Iconic Navagio Beach is often the main reason why tourists come to Zakynthos. Just like everyone else, we could not wait to take a glimpse of it. At first, we saw it from the top of a huge cliff. The views were spectacular! (see them here) The only way to visit the beach is by boat. Morning is the best time to visit, especially if you come on a small boat, like we did. Later in the day, the sea often becomes rough so your trip could be unpleasant or could even be cancelled. There are a lot of tour operators offering to take you to the beach from different points of the island. We decided to drive as far north as possible to get the shortest boat ride and save money.
As we were getting closer to our departure point, we started to look for the best possible deal. If you are not careful, you could overpay tremendously! Our first offered “deal” was almost 200 Euro (40 Euro per person), but we ended up paying 60 Euro, total. Our trip also included a visit to famous Blue Caves. For this price, we could not expect a good service but for me, coming from America where people are nice in general, it was shocking how unpleasant the “captain” was. He did not even care that a person fell on his boat right next to him. Other people helped her to get up. He did not want to be bothered, period! To top it all, he was smoking all the time! With a few small groups on the boat, he could have earned some good tips, but instead he got nothing. From my observation, this guy was much different than other local people I met in Zakynthos. Majority of them are polite.
Blue Caves are beautiful but I was more impressed with the area around them – high cliffs, incredibly blue water, and even some tall arches! What was promised in the tour was slightly different than what was actually offered. There was no swimming in the caves. Instead, the boat parked in a small bay close to the caves. Still, a lot of people enjoyed a refreshing swim there.
Navagio Beach looks much different from the bottom than from the top. What looked like sand, it is actually a mix of sand and white loose rocks. Water shoes are recommended. The cliff is very high but from the bottom not as overwhelming as from the top. Then there is a famous ship wreck. In general, I am not a big fun of an old pile of rust covered with graffiti but it is a symbol of the beach and it will stay there until eventually it will be washed off by the sea. It is already missing some huge chunks of its body. We had 40 minutes to enjoy the beach. It was not high tourist season in Zakynthos so there were no crowds yet. In July and August, from what I am hearing, Navagio is packed with people. We were lucky enough to witness hang-gliders flying over the beach. I can only imagine how much fun it is to glide in this spectacular scenery.
When back on the boat, I felt a little sad. I had the image of Navagio Beach in my head for a long time. With the last view of it, I was saying good bye to my beautiful dream.