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Beautiful world-famous beach loved by Brits closed for second summer in a row

A world-famous beach will remain closed for yet another summer over landslide fears.

The beach is the second most photographed site in Greece, just behind the Parthenon in Athens.

Navagio Bay, on Zante, also known as Zakynthos, is famous for the shipwreck of HV Panagiotis which washed up in the 1980s after running aground during bad weather and visibility.

Originally, it was feared that the shipwreck would ruin the reputation of the beach and the island, but instead it made it even more popular. 

However, for the second year in a row, tourists will not be able to step on the beach following the safety and security concerns raised last year amid continuous seismic activity and landslide worries. Greek authorities called for repair works and continue to explore their options.

In September 2018, 7 holidaymakers were injured after a landslide on the beach. Among them was a 34-year-old woman from the Czech Republic, who suffered a fractured vertebra. The beach was immediately closed until April 2019 and then reopened with restrictions. 

Then in 2022, another landslide occurred following a 5.4 magnitude earthquake between Kefalonia and Zante. 

Past attempts at defining visitor zones failed because of lack of adequate patrols, according to Professor Ethymios Lekkas at the time, head of the country’s National Earthquake Planning and Protection Organisation (OASP): “We cannot rule out newer and larger landslides. An accident would be disastrous.”

Boats will be allowed to approach but swimming prohibited near the beach. Access to the tops of the cliffs, famous for their scenic views, is also banned. 

Zante’s mayor, G Stasinopoulos, said last year: “Hundreds of people already visit the Shipwreck every day to see the view, but unfortunately, there is no security.

“Unfortunately, we are currently seeing tourists pass the warning signs and find themselves on the edge of the cliff,” he continued, “They hang on the edge of the cliff… We shout that people will be killed. We cannot play with the safety of the guests.”

The closure is particularly devastating for British tourists, who visit the site more than any other nationality. The island is popular among young British partygoers, thanks to its plentiful clubs and bars which liberally hand out free shots. According to Party Travel Hard, pints can be bought for just £1.77, with hangover breakfasts available for a similar price.

Tripadvisor was inundated with frustrated reviewers. In July 2023, one said:  “Always wanted to see the most beautiful beach in the world. Disappointed you can no longer walk in it or swim from it.”

While another reviewer in August 2023 said: “You can’t land on the beach in case a rock falls and kills you.”

The Greek tourism minister Vassilis Kikilias said at the time that he was the “last person” who wanted the beach to close: “But we have to listen to the experts. It would be negligent to do otherwise”.


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