Where to Stay in Athens – a Local’s Guide to the Best Areas

Planning a trip to my hometown Athens and you are wondering where to stay in Athens? In this post, you will find detailed information on the place to stay in Athens, which are the best areas to stay in Athens and some great hotel recommendations in each area.

Athens is a sprawling metropolis with plenty of luxury hotels, boutique accommodation, and more. Choosing a hotel in Athens comes down to the best area to stay depending on what you would like to do in town. If you’re in Athens to tour the ancient sites, a hotel in the center, like in Plaka or near Syntagma, is ideal. These locations can be more expensive, but you won’t have to worry about traveling anywhere via metro or bus.

If you’re only in town for one night before catching a ferry to the islands, then accommodation near Piraeus may be your first choice. In this post, I break down the best areas to stay in Athens by part of town and then where to stay in Athens by hotel options.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.

Where to stay in Athens ….

to be close to attractions / for sightseeing? Plaka, Syntagma, Monastiraki, Psiri, Thisio

for first-timers? Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, Psiri

for nightlife? Psiri, Monastiraki

to be close to the beach? Southern Suburbs

if you want to catch a ferry to the islands? Piraeus

for shopping? Syntagma and Kolonaki

for families? Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma

for a local feel? Koukaki, Lower Ilisia, Kifisia, Kolonaki

A Local’s Guide on Where to Stay in Athens

The best areas to stay in the city center of Athens

Athens’ city center has it all. It was once the center of the vast Greek Empire and retains an air of mystery in the Acropolis, the Agora, and the many small temples that dot the old town of Plaka. Today it is still the center of the city, since Syntagma, or Constitution Square, is where the modern-day government meets. Psiri and Monastiraki are popular nightlife spots, full of charming hotels, local tavernas, and shops.

And with several metro stations right in the heart of the city, getting around is a snap. The Athens metro is very reliable and very easy to use. The first train, between Athens and Piraeus, began operation in 1869 and the modern train system was built in the 1990s.

When Athens won the bid to host the 2004 Olympics, much of the city’s infrastructure was renovated. The motorway out of the city, into the southern coastal suburbs, and the metro were expanded. Today, transportation within and around Athens is very easy.

Plaka neighborhood

Traditional houses in Plaka - a 3 day Athens itinerary
Traditional houses in Plaka

Plaka is Athen’s old town, and with narrow streets, boutique hotels, markets, and local tavernas packed with tourists, it is a popular destination for travelers to stay in Athens. Plaka is within walking distance to the Acropolis, Temple of Hephaestus, and Agora. Plaka is well known for its neoclassical architecture and is considered one of the prettiest districts in the city.

The major downside to staying in Plaka is that a lot of other people do as well. It is a busy and expensive district, but once again it is incredibly central.

Closest metro station: Acropolis, Syntagma, Monastiraki

Recommended hotels in Plaka area

Herodion Hotel offers elegant rooms next to the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. Its rooms offer all the modern amenities you would expect from a 4-star hotel. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar that offers panoramic views of the Acropolis.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel is located in a restored neoclassical building close to the Acropolis Museum. It offers charming rooms with free Wi-Fi and eco-friendly mattresses.

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Adam’s Hotel is centrally located in Plaka district just 400m from the Acropolis. It offers old fashioned rooms with air-conditioning, TV, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge.

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Syntagma neighborhood

Syntagma is the main square in the city center and is a great place to stay in Athens. It is the main center of the modern-day Greek government, where many Athenians come for protests, rallies, and more. This could potentially be a problem during your stay, but then again, maybe not. Syntagma is also where people – friends, tours – meet. It is a major transport hub, with a metro stop and routes for bus lines from the outer suburbs, airport, or Piraeus.

Syntagma is a very convenient location for visitors looking for where to stay in Athens. It is within walking distance to Plaka, Kolonaki, and Monastiraki. The main shopping streets branch from Syntagma Square and there are plenty of upscale hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

Closest metro station: Syntagma, Acropolis, Panepistimio, X95 bus to the airport

Recommended hotels in Syntagma area

Arethusa Hotel is centrally located next to Plaka and 50 m away from Syntagma square with direct connections by the metro to the airport. It offers simple, old fashioned rooms with air-conditioning, TV, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge.

