Is this the best beach in the world? – Navagio on Zakynthos

When I was idly scanning through one of those ubiquitous ‘best beaches in the world’ articles,  I came across Navagio on the Greek island of Zakynthos or Zante as one of the list. Huh! I thought – clearly written by some journalist who’s done a quick bit of Google research and has never been there.

Smuggler's cove or Navagio on Zante in Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Smuggler’s cove or Navagio on Zante in Greece

But then as in all my years of visiting Zakynthos, I had never been there either, I thought that on this trip I might go and take a peek for myself. Only trouble is that Navagio or Smuggler’s Cove is only accessible by boat and is a stopping off point for every boat trip around the north of the island. The beach is notable for the rusty old wreck half buried in the sand of a ship that went aground in the 1980s, while supposedly smuggling cigarettes. There are probably many picturesque, remote beaches like this around the Greek coastline, but the presence of the wreck there seems to add to the photogenic appeal and make this one of the most photographed beaches in Greece.

As we weren’t planning an all day boat trip just to check it out, we took a drive up to the north end of the island where there’s a viewing point for the beach. You might imagine from this shot that I was standing on a windswept cliff among wildflowers and thyme, but the reality is that I was perched on a little fenced metal viewing platform that has been created just to help you get the postcard shot. We parked on the cliff top car park, walked down the road past the bar, past the ice cream van with the noisy generator and past the stalls selling local produce, oil and honey. Then we took our turn with the other visitors on the tiny platform to take this photo.

Heather, near Smuggler's cove in Zante, Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather, near Smuggler’s cove in Zante, Greece

After I’d taken my postcard shot we spotted a path winding down the cliff side around the other side of the cove, that looked as though it might lead down to the beach. We decided to explore but after a few twists and turns the path got narrower and steeper until we gave up. Clearly someone had the idea of creating an alternative viewing point but we didn’t dare cllimb too far down the cliff and couldn’t see where the path ended. A number of people had also missed the tiny viewing point at the top and walked down thinking they would get a view of the Smuggler’s cove, and weren’t very pleased when they realised it led to nowhere. But I think that on that twisty path with the scent of pine resin, thyme and chamomile we were closer to what I love about Greece than the ice cream van and the viewing point. So –  best beach in the world or just another pretty picture? I’ll let you decide.

This pretty picture is offered as part of Photo Friday hosted at Delicious Baby – head on over to find more Friday photos to inspire your weekend.

More articles from Zante

Postcard from Zante – our lunch in the port
The Venetian Fort at Bohali on Zakynthos – Greece
My top three beaches on Zakynthos

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels


heatheronhertravels' Zakynthos - around the island photoset heatheronhertravels’ Zakynthos – around the island photoset

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  • Reply
    Stella Pierides
    June 18, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hi Heather,
    Lovely picture! It may be the best beach in the world, or, failing that, a close second. I’ll have to go and check it out! I guess the ‘best’ is made of landscape, memories, weather, feelings, company… as you say, something like “that twisty path with the scent of pine resin, thyme and chamomile…were closer to what I love about Greece.”
    My “best” will have to have similar scented paths, olive trees, goats, the sound of church bells, wind-swept hillsides – well, let me think what else…Thank you for this!
    .-= Stella Pierides´s last blog ..The Collector =-.

  • Reply
    Myscha Theriault
    June 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Good for you for heading there to actually get the shot, and attempting to take it to the next level with the trail. It really is those little incidentals that bring the best trip memories sometimes.
    .-= Myscha Theriault´s last blog ..L.L. Bean’s Summer in the Park =-.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    ha ha – thank you for checking it out and keeping it honest. this is why I have an aversion to “best” lists anyway. My favorite spots usually aren’t on them anyway 🙂
    .-= Margo´s last blog ..Belle Views: Paris in the Summertime =-.

  • Reply
    Donna Hull
    June 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Best lists usually don’t live up to their hype. You certainly proved the point on a visit to Navagio.
    .-= Donna Hull´s last blog ..Celebrating a Boomer Birthday at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain =-.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    For me, the scent of Greece is fresh wild oregano underfoot in the springtime. But that resinous, retsina aroma comes a close second.

    I love the ruggedness of the landscape. My parents have a house in the Mani, which is rugged, rugged, rugged. That, for me, is very Greece.

    It looks, from the way the blue shades off, that there’s good swimming there, too. For me, a decent dropoff is key to a wonderful beach.
    .-= Theodora´s last blog ..Spirits of the Forest =-.

  • Reply
    Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
    June 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    It’s stunning! It reminds me a bit of McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer State Park in California. It’s another beach that you can’t get to from land but you can admire from a look-out – the biggest difference is that there is a waterfall flowing on to the beach. http://www.roamingtales.com/2010/01/25/driving-highway-1-in-california-mcway-falls-in-julia-pfeiffer-burns-state-park/

    I never made it to Greece when I lived in the UK – a big regret!
    .-= Caitlin @ Roaming Tales´s last blog ..Photo Friday: Rainbow bus in Golden Gate Park =-.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, Heather. I’ve never seen anything like it. I think it could very well be one of the best beaches in the world.
    .-= Wanderluster´s last blog ..Photo of the Day: Summer Solstice =-.

