The whitewashed Vlacherna monastery is situated on a small island south of Kanoni peninsula. Together with neighboring island Ponikonisi, are by far the most iconic landscapes on Corfu. To get to the monastery, you have to walk along the narrow jetty that connects the island with the peninsula. From the monastery there are lovely views over the bay and it is also a great spot to watch the planes fly at pretty low level to land at Corfu Airport. From the jetty you can catch a ferry to Pontikonisi Island for about 2.50 euros.
The Holy Monastery is dedicated to Our Lady Vlacherna and dates back to the 17th century. The name “Vlaherena” or “Vlaherna” derived from a famous district of Constantinople where the homonymous byzantine monastery is built. The church is small with a tiled roof and a beautiful belfry with a triple storey spire which functions as the main entry to the church’s courtyard. In the courtyard, there is a small chapel with a wooden carved iconostasis and religious paintings around the walls. Directly opposite the door to the church, there is another door which opens to a small chamber, with just enough space for a tray where visitors can light a candle. There is also a gift shop selling religious pictures and the usual “tourist treats”. In 1799, the monastery belonged to Halikiopoulos-Mantzaros family and was in use until 1980. It was previously occupied by nuns, who have left, leaving only one nun remaining. The quaint church is now used for celebrations and as a tourist attraction.
It is the placement of the monastery right on the ocean, the beauty of location and nature that makes this a very special place to visit. The best views are from Kanoni Hill Viewpoint. To get there, take the bus from V. Dousmani in Corfu Old Town and get off at the end of the route. The monastery also featured as a small part in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only” which starred Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet. Vlacherna monastery is open to visitors and entry is free. The Holy Monastery celebrates on July 2.