How To Move Around In Athens
One good thing about living in Athens is that all the different neighborhoods are really well connected with the metro. Its effortless and fast to reach different corners of the city in virtually no time.
The metro system can easily take you to the town center, even from the international airport Eleftherios Venizelos. Its also possible to use the metro to reach the Port of Piraeus and board a ferry to one of the famous Greek islands.
The city also has an extensive bus network, and taxis are both convenient and safe to travel between Athens neighborhoods. Due to the crucial motorways that connect different areas outside the capital, its also straightforward to reach the southern suburbs by the sea and explore the Athenian Riviera.
Where To Stay In Athens Plus The Best Hotels In Athens
Guide To What’s Inside
Athens, the capital of Greece, is not only a fantastic European capital to visit, with all its monuments, archaeological sites, and museums. Its also a great place to live for longer periods too.
Digital nomads in Greece, remote workers, and full-time travelers that visit fall in love with Athens and often decide to spend longer than initially intended.
No matter whether youre visiting for a short time or youve decided to give life in Athens a try, this guide will walk you through the best places to stay and live in Athens.
In this article, I will tell you which are the best areas for night entertainment, top hotels in Athens, taverns, and the best places to go shopping. I will also discuss where not to stay in Athens, those places that are not so convenient, so that you have no doubts left about where you should stay the next time you stay in Athens.
Overview Of Where To Stay In Athens Greece
As I mentioned previously, Athens is Greeces capital and the largest city in the country. Its situated within the Attica Basin which is surrounded by large mountains and the Saronic Gulf.
The city was built during the 5th century BC, so has been around for over 5,000 years which is pretty impressive. That means there are plenty of incredible archaeological sites for you to visit, including the iconic Acropolis of course!
When deciding on where to stay in Athens, youll have an endless choice of neighborhoods. There are literally dozens of districts within the city center, and Id be here all day if I tried to name them!
Instead, this guide is going to go through 7 of the best areas to stay in Athens, and why each one is so popular.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when choosing where you want to stay, and that will include nearby attractions, transport links, dining options, and of course your budget.
Although Athens isnt cheap, its a lot less expensive than many other cities in Europe. Youll find that hotels are much more reasonably priced and food is cheaper than in many of the European capitals.
Youll even be able to get hotels with an Acropolis view for a great price!
Athens also has a brilliant metro system, so getting around the city is easy. There are metro stations located across the city, so youll likely be close to one, no matter where you decide to stay.
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Monastiraki The Heart Of The Ancient Bazaar
This central neighborhood owes its name to a small monastery overlooking the homonymous square. It is one of the favorite areas of international tourists thanks to both its proximity to the Acropolis and to Plaka neighborhood and to its vibrant and picturesque flea market offering any kind of products. Youll also find plenty of restaurants and cafés in its narrow streets, which make it a really nice area for your nights out.
Main points of interest:
- Flea market : the most picturesque market in Athens looks almost like a Middle Eastern bazaar
- Hadrians Library : the visit to the ruins of the ancient library is included in the combined ticket for the Acropolis
- Ancient Agora: the heart of local public life during ancient times
- Megali Metropolis : the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
- Mikri Metropolis : the byzantine church of St. Eleuthero is located close to the Metropolitan Cathedral
Closest metro station: Monastiraki
Who should choose Monastiraki: shopping-addicts, visitors loving vibrant and busy areas
Pros: central, picturesque and full of life
Cons: crowded and chaotic
Recommended hotels to stay in Monastiraki
Koukaki Where To Stay In Athens For Local Vibe
This is the university area of Athens, below the Acropolis, and largely residential. As a result, it is quieter than some other neighborhoods of the Greek capital. If you go to Philopappou Hill Park, you can expect some wonderful views over the city.
It is not an area where you can expect to find lots of hotels. However, there are rental apartments that offer you more independence as long as you are happy to eat out or self-cater.
If you want to get a flavor of Greek life, albeit, in a city, this is a district to investigate.
The main landmarks of Koukaki are the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum.
The National Museum of Contemporary Art is a former Fix brewery on Syngrou Ave, now displays works by Greek and international artists.
The Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum has 4,000 pieces of Lalaounis work, is an international center for the ancient art of goldsmithing and other traditional crafts, also a must-see attraction.
You can hike up Philopappos Hill to visit the Philopappos Monument and the prison of Socrates.
Enjoy the nightlife with a good selection of bars, restaurants, and traditional cafes at Geogaki Olympiou Street and Drakou Street.
It is close enough to the center of Athens that you can easily access its most important landmarks without making your base in a busy neighborhood.
Best Places to Stay in Athens in Koukaki:
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Where To Stay In Athens: Kolonaki
Great area for: Posh & Upscale Boutiques Residential Quiet and Convenient
If youre looking for something a little more upscale, consider staying in Kolonaki, a posh neighborhood with many ritzy boutiques and restaurants. If designer shops and posh cafés are your thing, Kolonaki is one of the best places to stay in Athens.
