Discover the rich history of Achilleion Palace, a true gem of Corfu. Explore its storied past, from its creation by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, through its use in both world wars, to its current status as a museum. This architectural masterpiece tells a tale of timeless elegance, royal desires, and cultural transformations.


Corfu has a rich history and culture, with numerous landmarks that reflect its unique identity. One such landmark is the Achilleion Palace, a beautiful building located on the outskirts of Corfu town. Built in 1890 as a private refuge for Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the palace is a fascinating historical and cultural landmark that has undergone numerous transformations throughout its existence. In this blog post, we will explore the history and evolution of Achilleion Palace in Corfu, from its initial construction to its current state as a popular tourist attraction.

Early 1890’s

In the early 1890s, Empress Elisabeth of Austria visited Corfu and was captivated by its natural beauty. She decided to build a palace on the island as a private refuge for her and her family. The Achilleion Palace was designed in a neoclassical style, with ornate gardens and lavish interiors. The palace was named after the mythical Greek hero Achilles, who was said to have lived on the island of Corfu.

After Elisabeth’s death

Following Elisabeth’s death in 1898, the palace was acquired by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who made significant changes and renovations to the building. One of his major changes was the move of the statue of the ‘Dying Achilles’ to the palace’s gardens. He also made extensive renovations to the gardens themselves, adding new features and restoring old ones.

War Period

During WWI and WWII, the Achilleion Palace served as a military hospital and headquarters. Despite this, the palace was still subject to looting and pillaging, with many statues and other valuable items being stolen from the grounds. In the years following the wars, the palace fell into disrepair due to a lack of funds for restoration and repairs.

Mid-20th century

In the mid-20th century, the palace was used for technical education purposes, with some of its rooms being converted into classrooms and laboratories. However, this only further contributed to its neglect and decay. In the 1990s, the palace was declared a national monument, and restoration efforts began in earnest to restore its former glory.


Today, the Achilleion Palace is a popular tourist attraction and cultural center in Corfu. It is under heavy renovation to restore its gardens and buildings to their original grandeur and it is not yet completely open to the public. Visitors can explore the palace’s grand rooms, admire its stunning architecture and design, and learn about its fascinating history through informative exhibits and guided tours.


From its origins as a private refuge for Empress Elisabeth of Austria to its current state as a popular tourist attraction, the Achilleion Palace has had a rich and varied history. Its transformation over the years reflects the changing cultural landscape of Corfu and its enduring legacy as a symbol of elegance and beauty. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking to admire stunning architecture, a visit to Achilleion Palace is a must when in Corfu.

So, make sure to add it to your list of things to do and see in this beautiful Greek island. With its fascinating history and breathtaking surroundings, the Achilleion Palace is truly a gem of Corfu that should not be missed.