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Best Western Amazon Hotel is centrally located between Syntagma square and Plaka. It offers air-conditioned rooms and free wi-fi.

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Electra Hotel Athens is a recently renovated hotel located in the main shopping street of Athens, Ermou next to Syntagma square. It offers classically furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and a rooftop bar-restaurant with lovely views of the Parliament and the Acropolis.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Psiri and Monastiraki neighborhoods

Monastiraki-Square
Monastiraki-Square

Psiri is an up-and-coming neighbourhood next to Monastiraki. It is full of restored mansions, artist garrets, bars, restaurants, and cafes. It’s neighbour, Monastiraki, is famous for its souvlaki restaurants, tavernas, wine bars, and vibrant scene. Both districts aren’t 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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Evripides Hotel is located near Monastiraki square, close to all the city’s attractions. It offers simple air-conditioned rooms with free wi-fi.

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360 degrees is located in Monastiraki square at the heart of the historic district. It offers modern rooms with all the amenities; air-condition, TV, free wifi and buffet breakfast with vegan options. Other hotel amenities include a rooftop bar-restaurant with breathtaking views of the Acropolis.

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Thission Neighborhood

One of the best choices for young travelers looking for some fun. Thission has plenty of trendy cocktail bars, nice cafés, typical restaurants, and also one of the most popular and picturesque open-air movie theaters in Athens (Cinema Thission, 7 Apostolou Pavlou). Moreover, you’ll be within walking distance from Plaka, Monastiraki, and the Acropolis Hills.

This central neighborhood also offers many nice places for a stroll in nature: climb to the top of Filopappou Hill to enjoy a great view and take some pictures or walk along the easy paved path connecting Filopappou, Muse, Pnyx and Nymph Hills.

The Ancient Agorà with the iconic Hephaestus temple and the Kerameikos necropolis allow you to go sightseeing close to your accommodation, which may be suitable for young kids or elderly people who cannot walk for a long time.

Closest metro station: Thission and Monastiraki

Recommended hotel in Thission Area

Hotel Thission is a family hotel located in Agias Marinis/Apostolou Pavlou Street. Its fantastic location will let you walk your way through the city center and you’ll be just a few blocks away from the Acropolis hill, the picturesque Plaka, and the vibrant Monastiraki flea market. Thissio metro station is just 300m away.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Kolonaki neighborhood

Kolonaki is one of Athens’ oldest neighborhoods, situated at the base of Lycabettus Hill. It has retained some of the glamour from the old days, prior to the financial collapse, but there is no new construction so hotels and apartments here are typically around 40-50 years old. Kolonaki is the heart of Athens’ upscale shopping – think Prada, Armani, and Louis Vuitton – and of the upscale dining scene. The nightlife here is on the quieter, more sophisticated scale.

Kolonaki is a great place to stay in Athens if you are looking for quiet, safe accommodation while still near dining, shopping, and sightseeing.

Closest metro station: Evangelismos, Syntagma

Recommended hotels in Kolonaki area

St George Lycabettus Hotel is located in upmarket Kolonaki square and offers spacious rooms with breathtaking views of the Acropolis. It is also a very family-friendly hotel.

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Periscope is a 4-star boutique hotel located in the heart of Kolonaki neighborhood. It offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi, a pillow menu, and luxurious toiletries.

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Koukaki Neighborhood

Take a dip into Athenians’ everyday life in this residential area close to many famous attractions. This neighborhood has some elegant and quiet streets and mansions in its upper area and a vibrant and cosmopolitan atmosphere in its lower streets.

Have a pleasant stroll along its picturesque shaded sidewalks to reach the Acropolis Museum or the elegant pedestrian streets of Makrygianni, an upper-class area located just a few blocks away.

This part of the city is not only for archeology and history lovers: the modern National Museum of Contemporary Art (Leoforos Kallirois Amvrosiou Frantzi) is just around the corner, as well as the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (12, Kallisperi Street) conceived by a famous Greek jewelry designer.

