Greece is one of those destinations that seems like it’s always up for discussion, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Its amazing beaches are the perfect backdrop for a vacation, and you’re probably used to visions of blue domes and stone houses. If you’ve never heard of the island of Zakynthos, tourists say it’s a must-add to your island-hopping itinerary. Rivaling more popular islands like Santorini, Mykonos and Crete, Zakynthos offers just as beautiful of beaches with hidden coves and amazing valleys. But what Zakynthos has that other islands do not is the magnificent shipwreck beach.
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Navagio Beach (or Shipwreck Beach), is where the MV Panayiotis washed up on the cove’s shores in October 1980. What some thought would be a stain on the pristine cove has now made it one of Greece’s most photographed beaches and a sought-out tourist attraction.
There are many stories of how the MV Panayiotis washed up in the cove. Some say the vessel was used to smuggle cigarettes, alcohol, and women before it ended up on the shores during bad weather, where the crew quickly abandoned it. The ship’s captain reportedly has a different story. Kefalonia-born Captain Charalambos Kompothekras–Kotsoros said that he immediately reported the wreck to the authorities after having mechanical errors because the beach was not accessible by land. However, thieves got to the ship before he returned and stole shipments and equipment. A police investigation found the stolen items and perpetrators and cleared the captain of wrongdoing. He was then asked to remove the ship on his own accord but thought it was beautiful right where it was.
Regardless of how it got there, it’s now a fixture of the beach itself. And while Santorini and Mykonos are bucket-list-worthy, Greece is home to 2,000 islands, each with its unique style and history. It’s worth finding out where in the Meditteranean may be the best fit for your vacation style.