Kanoni

The suburb of Kanoni was once one of the world's great beauty spots, made famous by countless pictures. Today the landscape has been engulfed by development and a coffee bar has laid claim to the best spot to take in the legendary and still-lovely view, which looks out over two beautiful islets. If you truly want to commune with nature, visit the lush and lovely seaside gardens surrounding the country palace of Mon Repos.

Kanoni's famed vistas encompass the open sea separated by a long, narrow causeway that defines the lagoon of Halikiopoulou, with the intensely green slopes of Mt. Agii Deka as a backdrop. A shorter breakwater leads to the white convent of Moni Vlaherena on a tiny islet—one of the most picturesque islets in all of Greece and the one pictured on nearly all postcards of Mouse Island. However, it is the tiny island beyond that islet—the one in the middle of the lake with the tall cypresses—that is Pontikonisi, or Mouse Island, a rock rising dramatically from the clear water and topped by a tiny 13th-century chapel. Legend has it that the island is really Odysseus's ship, which an enraged Poseidon turned to stone: the reason why Homer's much-traveled hero was shipwrecked on Phaeacia (Corfu) in The Odyssey. From June through August a boat service runs out to Pontikonisi. Keep in mind, though, that while the view of the islets has sold a thousand postcards, the view from the islets (looking back at Corfu) is that of a hilly landscape built up with resort hotels and summer homes and of the adjacent airport, where planes take off directly over the churches.

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