Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Plaka

Top 10 Neighborhoods to Stay in Athens for Every Traveler

Planning a trip to Athens in 2024? Discover the top 10 neighborhoods to stay in and the best hotels recommended by a local expert. Moreover, get insider tips on areas to avoid in the Greek capital.

Last updated: 13 Jan 2024

I have lived my entire life in Athens, which I love.

The history, the sea, and the nightlife make a unique combination ideal for all travelers – except for the city’s traffic, no one likes traffic.

Exploring the best neighborhoods in Athens on foot, searching for new coffee shops, restaurants, and exciting activities, is one of my favorite pastimes. In fact, it was my job for more than a decade.

I’ve been to all the places listed in this guide and know the reality of each area listed below.

So, I am here to provide you with insider information on the best places to stay in Athens for your trip in 2024.

The Top Neighborhoods to Stay in Athens City Center


Is Athens City Centre a Good Place to Stay?

  1. Definitely yes! If you have the budget to stay near the Acropolis, do it. The city’s heart beats here, and you can visit most of the sights on foot.

  2. If you prefer to stay outside of the city center, choose to be near a metro station. Buses are good but not so reliable in their times.

  3. If your trip’s primary purpose isn’t walking in the city but swimming in the sea, prefer a neighborhood like Glyfada or Vouliagmeni. Keep reading for more, or check the five best areas of the Athenian Riviera for an in-depth analysis.

Athens' best hotels in a nutshell
Best luxury hotel in Athens city center:  Hotel Grande Bretagne. 
Best hotel in Athens with rooftop pool: Electra Metropolis.
Best hotel near Acropolis: Coco-mat Athens BC. 
Best luxury hotel in Athens by the sea: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens. 
Best Mid-priced hotel in Athens: Amazon Hotel. 
Best budget hotel in Athens: Mosaikon.


Is Athens a Safe City?

Acropolis panoramic view

On my trips, I always try to choose the area where I will stay wisely.

My top criteria are always:

  1. safety.
  2. proximity to the attractions I want to visit.
  3. hotel cost.

When these three criteria are met, you have found the perfect accommodation, and Athens is no exception.

That said, keep in mind that Athens is a fairly safe city – there are not many areas to avoid.

At the same time, the public transportation system in Athens is satisfactory.

The metro certainly does not have as many lines as London or New York, but it covers most of the town.

Thus, you always have the option to stay outside the historic center if you want to feel like a local.

On the other hand, the city is really big!

When referring to the “center”, locals usually mean the areas around Syntagma Square, like Monastiraki, Thiseio, Plaka, Kolonaki, Koukaki, Exarcheia, and Omonoia.

But not all of them are ideal for staying.

So, let’s see the best neighborhoods in Athens, Greece, to stay in 2024.


Athens Best Places to Stay in 2024!

1. Syntagma

stay in athens greece: Syntagma
You will find many remarkable hotels around Syntagma Square. However, Hotel Grande Bretagne is by far the best.

Syntagma Square -which translates to Constitution Square in English- is the center of modern Athens.

The Greek Parliament is located here, and in front of it are the picturesque Evzones that everyone photographs.

From here begins the most famous street in the city, Ermou Street. And if the place seems familiar, it makes sense; it’s where TV reporters broadcast their news worldwide.

As expected, some of the best hotels in the city are around Syntagma Square.

You can also find great bars, restaurants, taverns, and cafes nearby.

Definitely one of the areas you should prefer if it fits your budget.

Best hotels in Syntagma:
Best Luxury Hotel: Hotel Grande Bretagne.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Classic by Athens Prime Hotels.
Best Budget Hotel: Mosaikon.

2. Plaka

Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Plaka
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 can’t find a more suitable place.

Picturesque shops, restaurants, cafes, ancient ruins, and museums are everywhere, while the houses are at least 100 years old.

In this area, you will also find Anafiotika, a tiny “hidden island” in the city center. Even if you stay in Athens only for one day, Plaka is definitely one of the places you should visit.

Therefore, if you find a room you like here, don’t hesitate to book it.

Best hotels in Plaka:
Best Luxury Hotel: Electra Metropolis.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Amazon Hotel.
Best Budget Hotel: Crafoord Place Hostel Athens.

3. Psyri – Monastiraki

stay in athens greece: Monastiraki
Monastiraki is part of the Psyri area. Nearby hotels, like A for Athens, offer a unique view of the Acropolis from their roof.

The area of Psyri is a good choice for your accommodation as long as you pay attention to specific details.

First, look for hotels located near Monastiraki Square and Ermou Street.

On the contrary, try to avoid those close to Evripidou Street and Koumoundourou Square.

The square in front of the Monastiraki metro station is one of the city’s liveliest. You will find a crowded flea market and many restaurants, shops, and cafes around it.

