What to See on a One Day Trip to Corfu, Greece

Achilion view
View of Corfu from the garden of the Achillion Palace


A few weeks ago, Pete and I boarded the Azamara Pursuit (A cruise ship with the Azamara cruise line, and yes they are Azamazing!)  and set off on a fabulous journey to the Greek islands.

This was our first visit to anywhere in Greece and we have to say we loved it. And our favorite place? You guessed it! Corfu!

Of all the islands we visited, we found Corfu the most enchanting.

Of course one day in Corfu is never enough however, if you choose a tour in the morning you still have all afternoon to do a ton of other fun things. Here is what we loved.

Achillion Palace
Achillion Palace

The Achillion Palace

Prior to coming to Corfu, Neither Pete nor I had ever heard of the Achillion Palace, nor had we heard about the lady who had it built, the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, nicknamed Sisi.

Sisi, a young, shy girl from Bavaria first visited the home of the 23 year of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria  in 1853 after his overbearing and oppressive mother had decided that he should marry Sisi’s sister.

This marriage was not to be however, as once Franz Joseph laid eyes on Sisi, he fell in love and defied his mother’s wishes stating that he would marry Sisi or not marry at all.

Sisi Statue
Statue of Empress Sisi

The two were married in April of 1854 and Sisi went from a relatively unstructured life in Bavaria to the highly regimented and suffocating life of the Hapsburg court.

Sisi was never allowed to raise her children as they were taken from her by her mother in law at their birth.

On a visit to Hungary in 1857, Sisi lost her daughter Sophie to illness. This caused even more stress and depression as she was then blamed for her daughter’s death by her mother in law who, by all accounts appears to have been a throughly hateful creature (my two cents).  Sisi never recovered from her grief.

Later Sisi gave birth to her only son Rudolf. Years later in what appeared to be a murder suicide, Rudolf and his lover were killed. This was a crushing blow to Sisi and left her in even deeper melancholy for the rest of her days.

Garden of Achillion
Garden of Achillion

According to our tour guide, Sisi’s health had never been good but after the severe oppression of her narcissistic mother in law and the loss of her children, Sisi’s physical and mental health declined further.

At the advice of her physician, Sisi came to Corfu for the climate which proved to be beneficial to her health.

Enchanted by the island, Sisi had the Achillion Palace built in 1890.

The palace is built on a hilltop and has sweeping views of the Mediterranean.

Statue in Achillion garden
Statues in the Achillion Garden

Achillion became her refuge from the court and her unhappy life.

The Palace itself is a whimsical blend of mythologies. It’s interior is richly painted with murals and decorated with cupids and other motifs.

The garden is small but lovely and has sitting areas where one can contemplate the sea, the mountains and the trees.

Sisi in mourning
Sisi in mourning dress

After a sad life, Sisi was murdered by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni who had decided that in order to be famous he would have to kill someone famous. Unfortunately the original target of his murderous plot was absent from Geneva the day he exercised his insane plan and he noticed Sisi and her entourage. Our tour guide told us that at that point he did not even know who she was, only that she was famous. He approached her in a friendly fashion and stabbed her garnering fame for a short time and becoming famous solely as a poster boy for Bedlam (Ok, I made that Bedlam part up but seriously, What a jerk!)

For awhile after the stabbing, Sisi appeared unharmed as the black garments that she wore since the death of her son hid the blood.

A short time later she fainted and a doctor was called. He arrived too late to save her.

Sisi's murderer
Sisi’s murderer, a ridiculous man known only for being a cowardly shit head

The palace itself is a thing of beauty and a snapshot into a long gone era.

The drive to the Achillion Palace is also very beautiful in that it winds around clusters of pine trees and sweeps of crystal blue Mediterranean.

It is a lovely tour and a beautiful way to spend a morning.

Fish plate ceramics
Gorgeous ceramic fish plate

Shopping in the City Center

Corfu’s old town/city center is beyond charming. The shops seem to burst their seams and spill their contents out into the streets. The street themselves are lined with marble stones creating an almost dreamlike beauty that leads you forward to the next little via or street filled with color and excitement.

Corfu old town
The Old Town of Corfu is beyond charming

Throughout the old town, look for fruit and vegetable markets. Follow your nose and the scent of lavender, it grows profusely in Greece and all kinds of lavender products are available. I picked up a couple of tiny bottles of lavender oil for relaxation. Ironically I paid over $50 for some scented oil on the ship but the little bottles I bought were 2 Euros each. Ok, now I know.

Fruit and vegetable market; Corfu
A fruit and vegetable market in Corfu
Fruit and vegetable market
More fruit. It is gorgeous here!

