Where to Stay in Athens
A sprawling metropolis with a wide range of accommodation options, including plenty of luxury hotels and boutique properties, to narrow down the long list, the first thing you’ll want to do is to choose which area to stay in based on what you’d like to do. It’s all about accessibility, whether your priority is to explore Acropolis hill or delve into the nightlife.
Each neighborhood has a different vibe, from hip and trendy, edgy and alternative to chic and upscale. While the top spots tend to be more expensive, they make getting around easier as well won’t have to worry about taking taxis or the bus.
No matter what you’re into, all of these top neighborhoods offer a variety of hotels and other accommodations while providing something unique of their own. One or more is sure to be the perfect answer when it comes to where to stay in Athens.
The Makriyanni neighborhood is centered around the Acropolis Museum, just south of Acropolis hill, ideal for those who want to explore the top sights while also being within walking distance of other popular districts like Plaka and Syntagma Square. An upscale area, along Dionysiou Areopagitou, a pedestrianized leafy avenue with embassies, neoclassical homes designer shops and boutiques, you can often enjoy the talents of buskers while the surrounding streets host bistros, pastry shops, souvenir stores, and independent galleries.
In addition to being home to the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, this is where you’ll find Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. A little further is the National Gardens and Panathinaiko Stadium. This area has one of the widest selections of hotels, from budget-friendly to luxurious here, along with plenty of tavernas, cafes, and restaurants.
The historic Plaka neighborhood may be the city’s most famous. While it’s a small area, it’s perfectly situated between the Acropolis, Monastriaki, and Syntagma metro station while offering a unique mix of sights and attractions, restaurants, and shops. It’s considered the old town area, complete with narrow cobbled streets and neoclassical buildings that make it one of the prettiest in the city while also being within walking distance of the Acropolis, Agora, and the Temple of Hephaestus.
It may be the best spot for a first-time visit to Athens as it’s incredible central, but it’s also one of the most expensive and busiest areas, as so many other tourists want to stay here too. When it comes to accommodation, there’s plenty to be had here, with many coming in the form of cool boutique hotels.
This popular neighborhood is adjacent to Plaka and one of the most popular areas in the city for shopping, home to the famous Monastiraki flea market along with many antique shops and other local markets. If you’re into bargain hunting, are a fan of vintage or want to do some souvenir shopping, this is the place to go wild. The district is also famous for its vibrant dining and drinking scene, particularly souvlaki restaurants, tavernas, rooftop bars and wine bars, as well as being a hot spot for nightlife.
During the day, it’s still very convenient for sightseeing, just 10 minutes or so on foot from the Acropolis. You’ll have easy access to the Monastiraki metro station, as well as a handful of ancient sites like the Ancient Agora, the main social, financial, and political center of ancient Greece. Places to stay primarily include small boutique hotels and several new larger hotels.
Syntagma is the main square, located in the city center, providing a convenient location that’s also ideal for first timers to Athens, within walking distance to the Acropolis, Plaka, and Monastiraki. It’s a major transport hub, with a metro spot and routes for bus lines that will bring you to Piraeus port, the airport and outer suburbs. Named after the Greek word for “constitution,” it’s the heart of Athens and home to some of the city’s best hotels, like King George and the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
If your stay coincides with a demonstration or an event on the square, you may be able to watch right from your hotel rooftop. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants, while the main shopping streets branch right from the square.
One of the top picks for young travelers who want to enjoy the sights and have fun after dark too, Thission is home to multiple hotels for just about every budget, lots of trendy cafes and cocktail bars along with one of the most picturesque open-air movie theaters in the city, Cinema Thission, for enjoying the show under a starry sky with popcorn and beer.
At any time of the day or night, there are street musicians and handicraft stalls with a mix of locals and visitors hanging around. It will put you within walking distance of the Acropolis hill, Monastiraki, and Plaka while also providing scenic strolls. You can climb to the top of Filopappou for a fabulous view or make your way up the steps to Areios Pagos hill, the Supreme Court in ancient Athens with a fantastic view of the Acropolis.
Psiri is one of those “up and coming” neighborhoods with somewhat of a rouge image that’s becoming more gentrified, as a bohemian, alternative area with street art, restored mansions, lots of stylish tavernas, hip cafes, bars, and hopping nightlife. If you’re a night owl, this is where you want to be, but if you prefer early to bed and early to rise, it’s not the best choice.
While it may look a bit questionable, it’s safe even late into the night. It tends to attract younger Athenians who come to enjoy the restaurants that host live music and shops that aren’t too pricey. It’s a great place to hang out on the weekend with the locals for those who’d rather stay away from the tourists. Some of the best eats can be enjoyed along Agion Anargiron Street.
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