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Navagio Shipwreck Beach on Zante

Beautiful cove at Navagio

Dramatic shoreline shipwreck lies on Zante's Navagio Beach

Shipwreck on Navagio beach
Base jumpers leap from Navagio cliffs

No holiday on Zante is complete without an excursion boat trip to the famous Shipwreck Cove which more prosaically goes by the Greek name of 'Navagio'.

Views of the white pebble beach, nestled beneath towering cliffs, is the most popular subject of holiday postcards and covers of Zante holiday guidebooks everywhere.

Not only does this dramatic cove lie in an enclosed inlet of electric blue water and sheer white cliffs but boasts the added romance of a beached shipwreck.

The rusty wreck looks more romantic from afar than close up. It is just the bare rusted hulk of a small cargo vessel that ran aground in poor weather.

The tale of how it got there has more than a whiff of romance. Chased by a Greek navy patrol boat in 1983 with contraband booze and cigarettes aboard it ran ashore.

Accessible only boat on notoriously choppy seas and at a remote spot on the north-east coast Navagio can still get very busy in the high season.

Holiday visitors enthuse about the dramatic scenery, turquoise waters and beautiful setting but not everyone is so impressed.

The sharp, white stones are very beautiful but hard on the feet and swimming can prove difficult, with a very steep descent into the water and boats anchored along the shoreline.

Turnaround time can be short and visitors complain of diesel fumes from the boats which can belt out loud pop music that echoes around the cove.

The crowds can be unpleasant with several hundred people jammed into a beach that is only the size of an average football pitch. Some of the larger boats can disgorge more than 300 passengers at a time.

Boat trip prices to Navagio can be steep and trips are so lucrative that boat owners sail right through the season, even in poor weather when the sea can be rough. Seasickness is a common complaint among passengers.

If an expensive boat ride has little appeal, the cove can be visited overland with a precarious peep from a viewing platform on top of the vertiginous cliff where traders also have stalls selling local honey and crafts.

The view from the top of the sheer cliffs is stomach-churning and a perfect platform for base jumpers who dive from the clifftops with small parachutes.

World base jumping contests are staged here each August, attracting some of the sport's top jumpers.