Where eclectic coffee shops and chic cocktail bars have been built around crumbling ancient ruins and historic boulevards, the Greek capital of is a magnificent juxtaposition of ancient culture meets modern lifestyle. It can be difficult for first-timers to establish where to stay in Athens. It is an easy assumption to make to assume that the more central the location, the better, however a lot of the city’s beauty and magic lies in the relatively unexplored suburbs. With equal measures of grace and grit, Athens possesses an edginess that is unparalleled in other European capitals.
I have lived in Athens, Greece for almost two years now. You could say that I know it very well – like the back of my hand almost. In my opinion, some of the best places to stay in Athens are the areas that not so many tourists know about, especially if you want to have a more “local” travel experience. I have summarised the Athens neighbourhoods below and then I have provided more information for each district.
- 1 Where to Stay in Athens:The Best Athenian Neighbourhoods
- 2 Where to Stay in Athens
- 3 Kifissia
- 4 Koukaki
- 5 Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera
- 6 Hilton Neighbourhood
- 7 Pagrati/Vyronas
- 8 Syntagma
- 9 Makriyianni
- 10 Kolonaki
- 11 Psiri
- 12 Plaka
- 13 Getting Around Athens
- 14 Find Deals on Hotels in Athens
- 15 Alternative Accommodation Options in Athens
- 16 The Athens Neighbourhoods to Avoid
Where to Stay in Athens:
The Best Athenian Neighbourhoods
This guide runs through the best neighbourhoods for a comfortable stay in Athens highlighting the best features that each area has to offer and suggesting Athens hotels which suit any budget during your Athens itinerary.
It should be noted that all of the neighbourhoods mentioned in this guide are generally very safe and charming areas. If you want a super-centralised location such as Monastiraki, Syntagma, Psiri or Plaka, I would just advise you to be a little more careful when walking back at night.
Each location boasts plenty of amenities nearby – dining options, bars for evening entertainment, coffee shops, and fast food. For a more “authentic” Athens experience, I would advise you to go a little further afield than the central neighbourhoods.
I would say that each of the neighbourhoods referenced in this Where to Stay in Athens guide are well-suited to all types of travellers – from solo travellers to families and older couples.
- Koukaki – Quirky stores, bars and art galleries under the shadow of the Acropolis
- Pagrati – Local markets, charming coffee places, and a great local vibe
- Plaka – Quaint houses and narrow streets that intertwine in the city’s historical centre
- Psiri – Street art, eclectic themed bars, and an edgy alternative vibe
- The Athenian Riviera – Beautiful coastlines and pristine beaches
- Kolonaki – Stylish neighbourhood with swanky nightlife and designer shopping
- Kifissia – Chic upscale neighbourhood with tree-lined boulevards and relaxed vibes
- Hilton – Sophisticated neighbourhood with award-winning restaurants and upscale bars
- Syntagma – The main central district of Athens
- Monastiraki – Central neighbourhood with ample shopping and entertainment options.
Where to Stay in Athens
Those looking for the best place to stay in Athens that is away from the chaos of the city centre will certainly enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and elegant ambiance of Kifissia. Kifissia is often referred to as being the Beverly Hills of Athens. Like Kolonaki, Kifissia attracts a well-dressed crowd.
The tree-lined promenades of Kifissia are home to swanky cocktail bars, chic coffee places, and upscale stores. Stepping into Kifissia feels like stepping into another city altogether. The best part about this neighbourhood? Virtually no international tourists know about it!
Kifissia is well-linked to the centre, but it has its own nightlife and social scene. This is a wonderful place to spend your Athens vacation if you want to get away from the crowds.
The Best Places to Stay in Kifissia
The best hotels in Athens’ Kifissia district are summarised below and broken down by budget.
Budget Hotels in Kifissia, Athens
Mid Range Hotels in Kifissia, Athens
Luxury Hotels in Kifissia, Athens
Bursting with personality and creativity, the orange tree-lined promenades of Koukaki are home to some of Athens most creative spaces. At first glance, Koukaki looks to be a somewhat sleepy Greek residential neighbourhood with its uneven cobbled streets and overhanging palm trees. However, a little exploration in Koukaki uncovers the heart of Athens art scene and some of the city’s most quirky themed bars and cafes.
The heart of Koukaki can be found at Koukaki Square on Georgaki Olympiou Street. With tropical shrubbery hiding the facades of the local bars and restaurants, and oriental style lanterns and fairy lights illuminating the trees, Koukaki feels like a little tropical paradise (even in the winter months) and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “concrete jungle”.
