Few holiday visitors will be able to resist getting their cameras at the ready on a boat trip to the Blue Caves of Zante, one of the most popular excursion sights in the Ionian.
The Blue Caves are so called because of the extraordinary blue colours of the sea throughout the natural sea cave complex located at the cliffs of Cape Skinari on the north coast of the island.
Here the seas have carved impressive arches and caves from the soft white limestone, some so large that small boats can sail inside with ease.
Nowadays the caves are alive with daily excursion boats that take holiday visitors through the complex to view the dazzling blue seas and the dramatic white cliffs.
When seas are calm the bright sunlight is reflected off the white pebbles on the sea floor to create an ethereal azure seascape that few will forget.
Boat cruises to the Blue Caves are advertised across Zante, from the heaving tourist resort of Laganas to the small port of Agios Nikolaos which is closest to the caves.
Agios Nikolaos is one of the most popular departure points for the Blue Caves of Zante, not only because the sea trip is the shortest but also because the smaller cruise boats can make their way deep inside the biggest caves.
The biggest of the caves is the Blue Grotto, known locally as Kianoun, and once inside, boat captains allow visitors to take a dip in the clear blue waters.
Scuba diving is particularly popular here, not only because of the crystal clear water but also the varied marine life that can be observed.
Inside the caves, underwater divers can enjoy the shafts of bright sunlight that filter down through the blue in a ethereal dreamlike seascape.
The caves first became popular at the end of the 19th century and the Blue Caves have attracted sightseers ever since. Many excursion boats combine a tour of the Blue Caves with a visit to Navagio Bay, only few minutes away, and famous for its great cliffs and a shipwreck on the beach.