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 rooftop 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.
Note: This article may contain affiliate links.
PLANNING A TRIP TO GREECE?
Whether you’ve been before or it’s your first time it can be hard to process all the information out there. Be sure to check out our complete Planning Guide as well as our FREE 13-page downloadable itinerary.
If you are feeling really overwhelmed you might like a Trip Consultation perhaps!?
And come join our private Facebook Group where you can ask questions and get advice from real travellers!
Where to stay in Athens – the best neighbourhoods in Athens for tourists
Best Athens neighbourhoods for visitors
Athens is a large sprawling metropolis of almost 4 million people across 7 main districts and one of the oldest cities in the world.
The Historic Centre is located in the centre of the city and is 33 kilometres from the Airport and 12 kilometres from the main port, Piraeus.
Unsurprisingly the Historic Centre is centred around The Acropolis which rises up in the middle of the city in all its glory.
Visitors can stay comfortably at any of the neighbourhoods that surround The Acropolis as these areas are relatively flat, close together and easy to explore on foot.
The neighbourhoods to the North are the most popular as they are also very close to many of the other ancient sites and Athens attractions. It takes 20 minutes to walk to the Acropolis from Kolonaki, Psyri or Gazi and 10-15 for most of the others on this map.
Most popular Athens neighbourhoods for tourists – Plaka, Syntagma, Monastiraki & Pysri
Most upmarket – Kolonaki
Up and coming – Thiseio, Koukaki and Mets
Very ‘local’ – Filopappou, Pangrati, Kati Petralona
Once the nightlife district nowadays it’s the main tourist area home to as many tourists as locals.
There are a lot of souvenir 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 bougainvilleas.
It’s also central to almost everything so it’s 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 that 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
Where to stay in Plaka
Recommended Budget Hotel: Acropolis Foothill and Athens Gate
Recommended mid-range Hotel: Acro&Polis and Electra Palace
Recommended Luxury Hotel: AthensWas Hotel and A77 Suites by Andronis
Best self-contained apartment for families and groups :
Auntie’s Home in Plaka is a fantastic 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment with a huge terrace and amazing Acropolis views too. It’s incredibly well priced too. Acro & Polis is another excellent property and it can sleep 6 across 2 bedrooms.
For big groups Dionysus is a beautiful apartment right in the middle of Plaka. It has 3 bedrooms and can sleep 9 and it’s a great price too given the quality (one thing to note however is that it is not airconditioned). Athenian Niche is a stunning neo-classical villa in the heart of Plaka with 4 bedrooms that can sleep up to 10 people in 4 bedrooms and it has 3 bathrooms too.
Athens’ central square, Syntagma is the centre 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
Where to stay in Syntagma
Recommended Budget Hotel: Syntagma Square Apartments
Recommended mid-range Hotel : NJV Hotel or Electra Athens
Recommended Luxury hotel: Hotel Grande Bretagne ( the most famous hotel in all of Greece) or King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Best self-contained apartment for groups: V1935 Luxury Apartments
Grande Bretagne Hotel
Monastiraki consists of central Monastiraki 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 Monastiraki
- The Monastiraki 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
Where to stay in Monastiraki
Recommended Budget hotel: Concierge Athens
Recommended mid-range hotel: The Zillers Boutique Hotel, 360 Degrees or Ergon House
Recommended Luxury hotel: Aerides Luxury Suites or Electra Metropolis
Best self-contained apartment for groups: Nsplace or the Home Pleasure Project.
Also look at Chloe Boutique Apartments that have a 4 bedroom apartments that are very good value too.
Ergon House Rooftop
Psiri is the cool, grungy area of inner Athens that has always been popular with activists 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 nightclubs
- 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
Where to stay in Psiri
Recommended Budget hotel: City Circus or Attalos Hotel
Recommended mid/luxury hotel: The Foundry, A for Athens or Pame House
Best self-contained apartments for groups: A.P. Acropolis view have a 2-bedroom family room with its own Hammam or Central Apartments.
