It was the first time we were on board a propeller plane. Even though they are on the verge of extinction, they are still the best in transferring a small number of people over a small distance under small budgets. We were on our picnic to the Zakynthos Island in the Ionian Sea. It was a 40 minutes journey from Athens, Greece. The air hostess gave us the safety instructions during take off , drank a glass of water, walked the aisle a couple of times and came back to give the landing commands. The flight trip from Athens to Zakynthos was that short and a really amusing one.
Navagio beach is the principal destination for most of the tourists coming to zakynthos. The iconic pebble beach between towering cliffs with a shipwreck and clear blue waters is truly a dreamscape. Even before the flight landed, we had begun fantasising about a swim in the navagio beach. A brand-new Mercedes Benz was the airport-taxi that came to take us to Hotel Atlantis, Laganas – our place of stay. Anyways, it is not an unusual sight in most of the European countries. We went to Taj Mahal, the only Indian Restaurant in Laganas Beach Town. After a good supper, we had a good night’s sleep at Atlantis.
Our driver Georgi picked us up after the breakfast from Atlantis. Georgi took us first to Cameo Island; a small island located off the shore of Laganas with idyllic sandy beaches and azure waters, accessible from Laganas only by a long wooden bridge. The sea underneath the bridge was laced completely by black sea urchins, a marine organism that looked like black balls with spikes. There’s a small fee to pay on arrival, but the fee includes a drink of your choice from the beachside bar; whether that’s a Manhattan or a pint of beer is up to you.
There were many spending their day relaxing on the secluded bay and many others working on their tan.Cameo Island is a dream wedding destination for all Zakynthos natives. What could be more romantic than your very own private island and the wedding photos will be nothing short of spectacular!
Our next destination point was indeed the much-awaited Navagio beach itself! It is surrounded by colossal white limestone cliffs on one side, and crystal clear blue waters on the other, making it accessible only by boat. You can relish the real beauty of Navogio beach not when you are on the white sand shore, but when you have climbed to the top of the boulders. Our plan was to make to the top first. It is a one-hour drive. The road was laced on both sides by vineyards, orange groves and pretty little villages. Zakynthos’ innards are rich with green hills, steep ascents and curves. The rural Greek villages here are sparsely populated.
We had a 45 minutes’ walk to the Navagiyo View Point. It wasn’t at all crowded. Maybe due to the efforts and expense to reach to the top. The Greek flag was fluttering on a tall flag-post. The breath-taking beauty of the sulphuric waters can be best enjoyed from the flag post. However, 3 feet ahead would take you to the deep blue sea hence, we took our seat on the nearby rock.
The Adventure Club of Zakynthos sometimes conducts base jumping from that point. The climb was really worth it. The boats looked as if they were suspended in air and the people like the tiny ants in the white sandy sugar. Perhaps even more famous than the mere beauty of this beach is the old, rusty ship sitting in its white sands, thus earning Navagio the nicknames Shipwreck Beach and Smuggler’s Cove. The ship is believed to have been a smuggler’s ship abandoned at the beach in an attempt to escape the law!
Now, we had to plunge into the waters! We were super-excited. The nearest boat jetty, Porto Vromi, was 10 km away. For 15 Euro ticket, we could go, spend an hour there and return. It was a 30 minutes’ journey to the beach. The huge cliffs and stunning caves were just amazing. They are called ‘The Blue Caves’. The water rushes in with every wave, making thunderous noise and storming the small chambers. This one-of-a-kind experience is something that only one out of ten thousand tourists reaches. People are simply either afraid or lazy to explore these caves. But believe me, they are more than worthy!
Because of a gathering storm, the beach was almost deserted when our group reached there. Only the sound of crashing waves on limestone rocks! It was time for us to explore the turquoise waters. The sea was saltier than ever and the ambiance so good that we didn’t even feel like returning. The shell of the wrecked ship was almost entirely rusted, with many sharp edges and weak points. Thousands of names of romantic couples and friend-groups had carved their names on the body. Habits!
We embarked on our return journey an hour back. A cool budget-meal, Pita Gyros, from Pita – Pita Snack Bar. By 5 PM, Georgi dropped us back in Atlantis. There were many enjoying in the swimming pool. The Navagiyo hangover hadn’t left us completely. We also plunged in, to put a fullstop to the blue sea vibes.