The Shipwreck Beach (also called Navagio) on the Greek island - Zakynthos is the most beautiful beach I have seen. It's claimed to be the most beautiful - and I agree. After visiting numerous beaches in other, also way more exotic destinations (like Brazil, Thailand, Italy, Mauritius, Georgia, India, Croatia, Albania, Spain, Portugal), I have yet to discover a place that would enchant me as much as Navagio Beach. But there is a flaw in this perfection. The beach is indeed the most beautiful in the world, granted that it's viewed from the edge of the cliff that surrounds it. Looked at from the sea level, it looses its charm. However, most of the tour agencies offering a trip to the beach arrive there by boat and in this case you will not see it as it is on the postcards or leaflets - from above. It's also impossible to climb the steep rocky cliff from the beach. So what's the solution if you want to admire the famous view from the top?
How to reach the Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach
If you want to get to the Shipwreck beach, step on the pebbles (the beach isn't sandy unfortunately) and swim in the turquoise blue waters, there is only ONE way - by sea. There are multiple tour companies that offer boat trips (at a low price) to this most famous beach in Greece. You'll also visit other beautiful places off Zakynthos' coast - like Blue Caves and Xygia Sulfur Beach. All of them are spectacular, however the unbeatable number one is of course Navagio.
You have to bear in mind that the Shipwreck Beach is the most commercial place on the island, and (just like in Thailand), sadly it turned into something I'd compare to ordering a burger in a fast food restaurant. You take a tour, go there to take a swim, click a few photos and in 20 minutes you must leave because the next ship full of tourists is waiting. If I can give you a piece of advice, choose a tour that would go there early in the morning! I did that and when we arrived, it's hard to believe, but the beach was completely empty! Not for long though, for some 15 minutes. But it was enough to take amazing photos of the shipwreck without the wildly bright, colorful dots spoiling the landscapes - tourists.
How to get to the cliff over the Shipwreck Beach and the viewing platform
Now, after visiting the beach itself, you must see it from the top! You'll see how amazingly beautiful it is - so much better than from the sea level. Unfortunately, the Navagio beach is located on the other side of the capital of Zakynthos (which has the same name). You must think however, it will be so easy to find a tour or a public bus that goes there - it's the most famous spot in Greece after all! You couldn't be more wrong. There are no buses to Naviagio at all.
The best idea is to rent a car and drive around. The problems start if you don't drive. You can get a public bus to the village of Anafonitria from the island's capital, and then walk almost 5 km (3 miles) to get to the viewing platform. The buses are quite unreliable and rare, however. Another alternative is a taxi - it will be a bit pricey, especially if you travel alone but if you can share it among 4 people, it should be OK. To get a taxi from Zakynthos town and back with 1 hour of time to explore and enjoy the area will cost 100 EUR.
There is one tour that you can take - called Back to The Roots, it is very cheap (30 EUR). This tour doesn't go to any beaches, instead you will visit the island and local villages, churches and other attractions. It also includes the viewing platform. However, I wound't recommend this tour if you want to buy it just in order to see the view of Navagio from the cliff. I mean, I took the tour and it was really nice - about the history of Zakynthos but the time you will spend at the viewing platform will not exceed 10 minutes! I have described the whole tour here.
At the platform, you will have to wait in a long line, when your turn comes you'll have around 15 seconds to take a photo and you must leave. Not to mention that the best photos you can take are not from the viewing platform but from the little trail around the cliff!
I got really upset about it because we spent around 1 hour in a cafe in one of the villages, and for the most beautiful beach in the world we had only 15 seconds! So me and my friends decided to take a taxi the next day and come back to this wonderful place to experience it fully. I was lucky I was traveling with a group of friends and we shared the cost!
The drive from Zakynthos town takes around 45 minutes. After that, we had an hour to explore a bit. DO NOT limit yourself to the viewing platform packed with tourists! The platform doesn't offer the best panorama! If you follow the little path along the cliff, you will be able to admire the most beautiful views ever. Besides Naviagio, you'll also see a little hidden beach just before Navagio - it's perfectly visible from the trail (but not from the platform). There are very few tourists that walk this trail. It always happens in the touristic places. 99 percent of visitors just want a photo and leave. But the explorers get what's best!
From the path, you can take the best photos of the Shipwreck beach: the beach itself, the second beach, the sea and the cliffs. All in the frame. From the viewing platform, you will have to cut the edge of the cliff because it's too close. And you won't see the other little paradise beach. I have no words to describe the place and the feeling when you can sit down in silence, without hordes of noisy tourists and just enjoy it in peace. The best feeling ever!
The shipwreck story in Zakynthos - How did the shipwreck get to Navagio Beach?
You must wonder how did this ship end up on the most beautiful beach in the world. There are a few stories. But did you know that it is claimed that the ship itself after crashing formed the beach and made the sand built up around ceating the unreal blue shade of water? Some other theories state that it's the Greek government who placed to ship there - just to attract more tourists!
But the most exciting is the official version - in the 1980s the ship was chased by the Greek officials as it had been suspected of smuggling alcohol and cigarettes into Zakynthos. During the storm, the captain lost control of the ship and it crashed in the cove. Offenders were brought to justice, but as the story goes before the officials came to the wreck, the locals had already discovered it and happy days came to the island! All the alcohol and cigarettes for free!
The tourists seem to love to climb the crumbling wreckage as well as to draw some horrendous graffiti on its walls marking their visit.
The beach is spectacular and, as I said, best viewed from above. However, if you love similar beaches but with no crowds, choose the neighboring Albania. The people are so friendly, and the water is as clear as in Greece, and what's most important, you can spend peacefully as much time as you wish among breathtaking natural surroundings. I keep on updating posts about Albania, click here and see for yourself. Also, check out "Related posts" below this article.
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