Additionally, the rooftop bars in the area offer a unique view of the Acropolis and are worth mentioning for those looking for a unique experience.

Nevertheless, if you’re sensitive to noise, ensure your accommodation is soundproofed, as the intense nightlife could become bothersome.

Best hotels in Psyri – Monastiraki:
Best Luxury Hotel: A for Athens.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Athens21.
Best Budget Hotel: Bedbox Hostel.

4. Koukaki

Where to Stay in Athens Greece: Koukaki
Hotels in Koukaki are a decent choice as they are close to the Acropolis Museum and Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

Koukaki is one of Athens’ neighborhoods that has flourished in recent years.

The first reason for its rise is the proximity to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum. Secondly, it is easily accessible thanks to the metro station Sygrou-Fix.

Equally important to choosing it for your stay in Athens is that it remains trendy among the Athenians; nearby cafes and restaurants are almost always full of people.

In fact, it’s one of my favorite destinations, too, if I want to enjoy local brunch or chill out with a glass of beer on a summer night.

So, if you want a good taste of modern Athens, stay close to the center, and more locals around you, then Koukaki is for you.

Best hotels in Koukaki:
Best Luxury Hotel: Coco-mat Athens BC.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Hotel @Syngrou Fix.
Best Budget Hotel: Athens Backpackers.

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3. Hidden gems in Athens: unique and unusual ideas

5. Kolonaki

Kolonaki
The area of Kolonaki is ideal for those who love luxury.

Kolonaki is the most luxurious neighborhood in Athens center, with some of the city’s most expensive shops.

If you want to stay close to the historic center, shop at brands like Louis Vuitton and Rolex, and enjoy your morning coffee next to business people and local celebrities, then you will love this area.

Besides, you will find unique museums in the area, like the Museum of Cycladic Art, while nearby is Syntagma Square.

However, as you would expect, you have to pay for this luxury – sometimes more than it’s worth.

Best hotels in Kolonaki:
Best Luxury Hotel: COCO-MAT Athens Jumelle.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Hotel Lozenge.
Best Budget Hotel: Greek Gastronomy Center Apartments.

6. Thiseio

stay in athens greece: Thiseio
Apostolou Pavlou is one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Athens. Phidias Hotel is the best middle-priced hotel located here.

The available accommodations in Thiseio are limited, as it is a relatively small district.

Yes, it’s one of the most pleasant neighborhoods in the city. Its main advantage is that you remain in the historic center while encountering slightly fewer crowds than in other central areas.

So, if you find a hotel that seems nice, go ahead and book it.

Do keep in mind, though, that ultra-luxury options are not available in the area.

In Thiseio, you will also find some great shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Additionally, you will be surrounded by major landmarks, as the Ancient Agora of Athens is located here.

You will also find a lovely open-air cinema and one of Athens’s most beautiful pedestrian streets, Apostolou Pavlou Street.

Best hotels in Thiseio:
Best Luxury Hotel: Acropolis Vision Suites
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Phidias Hotel.
Best Budget Hotel: Chameleon Youth Hostel.

Where To Stay in Athens Like a Local

7. Petralona

Where to stay in Athens: Petralona
Petralona is a decent option if you want to stay in an apartment among locals.

Even though Petralona and Pangrati are two densely populated districts, they are not well-known among tourists.

Especially in Petralona, you will not find any hotels but only apartments.

Thus, it is a decent option if you want to feel like an “authentic Athenian”; without moving too far away from the historic center, you will be among many locals.

At the same time, you will be staying only two metro stops away from Monastiraki, which means less than five minutes.

Furthermore, Ano Petralona, ​​part of the wider Petralona area, is one of Athens’ most popular regions among Athenians.

I also love to visit the neighborhood for food and relaxing drinks, away from the overcrowded center.

Even if you do not stay here, do not forget to visit the taverns in the area.

Best apartments in Petralona:
Best Luxury Apartment: Circle Inn.
Best Mid-priced Apartment: K8 Athens.
Best Budget Apartment: Nest.

8. Pangrati

Athens in 48 hours: Panathenaic Stadium
Panathenaic Stadium is a 15-minute walk from Divani Caravel, the best hotel in Pangrati.

Another place near Athens’ historical center that locals love is Pangrati.

If you stay here, you will be within walking distance of Panathenaic Stadium, one of the city’s main attractions. Built in 330 BC, it was the stadium of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Nowadays, it’s the finishing point of the Athens Authentic Marathon, which takes place every November’s second Sunday.

Furthermore, Pangrati offers affordable and elegant restaurants, cafes, bars, and crowded squares all year round.

Varnava Square and Profitou Ilia Square are destinations you can visit anytime, day and night.

As for the city center, you can walk to Syntagma in 20 to 25 minutes.

Still, remember that the metro does not stop close to Pangrati center – the nearest stop is Evangelismos.

