Spark your Curiosity at these 5 Stunning Shipwrecks
While people flock to the coast to stroll along the beach, a few special seaside destinations are also home to surprisingly photogenic shipwrecks with a unique and fascinating history. From smuggling expeditions gone wrong to sunken relics explored by only the most advanced divers, each one comes with its own compelling story about the clash between human ambition and the awe-inspiring power of the ocean. With two-thirds (66%) of US travelers saying that iconic landmarks are important and 83% saying beautiful natural scenery is important when deciding on their next destination, these striking locales deliver on both. If you want to take some surreal scenic snaps, Booking.com shares 5 destinations to get you up close and personal with the intriguing stories behind these curious and beautiful shipwrecks as and when it becomes safe to do so again.
Located right on the sandy beach at Valtaki, the Dimitrios shipwreck is easily accessed by a scenic drive along the coast from Gythio and is loved by locals for its gorgeous location. You don't need scuba gear to visit this shipwreck, so it is perfect for adventurers of all ages. The rusty ship has been stranded in the shallow waters since 1981, when it is rumored that the port authorities seized it for alleged cigarette smuggling. Today, visitors can walk right up to the shipwreck as the surrounding waters are both crystal clear and shallow.
Where to stay: Overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean, Niriides Resort is a traditional Greek getaway. The apartments are just a short drive from the center of Gythio, where you can find a multitude of local taverns serving fresh seafood. The archaeological site of Mystras is a 45-minute drive in the direction of Sparta and definitely worth a visit as the stunning former Byzantine capital is filled with the medieval ruins of palaces, monasteries and churches.
The MV Plassey steam trawler was shipwrecked on Inis Oirr coast in 1960 after a brave fight with the strong Atlantic Ocean waves and fierce winds blowing inwards toward land. The Plassey was carrying a cargo of whiskey, stained glass and yarn when the storm pushed it onto Finnis Rock. Luckily, the entire crew was rescued thanks to the assistance of friendly locals and the ship was washed off the rock several weeks later. The wreckage still remains, as well as photos and film footage of the rescue which can be viewed at Áras Éanna.
Where to stay: Sailing's Self Contained Rooms with Kitchen offers a bright, modern place to stay in Inisheer. The iconic Plassey shipwreck on the east coast of Inisheer is a short drive away from the accommodation, as is the colorful village of Doolin. Doolin is also a great base to explore the majestic Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most popular destinations, known for its breathtaking coastal vistas.
Roatán sits on the second largest barrier reef in the world and has been highly recommended by Booking.com travelers for diving and snorkeling. It’s also home to the Odyssey Wreck, one of the Caribbean’s largest submerged shipwrecks. As with many shipwrecks in Roatán, this wreckage was intentionally sunk in 2002 for scuba divers to explore and take stunning underwater photos. Before undertaking this thrill seeking dive, it is highly recommended to have a shipwreck diving certification before attempting. Another popular shipwreck in Roatán for those with scuba training is the El Aguila. While carrying a large cargo of concrete, this 250 ft long ship sank near Utila. The ship was later broken into three pieces, brought to Roatán by Anthony’s Key Resort in 1997 and sunk again in 100 feet of water for divers to enjoy.
Where to stay: Located in Sandy Bay in Roatán, Tranquilseas Eco Lodge & Dive Center offers spectacular views of the sea. Play in the games room, indulge in the on-site bar and restaurant or relax at the outdoor pool and spa center after your day of adventure. Popular activities are also on offer among the guests, including table tennis, snorkeling, diving, and fishing.
Hawaii's smallest inhabited island serves as the perfect secluded escape, with snorkeling tours on offer. Home to dozens of shipwrecks along its shores, the six mile Kaiolohia (Shipwreck) Beach is about a 45-minute drive from Lanai City. The beach is not ideal for swimming, as there are strong currents in the area and the ocean bottom is too rocky. However, this doesn’t stop visitors from flocking there to admire one of the most popular shipwrecks on the island, the imposing YOGN-42, a WWII fuel tanker resting just 650 feet off the northern coast. To reach Shipwreck Beach, you take a dirt road and then enjoy a short, scenic hike. If you want to explore more of the pristine beaches and natural wonders of Lanai, a 4WD vehicle is the way to go.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Lanai City, Hotel Lanai is a historic property set amongst the mountains and surrounded by towering pine trees. Built in 1923, this is the island’s oldest hotel and effectively blends modern design with a traditional Polynesian aesthetic. This minimalist accommodation also provides scenic views of the tranquil gardens.
Originally built in 1905 to be used as an ocean liner, the SS Mahero served as a hospital ship during World War I. At the end of the war, the ship returned to carry passengers again, until it was hit by a cyclone and washed up on the shore of Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. At present, the shell of the wreckage is a popular tourist attraction and one of the island’s most visited places. The UNESCO-listed Fraser island is home to stunning beaches, lush forests and unique wildlife, including dingos (Australia’s wild dogs). The best way to explore the island’s natural attractions is to rent a 4WD vehicle, as the islands’ roads are bogged in sand.
Where to stay: Offering a garden with beach views, The Beachcamp Eco Retreat is a unique glamping accommodation in Second Valley Eurong on Fraser Island, accessible only by 4WD vehicle. Right next to the amazing 75 mile beach on K’gari, this environmentally responsible property runs its water and electricity on solar power.
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*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 47,728 respondents across 28 markets (1,997 from USA, 1,987 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 1,996 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,994 from Australia, 985 from New Zealand, 1,993 from Spain, 1,993 from Italy, 1,993 from France, 1,984 from UK, 1,989 from Germany, 1,977 from Netherlands, 983 from Denmark, 986 from Sweden, 998 from Croatia, 1,997 from Russia, 999 from Israel, 1,997 from India, 1,992 from China, 991 from Hong Kong, 1,991 from Thailand, 1,977 from Singapore, 998 from Taiwan, 953 from Vietnam, 1,990 from South Korea, 1,987 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in November 2020.