Choosing where to stay in Athens can be quite overwhelming. There is a lot of excellent accommodation and at reasonable prices too compared to many other European capitals.
Luckily Athens is relatively flat, has good public transport and almost all sites and attractions are within walking distance from each other. It can be very hot in summer but there are many fantastic rooftops bars and, of course, the best places also have Acropolis views. Where you stay will possibly get down to your budget and availability but wherever you end up it’s likely to be a pretty good location.
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Where to stay in Athens – the best neighborhoods in Athens for tourists
Once the nightlife district nowadays it’s the main tourist area home to as many tourists as locals. There are a lot of souvenier and gift shops, cafes, taverna and other things of interest to tourists but it’s also quite a lovely leafy area with brightly coloured, and much photographed, houses and lots of bougainvillea. Its also central to almost everything so its easy to see why it is so popular.
Top Things to do in Plaka
- Visit the Acropolis, the ancient citadel perched on the hillside and overlooking the city and home to the famous Parthenon – the temple of Athena
- visit other ancient sites including the Erechtheion and the Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Shop or browse the myriad of shops which sell everything from fridge magnets to bronze statues
- take a pottery class and make your own Greek artefacts
- Explore the many museums which include the Children’s Museum, the Music Museum and the Jewish Museum
Recommended Budget hotel : Acropolis Foothill
Recommended mid-range hotel : Acro&Polis
Recommended Luxury hotel: AthensWas Hotel
Athens’ central square, Syntagma is the center of modern-day Athens, used as a meeting place for friends, and a place for Athenians to voice their displeasure at the government through protests and political gatherings. It is home to the Presidential Palace and a number of other Government buildings.
Ultra convenient, with a Metro station under the Square, Syntagma has lots of hotels to choose from and is reachable on foot from most tourist attractions around Athens.
Things to do in and around Syntagma
- See the Evzones – the Greek presidential guards, during the main changing of the guard ceremony at 11:00 Sunday or every hour on the hour every other day.
- Take a close look at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
- Feed the pigeons.
- Take a tour of Parliament House
- Take a selfie at the designated selfie spot at the historic Grande Bretagne Hotel rooftop.
- do an Alternative Walking Tour
Recommended Budget hotel : Syntagma Square Apartments
Recommended mid-range hotel : NJV Hotel
Recommended Luxury hotel: Hotel Grande Bretagne ( the most famous hotel in all of Greece)
Monastaraki consists of central Monastaraki Square and the streets around it and is a very popular and well known central part of Athens. Bordered by Ermou street and wedged in between Plaka, Syntagma and Psiri it is a popular tourist destination.
There is a street full of tavernas and cafes called Mitropeleos and we have rented both self contained apartments and stayed at boutique hotels along there. It is smack bang in the centre of everything.
Things to do in Monastaraki
- The Monastyaraki Flea Market is on every Sunday around the square. All the Athenians come and it can get very busy but there are some amazing things on sale.
- do an Athens by night food tour. Lots of fun!
- Visit the restored Turkish Mosque, now the traditional ceramics museum called the Tzistarakis Mosque.
- See the ruins of the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Library and the Roman Agora.
- Browse the myriad of small shops around the square. There are so many of them it feels a lot like the Grand Bazaars of the middle east!
- do a cooking class with dinner on rooftop Recommended Budget hotel : Concierge Athens
Recommended mid-range hotel : The Zillers Boutique Hotel
Recommended Luxury hotel: Aerides Luxury Suites
Psiri is the cool, grungy area of inner athens that has always been popular with activitists and alternatives. It has some very good cheap and cheerful tavernas and cafes and can get quite lively at night. It is also home to some of the best street art in the world.
Whether you want a hipster cocktail bar or an all-night rave, you’re bound to find it in here.
Things to do in Psyri
- Party! Enjoy after-work drinks and jazz at Barrett, all-night dancing at several nighlubs
- Visit Kerameikos, a beautiful ancient cemetery and fascinating part of the Athens archaeological site
- do a Best of Athens Segway Tour
- devour some amazing pastries and cakes at the excellent bakeries and dessert cafes.
- check out all the street art and do an Original Street Art Tour
- take a food tour with a local
Recommended Budget hotel : City Circus
Recommended mid/luxury hotel : The Foundry
Kolonaki is the posh area of central Athens. Filled with designer shops, Kolonaki is a ritzy neighborhood at the foot of Lykavittos Hill the south and southeast slopes of Lykavettos Hill north of Vassilisis Sofias Avenue. It is filled with a mixture of old neoclassical houses, upscale modern flats, art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants.
Traditionally the home of the in-town rich, it’s also the location of a number of foreign embassies and several prominent archaeological schools, including The American School and The British School where a lot of foreign diplomats send their children.
Things to do in Kolonaki
- Benaki Museum
- Museum of Cycladic Art
- Greek National Gallery
- Kolonaki Square
Recommened budget hotel: Lycabettus Exclusive Apartments
Recommended mid-range/luxury hotel : Coco Mat Jumelle
The Athenian Riviera
The southeast coast of Athens, and the southern suburbs that dot the coast, are a great option in the summer months if you’re interested in some beach time.
A lot of people, especially Greeks, love to stay in centrally located Glyfada. We preferred Vouliagmeni which seemed more leafy and relaxed but with less dining and shopping options.
Glyfada — An upscale residential area of Athens, Glyfada offers seaside living complete with trendy restaurants, bars and many shops. If you’re a golfer then Glyfada also has the only golf course in Athens! There is a tram line in Glyfada with connections to Neos Kosmos metro station and Sygrou Fix Metro station (line 2), but note the tram is pretty slow going.
Voula and Vouliagmeni — Voula and Vouliagmeni both have nice beaches and swimming, and both are upscale residential areas with mostly domestic tourists. The “downtown” of Voula has more going on in terms of restaurants and cafés, and Vouliagmeni is the more remote of the two. You will need to catch a taxi or a metro from Gylfada and a taxi from there, which should be less than 10 euro.
Recommended budget hotel : Bomo Palace Hotel
Recommended mid-range hotel : Brasil Suites
Recommended Luxury hotel: Four Seasons Astir Palace
It is also popular to visit the Athenian Riviera and surrounds as a Day Trip. You can include a visit to the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion as well. Alternatively a sunset sailing cruise is a truly unforgettable evening.
Hotels near Athens Airport
There are not a lot of choices when it comes to hotels near Athens airport. Many people either choose to stay in the city centre or do the following;
- Stay in Glyfada/Vouliagmeni area ( see above). This area is on the beach and is about a 30 minute drive to the Airport.
- Stay at the Holiday Inn Athens, Attica Ave. This is located in Attica Avenue Highway, the new rapidly developing business district of Athens and is a 10 minute drive to the airport. The hotel offers a free shuttle service every hour.
- Stay in Rafina, a charming seaside fishing village that also services some of the ferries to the Cyclades Islands making it a great spot if you can co-ordinate those connections. The Avra Hotel is across from the beach and offers a free airport shuttle.
- Stay at the Airport.The Sofitel Athens Airport is really the only hotel located AT Athens airport and it is located directly across the road from the main terminal and adjacent to the Metro station. It is not a cheap option but it is certainly convenient and it does have a swimming pool. Make sure to ask for a refurbished room.
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