collect a few seashells to bring back home.
Be aware that most tours only allow you to have about 30 minutes to an hour-and-a half on the beach. You’ll want to carefully choose your tour.
The best time to go to the beach is on the first tour of the morning. This way you actually have time before it becomes crowded. This is also a good plan if you intend on taking a lot of photographs.
Don’t forget to snap some great photos during your approach to the beach. This could be your only opportunity for some fantastic photographs of the sea and surrounding cliffs.
How to Get to the Cliffside Viewing Platform
It doesn’t matter if you plan on visiting the clifftop before or after your trip to the beach, but either way, you must do both. And yes, there is a special cliffside viewing platform that is perfect to do this from, rather than trying to go hiking out on your own and getting into trouble.
Note that there are no buses to Navagio Beach at all. And it’s located on the other side of the city, so walking is going to take some time too. This leaves your best two options as renting a car and driving around, or hiring a tour bus to get you there.
If you don’t have the cash to rent a car, you can still walk there. You’ll need to take a public bus to Anafonitria, a small village. Once you get off the bus there, you can walk the five kilometers to get to the viewing platform. It’s certainly doable, but just note the distance if you have any seniors or very young children that may have difficulties in walking that distance.
You can also take a taxi from Zakynthos. If you share with 3 other people, it becomes more affordable. This will cost you around 100 Euro dollars.
Local Tour Includes the Viewing Platform
There is one other option, if you don’t have the cash to spend on a taxi or renting a car. You can take a local tour called “The Roots”. This is fairly cheap, around 30 Euro dollars. While it won’t take you to any beaches, you’ll have a good tour of the island, surrounding villages, attractions, and it will also bring you to the viewing platform. Note that you will only have about ten minutes near the viewing platform, unless you bail out and find your own way back to the town.
You should also note that the viewing platform can get crowded, and there may be a long lineup. Ensure that your camera is turned on and ready to go once you reach there. However, you can still take photographs from around the little trail surrounding the cliff, so don’t panic if you feel you didn’t get enough time on the platform.
You can best see the beach from the trail anyway, as you won’t be able to see it at all from the viewing platform of the ocean.
Start Planning Your Trip to Navagio Beach Now!. Once you start viewing all the beautiful photos online of the Navagio Beach, you’ll realize that you must also plan a visit. And don’t forget to do the cliffside path, viewing platform, and the boat trip to the beach. It may seem like a bit of effort, but is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to brag to all your friends back home about this tranquil hidden spot in Greece!