The bars here follow all sorts of weird themes – from New Orleans style jazz bars to Noah’s Ark style eccentric cocktail lounges. Koukaki is also the best place for international cuisine in Athens, with restaurants here serving up authentic dishes from around the globe including Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
Budget Hotels in Koukaki Athens
Mid Range Hotels in Koukaki Athens
Luxury Hotels in Koukaki Athens
Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera
At first glance, Athens may come across as a loud, brash, chaotic concrete jungle. In actuality, we also have beautiful Athenian beaches and coastal areas as well as the cosmopolitan districts. Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera are situated just thirty minutes out of the centre and are accessible via public transport (metro/tram). Glyfada is referred to as the “Hellenic Hamptons” and is a popular hangout spot for the Athenian elite.
The upscale towns of Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni may mean that you have to travel a little further to get into the city centre, however opting to stay here rewards you with having phenomenal coastal walks, beachfront cocktail bars, and breathtaking beaches on your hotel doorstep. The Greek islands may get all the attention for their beauty, but the Athenian Riviera also has its share of pristine beaches, secluded coves, and translucent turquoise waters.
Budget Hotels in Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera
Palmyra Beach Hotel
Oasis Hotel Apartments
Mid Range Hotels in Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera
Sea View Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Glyfada and the Athenian Riviera
Divani Apollon Suites
Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso
Somewhere Boutique Hotel Vouliagmeni
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens
Grand Resort Lagonissi
Athens Hilton neighbourhood gleans its name from the nearby luxury Hilton hotel. Everything about the Hilton area exudes class. Some of the finest restaurants in Athens can be found here. Opting to stay here also places you at a short walking distance from the central Syntagma square and upscale Kolonaki.
Budget Hotels in Hilton, Athens
Art Suites Athens
Mid Range Hotels in Hilton, Athens
The Best Western Ilisia Hotel
Airotel Stratos Vassilikos Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Hilton, Athens
The Hilton Hotel Athens
The Crowne Plaza Athens
If you love getting off the beaten path when you travel, away from the tourist hordes and into the heart of authentic neighbourhoods among the locals then the neighbourhoods of Pagrati and Vyronas are perfect for your stay in Athens.
A stay in Pagrati or Vyronas offers an authentic Greek experience in neighbourhoods where tourists seldom venture, where the streets are filled with farmers markets selling fresh local produce, quaint coffee shops where Greek men play backgammon and sip Freddo espressos until the early hours of the morning and traditional bars where live Greek musicians sing to the reception of locals dancing on the tables. The two neighbourhoods practically merge into one.
Mid Range Hotels in Pagrati, Athens
Luxury Hotels in Pagrati, Athens
The Hilton Hotel Athens
When deciding where to stay in Athens, Syntagma is a good choice if you wish to stay somewhere that places you right in the very heart of the action. The area is centered around a piazza which hosts many events and festivities during the year such as live musical performances, artisanal markets, and food markets.
Syntagma is within a short walking distance to all of Athens main attractions – the Greek parliament building lies opposite and a few minutes on foot will take you to the main shopping streets of and, the botanical gardens and the magnificent Acropolis.
Backpacking Hostels in Syntagma Athens
The Student & Travellers Inn
Budget Hotels in Syntagma Athens
Hotel Acropolis House
Mid Range Hotels in Syntagma Athens
The Athenians Modern Apartments
NJV Athens Plaza
Luxury Hotels in Syntagma Athens
Hotel Grande Bretagne, A Luxury Collection Hotel
King George, A Luxury Collection Hotel
The Plaza Hotel Athens
Electra Palace Athens
Adjoined to Koukaki, the upscale neighbourhood of Makriyianni is a perfect place to spend your Athens vacation – especially if you only plan to be in town for a couple of days or so. Makriyianni is the neighbourhood that houses the Acropolis and the glittering glass structure of the Acropolis museum.
Given the neighbourhood’s proximity to Athens main tourist attraction you may assume that Makriyianni is crowded with tourists however its leafy promenades remain relatively quiet and undisturbed.
After a busy day of Athens sightseeing, weary travellers can enjoy a pleasant evening walk along the tree-lined Dionysiou Areopagitou where buskers play acoustic and traditional Greek songs, and where pop-up craft stalls are a common site. The artsy neighbourhood is a popular hang out spot among locals and boasts dozens of patisseries, independent boutiques, art galleries, and upmarket eateries.
Budget Hotels in Makrygianni Athens
Hotel Acropolis House
Mid Range Hotels in Makrygianni Athens
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Makrygianni Athens
AD Athens Luxury Rooms and Suites
Divani Palace Acropolis
Kolonaki is to Athens what Chelsea is to London or what Beverly Hills is to Los Angeles. Situated on the slopes of Mount Lycabettus, this upscale neighbourhood is the chicest in the city – oozing effortless elegance and sophistication at every turn.
People watching while sitting beneath a cabana at one of the local coffee shops is a pleasant way to pass the time in Kolonaki, as is sipping ouzo and locally sourced wines at exclusive cocktail bars and champagne lounges frequented by Greek celebrities.
