Day 12: Zakynthos & Shipwreck Cove

Plan for the Day

In the morning we would drive to Agio Nikolaos to purchase 8 pm ferry tickets to the next island Kefalonia. After that we would explore Zakynthos till the evening.  Near 8pm we would return to Agio Nikolaos to board the car ferry to sail to Kefalonia. 

There was only one must visit place in Zakynthos and that was the Navagio (Shipwretch Cove). After the must visit attraction then we would visit probably other towns in Zakynthos.

Map of Zakynthos

Map of Zakynthos

Morning Photo shoot at the Jetty again

 We shot some photos at the port/jetty last evening when the sky had already turned dark. The night scene photo shoots of the town by the port was stunning. We decided then that we would return to the same place again to shoot a morning scene.

Sunrise was 6.55 am at Zakynthos on 15th October so we woke up at 6.15 am, hopped into our car at 6.25 am, reached the jetty at 6.30 am, set up our cameras and tripods and got ready for the morning photo shoot of Zakynthos Port.

The night before at the jetty we were able to have an unobstructed view of the town and the church St Dionysios. Unfortunately overnight a number of fishing boats had docked at the jetty and they were there in the morning blocking us from getting a good shot.

Jetty before sunrise

Jetty before sunrise

It was so early in the morning and there was not a soul at the jetty. There was only one inquisitive dog that came close sniffing at us but did not gave us any trouble, I wondered if the dog belonged to the fishermen and was left at the jetty to guard the fishing boats.

We waited patiently for the sun to rise and the sky to brighten. The fishermen started coming in at about 7 am and threw us some curious glances. None of them bothered us, they just went into the fishing boats and one by one the boats throttled out of the jetty. By about 7.15 am the sky had brightened, it was blue and the water was blue and we had an unobstructed view of the church and town.

Zakynthos Port at about 7.10 am

Zakynthos Port at about 7.10 am

Unfortunately we did not get the expected photo shoot that we wanted. The water was too choppy so we could not get a clear reflection of the church and town on the water. The only reflection we managed to get was when we came upon a puddle of still water at the jetty. It was not the ideal shoot but something was better than nothing.

At the jetty

At the jetty

By about 7.30 am we packed up and drove back to the hotel. We parked our car just along the roadside directly opposite Dali Hotel. Though it was still early we could already see a ferry coming into port.

Ferry coming into Zakynthos Port

Ferry coming into Zakynthos Port

Breakfast at INTRO cafe

The stay in Dali Hotel included a free breakfast at iNTRO cafe that was just at the first level of the hotel. I asked the hotel owner if he owned the cafe too and he said no. So I guessed they had probably some sorts of a business arrangement to have all the hotel customers eat breakfast at the cafe.

Unfortunately iNTRO cafe opened at 9am so we had to stick around until then for breakfast. Breakfast was okay, nothing fantastic. By the time we were done with breakfast, checked out of the hotel and set out for our sightseeing it was close to 10 am which was a bit late for our liking.

iNTRO cafe at the ground floor of Dali

iNTRO cafe at the ground floor of Dali

Missing Ferry (Agios Nickolas to Kefalonia)

We drove for an hour to Agios Nikolaos which was at the northern end of Zakynthos to buy ferry tickets for four of us and our car for this evening 8 pm ferry trip. This ferry ride would be from Port Agios Nikolaos of Zakynthos to Port Pessada of Kefalonia, the next Ioanian island.

The trip from Dali Hotel to Agios Nikolaos was about 30km. When we drove up to Agios Nikolaos we only saw small boats and glass bottom boats that offered rides to Blue Caves and Shipwreck Cove. There was no sign of a car ferry. We asked around and nobody could tell us anything about a car ferry from Agios Nikolaos to Pessada.

route from Dali Hotel to Agios Nikolaos (port)

route from Dali Hotel to Agios Nikolaos (port)

I had read on the internet that Ionion P. Line offered inter island ferry trips and the last day for October was to be on 15th of October. I also read that these inter island ferry trips were unreliable and were usually cancelled when demand dropped. I called up the agent office and was told that there would be no more trip between Agios Nikolaos and Pessada as the season had ended.

I was prepared for this situation and had planned another alternative ferry route to Kefalonia. This alternative route would require two ferry trips. One from Zakynthos to Kyllini and the second one from Kyllini to Poros port in Kefalonia. Based on the time schedule that I had collected we would arrive at Kyllini by 9.00 pm. I was not too sure if we would be in time to rush for another ferry that would leave Kyllini at 9.30pm and reach Poros at 11 pm. So my plan would be to stay a night at Kyllini and leave on the earliest ferry at 11.15 am to Poros the next morning.

This alternative route involved two ferry trips which would take twice as long and cost twice as much as compared to the direct trip from Agios Nikolaos to Pessada a souther port at Kefalonia.

two possible routes from Zakynthos to Kefalonia

two possible routes from Zakynthos to Kefalonia

Northern Tips of Zakynthos

At Agio Nikolaos we had decided not to go on a 3 hours boat trip at €15 per person that covered Blue Caves and Shipwreck Cove as firstly we were not keen on swimming and secondly we wanted to view the Shipwreck Cove from the top of a cliff and not at beach level.