  • Reply
    Mark H
    June 21, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Best beaches articles always amuse me as an Australian beach typically makes the list and they typically select a very cliched and famous beach rather than one that is truly beautiful. I can only assume the same for the various other countries that typically feature. By the way, I love the contrast of blues in the two waters in the top photo.
    .-= Mark H´s last blog ..Seven Traditional Dishes You Can Try in Lithuania =-.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2010 at 1:56 am

    Heather, just never know where you’ll turn up next. You are a certified adventurer for sure. It is a lovely shot, but I think its intrigue would better lend itself to a romance novel or movie. Ha ha. Really, though, I would rather be at a beach I could sun on instead of one where I could only take a picture, though you look so pretty with it in the background.
    .-= Arlene´s last blog ..Uncle Donald’s Farm =-.

  • Reply
    Sherry Ott
    June 21, 2010 at 5:02 am

    I guess the best thing that came out of it is that it sent you on a fun, new adventure! The whole island looks beautiful if you ask me!
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..signs =-.

  • Reply
    airport taxi and limo
    June 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    My god! By the look of this photo it really looks like an exceptional beach, you are lucky that you are there.

  • Reply
    Globe Nomads
    June 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Heather,

    The scenery is excellent. However even if you are able to get to the beach, privacy do seem to be an issue with any tourists looking at you from the viewing platform.
    .-= Globe Nomads´s last blog ..Housesteads Roman Fort =-.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    No such thing as a best beach but this looks like a great one 🙂

  • Reply
    Beautiful Places to Visit
    June 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Navagio IS beautiful, if crowded 🙂 I recently made a post on Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece on my photo blog, Beautiful Places to Visit, you should check it out!

    – Ariel from vagablonding.com
    .-= Beautiful Places to Visit´s last blog ..Taklamakan Desert, China =-.

  • Reply
    Barbara at Hole in the Donut Travels
    June 24, 2010 at 2:05 am

    “Best”is so subjective. Best for sand? Turquoise water” snorkeling? Entertainment? But I must say it does look like a lovely crescent cove.
    .-= Barbara at Hole in the Donut Travels´s last blog ..Palenque Ruins of Chiapas are a Mystical, Magical Wonder =-.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Beautiful beach photo and post for Friday or any day! 🙂
    .-= Sonya´s last blog ..Castle Hotels Of Ireland =-.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    We just arrived from Zakynthos and Lefkada
    Navagio is the best beach in Europe.
    You have to see Porto Katsiki and Egremnoi in Lefkada Myrthos in Kefalonia.

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    July 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    @Lian – so glad you found it to be the best beach in Europe and at least you’re speaking from personal experience! I’d love to get to check out those ones on Kefalonia too – it’s a beautiful island although I’ve only been there once for a few days many years ago.

  • Reply
    Zante or Zakynthos - sightseeing around the island in Greece - Podcast | Heather on her travels
    August 31, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    […] of St Denis, the patron saint of the island and drove on to the outlook over the much photographed Navagio bay or Smuggler’s cove which features on many a postcard before finishing with a late lunch […]

  • Reply
    Monasteries on Zakynthos | Heather on her travels
    September 24, 2010 at 7:37 am

    […] lace making, rugs and honey and a photo stop on the cliffs overlooking the picturesque bay of Navagio or Smuggler’s Bay that features on all the guidebooks and […]

  • Reply
    Where Heather travelled in 2010 | Heather on her travels
    January 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    […] Monastery of St Denis, the island’s patron saint, with a quick stop to photograph the famous Smuggler’s cove at Navagio. We also loved the day we spent on a boat trip around Laganas bay, known for it’s loggerhead […]

  • Reply
    Video of Greek dancing at the Windmill Hotel, Argassi, Zakynthos, Greece | Heather on her travels
    February 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    […] Is this the best beach in the world? – Navagio on Zakynthos 13 Zante – my Greek island holiday – podcast Welcome to Windmill Bay Hotel in Argassi on the Greek island of Zante […]

  • Reply
    newark limo
    February 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Beautiful beach photos i like natural things

  • Reply
    hudson limo
    March 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Its realy beautiful
    I’d love to get to check out those ones on Kefalonia too – it’s a beautiful island although I’ve only been there once for a few days many years ago.
    good place

  • Reply
    Highlights of a trek through Crete | Heather on her travels
    June 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    […] things to see in GreeceA turtle spotting boat trip on Zante – in Greece – Video Is this the best beach in the world? – Navagio on Zakynthos Visiting St Denis Monastery on Zakynthos – in GreeceThis article is originally published at […]

  • Reply
    Driving around Zakynthos, Greece | Heather on her travels
    August 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    […] In the northern part of the island, you’ll also find the viewpoint for Smuggler’s cove or Navagio, with the rusty old wreck on the sand. The beach is only accessible by boat and is one of the most […]

  • Reply
    Vagobond | Vagobond Travel Museum – The World’s Best Beaches
    October 19, 2012 at 7:30 am

    […] In terms of European Beaches – there are a lot to choose from. Cristina Cantarelli of The Travloution is a huge fan of the beaches near and in Barcelona while Heather Cowper of Heather on Her Travels recommends  Navagio on the Greek island of Zakynthos. […]

  • Reply
    November 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Great info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved as a favorite for later!
    wordpress.com´s last blog post ..wordpress.com

  • Reply
    April 4, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on zante. Regards
    รับจำนองที่ดินขอนแก่น´s last blog post ..รับจำนองที่ดินขอนแก่น

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