A great gift idea for all those people back home is packaged spices. They are authentic and take up very little room in your luggage. If you have people who love to cook, these little treasures are like bringing them an authentic Greek meal. I always pick up several packages of various spices when I go anywhere.


Greek food, I have discovered is one of my all time favorite cuisines. The rice dishes, the seasoned and grilled meats, the chick peas, cheeses and pastries Oh  My!

Chicken Souvlaki Spears
Chicken Souvlaki spears! YUM!

One of the signature dishes in Greece is Souvlaki which is another name for Shish Kabob. These are spiced perfectly and grilled to deliciousness over an open flame. To top it off they give you an aromatic rice dish or fries.

After a warm day of sight seeing, salty fries are the best.

Seasoned sausages
Deliciously seasoned sausages

I loved the food all over Greece. I had some of the most memorable meals there. Everything was fresh, creative and delicious. I think I might have to create a restaurant tour of Greece soon.

Hop On Hop Off
Hop On Hop Off Buses are so handy!

The Hop On Hop Off Bus

Corfu is lovely but if you only have a day, use the Hop On Hop Off buses. I love these buses. When new to a city I like to take this bus on a complete tour of the city to see what sites I might want to visit more closely later.

Then when you have determined what you want to see more of, board the bus and get off at the stops you want. When you are done, wait for the next bus and hop back on. This is an ingenious way to see so many things in a short time and it saves lots of wear and tear on the feet.

Mediterranean Corfu
Crystal blue Mediterranean


Corfu has a stunning coastline and spectacular beaches. If you go to the West side of the island you will find beautiful sandy beaches and if you go east, you will find pebbled beaches. Either way the water is crystal clear and impossibly blue.

Honestly there is so much to see in Corfu that a day is not enough. Pete and I do want to go back soon and spend more time.

However when you are on a cruise and only have a day, we found  this one to be really enjoyable.

So when you are ready to plan your cruise to Greece, Contact us! We found an amazing deal with Avoya Travel and Royal Caribbean and are going back next Summer. Perhaps you want to join us?  info@supersavvytravelers.com





Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Overview – May 19-26, 2019

Oasis of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas

We recently completed a fabulous cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which we boarded in Barcelona and took us to visit Palma De Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia/Cinque Terre, Civitavecchia, and Naples. In this video, Chris covers some of the highlights of our cruise and shows you some of the great features of the Oasis of the Seas! Click here for our video on Civitavecchia, the port of call for Rome.

The Viking Ultimate World Cruise


Imagine embarking on a 245-day long cruise that takes you to 59 countries and includes tours of 113 of the world’s greatest cities – more than most of us will visit in a lifetime! Well, Viking Ocean Cruises can now make this a reality for you on the Viking Sun, taking you on the world’s longest ocean cruise. The 2019-2020 Viking Ultimate World Cruise starts and ends in London and essentially takes you on a tour of the entire Western Hemisphere:

2019-2020 Viking Ultimate World Cruise Map
2019-2020 Viking Ultimate World Cruise Map

Prices start at $92,990 per person BUT this is a first-class cruise that includes:

  • Business Class air
  • Ground transfers to/from the ship; private car transfers for all guests on the 245-day Viking Ultimate World Cruise
  • All onboard gratuities and service fees
  • The Silver Spirits beverage package, including virtually all drinks on board
  • Complimentary VISA Service2
  • Free luggage shipping services for embarkation & disembarkation for all guests on 245-day Viking Ultimate World Cruise

Also, if you book by Dec. 31, 2018, you will receive:

  • $4,000 per person shore excursions credit, which can be used toward optional shore excursions or overland tours
  • $2,000 per person shipboard credit, which can be used toward spa services, onboard shops & beverages

Here’s a video overview of the Viking ocean cruise experience:

Contact us for more information on this unique experience!

The Phoenix City; Warsaw and Her Indomitable People

Old Town Warsaw
Old Town Warsaw

The Phoenix City; Warsaw and her Indomitable People

In July, 2013 my husband and I visited Warsaw,  Poland on a business trip.

Initially I was not super excited about seeing Poland in general because of what I had heard and seen on various travel sites and TV programs.

These programs portray a Poland whose  identity has been forced upon them by a vicious Nazi regime in World War II.

Before I visited, I had the impression that this was a country of emotionally crippled people who had somehow managed to struggle and squeak by after having most of their country destroyed by Hitler and his fascist cronies.

Old Town Warsaw
Old Town Warsaw

These programs portrayed a Poland that could never recover from the memory of the atrocities that were perpetrated on her and would likely be the victim of that trauma forever.

