Perithia at Corfu – Perithia, Greece - Atlas Obscura
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Perithia, Greece

Perithia at Corfu

The ghost town where the villagers refuse to leave. 

If you’re looking for Perithia, you’ll have to be clear on which Perithia you’re looking for…the new one, or the abandoned one?

On the Greek island of Corfu, the “new” Perithia can easily be located on a main coastal road. The village has the earmarks of a traditional Greek village; taverns, an olive press, busy butchers in their stained smocks and a delightful ice cream shop that comes highly recommended–but if your interests lie in exploring instead of ice cream, you’ll want to keep moving up toward Mount Pantokratora and on to the ancient ruins of Palea Perithia, also known as Old Perithia.

Old Perithia is an enchanting anomaly. One of the oldest permanently inhabited villages on the island, Perithia was built in Byzantine times, around the 14th century. Looking out at the sea with the majestic Mount Pantokratora at its back, this was once the most pleasant place on the island, and even as the ancient buildings crumble, it’s still in the running. It was the wealthiest village on the island as well, a scenic, vine-filled sanctuary where sheep covered the hills, churches dotted the landscape, and disadvantaged pirates wisely ignored due to the unfavorable vantage.

While its population has dwindled from 1,200 to just a fraction of that, to call it “abandoned” is obviously inaccurate. There are still villagers, an operating tavern, and even a bed & breakfast to demonstrate that the heart of old Perithia still beats. However, the majority of the buildings didn’t get the memo. Seven centuries in and crumbling, they can only be described as ruins, and although not technically “deserted,” it is still easily identifiable as a ghost town. 

A location too ideal to allow nature to reclaim, the village is slowly but surely being restored, but the villagers aren’t in too much of a hurry. In fact, they pride themselves on being the place where “time doesn’t fly”. Clearly they know that even in ruins, Old Perithia is the place to be.

Know Before You Go

In northern Corfu8 km. from the area of Kassiopi, approximately in the middle of Mount Pantocrator.