Where To Stay In Athens – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods

Written By: The Planet D

Known as the capital of Greece, Athens has a compact city center with diverse neighborhoods.

This can make it overwhelming when it comes to choosing where to stay in Athens especially for a first-time visitor.

In order to give you the best Athens neighborhood guide, we partnered with Athens expert Marisa Feyen.

Having lived in Athens for over a year, Marisa has been able to explore so many different neighborhoods in Athens and shares the best of what she has learned in this article.

Whether you are looking for the best 5-star hotels in Athens or budget accommodation this guide will show you the best areas to base yourself on your next trip to Athens, Greece.

Best Places to Stay in Athens, Greece

There are quite a few different areas to choose from in Athens. Some, like Syntagma Square are in the heart of the city and others are only a metro ride or short walk away from most of the main attractions.

Depending what your budget is and what type of traveler you are will determine the area that is right for you. In order to make it easier to choose the right neighborhood here are my recommendations:

Where to Stay in Athens for First-timers?

Plaka and Syntagma are the top places to base yourself if you are visiting Athens for the first time.

What is the best area to stay in Athens on a budget?

Gazi is the best area to stay in Athens if you are on a budget. Great selection of hotels and it is only a 20 minute walk to the main attractions

Where is the best place to stay in Athens for families?

Kolonaki is the perfect place to stay if you have kids. Filled with great museums, as well as great shopping streets it is safe and quieter than other neighborhoods.

Where to stay in Athens for Nightlife?

Psyri is the nightclub district of Athens. If you want to experience great greek nightlife then this is where you should stay.

Best Areas to Stay in Athens Greece

where to stay in athens view

In a Hurry? Check out the Best Hotels in Athens. These are my recommendations for the top hotels in all of Athens.

1. Syntagma Square – Where to Stay in Athens for first-timers

Known as the heart of the city, Syntagma square is the most central place to in Athens. Day or night, there is always a buzz at Syntagma Square.

Where to stay in athens -\syntagma square
Syntagma Square and the Parliament building

This is one of the most popular places to stay in Athens for first-time visitors because it is easy to get to Syntagma from pretty much anywhere in the city.

Syntagma Square is the most important square in Athens.

Many major events in its modern history happened here – political demonstrations, celebrations, and even battles.

Visit the Greek Parliament Building, the tomb of the unknown soldier, and the original marble Olympic Stadium (Panthenaic).

Syntagma also offers many great restaurants and trendy bars to keep you entertained all night long.

Where to Stay in Athens Near Syntagma Square

Luxury

Mid-Range

Budget

Things to see near Syntagma Square

athens where to stay Panathanaic Stadium
Panathanaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympic Games

Parliament building – This building used to be the palace of King Otto after the 19th-century Greek Revolution. Now it is the houses the Greek democracy.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – The changing of the guard ceremonies draw tons of spectators (Top of every hour, large ceremony on Sunday at 11AM).

Panathenaic Stadium – The original stadium of the first modern Olympics in 1896. In the 2004 Olympics, it was the venue for the historic marathon finish and archery contests.

National Gardens – This public space is a great place for a walk or to find peace and quiet in the center of Athens. It contains some ruins, such as columns and Corinthian capitals.

Anafiotika – Want to get an island feel while you’re in the center of Athens? The original inhabitants of this neighborhood were islanders who brought the island vibe to Athens. Look for cats and eye-popping street art tucked in the nooks and crannies.

2. Koukaki – Athens Neighborhood for a Local Experience

Odeon of Herodes Atticus neighborhoods in athens
Odeon of Herodes Atticus below the Acropolis

This neighborhood south of the Acropolis has a local neighborhood vibe. If you are looking for a walkable locale where everyday Athenians live and hang out, Koukaki is the perfect place.

The key points of interest here are the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. There are lots of pedestrian zones here and most things are within walking distance. On these paths, you can walk almost completely car-free in a 2-mile path around the Acropolis.

The heart of the neighborhood is the pedestrian street Drakou. Here you can sip coffee or grab a bite with the Athenians. 

Further southwest is Olympiou, another pedestrian street with even more tavernas and ouzeries where you can get your fill of traditional greek food.

