A stunning island off the southwest coast of Greece, Zakynthos boasts magnificent beaches, secluded coves and verdant valleys. But the island is probably more famous outside Greece for Navagio Beach, a little cove with a pristine beach and crystal clear waters home to a famous shipwreck. In this article, discover the story behind this wayward boat and how it ended up on one of Greece’s most famous beaches.
There is no doubt that Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) is one of the most famous and most photographed beaches in Greece. Located on the north-west shore of the Ionian island of Zakynthos (also known as Zante), Navagio Beach, previously known as Agios Giorgos, became an impromptu ship graveyard when the MV Panayiotis washed up on its shores in October 1980.
some sources state that the event happened in 1981, 1982 or 1983
Many theories and speculations arose and while the date is often wrong (some sources state that the event happened in 1981, 1982 or 1983), most of them claim that the MV Panayiotis was a smuggler ship, hence its contributing to the name Smugglers Cove. Some say that the ship was smuggling cigarettes, wine and even humans, when authorities caught up and cornered it until the cove, where it circled aground. Others, supporting the theory that the vessel was indeed smuggling contraband cigarettes, booze and women, lost engine power and was simply washed ashore in the bay. Another theory supports that the owner of the MV Panayiotis, Haris Kompotheklas, transported smuggled cigarettes from the ports of Yugoslavia and Albania in order to send them to Italy. On this particular journey, he was forced to board two Italian smugglers. Rumour has it the captain was able to arrest and imprison the two Italians to exploit the smuggled goods for himself, but because of unexpected bad weather conditions, he was forced to ground the ship in the bay. And while he and his crew ostensibly tried to salvage the cargo, part of it was carried away by the waves, bringing bounty to villagers who then hid the goods. When the authorities got wind of the incident, they came and arrested the captain and his crew, deported the Italians back to their country and convicted the parties for smuggling, while the cargo was sold through an auction.