The polished storefronts of the shops in the Kolonaki area belong to some of the most luxurious designer brands (think Gucci, Louis Vuitton, et al) as well as a mixture of independent boutique stores owned by trend-setting locals.
Kolonaki is home to some of the very best restaurants and bars in Athens and is situated just a short walk away from the centre of Athens. Getting from Kolonaki to Syntagma square on foot takes between 5 and 10 minutes.
Budget Hotels in Kolonaki Athens
Mid Range Hotels in Kolonaki Athens
Pallas Athena Grecotel Boutique Hotel
Athens Tiare Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Kolonaki Athens
Wyndham Athens Residence
Athens Mansion Luxury Suites
Wyndham Grand Athens
Centered around the lively Iroon square, Psiri is the central nightlife district of Athens home to restaurants, bars, and bistros that remain open until the early hours of the morning.
Though this is one of the most bustling neighbourhoods in central Athens, if you choose a hotel in Psiri that is tucked away within the neighbourhood’s back streets then you don’t have to worry too much about noise and disturbances.
Psiri has something of a punky underground feel to it. Many of the bars and pubs here are teeny tiny hole in the walls big enough to house just a handful of people or centered around a particular alternative music scene. Greek microbrews and ales are popular in this district, as are independent beers from around the globe. Night owls and party animals can take a short walk from Psiri to Gazi – the heart of Athens club scene.
Mid Range Hotels in Psiri
Andromeda Downtown Suites
360 Degrees Pop Art Hotel
Luxury Hotels in Psiri
A for Athens
The charming neighbourhood of Plaka is one of the oldest and most historic in Athens. The labyrinth-like network of narrow cobbled streets here lead you up towards Anafiotika and the Acropolis and some of the best views over the Greek capital. If there was to be a neighbourhood of Athens labeled as the tourist district then Plaka would be it, however, it is so charming and pleasant that it is quickly forgiven.
The bars in Plaka host numerous traditional performances for the benefit of tourists – from plate smashing to traditional Greek music and the chance to participate in a Zorba dance. Sitting outside one of these bars with homemade sangria and a good book is a perfect way to spend a relaxing evening in Greece.
Budget Hotels in Plaka
Kimon Athens Hotel
Mid Range Hotels in Plaka
Central Athens Hotel
Electra Palace Athens
Luxury Hotels in Plaka
MET34 Athens Hotel
Getting Around Athens
If the neighbourhood that appeals to you the most as the best place to stay in Athens is somewhere a little further out from the centre then you should certainly not be deterred from staying there. Athens has an excellent public transport network of buses, trains, and trams, all of which run on a frequent schedule.
Getting a cab from one area to another is seldom more than a few euros. I would advise you to download the “BEAT” taxi app for finding cabs. This app displays the price of the journey before getting into the car and helps you to avoid being ripped off by the cab drivers.
Find Deals on Hotels in Athens
Alternative Accommodation Options in Athens
If you prefer to travel like a local, I would also strongly recommend that you consider travelling via Airbnb. I rent an Airbnb apartment to myself everywhere I travel and it gives me a lot more freedom and flexibility as compared to staying in hotels.
To give one example of why I find Airbnb convenient, I love that I can prepare my own meals and not eat at restaurants constantly! If you are new to Airbnb, High Heels & a Backpack readers can receive a generous $40 discount off their first Airbnb stay by signing up here.
The Athens Neighbourhoods to Avoid
Though Athens is generally relatively safe, as with any city there are a few neighbourhoods that are a little grittier and should not be your first choice. When you are trying to figure out where to stay, of course, you may not know where these are since hotel booking sites are never going to disclose them to you, however, I have enclosed some information here for your consideration should you find a cheap deal in one of the below neighbourhoods.
Omonia and Monastiraki
Monastiraki is a popular nightlife spot, however, it is also rife with petty crime like bag snatchings and muggings and I would not recommend walking there alone at night. The majority of the homeless/refugee population sleep rough here and practically every surface and shop entrance will be occupied come nightfall. Omonia is considered the worst neighborhood in Athens for crime and is synonymous with drug use
Whether you choose to stay in Exarchia is up to you. The graffiti-laden streets are home to a host of edgy alternative bars that would please those that enjoy the Rock/Punk music scene however the neighborhood is also the site of frequent clashes between rioters and the police. The general public can travel in Exarchia relatively undisturbed however police are unwelcome.
Since organising your accommodation is a big part of planning a trip to Greece, I’d recommend booking in advance where possible to secure the best deals.
Have any questions about where to stay in Athens, planning a Greece travel itinerary or Athens travel in general? Feel free to reach out to me via the comments below. I live in Greece and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Safe travels, Melissa! xo
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