Best hotels in Pangrati:
Best Luxury Hotel: Divani Caravel.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Athens BlueBuilding.
Best Budget Hotel: Pagration Youth Hostel.

Accommodation In Athens By The Sea

9. Glyfada

Where to stay in Athens: beach next to Glyfada
Glyfada offers many options for quality shopping, dining, drinking, and sports activities.

If your trip to Athens primarily aims to enjoy the sea, then the coastal Glyfada and Vouliagmeni should be among your top options.

Important tip: all Athenians go to the beach during summer, particularly on weekends.

So, the further away from the city center you are, the clearer the water at the beaches becomes.

Now, Glyfada is the most important southern suburb and one of Athens’s most beautiful areas.

It offers countless options for quality shopping, food, drink, and sports activities.

At the same time, you remain relatively close to the city center.

You will need about a 25 to 30-minute drive to access Syntagma, with moderate traffic, and 45 to 50 minutes if you prefer public transportation.

However, still, a car is necessary to access a high-quality beach, even from Glyfada.

Best hotels in Glyfada:
Best Luxury Hotel: Brasil Suites Boutique Hotel
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Athens Coast Hotel
Best Budget Hotel: Zina Apartments

10. Vouliagmeni

Μost hotels in Vouliagmeni are luxurious
Vouliagmeni is one of the most luxurious suburbs of Athens. Check out the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens if you want an unforgettable stay by the sea.

As you continue to move away from the city center, you meet Vouliagmeni, one of Athens’ most upscale areas.

Most of the accommodation options here are luxurious, so don’t expect to find a cheap hotel around. Correspondingly, nearby restaurants and cafes are at a higher price level.

If you can afford Vouliagmeni, you will not need a car to visit the sea.

Its beaches are decent, while Vouliagmeni Lake is also located here.

The lake’s brackish waters, continuously replenished by the sea and the underground thermal springs, offer a natural and unique thermal spa experience.

However, your visit to Athens’ center will be like a half-day trip as you will have to drive for 40 to 45 minutes with moderate traffic.

Best hotels in Vouliagmeni:
Best Luxury Hotel: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens.
Best Mid-priced Hotel: Amarilia Hotel.
Best Budget Hotel:

Do you want more suggestions about your seaside accommodation? Then check out the five most beautiful neighborhoods of the Athenian Riviera.


Where Should You Not Stay in Athens?

Graffiti in a sketchy area of Athens

While Athens is generally a safe city, there are a few areas you may want to avoid staying in during 2024: Omonia, Exarcheia, Victoria, Metaxourgeio, and Gazi.

Although close to the historic center, most of these districts have deteriorated significantly in recent years.

If budget is not an issue, it may be best to avoid them, as they may not be the safest to return to at night.

However, if you have already booked your stay there, there is no need to worry.

Even these areas remain safe as long as you pay a little more attention.

As you would in any city, avoid the dark alleys and sketchy guys, and you won’t have a problem.


What is the Best Month to Go to Athens?

Best season for Athens: Dionysiou Areopagitou Str.

Mid-April to May and September to October are the best times to go to Athens as the weather is great, crowds are thinner, and prices are lower.

The cheapest months to visit the city are between November and March.

Besides the lower accommodation prices, you can get reduced prices in the most famous city’s attractions and shorter queues.

However, if you want to enjoy the famous Greek summer and a city full of events, then June, July, and August are for you.

You can find a detailed guide on the Best Time to Visit Athens.


How Long Should You Stay in Athens?

Traditional house in Plaka

As a lifelong resident of Athens, I strongly recommend spending a minimum of three days in the city.

If you can extend your stay by adding one more day, reaching four days in total, that would be ideal.

In either case, you will be able to balance between ancient and modern Athens, including the Athens Riviera, and get to know the most important parts of the city.

However, even if you have fewer days at your disposal, you can still see all of Athens’ top attractions.

For your convenience, I created free step-by-step itineraries featuring the best places in town, along with their locations marked on Google Maps.

They are carefully and clearly designed, depending on the number of days at your disposal: Athens in 1 day, Athens in 2 days, Athens in 3 days, Athens in 4 days, or hidden gems of Athens if you plan to stay even more days.


Conclusion

People walking at Ancient Agora, right under the Acropolis

I hope this “Where to stay in Athens” guide helps you choose the best hotel and place for your trip!

As you may have noticed, I don’t recommend any Airbnbs.

In fact, if you can avoid Airbnb in Athens, do it – you can read why in the previous link!

It is not an easy read, but it will help you understand what’s happening in today’s Athens.

Moreover, don’t miss out on Athens’ Finest 5-star Hotels and the city’s Cool Boutique Hotels.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need help planning your stay. I will be glad to help you.

Make Your Trip Easier

Accommodation
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but they are totally worth it. They use local English-speaking drivers, wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and introduce you to the city along the way.

Flight
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.

Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use, as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.

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