Last updated on February 14th, 2021 at 12:56 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.
Mouse island 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
On the top of this tiny rocky islet, there is the 11th century Byzantine Church of Pantokrator surrounded by dense vegetation, It takes some effort to climb the many steps needed to reach the monastery.
Due to the fact that Pantokrator church was actually a monastery with monks, visits to the monastery are restricted except only on the 6th of August, when the Church is celebrating.
But in reality, the church remains open to the public all year round. The rest of the island can be visited too at any time via some small boats that sail regularly from the beach below Kanoni and the Vlacherna island.
Today, there are no monks living there, but the gentle staff of a small cafe bar that is on the island. These can be considered as the only residents of Pontikonisi.
This tiny island is a peaceful place, full of greenery and an ideal spot to relax for a couple of hours. Τhe ticket for the boat to take you there cost no more than 2€
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 in the 11th century in the monastery there were many monks from the Pontos area, so in the beginning, the name was Pontonisi that transformed to Pontikonisi, 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.