Closest metro station: Syngrou Fix, and Acropolis

Recommended hotel in Koukaki area

NLH FIX, Neighbourhood Lifestyle Hotel – just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis Museum is the NLH FIX, which is a crisp, modern, and luxurious hotel with impeccable services and facilities.

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Lower Ilisia neighborhood

Athens hilton

Lower Ilisia is about 3km from both the Acropolis and Kolonaki. Ilisia is near the University of Athens and as a result it is a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood with plenty of inexpensive dining options. The Evangelismos metro station is near Lower Ilisia.

Closest metro station: Megaro Mousikis, Evangelismos

Recommended hotels in the Lower Ilisia area

Hilton Athens offers luxurious rooms and suites, the biggest swimming in Athens and a great rooftop bar with Acropolis views.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Ilisia Hotel is located just 500 m away from the Megaro Mousikis metro station and offers classically decorated rooms with air- conditioning, free Wi-Fi and parking on-site.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Best areas to stay in Athens outside the city centre

Piraeus (port)

Evening in Mikrolimano
Evening in Mikrolimano

The port city of Athens, Piraeus, is a convenient choice for accommodation if you are catching a ferry to one of the Greek Islands. It is not ideal for sightseeing as Piraeus is a 30 minute tram ride from the city centre. There are a couple of things to do in Piraeus like an archaeological museum, the Mikrolimano area with tavernas by the sea and shopping in the centre of Piraeus.

A ferry is really the only reason to stay in Piraeus, so if you are also staying in Athens for a few days to explore the city, you are best choosing a hotel in the city center and arranging transport to the ferry terminal.

Closest metro station: Piraeus

Recommended hotels in Piraeus area

Piraeus Theoxenia Hotel is the only 5-star hotel in the area. It offers elegantly furnished rooms with free wi-fi and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is within walking distance from the main port.

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Piraeus Port Hotel is located within walking distance from the port and train station with direct access to the city center. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and toiletries.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Southern Suburbs

In the summer, the southern suburbs of Athens fill up with locals and tourists relaxing on the amazing beaches. These neighbourhoods are all just a tram ride away from the city, which means that you can stay out here and still sightsee.

The best beaches are in Voula and Vouliagmeni as they are further from the city (the further south you go, the better the beaches get). They are usually busy and you will have to pay a fee per person to use the beach. Glyfada is another popular area, close to Athens. There is great shopping here, as well as nice dining and drinking establishments.

To get back into the city from the southern suburbs, you can take the tram from Glyfada or the metro from Elliniko.

Closest metro station: Elliniko

Recommended hotels in the Southern Suburbs

The Margi is a 5-star hotel located in the Vouliagmeni area steps away from the beach. It offers elegantly furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, a spa and wellness center, an on-site restaurant, and a bar.

Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso is located in the Athens Riviera and offers a spa centered on thalassotherapy, 3 pools, a private beach, restaurants, and bars. The rooms are luxurious, with sea view balconies and free Wi-Fi.

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Kifisia neighborhood / Northern Suburbs

If you don’t like being among a loud crowd and you prefer to stay in a quiet, peaceful yet elegant neighborhood, you’ve found the right place! This nice and glamorous northern suburb is located about 20 Km away from the city center, but you can reach Syntagma Square in about 40 minutes by subway: this way, you can go sightseeing during the day and spend your evening and your nights out among Kifisia’s lovely streets full of restaurants, high-end shops, and cozy cafés.  

The weather is usually milder here, so it’s perfect for a summer holiday far from the heat of the city center. Try it also for spring vacation and enjoy its flowered gardens giving the old villas and noble mansions an atmosphere of past times.

Closest metro station: Kifisia

Recommended hotel in Kifisia area

The Y Hotel – for a modern hotel in the heart of the Kifisia neighborhood in Athens, head to The Y Hotel; offering large, spacious, contemporary rooms that are each well-equipped with WIFI, TV, and an array of luxury toiletries. It is centrally located to the Goulandris Natural History Museum, and the other historical sites are easily accessible by the metro.

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Where to Avoid Staying in Athens

As with any other city, there are neighborhoods that should be avoided. In Athens, these include Omonoia, Metaxourgeio, and near Larissa station. While these three neighborhoods are central, they are not very safe to walk around in at night.

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