The Foundry Hotel
Kolonaki is the posh area of central Athens. Filled with designer shops, Kolonaki is a ritzy neighbourhood 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
Where to stay in Kolonaki
Recommended budget hotel: Lycabettus Exclusive Apartments
Recommended mid-range/luxury hotel: Coco Mat Jumelle or Shila – both uber cool and very luxe boutique hotels
Best self-contained apartment for groups: Irodotou Grand Apartment
image@ 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 fewer 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.
Check out Glyfada Riviera Hotel and Palmyra Beach Hotel.
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.
We love Divani Apollon Palace, especially for families and The Margi is great for couples and singles.
Astir – at the very end of this stretch of Coastline is a small peninsula often referred to as Astir.
This is where you will find the only Four Seasons Hotel in Greece, the Four Seasons Astir Palace.
There are also a number of exclusive bars and restaurants including an exclusive beach club and Marina. This area is very popular with celebrities and VIPs.
Where to stay on the Athenian Riviera
Recommended budget hotel: Bomo Palace Hotel
Recommended mid-range hotel: Brasil Suites
Recommended Luxury hotel: Four Seasons Astir Palace
Best self-contained apartment for Groups: Elaia Luxury Apartments Glyfada
Things to do on the Athenian Riviera
The beach and beach bars and clubs are the main focus of this part of Athens of course but there are also a number of fascinating sites to visit and activities to do.
Vouliagmeni is actually home to a thermal lake which is believed to be very therapeutic. The lake is located just a short walk back from the beach and is open to the public for swimming and snorkelling. There is also a nice café on-site and a range of spa treatments and activities.
Cape Sounion is the other big attraction. This is where the incredible Temple of Poseidon stands overlooking the sea. It was built to fortify Athens against invading forces and to honour the God of the Sea. It also played a significant role in Greek Mythology and Homer’s The Odyssey.
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.
Athens Airport Hotels
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 at one of the seaside suburbs like 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.
- Also check out the beachside suburbs of Artemida, Porto Rafti and Vravrona where the big modern 5 star resort right on the beach at Vravrona Bay is only 20 minutes from the airport and there is a airport. This is a huge complex with several swimming pools, a day spa, a water sports centre and a poolside restaurant – great for families! It’s also very close to the Archaeological Site and Museum of Brauron which includes the Temple of Artemis and is rather extraordinary! ( TIP* Eat at Taverna Artemis!).
- 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.
Further reading: Athens Airport Hotels
BOOK YOUR AIRPORT TRANSFER
Piraeus Port Hotels
If you have an early ferry or cruise ship to catch or even arrive late at night you may not want to venture into the city centre.
Like most big ports Piraeus is not the most exciting nor attractive place to be. In fact, Piraeus is a city of almost 200,000 people that merged with greater Athens decades ago and is home to not only the largest passenger port in Europe but also one of the largest Universities in the country, and some important leisure and sporting facilities.
The streets surrounding the port are largely full of shipping type businesses and cargo services, the Port Authority, numerous small cafes and travel agents and a couple of large shopping malls and the Metro Station.
There are a couple of decent hotels such as Achillion Hotel Piraeus and Faros l. The best choice in our opinion is the brand new Port Square Hotel which opened in 2022 and is right across from the Main ferry gate.
Just a few blocks back from Piraeu as well, is one of Athens best-kept secrets, the small port of Pasalimani.
This pretty port is almost a complete circle with a small entrance from the sea, past a modern spit and into the Marina. The bay is lined with tavernas, cafes and bars and is a lively place at night with locals. There is even an organised beach with sunbeds to the east.
Our favourite place to stay near Piraeus is the gorgeous The Alex Hotel which is a short walk from Pasalimani and a $10 taxi fare to Piraeus. This modern hotel is very new, very stylish and has panoramic views over the bay the the islands, especially from the rooftop bar.