Where to Stay in Athens Near Koukaki

Luxury

Mid-Range

Budget

Things to See in Koukaki

Acropolis Museum best athens neighborhoods
Excavation at the Acropolis Museum

Acropolis – Athens most famous monument, the Parthenon, is located here. Also on the site are the Temple of Athena Nike, Erechtheum, Dionysos Theatre, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. On the west side of the Acropolis is Aeropagus/Mars Hill, where Apostle Paul preached to Athenians.

Acropolis Museum – This is one of the best museums in the world, with the highlight being a to-scale recreation of the frieze that surrounded the Parthenon.

Filopappos Hill – Come here for great views of Athens, the Aegean Sea and the Acropolis. It is a great place for a walk and is home to indigenous birds, like the Athenian owl and peregrine falcon.

Temple of Olympia Zeus – Remains of the largest temple in ancient Greece built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

National Museum of Contemporary Art – Housed in refurbished 1893 Fix Brewery Factory, the museum houses contemporary exhibitions from Greek and international artists.

3. Kolonaki – Where to Stay in Athens for Luxury and Shopping

Tsakalof Street places to stay in athens
Relax on Tsakalof Street

If you are coming to Athens to shop, this posh area with designer shops and boutiques will be right up your alley. Kolonaki is located northeast of the Acropolis.

In addition, you’ll find Athens’ world-renowned art museums here. For example, the Benaki Museum contains a vast collection of the highest-quality Greek art from throughout its history. Or shop for high-quality souvenirs in its shop.

A walk up Lycabettus Hill will give you a great workout and a bird’s eye view of all the streets in Athens. If climbing is too difficult, you can also take a funicular to the top to see the great views.

You’ll love the fantastic energy on Tsakalof Street. Go for a coffee during the day or a cocktail at night. It buzzes at all times of the day.

Top Hotels Near Kolonaki

Luxury

Mid-Range

Budget

Things to see near Kolonaki

best athens locations to stay Byzantine
Byzantine and Christian Museum

Lycabettus Hill – Go for the views all the way to the port of Piraeus and the Aegean Sea. You can hike to the top or take the funicular.

Benaki Museum – Stunning collection of artifacts from ancient, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern eras. There is also a great gift shop if you are looking for higher quality souvenirs.

Museum of Cycladic Art – See the world’s largest collection of Cycladic art. Everything we know about the ancient islanders, we know because of this art.

Byzantine and Christian Museum – View artwork from the period of history when Greek culture dominated the eastern Christian world.

4. Metaxourgeio – A Great Central Location in Athens

Metaxourgeio athens places

I fell for Athens after an evening in rough-and-tumble Metaxourgeio. Historically, Metaxourgeio was a working middle-class neighborhood that started to decline in the 70’s.  Today immigrants and artists take advantage of the lower rents here.

With the new tenants came an artsy vibe with many art galleries and trendy restaurants and cafes. The cultural center of Metaxourgeio is Avdi Square. It’s most lively in the evening when the bars and cafes fill up.

Most of the nicer hotels will be found on Karaiskakis Square, where the metro stop is located.

It is a 10-min walk to Avdi Square from Karaiskaki Square. Spend your time here in art galleries, such as the Municipal Gallery of Athens, Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Breeder Gallery, and the Vamiali Gallery. You will also find a lot of street art around Metaxourgeio.

Stay in Metaxourgeio if you are looking for an alternative locale. It is still a transition neighborhood and will not be to everyone’s taste.

Best Hotels in Metaxourgio

Luxury

Mid-Range

Budget

Things to See in Metaxourgeio

things to do in athens - Avdi Square
Cafe on Avdi Square

National Archaeological Museum – The world-renowned museum displays artifacts from as early as 7000 B.C. Highlights include rare bronze statues, the Mask of Agamemnon, and Classic-period sculptures.

Avdi Square – Park-like square, especially lively in the evening. Visit some of my favorite  Athens cafe/bars and restaurants that are located on the perimeter.

Gazi – A lively, hip nightclub and bar area. A modern conversion of a 19th century gas plant known as the Technopolis is located here.

