Located extremely closely to the secluded village of Gastouri, a few kilometers away from Corfu Town, the Achillion Palace draws huge flows of tourists in the central area of the island of Corfu, being just as valuable as the Archeological Museum or the Esplanade, for instance, in terms of the ability to appeal to tourists. Its magnetism is explained by the origin of the establishment, initially built by an Italian architect upon the command of Empress Sissy in 1890 as a place of retreat for this controversial historic figure.
Given her passion and admiration for the Greek mythology, the empress decided to name the palace Achillion in the honor of Achilles, the renowned mythical hero who had allegedly fought in the Trojan War, and to populate the building and its surroundings with a plethora of statues representing sundry other mythological and historical Greek and Roman figures. Even if the empress as such did not get to enjoy her retreat as much as expected – she was murdered eight years later – her mark on the place is represented by the fact that the establishment is piled with statues, a feature deemed rather kitschy by certain advised characters, such as Lawrence Durrell, the famous novelist, brother of the even more famous Gerard Durrell.
Another feature to draw hostile comments as to the artistic qualities of the Achillion Palace is represented by the fact that the style itself in which the establishment was built is uncertain and difficult to qualify. Despite all these aspects, the garden pertaining to the establishment – which is located 150 meters above sea level – is said to offer a spectacular view of the coast, overlooking the stunning sea scenery. The Kaiser’s Bridge – built when Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany bought the Achillion subsequently to the murder of Sissy in order to ease his access to the establishment – or, better yet, its remains, can also be admired from the gardens. All in all, the Achillion, as controversial as it might be in regard of its artistic and architectural merits, remains one of the undeniable major tourist attractions of the region and of the entire island of Corfu, for that matter.
Located only 45 minutes from Corfu Town there lays the resort of Messongi (or Messonghi). Apollon Palace and Messongi Beach Hotel are the most known hotels.
Undeniably, the Paleokatritsa Beach (also called the Paleokastritsa Xenia) is the star of the northern beaches of Corfu.
Solomos Museum of Corfu is consigned to honoring the life and work of Dionysios Solomos, the national poet of Greece, who produced the national anthem.