07/12/2022

Umroh Travel

Umroh Tour and Travel

Shipwreck Bay In Zakynthos Island

Shipwreck Bay In Zakynthos Island

Navagio Beach is a beautiful secluded beach on Zakynthos island in Greece, with a photogenic shipwreck that’s surrounded by turquoise water and dramatic, winding cliffs.

You’ve no doubt seen this ‘shipwreck beach’ before, because it’s probably one of the most famous travel pictures in the world! Word has gone out, and the beach is now crowded with tourists wanting to see the rusty old shipwreck up close.

The best pictures of Navagio shipwreck are actually taken from the steep cliffs above, rather than on the beach itself, but it’s also fun to get in a boat and go see the beach at eye level, if you’re willing to brave the crowds.

This travel guide will explain how to get to the best Navagio viewpoint for photos, how to visit the beach by boat and see it up close, which tour packages to use in Zakynthos, and everything else you need to know before you go!

Best Navagio Tour Packages

Before we dive into more detail about Greece’s famous shipwreck beach, let’s talk about tour packages.

The coastline of Zakynthos is full of sea caves, beaches, and other wonderful sights that can only be seen with a boat tour.

We recommend GetYourGuide for boat tours in Zakynthos! They have high rated tours for all of the best sights like Navagio Beach, Blue Caves, Turtle Island, and more. These tours usually include free hotel pickup and drop-off from most of the popular areas in Zakynthos.

We’ve used this company for lots of day tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.

Book Now: Navagio Shipwreck Beach Tour

 

Where Is Navagio Beach?

Navagio Beach is located on the northwest corner of Zakynthos island in Greece.

Zakynthos island is easy to reach from Athens, and there are daily flights and ferries for reasonable prices. The distance is only about 240 kilometers (150 miles) as the plane flies.

If you’re looking for more information about how to get to Zakynthos island, you can find that in my complete travel guide for Zakynthos Greece.

Shipwreck Beach Greece viewpoint

 

How To Visit Navagio Viewpoint

If you’re mainly wanting to see the iconic postcard view and take photos of it, you can do that from the Navagio viewpoint, on the cliffs high above the beach. This is where all the great pictures of Navagio are taken, rather than on the beach itself.

You can drive to the Navagio viewpoint yourself with a car or ATV, or book a day tour package that includes transport to the viewpoint along with several other sights in Zakynthos.

It’s a tame 45 minute drive to the viewpoint from the main town in Zakynthos, and the paved road is mostly in good condition, although it turns into rough gravel at the very end when you reach the parking lot.

Shipwreck beach from above
The Greek shipwreck beach

Unfortunately there are very long lines to take pictures at the Navagio viewpoint, so you may have to wait in line for up to an hour during the summer months.

That’s largely because since 2022, only one small platform on the cliffs is open due to the authorities being worried about rockslides at the cliff. Lines are shorter in the morning, but you’ll still have to wait.

The new viewing platform is surrounded by metal railings. You can barely see the shipwreck, and you need a wide angle camera lens to take any decent pictures of the scenery because the platform is so close to it. With a normal lens, forget about it.

Overall, it’s a silly setup and I hope they come up with a better safety solution soon. It’s very frustrating to have such a beautiful view blocked by tall fences on almost all sides.

The sun and heat makes it even worse! Bring a hat and maybe an umbrella. You’ll want cold drinks too. There are canteen trucks in the parking area selling snacks, drinks, and souvenirs, but the prices are inflated, as you’d expect.

Be prepared to wait at the viewpoint. This was only half of the line!
This wide angle picture was taken from the main viewing platform at Navagio

However, there is some good news! You can still get the iconic photos at Navagio if you’re patient and know where to go.

If you visit the Navagio viewpoint in the late afternoon, the security guards eventually leave and you can take pictures all along the cliff, without people or fences blocking the view. Just be very careful and don’t go too close to the edge. Your safety is in your own hands here.

After the security guards leave, you can walk through the fence and along the cliff to the end, until you reach a Greek flag about 400 meters from the main parking area. It’s almost like a short hike, because the ground is very rocky and uneven, and there’s no shade at all from the hot sun.

