Oh Zakynthos, such a cool little island. It would have been even cooler with A) Less humans around or B) A mode of transportation to leave when we wanted to. We were tempted to add this to the itinerary for one thing–Shipwreck Beach. The beach’s actual name is Navagio Beach but in 1983 a ship wrecked up onto the shores and remains there today thus giving it the nickname of Shipwreck Beach.
Our journey from Athens to Kefalonia to Zakynthos within a few hour period of time got off to a rough start. We got up at 03:30 planning to catch a bus at 4:25 to the airport (an hour away) thinking our flight was at 06:45. Then when I woke up I had a weird feeling and double checked our flight time and sure enough, the flight was at 05:45 not 06:45. So we spent 50 euro on a taxi when the bus would have only been 10 euro for both of us. We still barely made it to our gate before boarding time. Moral of the story—double check your flight times before going to bed.
We arrived in Kefalonia at 06:45 and were supposed to have a taxi waiting on us (per our hotel), but of course we didn’t and of course we are once again short on time so we grabbed a different taxi and had him take us to our hotel to drop off our bags then to the port so we could catch the 08:00 ferry to Zakynthos. The ferry was ridiculously slow (compared to what we were used to in Norway!), but it was pretty watching the sun come up over the blue water.
When we finally made it to the island we didn’t have to search to find a boat to take us to Shipwreck beach because there are several companies all trying to do just that. They are all pretty comparable in price, but be sure to check out at least a couple because the first place we went offered a high price and the second place offered us $5 less than the first place. There are a few places to eat and we grabbed a breakfast pastry and some espresso while we waited for our 10:00 take off time. At ten, we piled onto a small boat with a bunch of other tourists and took a slow ride around the island to shipwreck beach.
The beach was exactly what we were hoping…minus the ridiculous amount of tourists. There is an old rusted boat that washed up onto the beach and was just left there to be explored. The beach itself is surrounded on 3 sides by cliffs of limestone and the other side by the bluest water you could ever dream of, making it only possible to get to by boat.
Josh and I, being the adventurous type, of course immediately climbed all over the old rusty boat in our bare feet. There’s an old mast with ladder rungs so of course we took turns climbing up it for the view. Many people were climbing on the boat but we were the only people who climbed up the mast as I’m sure it really is dangerous and normal people probably wouldn’t risk it. One crazy lady made a point to yell at us over and over again to “GET OFF RIGHT NOW” saying we were going to get hurt. She literally didn’t stop yelling at us until we were completely off the boat. Crazy lady.
The beach was sandy, the water was beautiful, and the boat was awesome. The only thing that would have made it better would have been less people. I feel like that is the story of my experience in Greece. Anyway, we spent about an hour at Shipwreck Beach before being forced back onto the boat to go see the Blue Caves.
These “caves” are basically just arches of rock in the water. They are pretty to look at but I feel like calling them caves is very deceptive indeed. They let us get out and swim near these “caves” for about 15 minutes before slowly heading back to the beach.
Luckily there is a super tiny beach with a few broken beach chairs so we started off our free time by napping on the beach. We walked around a bit but there really isn’t much to see at the port location and you can’t really get anywhere without a vehicle. At this point we didn’t know what to do so of course we resorted to eating. We went to a restaurant right on the water, next to the beach. The salmon there was honestly the best I had on the entire trip. There is just something so glorious about eating the freshest seafood on an open deck looking out at the water with the ocean breeze blowing around you.
We still had several hours to kill and nothing left to do so we went back to the beach and laid out and swam around some more. I randomly decided to check how much cash I had left (the ferry was cash only) and I was 2 euro short of what our ferry tickets would have cost so we went to find an ATM.
Unfortunately for us, the nearest ATM was in a different town that was a 20 minute car ride away. We had no other options, so we started walking, hoping to get there and back before the ferry left. We stopped at a place called Nobello’s hotel/restaurant to ask for direction. The man working, after hearing our situation, laughed and kindly gave us the 2 euros so we didn’t have to walk for an hour or more both ways. We were beyond thankful and bought ice cream from him in an attempt to repay what we definitely couldn’t have. The ice cream was handmade by his mother and was absolutely fantastic. The location of his hotel was perfect. It was secluded and beautiful, and I wish we would have known about this place sooner so we could have had a meal here.
Our ferry FINALLY came and after a long ride back, followed by a taxi ride (stopping at an ATM on the way!) we arrived at Oskar’s where we were greeted with open arms at 23:00 with a complimentary glass of Kefalonian wine. We talked to the owner’s son outside at the restaurant’s open deck overlooking the sea before finally heading up to our room. The room was lovely with a beautiful view. We were able to sleep for a solid 8 hours for the first time in a few days.
Advice for Zakynthos:
-Research ferry times beforehand, especially during off-season. We had been hoping to be back on Kefalonia for at least half a day and instead spent an entire day on Zakynthos. If we would have known that, we may have arranged different plans.
-There are no ATMs within walking distance. Get your cash out before arriving on the island.
-Ferry is cash only. 8 euro (in September 2014)
-You buy your ferry tickets from a weird man in a creeper van….Seriously like kidnapper style. I was skeptical about the legitimacy of this arrangement but it’s the only option.
-Nobello’s is just up the street if you need a place to eat, stay, or just to have ice cream. It’s a beautiful place, lovely atmosphere, and awesome staff.