The Achilleion Palace

The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

The Achilleion Palace on CorfuThe Achilleion Palace

For the culture-loving and history-loving visitor to Corfu, the first stopping off point south of Corfu Town is the Achilleion Palace. It’s not to everyone’s taste with its mish-mash of styles, but you cannot deny that it is unique. It was also ‘a monstrous building’, according to the British writer Lawrence Durrell, who grew up on Corfu with his brother Gerald, the naturalist and writer.

The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu, and it is easy to see why. The main house is an impressive white and cream building sitting on top of a hill, there are some fascinating historical artifacts inside, and the gardens with their collection of statuary and fine views over the coast top off an enjoyable visit.

The Achilleion Palace on CorfuThe Achilleion Palace

The Dying of Achilles

The most impressive statue is The Dying of Achilles, a colossal work that dominates the far end of the gardens. The house takes its name from Achilles, who in Greek mythology was the greatest of all warriors and whose mother had made him immortal by dipping him into the waters of the River Styx. He was immortal, of course, except for the heel by which his mother had lowered him into the water: the Achilles heel.

History of the Achilleion Palace

The story of Achilles became an obsession of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, for whom the Palace was built as a summer home in 1890-91. There are statues of Achilles dotted around the grounds and paintings of him inside the house, and if she were still alive today no doubt she would be using an Achilles mouse mat.

Tip!

There isn't a car park so park by the roadside where you can, but preferably well away from the entrance as tour buses often park here and can make turning and leaving difficult.

The Palace was partly planned for Elizabeth to retreat to, to take her mind off the political upheavals of the Hapsburg Court, and her personal problems back in Austria. She only got a few years of solace here, though, as she died in 1898, assassinated by an Italian anarchist, which perhaps helps explain why there is an air of sadness and melancholy lingering in the house.

The Achilleion Palace Today

The ground floor is now open as a museum, with a small but enjoyable enough collection of paintings, smaller statues, furniture, costumes and personal items from the Palace's past. It has certainly had a colourful history since the Empress passed on, having been used among other things as a hospital during World War I, as a location for the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only and until 1997 the site of the island's only casino.

Tip!

The Palace is immensely popular with coach parties so if you prefer to visit at quieter times try to get there soon after it opens. Few coach parties make it that early!

Achilleion Palace Gardens

Today the gardens are perhaps its best feature, being attractive and well-maintained with palm trees, roses, prickly pears, callow lilies and many more plants and trees. And at the end there is that splendid view, looking down from some 152 meters (500 feet) above the sea. No wonder everyone poses for photos here, beneath the watchful eye of Achilles.

More Information on the Achilleion Palace

Visit the Achilleion Palace website.

Where to Stay on Corfu



Other Corfu pages

  • Mount Pantokrátor

    Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

  • Kalámi

    Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

  • Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Corfu Olives

    Corfu olives are an important part of this Greek island's economy, with an estimated 3-4 million trees producing olive oil of exceptional quality.

  • Southern Corfu

    Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

  • Corfu Wildlife

    Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

  • Corfu and Cricket

    The history of Corfu and cricket goes back to 1823 when the island was under British rule, which left them with a legacy of loving both cricket and ginger beer.

  • Corfu Writers and Artists

    Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.

  • Northern Corfu

    Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

  • Northern Corfu Drive

    There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.

  • Drive to Palaiokastrítsa

    This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

  • Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • Where to Eat in North-West Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

  • Visiting Albania from Corfu

    Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.

  • Corfu Festivals and Events

    Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

  • The Corfu Trail

    The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

  • Paleokastritsa, Corfu

    Paleokastritsa is on the west coast of Corfu and is one of the most popular holiday spots. This page gives information on beaches, boat trips, weather and map.

  • Corfu

    Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

  • Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Two Corfu Saints

    The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

  • Corfu Climate: Sun, Rain, Winds

    The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

  • Best Things to Do on Corfu

    The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

  • Corfu Offshore Islands

    There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

  • A Lawrence Durrell Walk

    This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

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