At least that is what I perceived and I think that most of the reason I felt that way was because of the huge focus placed on the Nazi and Soviet occupations. It was a time when far too many people were abused horribly and then lost their lives simply because of the whims of madmen.


Warsaw Uprising Monument
Warsaw Uprising Monument

I have studied the Nazi scourge, read the letters from Goebels and seen many documentaries on Goering, Hitler and other members of the regime.

It fascinates me in a weird way that that level of insanity can exist and I never cease to wonder how anyone can believe that acts of that nature could ever be considered right or just, or even a necessary evil.

It is a close up study of the complete psychosis of a group of individuals as well as the abject willingness of entire countries (with some very brave and stellar exceptions) to overlook atrocities of the most brutal nature being perpetrated on one’s neighbors.

It is difficult not to focus on something so horrible but, I have come to realize that the Polish people do not wish to be defined by their Nazi occupation nor do they wish to live forever as victims of unspeakable horrors.

In any case, as I flew into Warsaw, I was expecting to see a grey, discouraged city with really nothing to offer visitors but old horrific memories of what had happened to it and its people.

Happily, as my husband and his work buddy were driving us from the airport, we saw some vestiges of communist type blocks of flats, but they didn’t look that bad.

There were fields and parks which I did not expect and as we drove into the completely rebuilt old town, I was overwhelmed by its beauty.

During World War II, Warsaw was occupied by the Germans and the Soviet Union, both of which were hostile to Poland and wanted to eradicate it and its people.

The occupation which lasted almost 7 years was particularly brutal and many people were killed there in non military operations because they were targeted for destruction by the Nazi regime. Toward the end of the war, the people of the Jewish Ghetto staged an uprising.

Most of the Jewish Ghetto population was slated to be shipped off to the Treblinka extermination camp.  Rather than stand by and let this occur, a desperate uprising was staged by the Jews of the Ghetto.

Utilizing their underground system of tunnels and the sewers under Warsaw, they surged in and tried to take out the German occupiers. Unfortunately they were too few and too weak. The German army was well fed, well armed and too numerous.

Most of the Jews lost their lives.

Hitler was so furious about this uprising that he intentionally and meticulously destroyed 85% of the buildings in Warsaw, including the churches.

He used the few remaining resources he had to carry out this destruction and I am sure he thought that he had defeated the Poles forever.

After the smoke cleared, however, sparks of life started rising up from the ashes. Polish leaders declared a new purpose of rebuilding their capital city.

Brick by brick, the old town of Warsaw was painstakingly and lovingly rebuilt. Old drawings made by students were used to build the town back as closely as possible to the way it was before.

The ruins were sifted for remnants of recognizable elements which were then reused in the exact places they had been before. Out of the ruins, a new, Old Town grew and the rest of the city followed suit.

Warsaw Old Town
Warsaw Old Town Today

Arriving in this “Phoenix City” I was almost overcome with the beauty and pride that you could feel in every person you met. It emanated from every building and cobblestone in every street.

Warsaw is a city breathing with life and calm once again. There are magnificent parks and fountains. There are unbelievably beautiful town squares and tiny shops and apartments that seem to invite you inside.


Sweet Shop in Warsaw
Sweet Shop in Warsaw


The one exception that I found to this wondrous rebuilding and unwillingness to be dominated was a simple church on the edges of the old town. From the outside it looked as it probably has looked for centuries before the war.

Churches in Europe are generally repositories for the most glorious art works of their people  through the ages. Sadly, this church was one of the most heartbreaking victims of Nazi anger. As I entered this church, there was a lone nun in the corner.

The church was completely white and bare of the magnificent  art works that are found in churches all over Europe.

In place of those art works was a new sculpture of floating angel heads and on the wall next to the entrance, another sculpture and a large photo of the bombed out church just after it had been destroyed.

The conclusion that I came to was that the people of Warsaw had confronted a huge volume of death, ruin, terror  and destruction and confronted it all willingly in order to restore their lives.

But when it came to their beloved church, that had seen them through love, death, births, joy and sorrows together, they just didn’t have the heart to look too closely or restore it the same way.

It is spare and although it is clean and well  lit, it houses only a few pieces of art that appear to have the only purpose of filling the space.

The lonely nun sitting by the door had her eyes diverted perhaps in prayer, I am not sure.

Apparently it was not enough that Hitler and his band of merry lunatics terrorized and murdered men, women and children, destroyed all of their belongings and all of their families and friends and neighbors. But his parting shot was to turn around and crush their beloved church.

