The Dark Truth Behind Zakynthos Hidden Smugglers Cove

August 20, 2015

If you’ve ever been to Zakynthos (Zante) or even just spent some time researching it online then it’s quite possible you’ll have seen images of Navagio Beach.

As you can see it’s a beautiful and idyllic spot but you should know…it comes with a dark and mysterious past. A past that includes high speed naval chases, crime on the high seas, bad weather and shipwrecks!

Beautiful shipwreck beach


Navagio beach itself is a place of stunning beauty, surrounded on three sides by tall limestone cliffs (some of them over two hundred meters high!) and only reachable by boat.

What makes the beach stand out so much however (apart from the fact you can’t reach it on foot) is the wrecked hull lying in its centre. This is the Panagiotis, a shipwrecked smuggling vessel that ran aground sometime in 1980.

Navigios beach


The details surrounding the wreckage are shrouded in mystery and may never be fully known but the story most often told by the locals is of a band of smugglers transporting contraband cigarettes from Italy to Greece through the Ionian Sea.

They were spotted by the authorities who alerted the Greek navy to give chase.

There was poor weather that night and with no chance of escape the crew decided to just abandon the ship (and its cargo) to fate, leaving her to be smashed onto the beach where she remains to this day!


If you don’t fancy chartering a boat to see the hulk up close or booking one of the organised excursions to the beach then’s recommendation would be to head up to the top of the lime stone cliffs (reachable by car), two hundred meters above the wreck, which, as well as offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside will also let you take some amazing photos of Navagio beach and the Panagiotis in their entirety (there’ll also be far smaller crowds as well, which is always nice!)


No matter how you ‘do’ Smugglers cove, if you find yourself heading to Zante on your cruise then it should definitely be on your bucket list!

Bay and Sea View from the Rocks


Have you ever been before?

Did the reality live up to the pictures?

Let us know in the comments below…