We continued driving north after Agios Nikolaos to the northern tip of the Zakynthos where on the map we saw a lighthouse and the Blue Caves.

Near the northern tip of the island, the road branched out to four roads. We drove up all four roads and all of them ended on top of a cliff. None of the roads brought us closer to seeing the blue caves. All we could see were boats going into small caverns which from our viewpoint on the road did not seem very blue. The blueness would probably be more brilliant when seen from inside the caves.

Map of the Northern tip of Zakynthos

Map of the Northern tip of Zakynthos

At the end of innermost road there was a boat operator offering Blue Caves boat rides too, but we still decided not to take up the ride as we had already in our plan to visit a “fantastic” blue cave the next day on another island.

The second branch of the road took us to Skinari Lighthouse, a small and not very tall lighthouse. This lighthouse was built in 1897. It is 9.5 metre high and is located 67 metres above the sea.

Skinari Lighthouse

Skinari Lighthouse

At the end of another road sat a tavern, Botamitisbro Cafe which had two windmills. It must be a rest day because the tavern was not opened for business. Anyway we still came out of our car to explore the place as it looked interesting.

Windmills at BotamitisBro Cafe

Windmills at BotamitisBro Cafe

Behind one of the stone windmills we saw a winding stairs that went down to the water edge so we walked down the steps to explore.

Stairs to the water level

Stairs to the water level

The stone steps went down quite a long way. Midway down was a wooden deck with a couple of sunbeds so we sat down and relaxed. The breeze was good, the view was fantastic and best of all the place felt so private so like our own piece of heaven.

Our personal piece of Heaven

Our personal piece of Heaven

After resting for a short while we continued walking down the rest of the steps, till they ended just before the water level. This looked like a place for people to get on and off a boat.

Shipwreck Cove

We drove from Botamitisbro Cafe in Skinari to Shipwreck Cove viewpoint in Navagio which was about 30 minutes for a distance of 15 km distance. Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Cove or Smugglers’ Cove whatever you called it was the primary reason for my visit to Zakynthos. I had seen so many pictures of the beach and every time when I saw a picture I told myself that I must visit this beach one day. We were on our way to the beach and I was feeling apprehensive, I wanted the place to be as beautiful as those pictures I had seen.

Route to shipwreck Cove ViewPoint

Route to shipwreck Cove ViewPoint

In those pictures of the Shipwreck Cove the views were always a top view of the beach, so our target destination would be some points high up on the cliff where we could have a top down view.

From my online research I had already obtained the co-ordinates of the viewpoint on the cliff so it was very easy for us to drive straight to our destination. At the viewpoint was a narrow concrete ledge with a 1.2 metre high railing all round it. The ledge projected about 2 metres outside the edge of the cliff. Standing at the end of the ledge we could have an clear view of the Shipwreck Beach below.

Shipwretch Cove (co-ordinates: 37.861814, 20.625642)

Shipwretch Cove (co-ordinates: 37.861814, 20.625642)

The view was awesome, so unbelievably beautiful. The water was so turquoise and transparent, the sand and the cliff were so white. It was a sight that caused my heart to palpitate, the scene was so much better than all the pictures that I had seen. In front of me was no longer a two dimensional picture, it was 3D, 4D or 5D. Being at the actual place, feeling the breeze, breathing in the salty air, standing at the top of the high cliff absolutely heightened the beauty of the scene.

Boats at Shipwretch Cove

Boats at Shipwretch Cove

The ledge being very narrow, it could only take three persons at its front, and everyone wanted to stand at the left most corner to view the cove below. We could only stand there for a couple of minutes each time before we had to give way to others. I felt so disappointed to have traveled half way round the globe to only spend a few minutes on the ledge. Luckily we met a local who told us to take the path on the right, walked for about 10 minutes and we would come to another point where we would have a better view of the cove.

We were not sure if we could believe him because we could not see the second view point from where we stood. Anyway we decided to explore. The path on the right was not a good path, there were plenty of rocks and wild plants and they made walking quite difficult. After 10 minutes we still had not come upon any good viewpoint, in fact we could not even see the Shipwretch Cove at all. We still proceeded to walk on and after another 15 minutes of walking we were nearer the edge of the cliff and then we saw the Shipwreck Cove again.

The space here was definitely much larger than the ledge and there was no crowd, I could take as many photos as I like without having to give way to others. I could even have a picture of myself with the Shipwreck Cove as my background taken. Hurray!!!

Shipwretch Cove

Shipwretch Cove

The beach was called Shipwreck Cove when the alleged smuggler ship Panagiotis was wrecked on the beach in 1983 while transporting cigarettes. From the top we could see the wreck lying on the sand all rusty and broken up. There were several people sunbathing on the beach and swimming in the cove. These people got to the beach by boats as there was no path to get down to the beach from the cliff on top.

gr-d12shipwretchship

Given the choice of only seeing the cove from the cliff or from the beach level we chose the cliff. Because it was only from the high level that we could see the whole big picture of the cove, the wreck, the white sand, the water, the cliff and the sky. I left this place absolutely contented.

