The iconic image of a rusted shipwreck washed up on the white sands of the turquoise Navagio Beach drew us to the island of Zakynthos in search of the so called Shipwreck Beach. Navagio is one of the most beautiful and photographed beaches in the world and visitors flock to both its shores and the cliffs above for breathtaking views. It takes a little work to get to get to Shipwreck Beach – the beach itself is only accessible by boat and the clifftop viewpoint is almost an hour by road from Zakynthos. Here’s our guide on how to get to Navagio/Shipwreck Beach!
Navagio Beach: the Shipwreck Beach
Naviago Beach is located on the north western shores of Zakynthos and the tiny cove is a stunning mix of white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters surrounded by towering white cliffs with an intriguing rusty shipwreck dominating its sands. The wreck, a boat named Panagiotis, was rumoured to have been attempting to smuggle cigarettes and got stranded in the shallow waters of Naviago while being pursued by the Greek Navy. The captain of the ship recently refuted these claims and blames bad weather and mechanical failure for the shipwreck. Either way, the contrast of the rusted ship against the stunning natural beauty of Navagio has made it a tourist magnet.
Where to stay in Zakynthos
- Hotel Palatino: Perfectly located a few minutes from the restaurants of Zante Hotel Palantino was perfect for our stopover in Zakynthos – Check prices now
- Mabely Grand Hotel: if you are staying a little longer and a resort style hotel with a host of amenities and a relaxing vibe then the Mabely Grand Hotel is a great option – Check prices now
Viewing the shipwreck at Navagio Beach
There are two ways to view the shipwreck at Navagio Beach: either by visiting the beach itself by boat or by travelling by road to the top of the cliffs surrounding the beach. Both are beautiful but the viewpoint above is the best way to view the beautiful setting and it’s from here that most of the iconic Navagio images are captured.
It is not possible to walk between the beach and the view point above. Naviago Beach is surrounded by near vertical cliffs meaning the beach is only accessible by boat and the viewpoint by road.
How to get to Shipwreck Beach viewpoint: by road
The cliff top viewpoint above Naviago is almost an hour by road from Zakynthos and can be reached by car, a powerful quad bike and a beach or island tour. The route is marked with signs for Naviago and the nearby Anafonitria Monastery which is en route. The viewpoint, a suspended platform surrounded by railings, is located beside the car park and visitors centre and it is often packed with visitors in search of a selfie and the iconic Naviago shipwreck photo.
Be careful! It’s possible to follow a walking path around the cliff side to capture the beach and the shipwreck from different vantage points but, if you decide to do this, please be incredibly careful – it’s a sheer drop to the beach below and there have been recent deaths of tourists doing the same. We were terrified to move even an inch without checking our footing as there are no railings to protect you from falling over the edge.
How to get to Shipwreck Beach: by Boat
Naviago Beach is surrounded by marble white cliffs meaning the beach and the shipwreck can only be accessed by boat. The shipwreck is dotted with graffiti and visitors flock around it but are requested not to climb on it. Hundreds of visitors descend on the beach every day during peak season and it is often extremely crowded.
Where to get the boat to Shipwreck Beach: the closest port is Porto Vromi Maries and boats depart regularly from here during peak season. Other departure points include Agios Nikolaos, Zakynthos and Skinari.
Some tips for planning your boat trip to Shipwreck Beach:
- When choosing a boat trip we’d recommend opting for one of the smaller boats from one of the closer ports rather than the huge double decker boats which also make the trip.
- Avoid trips in the middle of the day when the beach tends to get extremely crowded
- The boats usually dock for around one hour so be sure to grab your photos of the beach and shipwreck when you have a chance.
- Bring beach shoes as the beach is quite stony and painful to walk on bare foot.
- Bring supplies such as water and sunscreen as there are no facilities at Naviago.
- The water gets deep quite close to the shore so be careful as you venture out.
- The boat trips are weather dependent so don’t leave to the last minute if the weather is volatile when you are in Zakynthos. This will give you time to reschedule if your trip gets cancelled.