Kolonaki is a short 10- to 15- minute walk from Syntagma square, and around 2km from the Acropolis. If you do stay here, be sure to climb to the top of Lykavittos Hill for sweeping views over the entire city!
Closest Metro Station: Syntagma and Evangelismos.
Saint George Lycabettus If youd prefer a more traditional hotel in this neighborhood, the Saint George Lycabettus looks like a lovely option. Top points for a breakfast room overlooking the Acropolis, rooftop pool, on-site fitness centre, and sauna, hot tub and hammam! The rooms are contemporary and bright, with a slightly more traditional look to them and luxurious furnishings. 8/10 on Booking.com
Check Availability & Prices on
Where To Stay In Piraeus
Triton Hotel Piraeus This 3-star hotel might not be the most lavish or luxurious option however, its in a fantastic location, just a few minutes away from Piraeus train station as well as ferry terminals. The rooms are decked out simply but feature furnished balconies that echo a traditional Greek style of outdoor living. These also come with views of the port. Theres breakfast on offer at this hotel, and an evening meal can easily be found in one of the many eateries in the surrounding area.
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Where To Stay In Athens: Best Neighbourhoods
Each of the Athenian neighbourhoods discussed in this guide offers all of the necessary amenities to ensure that your trip to Athens is a comfortable one. They are also very safe and suitable for all types of travellers.
Solo travellers, families, older couples, and LGBTQ travellers should all feel comfortable while exploring Athens. However, it is advisable to be more careful when walking at night.
Being aware of your surroundings and not walking alone in the dark is good practice for wherever in the world you venture to. In Athens, this is particularly the case if you stay in the central districts of Monastiraki, Syntagma, Psiri, or Plaka.
You can expect excellent public transport links from each of these districts to Athens centre and Eleftherios Venizelos airport. Homely local tavernas, cosy coffee shops, evening entertainment, and bars are abundant in each area.
If you want to feel like a Greek during your trip, it is advisable to stay a little further afield than the most central areas. The excellent Athenian public transport network never makes you feel like you are way out in the sticks if you do not base yourself in Plaka or Syntagma.
Best Apartments In Athens
When researching the best accommodations for you, I realized that Athens is FULL of amazing apartments, even more than hotels! Staying in an apartment is amazing if youre the type of person that wants a home-y atmosphere or who wishes to cook their own food in a real kitchen. Plus, staying in an apartment doesnt mean youll lose the great, high-end facilities of staying in a hotel, as most of the apartments in Athens are gorgeous!
Truth be told, it was very hard to choose, but here are some of the best apartments, right in the heart of Athens:
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Luxury Hotels In Monastiraki
- Nsplace: Luxury apartment offering every single comfort and amenity you need for a great stay in the capital of Greece. Youll find a steam bath, a fitness center, and unforgettable views over the Acropolis among the top facilities.
- Concierge Athens: This is a modern place to stay in Athens, 100 meters from both Monastiraki Flea Market. It features elegant self-catering units ideal for families.
- Amazing Penthouses with Acropolis View: Style and luxury right in the heart of Monastiraki are what youll find when booking a stay in this venue. The fully air-conditioned units feature a beautiful terrace, as well as a seating and dining area. The place is perfect if you need to reach the Port of Piraeus as its very close to the nearby train station.
Psiri And Monastiraki Neighborhoods
Psiri is an up-and-coming neighborhood next to Monastiraki. It is full of restored mansions, artist garrets, bars, restaurants, and cafes. Its neighbor, Monastiraki, is famous for its souvlaki restaurants, tavernas, wine bars, and vibrant scene. Both districts arent much to look at during the day they are still fairly working class but they come alive at night.
Both Monastiraki and Psirri are hot nightlife spots while still very convenient for sightseeing during the day. If you are a night owl, this is a great location. If you like to be in bed by ten and up by sunrise, these are probably not the best places to stay in Athens.
Closest metro station: Monastiraki
Recommended hotels in Psiri and Monastiraki area
Attalos Hotel offers simple air-conditioned rooms with free wi-fi just 100m away from Monastiraki square.
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Athens Best Places To Stay
Hotel Grande Bretagne is by far the best.
Syntagma Square -which in English translates to Constitution Square- is the center of modern Athens.
Here is located the Greek Parliament, and in front of it, the picturesque Evzones that everyone photographs.
From here begins the most famous street of the city, Ermou street. And if the place seems familiar, it makes sense its the place TV reporters choose to broadcast their news worldwide.
As expected, around Syntagma Square are some of the best hotels in the city.
Additionally, nearby you can find great bars, restaurants, taverns, and cafes. Definitely one of the areas you should prefer if it fits your budget.
