The Legend of Mouse Island, Corfu



Pontikonisi (CC0 Creative Commons).

Pontikonisi, also known as “Mouse Island”, is a Greek islet located at the entrance of Halkiopoulos lagoon, opposite to the airport area in Corfu. The islet is better-known for hosting the Byzantine chapel of Pantokrator, dating back to the 11th century and only open to visitors every year on August 6.

Pontikonisi has a rich legend that not every visitor is aware of.

Pontikonisi (Image source: Sascha Askani, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

According to the legend, Pontikonissi was Ulysses’ ship, the vessel that brought the legendary king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey to the island of the Phaeacians. It was during a terrible storm that the boat was washed out on the shores of the island, and god Poseidon turned his boat into this green rock, giving it his name.

Pontikonisi, Corfu (CC0 Creative Commons).

Others say that the island got its name because when seen from above, it looks like a mouse.

This tiny green island is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Corfu even if visits are restricted. Tourists enjoy the best views of Pontikonisi from the Panagia Vlacherna, a church and monastery located on the homonymous tiny islet which is linked to the land by a small bridge. This picturesque building was constructed in the 17th century and hosts impressive wooden decorations as well as an imposing bell tower.

Vlacherna Monastery (CC0 Creative Commons).