This whole cliff at Navagio used to be open to the public, but it was closed after a couple of tourists fell to their deaths over the years (allegedly taking selfies near the edge), and at least one of the families tried to bring a lawsuit.

Another view of Navagio Bay

It’s an amazing view of Navagio, and we were joined by dozens of other people relieved to see it without fences. If you walk far enough, you can even see a second beach at the bottom of the bright white cliffs.

The water is incredibly blue. The pictures on this page are not photoshopped! Believe it or not, I didn’t add any saturation at all. In fact, I had to remove a bit of color from the water on some of the pictures because it almost looked fake!

Since the viewpoint is located on the west side of Zakynthos, it’s a great place to watch the sunset, and you can use a wide panoramic photo to capture the beach together with the sunset.

Keep in mind, it’s not possible to reach Navagio Beach from the viewpoint. There’s no path to go down to the beach, because the 200 meter cliffs are too steep. The only way to walk on the beach is with a boat tour, and that’s explained later in more detail.

However, the viewpoint is still one of the best sights in Zakynthos, so you should definitely add it to your itinerary!

Book Now: Navagio Beach & Viewpoint / Private Tour

Drone pic of shipwreck beach from above

 

How To Visit Navagio Beach

Even though the best pictures of Navagio shipwreck are actually taken from the steep cliffs above, it’s also fun to get in a boat and go see the beach at eye level, if you’re willing to brave the crowds.

Boat tours to Navagio Beach generally depart from the nearby harbor at Porto Vromi. You can show up there and try to arrange a boat rental on the spot, but it’s generally better to book a tour package online.

Navagio tours usually give you about 1 hour at the beach, which is plenty of time to disembark, see the shipwreck, and take pictures of it from all angles. Even though Navagio looks like a white sand beach in pictures, it’s actually covered with small white pebbles.

Up close view of the Navagio shipwreck

The shipwrecked boat, called MV Panagiotis, is starting to rust away now after sitting in the elements here for more than 40 years. The graffiti left on it by visitors has also given it some extra personality.

Shipwreck Beach gets very crowded and chaotic during the daytime, when it’s bombarded with tourists and tour boats. During the summer, the only time you can avoid the crowds at Navagio Beach is by arriving before 8 AM or after 6 PM.

Nevertheless, it’s still a very nice beach and the rusty shipwreck is fun to see up close!

Book Now: Navagio Beach & Blue Caves / Private Tour

The back side of MV Panagiotis

 

History Of The Navagio Shipwreck

‘Navagio’ Beach gets its name from the Greek word for shipwreck.

The story dates back to October 2, 1980, when the coaster MV Panagiotis was bound for Italy with a smuggled cargo of cigarettes from Turkey worth more than $200,000 USD.

The plan was to sell the contraband cigarettes in Italy, but at some point in the journey, the Greek captain demanded a bigger share of the profits, which led to a dispute and two of the Italian crew members being taken hostage at gunpoint.

If you’re interested, you can read the complete story in Greek here. It’s a fascinating story, and most of the details weren’t fully known to the public until very recently.

Navagio is one of my favorite travel pictures anywhere in the world!

Long story short, before the captain could pull off his plan, the boat had engine trouble and ran into a bad storm while passing through Greek waters, causing it to be shipwrecked on the beach in Zakynthos. What a perfect place to land, right?

Most of the boat’s valuable cargo was spoiled or looted after the shipwreck, and the skeleton of the boat has been sitting on Navagio Beach ever since then, slowly being broken down by time and the elements.

Over the years, Navagio Beach became well known for its natural beauty and the interesting story behind it. It’s also been featured in movies, such as the 2016 Korean drama ‘Descendants of the Sun.’

Today, the shipwreck at Navagio Beach is probably one of the most famous travel photographs in the world, and it almost singlehandedly made Zakynthos island one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece!

The Zakynthos shipwreck

 

Entrance Fees

There’s no entrance fee at either the beach or the viewpoint. Parking is also free.

This attraction is completely free to visit, aside from the cost of hiring a tour or transport to get there.
 

Is Navagio Beach Open / Closed?

Yes, the Navagio beach and viewpoint are OPEN for tourists!

