Black Book Luxe Travels: Navagio Beach, Greece


Surrounded by colossal white cliffs on one side, and crystal-clear blue waters on the other, Navagio Beach is one of Greece’s most unique and mesmerizing locations – and that’s saying a lot for a country that’s home to some of nature’s most stunning landscapes: rugged mountains, exotic, pristine beaches, world-famous archaeological sites, and magical islands painted in white and blue.

You may know Navagio better as Shipwreck Cove, and when you see it, you’ll realise why! Contrasted with the beauty of the Ionian waters and white pebble sands, an eerie-looking shipwreck lies abandoned in the centre of the sand. Legend has it that a ship by the name of Panayiotos was smuggling cigarettes from Turkey when it was spotted by Greek authorities. The sailors were forced to abandon her, and she naturally ended up stranded on Navagio. Sceptics prefer to say it was planted there to promote tourism. Either way, its enticing scenery has earned it second spot in Huffington Post’s Best 40 Beaches on Earth, as well as front covers of luxury, exotic travel brochures.


Located on the Northwest corner of Ionian island, Zakynthos, seeing the beach, from the breath-taking viewpoint above or from the sands below, will no doubt be a highlight of your getaway and leave a lasting impression not describable in words. But while you’re there, return to comfortable luxury in an enchanting location and dine in exquisite restaurants to complete an unforgettable stay!


BEST LUXURY STAY
With interiors as beautiful as exteriors, Vais Luxury Villas embodies all that its name suggests: luxury. Minimal interiors, modern, inspiring architecture and open-air spaces effortlessly combine with stunning exteriors and views over the bay. Every bit as beautiful as the pictures suggest, each villa features a private terrace complete with swimming pool, sun loungers and outdoor showers. Despite the fact that each villa is self-catered and complete with full kitchen, Vais offers a hotel-style approach, with daily cleaning, fresh towels and bar snacks so that you can truly relax. And for the full luxury package, there’s are spa and massage, and hair and beauty services, and even a personal trainer or a personal tour guide who’ll show you the best of the rest of the island.

FINEST DINING EXPERIENCE
If you love the style of Vais Villas, you’ll love Lentika Restaurant, a cut above the other more rustic Greek tavernas. With Michelin-worthy presentation, an eye for detail and dishes of the highest standard, it’s the perfect place for something a little more special of an evening. Alternatively, about 5 minutes’ walk from the villa, you’ll find Nobelos Bio Restaurant, the only 100% organic restaurant on Zakythnos Island. The restaurant is set in paradise: idyllic gardens with a private beach out front and a picturesque view of the harbour, the restaurant offers fresh Mediterranean cuisine and outstanding, friendly service. Why not make a day of it? When you’ve finished your meal, you can head to one of the sun loungers to make the most of the charming, secluded location. Make sure to book in advance (especially if you’re wanting a sun lounger) as it’s a popular spot. Or finally, for a vegan-friendly option, Avli offers fresh, healthy and truly innovative cuisine made with passion. A winner of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for 2020, the garden ethos of the restaurant spills over into the decoration - and the menu – for a truly home-style feel.


MOST ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITIES
While you’re on the island, there’s plenty more to do and see! Why not head on a horseback tour, with the option of lessons at Vais if you’ve never done it before! There are hikes, sailboat and yacht cruises, and scuba diving opportunities. Thanks to the island’s Greek National Marine Park, you’ll be spoiled for choice with untouched beaches that are worth checking, including Kalamaki Beach and Porto Limnionas Beach. For a family-fun day out, head to Askos Stone Park, which includes a wildlife sanctuary, zoo, farm and archaeological site in one. Enjoy meeting and feeding the animals, or even milking a cow and harvesting local produce!

HOW TO GET THERE
Once you’re on Zakynthos island, there are two ways to see the beach.

Firstly, from above by visiting the Navagio Lookout. An impressive 200m above the cove, at the top of the limestone cliffs, the lookout has a viewing platform to get that iconic photo. Getting there is easiest if you’ve hired a car, as there’s limited public transport, and getting there from Vais Villas – or most other hotels on the island – isn’t necessarily a short journey. Alternatively, book a private luxury car tour directly with Vais. The best time to head there is midday when the sun is in the centre of the sky, to avoid unwanted shadows being cast over the beach.

The second way to visit is of course to go to the beach itself. Since it’s ocean-locked and only accessible by boat, book a boat tour, either with an agency on the island or with the services offered by Vais.
Zakynthos Island is truly a paradise-like escape into the best that mother nature has to offer. Relax, refresh and renew in luxury! And for the perfect souvenir (in the form of a magical photo), Navagio Beach is unmissable.

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