Hell is just not hot enough and eternity is just not long enough.

I sadly dropped a couple of Euros in the charity box and left.

Little Warsaw Street
Little Warsaw Street

Later that evening, as I was walking down one of the cobbled streets I heard someone practicing the piano. It sounded like he or she was working on one of Chopin’s Nocturnes.

The street was warm and the buildings rose up on both sides to cast some welcome shade.

The windows to the pianist’s apartment were open. The music flowed on the curtains that were caught up in the breeze which tried pull them from their curtain rods and carry them away.

It  flooded the street with calm and beauty and was, I believe, the true spirit of Warsaw, right then, just for a brief moment in time.

I sincerely hope that it was the daughter or son or granddaughter or grandson of one of Warsaw’s original inhabitants, thumbing his or her nose at madness and filling the city with light, love and music.

The next day, I rented a bicycle (This is the best way to get around any relatively flat city, I have found) and biked all over the newer section of the city.

It was a beautiful and thriving city humming with life. There were shopping districts and pubs and restaurants as well as lots of cars and giant busses rumbling over cobblestones.

(Here is a note: Take a bike helmet with you when you travel as you never know when you will get one with a rental and some of the streets in Warsaw were, well, let’s just say ” A little lively”!)

Chopin Museum
Hand written note from the Chopin Museum

After a longish bike ride, I found my way to the newly renovated Chopin Museum. It is a beautiful museum and not at all what I expected. It looks like a giant mansion. In fact, it is the Ostrogski Palace.

The Museum itself is not crammed to the rafters with all of Chopin’s belongings although it did have a cute sofa and tiny piano that had belonged to him or that he had played on.

Instead it is mostly an intimate collection of letters, postcards, paintings and drawings. It also contained an artfully created series of historical videos that included Chopin’s words, the words of those who loved him and lived with him and those who studied with him.

This gives the visitor a very intimate glimpse of what life at that time period was like.

Chopin mixed with royalty and all the celebrities of the day. He lived a magnificent life which was, unfortunately cut short by Tuberculosis with which he lived in weakness for years before his actual death.

As you watch these videos and listen to these words, Chopin’s beautiful piano creations are playing softly in the background.

It really does take you away to a distant time and place and for the time you are there, transports you into Chopin’s world.

I spent two hours there before I got really hungry and stumbled off looking for food.

In that time, I only saw half of the museum and wished I could have stayed longer. Instead, I went back to where I had chained up my bike only to find that I had chained my bike to itself and not the bike rack next to it. (Curse you jet lag!)

Fortunately no one had stolen it so I headed off back to the old town for a late lunch.

Bird in Warsaw
A Bird Visitor in Warsaw

Now! One of the greatest things about Poland is their special dish called pierogi. These are little meat dumplings that are cooked in whatever way you like. They can be steamed and soft, or fried and crispy or covered in sauce like big ravioli.

The ones I ordered were spiced meat and steamed. I had chosen a cafe that had outdoor seating on the sidewalk under large umbrellas so that you could eat and watch the people go by.

I ate my pierogi and watched the beautiful horse drawn carriage driven by one of the most beautiful young girls I had ever seen.

She was blond with a beautiful suntan and bright blue eyes. She guided the horses with a sure hand and her back straight as an arrow with eyes focused on the road ahead.

Other ladies and girls walked by arm in arm gently strolling on their way somewhere. Workmen would stop  their trucks, double parked in the narrow cobbled streets next to the little grocery store and run in to get a snack to take with them.

It was a charming picture of the gentle life of a city that had seen ruined lives and years of terror and loss only to be rebuilt into what the Poles and particularly the people of Warsaw really are, and that is gentle beautiful people with a spirit that can never be quelled.

This, I believe is the real Poland. After all of the pain and fear, these people seem to want you to know that that is not who they are.

They refuse to be defined by something that happened to them and they define themselves on their own terms and  in ways that they feel are important.

For this reason, Warsaw is one of my absolute favorite places to see and visit and the Polish people are some of my absolute favorite people. I wish them nothing but peace from this point on.

Obviously there is so much to Warsaw that I can’t even begin to tell it all. I was there for a day and a half and haven’t told you even a small portion of the wonderful things I experienced.

The only solution to this little problem is to go there yourselves and stay in the old town. Our hotel was the Mamaison La Regina and it was top notch and not too expensive. I recommend it whole heartedly. Go and enjoy!

Pete and I can book you the perfect trip to Warsaw and other nearby cities and countries in Europe. Contact us!

© 2024 Super Savvy Travelers, LLC