You can visit at any hour, day, or month. The beach and viewpoint are always open when weather permits. If you visit in the winter, you may need to book a private tour since there are less boats running in the low season months.

Navagio can sometimes be closed temporarily to visitors if there was a recent rockslide at the cliffs. This has happened in the past, but the closures were pretty brief and then everything reopened as normal a short time later.

Navagio Bay

 

Can You Fly A Drone At Navagio?

Yes, it’s possible to fly a drone at Navagio, although it’s a good idea to ask before you fly.

We asked the security guards if we could fly at the viewpoint, and they said it was okay. You’re also allowed to fly at the beach, but that’s not a smart place to do it since it’s so crowded.

The locals in Greece aren’t strict about drones. EU regulations on drones aren’t really enforced here, and there are lots of quiet places to fly without disturbing anyone.

The entire west coast of Zakynthos island is lined with steep limestone cliffs, so you can get some amazing drone photos!

Top down view of the shipwreck bay

Drone view of Navagio point

 

Is Navagio Worth It?

Yes, in my opinion Navagio is totally worth it!

I will admit it was a bit annoying at first queueing for photos at the Navagio viewpoint, and I hope they come up with a better solution, but in the meantime it’s still possible to get the iconic pictures without queues if you go late in the afternoon.

The beach, on the other hand, was a bit of a mixed bag for me because of the crazy crowds. The sheer number of people at Navagio Beach was shocking and made it very hard to take pictures or enjoy where you are. I brought my parents, who are seniors, and they were pretty overwhelmed. My dad even joked that it felt like ‘D-Day’ with all the boats and chaos.

Still, it’s neat to see the shipwreck up close, and we got to visit a bunch of other amazing places on our Zakynthos boat tour, so the excursion didn’t feel like a waste at all.

Sunset at Navagio viewpoint

 

More Things To See Near Navagio

There are lots of other great things to see near the Navagio Beach and viewpoint.

One of the best things to see near the viewpoint is the Monastery of Agios Georgios Krimnon. This is a small 16th century monastery just a 5 minute drive from the viewpoint.

There’s a walking path behind it that takes you to a cross with wonderful views of the Ionian Sea, and it’s also a great sunset spot.

Sunset at the cross behind the monastery

When you visit Navagio Beach by boat, don’t forget to visit some of the sea caves in the area!

One of these, called the Hidden Treasure Cave, is especially nice, with a high ceiling at the top that pours in sunlight and makes the whole cave amazingly beautiful and photogenic. It’s located near the shipwreck beach, and you can only get there by boat.

The cave is only big enough for one small boat to fit inside it at a time, and only private boat tours go to this spot. Shared tours skip it.

For more ideas of things to see in Zakynthos island, check out my complete Zakynthos travel guide!

Hidden Treasure Cave is another nice spot to see near the shipwreck beach

 

What To Bring

Here are some packing suggestions for your trip to Zakynthos Greece.

Most of the items below can probably be found on the island in a pinch, but the quality of stuff you buy on the street won’t be guaranteed (personally, I’m not about to use a junky knockoff bag from a street vendor to protect my expensive camera gear).

It’s best to buy vetted products online!

  • Waterproof Bag: Essential for keeping your electronics safe on the boats. I brought a 30 liter bag and was able to fit my drone, tablet, camera, phone, and a bunch of other stuff inside. Everything was kept dry, even when I took the bag swimming a few times!
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch: Same as above, but these are for your phone only. Great if you don’t have other electronics and just need something small to protect your phone.
  • Snorkeling Gear: Good for exploring the clear waters around Zakynthos, and sometimes you can even see turtles. Snorkels and masks can be borrowed or rented from the boat companies too, but if you plan to do multiple tours it’s better to bring your own gear.
  • Water Shoes: Save your feet some grief and wear water shoes! The beach at Navagio is covered with pebbles, not sand, so it doesn’t feel good barefoot. Water shoes are helpful for getting in and out of the boat.

Where To Stay In Zakynthos

 
 

More Zakynthos Greece Travel Tips

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for Navagio Beach Greece. This shipwreck bay was one of our favorite sights in Zakynthos island.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Zakynthos Travel Guide for more tips, info, and photos!