Corfu is an island full of surprises with hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. This tour is ideal for those who seek to explore the island’s royal side by visiting three of the most beautiful and historically significant palaces in Greece.
Our first stop is Achilleion Palace in Gastouri.
This is the property that Empress Elizabeth of Austria (Sisi) fell in love with and decided to purchase it and build her summer palace. The palace was designed by Italian architect Raffaele Carito with influences like the platonic romanticism and escapism and had as its central theme Achilles from the Greek mythology. The centerpiece of the palace is the sculpture of Dying Achilles, created by the German sculptor Ernst Herter. After the death of Elizabeth, the palace was bought by Kaizer Wilhelm II, during World War I and World War II it was used as a military hospital and military headquarters respectively. Later it was operating as a casino and this is where the casino scene from the James Bond movie “For your eyes only” in 1981 was filmed.
Our next stop is the Mon Repos palace in Paleopolis.
Mon Repos is included in the archaological site of Paleopolis, which means old city in Greek. The traces of Palaiopoli date back to the 8th century B.C. and right next from the Mon Repos estate once can find the Ancient Market ruins opposite the Neratzicha Tower ruins. Inside the Mon Repos estate there is the Mon Repos palace which is now operating as the museum of Paleopolis. Originally a villa built from by the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian islands, Frederick Adam, Mon Repos was acquired in 1864 (after the union of the Ionian islands with Greece) by King George I. It was used as a summer residence of the Greek Royal family up until the exile of King Constantine the II, the last King of Greece.
Many Royal births took place in Mon Repos, including the birth of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1921.
Our third stop is the St. Michael and St.George in Corfu Town.
The palace was completed in 1824 and it was built by the British High Commissioner of the Ionian islands, Sir Thomas Maitland. Designed in the Greek Revival style of the neoclassical architecture, the palace was acquired by the Royal family of Greece after the union in 1864. It served as a Royal residence until World War II. Today, it houses the Museum of Asian Art. The museum has an impressive collection of more than 15.000 Chinese, Japanese and Indian objects and sculptures. Behind the palace, there is a beautiful garden with amazing views of Vido island, the northeastern part of Corfu, the Greek Mainland and Albania. The garden was named “Garden of the people” following the end of the Greek Monarchy.
After travelling in time and witnessing the richness of Corfu, our final stop is a cafe in one of the most picturesque neighborhouds of Corfu town. Here, a light lunch is served with traditional Corfiot products accompanied by local aperitifs in order to get a whole taste of Corfu.