Where is Shipwreck Cove?
Have you ever wondered… Where is shipwreck cove?
Well, the answer is Zakynthos. Also popularly known as Zante throughout the English speaking world, Zakynthos is the home to the beautiful Shipwreck Cove. The shipwreck cove in Zante is one of the most recognised and beautiful landmarks in the world. I’m sure that everyone has seen the pictures and wished that they could go there. Well, you can! It is only a short flight away and well worth visiting even if for this reason alone as I am sure it is on many bucket lists. The secluded shipwreck in Zakynthos is hidden by high cliffs and located on the northwest shore of the island and only accessible via the beautiful crystal clear blue seas.
Probably the most photographed beach on the whole island of Zakynthos, the famous shipwreck is located on the beach formerly known as Agios Georgios. The Agios Georgios was renamed Navagio beach which literally translates to shipwreck beach in Greek. The stunning ship wreckage is of the ship MV Panagiotis which ran aground and was shipwrecked on the night of the 2nd October 1980.
The ship was built in 1937 in Glasgow and was originally called MV Saint Bedan. It changed hands a few times over the years and was later sold to the company Piraeus in 1975 and renamed The MV Panagiotis.
There have been many theories and different stories told over the years about how the ship came to rest on the Agios but the truth isn’t truly known. Many believe the ship to have spent her later years being used as a smuggling ship, hence the cove is also nicknamed Smugglers Cove.
The most popular stories go on to say that they believed the ship was travelling from Turkey for the Italian Mafia with a cargo full of contraband cigarettes, wine and women. It is said that the authorities found out what they were up to and they were being pursued by the Greek Navy. The weather was very stormy that night and the seas rough and they ended up in trouble and out of their depths. They later found themselves running aground in a shallow cove with no way to get back out. The story goes on to say the crew abandoned her where she was so they didn’t get caught by the Greek Forces. The weather on the night in question is where the similarities with the official story ends.
The official story actually claims the Panagiotis was carrying a legitimate cargo and that it was not travelling from Turkey at all but from Albania. The weather was indeed very bad and stormy and the seas particularly dangerous so they were forced to beach the ship in the cove although they had planned to go back the next day.
The Captain, Kefalonian born Charalambos Kompothekras-Kotsoros and crew did abandon the ship that night. When they returned to check the cargo, they found that all its cargo and equipment had been taken. The captain reported the theft to the local authorities and the local police launched an investigation. It didn’t take long and during the first few days of the investigation they started to find some of the stolen cargo and ship parts in the local villages near the to the shipwreck beach. 29 locals were later convicted and jailed for their crimes.
The wreckage was left at the cove as a landmark for tourists as they were shocked at its natural beauty and the beach later named Navagio.
Shipwreck beach has now become a huge tourist hot spot. Everyone wants to come see the famous Shipwreck Cove in Zakynthos, and they should as it’s spectacular!
Although the shipwreck beach can only be accessed by sea; shipwreck cove in all its glory can be viewed from the cliff top above. The viewing platform is jutted out from the cliff face enabling a picturesque view from above of the smugglers cove. I will say though, if you’re scared of heights be warned its very high. The cliff edge is a sheer drop down to the beach and deep blue sea. The viewing platform is Greek and looks scary to walk on, but it is sturdy and holds thousands every year.
Where is Shipwreck Cove - How to get there
Like most places, you will be able to book any excursion direct with your tour operator or holiday rep but if you are unsure and want to go with the flow, you can decide when you get there. Hiring vehicles and boats is relatively painless so it is up to you which way that you want to go. There are plenty of places to hire what you need and people working for the tour operators dotted around. You will find them on most main streets around the resorts in the morning and later after the siesta.
1. By Car or Quad
The hire of a quad or car requires the relevant licence to be held and you will need to pay the usual deposits etc. The view point above the Zante shipwreck is easily accessible by car or quad; although its a little off the road between the village of Anafonitria and Volimes. If you are not used to driving on the right hand side or nervous on the Greek roads; don’t worry as there are also plenty of organised coach trips.
There are many different island tours to see the sights and Shipwreck beach is a stop on many of the trips. Again, these are easily booked with your own rep or a local tour operator.
If you do choose to go up to the platform… We strongly advise to stay away from the cliff edge and wait in line for the viewing point. This really seems like common sense but unfortunately many aspiring Instagram fame; (along other people attempting to get the perfect selfie), sadly fall to their death every year.
3. By Sea
The Shipwreck Cove can only be directly accessed via boat. Like the coach trips, the boat trips also differ in what is available. You are able to hire your own small boat to get there or you could take up one of the many other options. Our choice would be to book the cruise with a local provider and they will organise your bus to/ from the port making it as pain-free as possible. Some of the options include:-
- Hire a boat and take yourself (Not recommended if you are not that confident taking a boat on the ocean)
- Hire a small boat with a Captain
- Book an excursion that will have you picked up at your resort and dropped off afterwards (Recommended)
Weather and conditions permitting, plenty of boat trips able to take you in to the cove. Some excursions will go into the bay and allow you to get off and swim into shore. Others have smaller boats with them to take you all the way in. That way even the non-swimmers can enjoy a walk around the shipwreck and the cove.
Be sure which boat excursion you take as some will just pass by and others will spend the day. The cove is also a natural sun trap with it being located near the top of the island… So, remember to take a parasol.