The Zante shipwreck
The shipwreck on Zante is a great day out for people and groups of all ages. It has been there since the 1980s and despite the circumstances that got it there it actually turned out to be quite a blessing to Zante in terms of tourism. In my opinion it is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. Ask anyone who has been to Zante before and they will tell you that they have been to the shipwreck, and that they enjoyed the trip.
The story behind the shipwreck in Zante is quite interesting in itself. In the year 1980 the Greek Navy were suspicious of the behaviour of the freightliner Navagio, and suspected that it may have been used to smuggle contraband onto Greek islands, including Zante. The navy pursued the ship and chased it through the Ionian sea as it was alleged to have wine, tobacco and women on board.
The chase came to an abrupt end when the ship ran aground during stormy weather. This happened on the North coast of Zante, so basically the opposite end of the island to Laganas. The ship was abandonded there and has been left there ever since and is now the largest attraction in the North of Zante and one of the most popular tourist destinations on the entire island.
Although strictly speaking it is possible to access the ship wreck by following roads and paths, it is not recommended to people who do not know Zante well due to the large cliff face and uneven surfaces. Not only that but you would also have to hire a car, which isn’t necessary for most other tourist activities in Zante so it could provide to be quite an expensive trip if you did things that way.
I would recommend going on a boat trip to see the wreck. These depart from Laganas several times a day because a lot of companies sail boats to the area and sell tickets. You can find more information if you go to a dedicated travel guide website for the shipwreck such as the Zakynthos Travel Guide.
It’s about a 40 minute journey to the other end of the island at a nice slow and steady pace on the calm seas so absolutely no problem for people who are prone to getting seasick. Make sure you bring your sun cream though because you will burn on the boat. With the sea breeze you won’t even feel the sun’s rays on your body but trust me they will be there and you will regret not applying sun cream. I’ve been there, done that and got the semi-permanent t-shirt!
Once there the boat will dock for an hour or so and give you the chance to explore the ship wreck and surrounding beach, or swim in the sea. The boat stops briefly a few hundred yards from the wreck for those who want to swim to shore – definitely recommended if you’re a good swimmer as the water is lovely.
You can follow a path to the top of the cliff which is quite a trek on hot days, but you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the wreck and the surrounding area when you get the purpose-built viewing platform.
You can also explore the wreck itself but be careful as there are lots of tripping hazards as well as potential for other kinds of injuries. Remember this is a shipwreck not a climbing frame! It is also recommended that you stay well clear of the engine room as this is known to contain asbestos. Once you’ve seen the wreck it’s a gentle 40 minute trip back to Laganas. A good way to top off the day is to watch the sun set from the main beach.