Leave the mainland behind and catch the ferry to Corfu (Kerkira
), the Ionian island heaving with heritage and unexplored corners. One of its best kept secrets is Paleá Perithia, a sleepy spot on the northern slopes of Mount Pandokrátor and the oldest permanently inhabited village on Corfu. Built in the 14th
century but with roots dating as far back as 500BC, the somnolent village is made up of mostly abandoned buildings that are slowly being restored, but the locals aren’t in any rush – they even refer to their home as ‘the place where time doesn’t fly’. Adopt their laidback approach and take your time to wander the cobbled streets, peeking into churches and lingering over lunch at one of the family-run tavernas.
Stay at the authentic Merchant’s House
, the characterful B&B that was painstakingly restored to blend with its centuries-old surroundings, by friendly owners Saskia and Mark, who will be delighted to share their stories and knowledge with you. Take breakfast on the shaded terrace and then, when the lure of Corfu’s beaches is all too irresistible, make for Agios Spyridon – Gerald Durrell’s favourite, which he referred to as ‘the beach of white lilies’ – or the pebbled and more exclusive Kerasia. In the evening, gaze up at a canopy of stars and listen to the sounds of resident owls and crickets.