Were you planning to visit the famous Shipwreck Beach this year and brag about it on Instagram? Well, not anymore! The Greek Ministry of Tourism has announced that the iconic beach on the Greek island of Zakynthos will once again remain closed due to safety concerns.
The government agreed to extend the current ban after an inspection was carried out by the country’s Anti-Seismic Planning and Protection Organization (OASP). The findings concluded that “there is a considerable risk of landslides due to strong erosion on the perimeter slopes”. Closing Navagio Beach (its official name) was therefore the only way to ensure the safety of tourists.
However, the OASP members aren’t the ones calling the shots here, as the decision needs to be ratified by the Ministry of Tourism. The president of the Municipal Council of Zakynthos, Savros Kakolyris, quoted by Ethnos.gr, admitted that this was an unexpected blow.
Officially, no one told us anything. We only found out about in the media this morning and were taken by surprise. We expect the Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias to reach out to us regarding this subject. We will wait for his official statement, but we are definitely not convinced about the decision of closing-off the beach to tourists this season. It will have a huge impact on tourism because we are talking about the single most popular attraction in Greece – he said.
The occurrence of several different incidents over the past few years ended up leading to the investigation. In 2018 seven people, including two children, were injured as a result of the collapse of a 200-meter-high cliff. The most serious injury to date was a spinal fracture suffered by a 34-year-old Czech woman.
Last September there was also a massive landslide due to a 5.4 magnitude earthquake. As a result, access to the beach was banned. The authorities have still allowed tourists to visit this famous Instagram spot, but only from the water, as stepping into the sand or swimming near the wreck was strictly forbidden.
The famous beach was named “Navagio” (Greek for “shipwreck”) after a powerful storm caused the ship “Panagiotis” to wash ashore in October 1980. Back then, there were rumors that the ship had been used to smuggle cigarettes and alcohol. In fact, such rumors led to the arrest of the captain and some crew members, though the court later cleared them of all charges. Locals actually feared that the shipwreck would ruin the beach reputation and that of the the island itself, but it has instead become a tourist attraction of epic proportions popping up on everyone’s social media nowadays.