Achilleion is a palace built in Gastouri on the Island of Corfu for the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sisi. Elisabeth was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria following the Mayerling incident in 1889, and a year later she had this summer palace built as a refuge.

Achilleion is located about ten kilometres south of the city of Corfu and provides a panoramic view of the city to the north, and across the whole southern part of the island to the Ionian Sea.

The architectural style was designed to suggest an ancient palace of mythical Phaeacia. The motif centers on the hero Achilles of Greek mythology, from which the name is derived. Corfu was Elisabeth's favourite vacation destination and she wanted a palace to gratify her admiration for Greece, its language and its culture.

The property currently operates as a museum under the management of Hellenic Tourism Development Company, within the Greek National Tourism Organization.

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Founded: 1889
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Greece

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Luna Batota (2 years ago)
When we visited in May 2021, not much could be visited inside. Only the ground floor was accessible due to renovation works. Outside was definitely an added value (nice view) but we were a bit dissapointed... (FYI: entree fee was 10 euros)
Arthit Yodyunyong (2 years ago)
Easily the most visited place on Corfu. You can see a kilometer rows of cars parking on the road before the palace. The palace's not as grand as the one in Vienna so it was even more crowded. And don't expect to use a toilet here. the line was incredibly long. P.S. This was in 2018.
Станислав Ким (3 years ago)
It was hot and full of people, but nevertheless I like it very much
Olga Fedorchuk (3 years ago)
Something interesting, and very lite ... I would be a princess Sisi...
Pericles Papamichalis (3 years ago)
An elegant and beautiful little palace dedicated to Greek mythology and ancient culture. The centerpiece statue of Dying Achilles is a masterpiece depicting Achilles agonizing moment of trying to remove the poisoned arrow from his heel. The Gardens, decorated with the 9 Muses, 3 Graces, Apollo and Achilles two statues are stunning. Being at the top of the hill offers breathtaking views of the city of Corfu and the Ionian Sea.
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In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.

The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.

From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.

As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).

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Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.