Best hotels in Syntagma:
Most houses in Plaka are at least 100 years old.
The neighborhood of Plaka is located literally below the Acropolis and was the center of Ancient Athens.
So if you want to feel like traveling through time, you cant find a more suitable place.
Picturesque shops, restaurants, cafes, ancient ruins, and museums are everywhere, while the houses are at least 100 years old.
You will also find Anafiotika, a tiny hidden island in the city center in this area. Even if you stay in Athens only for one day, Plaka is definitely one of the places you will visit.
Therefore, if you find here a room you like, dont hesitate to book it.
Best hotels in Plaka:
Monastiraki is part of the Psyri area. Nearby hotels, like A for Athens, offer a unique view of the Acropolis from their roof.
Things To Do In Koukaki
- Visit the Trii Ark Hub for coffee and to support local artists
- Head to The Acropolis Museum to learn more about Athens’s extraordinary structure
- Sit in the heart of the neighbourhood, the pedestrian street of Drakou to enjoy a coffee
- Admire the jewellery at the Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum
- Browse Greece’s finest artwork at the magnificent National Museum of Contemporary Art
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Gazi Where To Stay In Athens On Budget
If you are searching for a budget-friendly area of Athens that is still close to the Acropolis and all the central tourist locations, you should stay in Gazi. This nightlife and entertainment district has the highest concentration of bars and clubs in Athens central.
As is often the case with cheaper accommodation neighborhoods, Gazi is a little further away from the central Acropolis area than its more expensive neighbors. But having said that, it is only a walk of a kilometer or so to get to the heart of everything.
And Gazi itself is an engaging, up-and-coming area with decent facilities, including many fashionable bars and restaurants.
While staying in Gazi, be sure to visit the excellent Museum and Cultural Center located in the old Athens city gas works. This center has turned the area into a fast-developing hub of art and culture. So you will find some impressive street art here and a host of innovative little bars and eateries.
Other things to see in Gazi such as Technopolis an industrial museum and a major cultural venue, Mural Filled Streets with Athens street arts, and be sure to check out a cool bar called Gazarte.
If you dont fancy walking across town, you just need to hop onto the Athens city Metro, which has a nearby station.
Stay in Gazi if youre looking for the best location where to stay in Athens on a budget, you want all the attractions within medium walking distance, youre an art lover, you want a less touristy area.
Best places to stay in Gazi:
Spata Where To Stay In Athens Near Airport
Spata is a suburb out on the Eastern side of Athens city that is home to Athens international airport. The multitude of budget and mid-range hotels here are designed with onward travel in mind, providing airport pickups and drop-offs as part of the service.
If you arrive in Athens by air and want a hassle-free transfer to your hotel, or if youre leaving early in the morning and want to avoid the gridlock of an Athens Rush hour, then it is a good idea to spend the night here.
Spata is also close to Attica Zoological Park, a 20 hectares private zoo, home to more than 2000 animals and the third largest collection of birds in the world. it attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Spata is also haven for shoppers with the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, home to more than 100 brands, shops, restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, and a cinema. You can easily reach by public transport to Doukissis Plakedias and then take free shuttle bus.
Stay in Spata if you are looking for the best location where to stay in Athens near the airport, you want to be out of the center of town, you are looking for budget or mid-range accommodation.
Where to stay in Athens near the airport:
Varkiza is an exclusive and very well-heeled beachfront suburb in the southeast of Athens. This area has some lovely sandy beaches, and it is where wealthy Athenians go to kick back and spend some beach time.
Best places to stay near Varkiza:
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Koukaki For Easy Access To Ancient Sites
Just behind the Acropolis Museum, between Acropolis metro and Fix metro, lies the beautiful neighborhood of Koukaki.
This is an increasingly popular area for visitors, as it is very close to Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, while at the same time having a local feel. It is also ideal for people who can only spend a night or two in Athens.
If you are staying in Athens for a longer time, Koukaki has quite a few places of interest, like the impressive Lalaounis Jewelry Museum. Areopagitou Street, the nicest pedestrianized street in Athens, starts here. You can easily walk all the way to Monastiraki metro station in less than a half hour, and perhaps climb up Filopappou Hill on your left.
Koukaki has several local restaurants, where you will see many Athenians. Walk around the pedestrianized streets and choose one, then watch the people go by.
Best Hotels in Koukaki, Athens
As you can expect, Koukaki offers a great selection of places to stay. There are many well-known, established hotels, but also an increasing number of modern boutique hotels and luxury apartments.
If you are travelling with your family or a group of friends, this might be the best area to stay in Athens.
Acropolis View Hotel
The Acropolis View Hotel offers cozy rooms just a stones throw from the Acropolis Museum. Many of the rooms have balconies overlooking the Acropolis or the nearby Filopappou Hill. In the evenings, you can relax at the rooftop terrace, admiring the views.