The picturesque Navagio or Shipwreck beach in Zakynthos is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and popular beaches. Thousands of tourists visit it every year but few know the quite unusual story behind it.
Navagio beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Zakynthos but not because of its crystal clear water, amazing view and white sandy beach. The reason that this beach attracts so many visitors each year is the picturesque wreck of Panagiotis ship.
Panagiotis ship spent the later part of her life as a smuggling ship. In 1980 (during a time of record population lows on the island of Zakynthos), Panagiotis was making its way from Turkey with a freight of contraband cigarettes on behalf of the Italian Mafia.
The crew was chased by authorities, and so the Panagiotis was detected by the Greek Navy. In the attempt to escape, the ship ran aground in a shallow cove on the northwest coast of Zakynthos, to the north of Porto Vromi, where the crew abandoned her to evade the pursuing Navy. The crew of the ship consisted mostly of Greek sailors, which abandoned the ship immediately but were arrested a few days later.
The “Shipwreck” over time became one of the most popular tourist destinations of Zakynthos. Legend has it that locals benefited from the ship’s cargo and for the next four years, no legal tobacco product was sold on the island.
On Wednesday, 9/13/2018, a section of a cliff collapsed onto the beach and at least seven tourists were injured.
“So far, we haven’t found any trapped people but we will continue searching,” a fire brigade official said.
How to get there:
If you’re heading for the wreck cliff top by car – look out for the signs marked “Navagio”.
You can visit the shipwreck during one of your island cruises. Catch the local boat from Porto Vromi.
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