Monastery of Palaiokastritsa
The Paleokastritsa Monastery is one of the oldest in Corfu, dating to 1225, although much of today’s building was built during the 18th century. It spreads over two levels and is a typical example of Greek monastic architecture. On the lower level, there is a flower-filled garden with arches that resemble a tunnel, a traditional oil press and a small shop with religious memorabilia and products on sale made by the monks. The upper level is dominated by the church which is dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary. In the center of the courtyard, you can find a well where according to local legends people who toss a coin into it will one day return to Corfu. The monastery complex houses a small museum which hosts remarkable byzantine and post byzantine icons, precious relics and several other ecclesiastical objects. There is also a massive skeleton of a whale, which is said to have been killed by a fisherman in the 19th century. The monk cells are also on the upper level but are not accessible to visitors.
The monastery is located on top of a small hill towards the north west of Corfu Island, facing the deep blue waters of Palaiokastritsa Bay. It is a lovely, calm and peaceful place just 25 km away from Corfu Town. It offers sweeping views of the ocean and prime photo opportunities. There is no official admission charge but donations are welcomed. It is important to dress appropriately and respectfully when entering the complex. If your shorts are above the knee, skirts and scarfs are provided at the entrance. The monastery is just a short drive or walk from Paleokastritsa beach through a steep and narrow road with tall cypress and olive trees on both sides. The road is controlled by traffic lights and there is a limited parking at the top but in busy periods these will go fast. Pedestrians and vehicles share the road, so action should be taken.
Set on a lush hill above the beach and surrounded by sheer cliffs and pretty bays, a visit to this monastery is a must. Visit this monastery to admire some masterpieces of monastic architecture, experience the traditional life of Greek monks, light a candle and enjoy some great views of the spectacular coastline.