 

Ferry from Zakynthos to Kefalonia

With our visit to Shipwreck Cove completed, we were ready to rest, relax and do nothing for the rest of the day. We decided not to explore the other parts of Zakynthos island and drove back to Zakynthos Port. At the port we brought out tickets at Ioanian Ferries which had a shop right at the port facing the water.

Ferry Company at Zakynthos Port

Ferry Company at Zakynthos Port

It was great that the lady at the shop could speak English so she was able to advise us on how to get to Kefalonia in one go. She explained that when we drove onto the ferry we must tell the staff that our final destination was Kefalonia and would be directed to the the appropriate parking location on the ferry. When the ferry reached Kyllini we must not disembark. The ferry would remain at Kyllini port for 30 minutes before sailing to Kefalonia. The ferry would depart from Zakynthos at 8pm, reach Kyllini at 9pm, leave Kyllin at 9.30pm and reach Kefalonia by 11.00pm. The ferry tickets were €16.20 per person and €77 for the car.

We liked this new arrangement as it meant we would be in Kefalonia tonight which would give us plenty of time to explore Kefalonia the next day.

Knowing that we would reach Kefalonia late, I took up my handphone and searched for a accommodation as near as possible to the Kefalonia port, Poros. I found Dioni Apartment and immediately booked two rooms online and indicated that my time of arrival was 11 pm at nite. Two hours later I got a call from London to confirm my arrival time at Dioni Apartment. I guessed hotel booking website was managed by a London office that was why the call came from London which was good because we could communicate in English. If it was the Hotel owner that called up I would not be able to converse in Greek.

 

Lunch and Dinner at Thymalos restaurant (Zakynthos Port)

We ate lunch at Thymalos restaurant serving seafood and local cuisine. The restaurant was highly recommended by Dali Hotel owner where we stayed the night before. In fact we ate three meals at this restaurant. Dinner the night before, lunch and dinner today.

Colourful table clothes – Thymalos Restaurant

Colourful table clothes – Thymalos Restaurant

One of my friends liked the seafood served at the restaurant very much so as per her request we came back to the same restaurant three times in a row. The food tasted fine to me, nothing fantastic though. Anyway my husband and I were not so into seafood. I actually enjoyed the decoration of the restaurant more than the food.

Thymalos Restaurant at the Port

Thymalos Restaurant at the Port

Tea break with a view 

After lunch we drove up Bochali hill again in search of the elusive cafe that was beside a church which overlooked the port of Zakynthos. This cafe was so much easier to find in the day time. Latas Cafe Bistrot was part of a small Greek village up Bochali Hill that had a panorama view of the port below.

Tea at Latas Cafe Bistrot

Tea at Latas Cafe Bistrot

Wow! I loved the view. It was such a shame that we could not find this cafe last evening because the night view would be absolute fantastic.

The Dali Hotel owner who told us about this place also said we must taste Zakynthos most savoury dessert at this cafe. So we ordered Frigania a local dessert. It was too sweet for me, luckily I did not have to finish the whole thing because I was sharing my dessert with my hubby.

Cafe latte and Frigania (local dessert)

Cafe latte and Frigania (local dessert)

The weather was cool and my cup of hot cafe latte tasted even better when enjoyed together with a great view of the port. We positioned our chairs nearer to a one foot high ledge that was just in front of us and used it to prop up our legs as we slouched low in our chairs. It was such a wonderful and lazy afternoon, cool air, warm sunshine, sweet dessert, aromatic cafe latte and beautiful view, great companies….life was great!

Zakynthos Port as viewed from Bochali Hill

Zakynthos Port as viewed from Bochali Hill

Accommodation for the Night

Our ferry finally docked at Poros, one of the ports in Kefalonia Island at 11 pm. By the time we drove out of the port it was already 11.20 pm and we headed straight to Dioni Apartments about 1 km away. Though it was late at night we did not have any problem finding the hotel as we had both google map and the hotel co-ordinates. It was dark but we could see the hotel clearly and it looked pleasant.

Day view of Dioni Apartments

Day view of Dioni Apartments

The hotel door was opened by a middle age man in workman clothes. I was rather surprised and when we entered the hotel we saw that the whole ground level was under renovation. The receptionist counter was partially dismantled, the dining room wall was half hacked down and there were construction equipment lying around at the sides of the room. 

Wow! we did not expect this. Anyway it was too late to move onto another hotel, besides the “workman” told us he was expecting us. He led us to the 2nd level and show us one room. The room looked fine and clean so we decided to stay on. He brought us up the 3rd level for the second room. It looked like we were the only four customers in the entire hotel and I did not feel comfortable to have our rooms on different floors so I requested for the 2nd room to be on the 2nd level too. He said something which I could not hear clearly and then he shrugged his shoulders and said something like it was okay. He brought us to another room beside the first room on the 2nd level.

The second room was actually an apartment with bedroom, bathroom, balcony, small hall and kitchenette. He was probably trying to tell us that he did not have two double rooms on the same level. We could have the apartment as our second room with no extra charge.

The apartment was clean, nice and comfortable, the furnishing was homely and basic. The cost for both rooms was €35 per room with no breakfast.

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