High above the coast, in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator, lies the deserted village of Old Perithia. This hidden treasure is the oldest surviving mountain village in Corfu and dates back to the mid 14th century. Old Perithia once had a population of around 1,200 people. It was originally built to provide a safe hideaway from pirate attacks but it’s inhabitants gradually left to find work in the fishing villages along the coast. A few remained, however, and several of the original 130 hand- built buildings have now been renovated.
Old Perithia is reached from the village of Loutses. A tarmac mountain road winds slowly through the olive groves and pine trees until you reach a small parking area at the edge of the village. Here you will see a large board containing information about the history of the village and it’s layout. Leaflets about the village are also available from the Old Merchant House. It is worth taking the trouble to study the information to make the most of your visit.
Old Perithia is surrounded by 8 churches, some of which are still in use. Cobbled pathways lead you down through the crumbling ruins and along tracks through old groves. It is a tranquil and beautiful setting and gives you a feel for what life must have been like in ancient times.
There are five excellent tavernas in Old Perithia and they will serve a delicious selection of authentic and traditional greek dishes. Locally made ginger beer is a popular choice of beverage, but the home made wines and selection of Corfu beers are also very tempting.
Chef Rick Stein chose the taverna ‘O Foros’ to feature in an episode from his mediterranean series. The owner Thomas will give you a warm welcome and help you to choose a selection of dishes from his menu.
We highly recommend a visit to Old Perithia whilst you are in Corfu. Springtime is particularly lovely as the area is carpeted with wild flowers and the smell of fresh, wild herbs hangs in the air.