Last updated on September 12th, 2019 at 10:00 am
Mouse Island (Pontikonisi)
Everybody knows the picturesque Mouse island or Pontikonisi as the locals call it, at the entrance of Gulf of Halikiopoulos, front of the airport runway, along with the neighboring Vlacherna.
It is the most characteristic landscape of Corfu.
On the top of this tiny rocky islet, there is the 11th century Byzantine Church of Pantokrator surrounded by dense vegetation.
It is the first thing that every new visitor sees when approaching Corfu airport, it sits literally in the geographical center of the island, very close to the town, between Kanoni peninsula, Perama, and Benitses
Due to the fact that Pantokrator church was actually a monastery with monks, typically visits for the monastery are restricted except only at the 6th of August, when the Church is celebrating.
The rest of the island thought can be visited at any time as from the beach below Kanoni and the Vlacherna island, several small boats sail there regularly.
The name probably came from the size and especially the shape of the island as it looks from above, although in our opinion the island even with a large dose of imagination does not look at all like a mouse.
Another theory says that at the 11th century in the monastery there were many monks from Pontos area, so in the beginning, the name was Pontonisi that transformed to Pontikonisi, this sounds more convincing about the origin of the name.
The island also resembles a boat, so the following mythological approach suits nicely.
Homer tells in Odyssey, that Phaecians (The ancient Corfiots) helped Odysseus (Ulysses) to return home to Ithaca transferring him there with one of their boats, the gods became displeased by this and transformed the returning ship into stone when it entered the port and before the sailors could disembark.
This petrified boat according to Greek mythology is the Mouse Island.
However mythology is not reality, Pontikonisi along with the next to it Vlacherna which is a flat tiny islet connected with the land via a small bridge, is extremely picturesque and together with the surroundings is the most known scene that since many decades identifies Corfu worldwide.
It is a small islet opposite Pontikonisi and it is connected with Kanoni via a 300 meters small walk-path.
On Vlacherna islet there is a Church with a nice high bell tower, devoted to Virgin Mary, constructed in the 17th century as a replica and named after Panagia Vlacherna in Constantinople.
The Church has an impressive woodcut temple and beautiful frescoes inside.
Vlacherna islet is small, only about half the size of Mouse island but it looks about the same because most photos are taken from Kanoni with which is closer.