EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

This Greek island’s most Instagrammed tourist attraction is at risk of washing away

A 43-year-old shipwreck is one of the island’s most visited and photographed attractions.
A 43-year-old shipwreck is one of the island’s most visited and photographed attractions. Copyright Julian Timmerman
Copyright Julian Timmerman
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

A 43-year-old shipwreck is one of the island’s most visited and photographed attractions.

ADVERTISEMENT

If you search for the hashtag Zante or Zakynthos on Instagram, almost half of the images of this Greek island are of a sandy bay dominated by the wreckage of an old ship.

Navagio Beach and its 43-year-old shipwreck are one of the island’s most visited and photographed attractions, with tour companies offering dedicated excursions.

Recent posts on Instagram, however, show just how much the vessel has deteriorated over the course of the last decade.

Now, the state of the boat has come to the attention of authorities over fears it might be completely washed away - along with it a large chunk of the island’s income from tourism.

Can you still visit Zante’s shipwreck beach?

Navagio Beach, often nicknamed Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers’ Cove, is famed for the wreck of MV Panagiotis which ran aground in 1980.

Its legendary appearance is enhanced by the rumours that the ship was carrying contraband and was abandoned by the crew during a bad storm to escape the pursuing navy.

A recent spate of bad weather caused pieces of the ship to break off, according to local press.
A recent spate of bad weather caused pieces of the ship to break off, according to local press.Max van den Oetelaar

Surrounded by pristine pale sand and dramatic limestone bluffs, the bay is one of the island’s most visited and photographed spots.

In 2018, the beach was briefly closed and swimming and boat anchoring were forbidden after a portion of the cliff above collapsed.

In September 2022 another landslide occurred, sparked by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake between Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Access to the beach was prohibited once again and has remained so other than for boats approaching from the water.

Zante’s iconic shipwreck is at risk of washing away

The delicate cliffs cupping the bay are not the only danger to the shipwreck.

A recent spate of bad weather caused pieces of the schooner to break off, according to local press.

Comparison photos show how the wreck has been deteriorating for years.

Residents and tourism operators have urged authorities to intervene immediately to protect the vessel, citing its importance for the island’s income. Some have even volunteered to manage and pay for the conservation of the shipwreck themselves.

Zakynthos mayor Giorgos Stasinopoulos and MP Dionysis Aktypis are now calling on Greece’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economy and Finance to take action to protect the site. The municipality of Zakynthos wants to take over the management of the shipwreck and the restoration of damage.

This includes control over maintenance, security and the demarcation of public zones of access and viewing points.

The mayor is also proposing the installation of a controlled entry system with an electronic payment method.

At the time of writing, the proposals have not been formally accepted but local authorities are urging swift action before the popular tourist attraction disappears completely.

Share this articleComments

You might also like