The Technololis hosts cultural events, a weekly artisan market, and a museum. It’s staged with red and purple lights at night.

Exarchia – This is an edgy counterculturist neighborhood. It has a long history of clashes with the police and is full of graffiti and street art. Although it is disruptive for police to enter this area, it is generally very safe for everyone else.

5. Psyri – Where to Stay in Athens for Nightlife

best nightlife in athens psyri

The streets in Psyri flood with people at night. Yet it is also extremely close to many sights, including the neighborhood of Thissio and Monastiraki Square. Psyri is the perfect place for you if you want to be close to the center, yet also in the middle of the action at night.

Psyri has an anti-establishment vibe from its history as a home to discontents. Recently, the area has gentrified after lots of quirky bars and artisan shops moved in. Yet it still retains its alternative mood.

Nearby are Monastiraki Square and its famous flea market, Athens Central Market, and the neighborhood of Thissio.

Best Hotels Near Psyri

Luxury

Mid-Range

Budget

Things to see in Psyiri

where to stay in athens near Monastiraki Square
Monastiraki Square

Monastiraki Square – The city’s other main square. A string of souvlaki joints called Souvlaki Row is here (Note: you will find better souvlaki elsewhere). There is also a 12th-century Byzantine church, the Church of the Virgin.

Monastiraki Flea Market – Shop in the famous flea market. Antiques, books, jewelry, small appliances, artwork.

Athens Central Market – You can buy produce, fish, and meat here. The meat market is a sensory experience. You will find butchers at work as well as whole animals hanging, including the heads.

Library of Hadrian – 2nd century A.D. Roman-era ruins of a cultural center with a library, lecture halls, and art gallery. Today there are only 4 pillars still standing.

Monastiraki Metro Station – On your way through, check out the excavation inside the station. These ruins were found while digging the Blue line extension.

Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds – When the Romans controlled Athens, they built their own forum. Now it’s mostly ruins, but the Tower of the Winds has remained in tact.

Ancient Agora – Where democracy was born. The Ancient Agora was not excavated until the 1930’s. There are sparse remains, but the Temple of Hephaistos is well-preserved.

Thissio – A neighborhood west of the Ancient Agora with great views of the Acropolis. My favorite outdoor cinema is here. Watch a recent Hollywood flick or an old classic while stealing views of the Acropolis.

6. Plaka – The Best Place to Stay in Athens

Plaka neighborhood of Athens Greece

This area has changed over the years and has become more and more popular with tourists. One of the reasons I recommend this area as the perfect place for first-time visitors is that it is in central Athens and is close to pretty much everything.

Known as the Old Town of Athens, the Plaka neighborhood is situated right at the the base of the Acropolis. With its colorful buildings, charming narrow pedestrian streets and great cultural history it is no wonder this is one of my favorite areas to stay in Athens. It may be a little touristy but I feel it hasn’t lost its old world charm.

With Plaka being in such a convenient location you can expect hotels and accommodation to be a little more expensive in this area of Athens.

Where to Stay in Plaka

Luxury

Mid-Range

  • New Hotel – Close to Syntagma Square and central to almost everything. Modern Rooms and a great restaurant.

Budget

  • Hotel Phaedra – Located in the heart of Athens this hotel is super affordable and clean. Free Wi-Fi and close to the metro.

Things to see in Plaka

Where to stay in athens - Caryatids
The Caryatids on a temple of the Acropolis

The Acropolis: With Plaka being at the foot of this ancient ruin, you are not going to want to miss this.

Parthenon: An impressive temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena

Temple of Olympian Zeus: This half ruined temple which consists of 104 columns that are 17m high is an impressive structure and worth a visit.

Visit Museums: If museums are your thing then Plaka has a few you should check out like the Museum of Popular Musical Instruments and Frissiras Museum to name a few.

7. Gazi – Best Place to Stay in Athens on a Budget

Where to stay in Athens Gazi Neighborhood

Gazi may not be in the heart of Athens but most of the main attractions are only 15-20 minutes away by walking or public transit. Because of where it is located it is the perfect place to stay in Athens if you are on a budget.

