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‘Last chance’ to save top European attraction on one of world’s best beaches at risk of being destroyed

‘Last chance’ to save top European attraction on one of world’s best beaches at risk of being destroyed

It's at risk of being washed away, officials warn

It's visited by thousands of people every year, but one of Europe's most popular beaches with an iconic shipwreck remains closed.

Worries now rest on the future of the shipwreck, with the local mayor saying we're now in 'last chance' territory to save what is left.

Following news that the Canary Islands are 'facing collapse' due to the influx of tourists, it's the latest reminder of how fragile holiday hotspots can be.

The Greek government confirmed a ban on entering Navagio Beach in Zante (Zakynthos) has been extended in to 2024.

The tiny pocket of sand has become one of the country's most popular destinations due to it being the site of a famous shipwreck, with Brits loving the location.

But seismic activity and landslide worries mean that the beach has had to be closed off.

The Greek Ministry of Tourism revealed that an inspection in March last year said there was a significant risk of landslides due to strong erosion on the surrounding slopes.

The shipwreck, the MV Panagiotis, was beached back in 1980.

It's remained in place ever since but the recent stormy weather has seen parts of the wreckage washed away, according to local press.

Images from the site show just how much the ship has fallen apart in the last decade.

Pressure is now mounting for local authorities to protect what is left.

Zakynthos Mayor Giorgos Stasinopoulos told state broadcaster ERT: "It’s time for the municipality to manage this particular spot. The ship is disappearing; it’s the last chance to save what’s left."

Back in 2018, Navagio Beach - also called Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers’ Cove - saw seven people, including two children, injured after part of the 200-metre high cliff collapsed on to the beach. The beach was temporarily closed as a result.

Navagio Beach.
Artur Debat/Getty

And two years ago, there was a large land landslide after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that closed the beach again.

While the beach still remains closed, boats have still been able to moor close to the shore to allow tourists to take photos of the wreck.

Vessels took tourists into a designated area in the bay for just 20 minutes per boat, starting at 8am and until 3.30pm.

Navagio Beach.
Stefan Cristian Cioata/Getty

Tourists cannot swim at the site as it is forbidden under the rules of the closure.

Mayor Stasinopoulos has also recommended controlling how many globetrotters can access the beach, which hasn't been taken up by the authorities just yet.

But we wont be surprised if something drastic happens very soon given the dire situation the wreckage faces.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Travel, World News, News, Environment