You can get a lot more here for your money compared to places like Plaka and Syntagma. The Gazi neighborhood is centered around a place called Technopolis.

This old gasworks was converted into museum and cultural center making it the perfect place to check out the cultural and musical side of Athens. There is always something cool going on in the Gazi neighborhood so you will never get bored.

Where to stay in Gazi

Luxury

Mid Range

  • The House – Close to the metro, this hotel is a mix of old and new. The building has only 9 rooms but is full of charm.

Budget

  • Chameleon Hostel – If you are on a budget in Athens this is a great place to stay. Clean rooms and a great location. Perfect for exploring the city.

Things to see in Gazi:

Technopolis: An old gas plant that has been turned into a cultural center. Live shows, museums and more are held here.

Stroll the Mural Filled Streets: Gazi is the new hotspot for street art. Get lost in the area and discover some great artists.

Gazarte: A cool bar with great views of the Acropolis.

Athens Quick Tips

Athens metro is affordable and very easy to use.

Purchase tickets at all Metro, Tram, and Suburban Railway stations. Many news kiosks will also sell tickets. The same ticket is used for all forms of public transportation.

A five day pass for all modes of public transportation only €9.

  • This excludes transfers on bus or metro to the airport: A one way metro ticket to/from the airport is €10. A one way Express Bus ticket to/from the airport is €6.
  • A 3-day tourist pass for all modes of public transportation AND roundtrip airport transport is only €22 

Plan Your Athens Trip

Athens is on the Euro – $1USD = .85 Euro – For up to date conversions get the XE Currency Converter App Dress in layers and pack mix and match clothing. Athens can be extremely hot with intense sunshine. Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin.

How to pack for a European vacation – We give our best tips for packing for Europe from what to bring and how to pack it. With video too!

Eagle Creek Plug Adapter – This all in one adapter is all your need for Athens and other European and world travels.

Athens is a city that you could visit again and again. There is so much history here and when you combine that with the incredible food and friendly people you have a world-class destination.

I have given you the information to go out an explore the best neighborhoods in Athens and all that they have to offer. So, put on your walking shoes and start exploring the ancient city of Athens

See these articles to help with travel planning to Greece:

Read this other Athen’s Travel Guide

See More Greek Islands Travel Guides

See Other Greek Destinations

where to stay in Athens Greece
Where to Stay in Athens – A Guide to Athens Hotels

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

17 thoughts on “Where To Stay In Athens – A Guide To The Best Neighborhoods”

  1. So glad guys you lived in our beautiful country. Very useful article , good job. If you need any furthermore informations about Greece, I could help you because im working in tourism industry here in Athens.

    Reply
  2. When it comes to Athens, there are so many options as to what to see and where to go that it can be overwhelming. This is an excellent guide that can help point us in the right direction when it comes to finding a great place to stay!

    Reply
  3. Your posts are really inspiring and useful for somebody like me who is planning a world travel. I think you deserve better attention on Google search rankings.

    Reply
  4. This is so great! I wish I would have known more about the neighborhoods of Athens before I went. Definitely missed out on a lot of this and seeing the city from a local’s point of view. I’ll have to reference this the next time I go back!

    Reply
  5. Hi Marisa
    My friend and I are planning a trip in september for 2 weeks to your beautiful country. Appreciate if you could help us with accommodation etc

    Reply
  6. The information is really helpful to people like me, Athens is my dream destination, after reading this post, I think I don’t require help of any agent. I can directly book my Greek Holidays.

    Reply
  7. This is Fab! I’m starting toget all excited about Europe. I’ve totally over looked it for years, but here we come 😉 Thanks for writing this!

    Reply
  8. Athens is the great dream of my life. Your post is really exhaustive and the photos entice me to plan this trip sooner than I thought.I would love to make it myself. Thanks for sharing the details.

    Reply
  9. Hi Marissa,

    Helpful list here.

    My wife stayed in Athens WAY back in her backpacking days, a decade ago. She picked a rough hood to save some bucks but if we went back together, we do a bit more prospering, enjoyable form of travel these days.

    Thanks for sharing the list with us.

    Ryan

    Reply