Menu
Search

Where to stay in Athens for first time visitors

A comprehensive guide on finding the best accommodation in Athens

Where to stay in Athens

Wondering where to stay in Athens? It is difficult to marry up in the modern mind the Athens of the ancient world with the Athens that stands today.

To know that the gleaming capital city of one of the greatest empires in the history of the world, home to the inventors of Western philosophy, mathematics, and democracy, a place with 3,000 years of history, is still a city that exists and can be visited is a rather dizzying notion.

But because of just how marvellous and historically rich this city is - more than most that still stands today - it is imperative that a visit to Athens is done right.

Tourist spots like the Acropolis, seat of the Parthenon, and the Agora must not be missed, and Greek cuisine is one of the most celebrated on Earth, so the best restaurants must be found and enjoyed.

Finding the perfect place to stay, so that you can tick off all of the must-see and must-do things on your list is key to having the best possible time in one of the greatest historic cities in the world.

The Athens of today, after all, not only retains its ancient history but also offers rich arts and fashion scene, and some unmissable restaurants and cafes to enjoy.

Where to stay in Athens for first time visitors - Contents

Where to stay in Athens

Athens is a relatively large city with six major neighbourhoods which centre around The Acropolis.

There are several metro stations in the heart of the city and an extensive network that reaches out in the major neighbourhoods, suburbs, and to the airport making this an easy and fast city to get around.

Wherever you base yourself, it's difficult to miss the historic sites and you'll always be less than a half hour journey from them, often within walking distance.

The metro service is reliable and regular buses service the key areas.

The major tourist hub of Plaka is where most base themselves on the first visit to Athens, it's the historical centre and the charming cobblestone streets and ancient buildings can transport you back in time to that Athens of the past.

Seasoned travellers to Athens or people who prefer a more modern aesthetic tend to head for Syntagma, very much a vibrant bustling hub of modernity.

There are plenty of areas in between to get the best of both worlds or even go for something totally different in the edgy Exarchia district, known as much for its activism as its vintage shopping.

Athens Neighbourhoods Guide

Pin this now

Where to stay in Athens for first time visitors

Where to stay in Athens for first time visitors

Plaka

Lively historical city centre, directly under The Acropolis

Picturesque is the only way to describe this neighbourhood, the oldest part of Athens situated directly underneath The Acropolis, if you're here for Greece's long history you'll do no better than Plaka.

With easy access to the Parthenon where you can not only see one of the great wonders of the world but also catch an incredible view of the city, it's no wonder people flow to Plaka.

Why stay in Plaka

If you're in the city for a short time, it's an ideal base since there's so much to do; a fairly large and busy neighbourhood, it spans across to Syntagma district where you can also enjoy museums and modern coffee shops.

This quaint area blends narrow cobblestoned streets, neoclassical buildings, and ancient ruins while still being a fully commercial city centre.

While wandering the area you'll find tavernas to try Greek food (although finding something authentic is more difficult in this tourist-driven neighbourhood), souvenir shops, restaurants, and cute cafes.

There's very much a feeling of nostalgia for old Athens to the area while very much offering everything a visitor would expect in a modern city with a wide range of accommodation from budget to luxury, there's something to suit everyone here but book fast since it's one of the most popular areas in Athens.

If you love to take a step back in time while you're on holiday but don't mind being in the tourist hub, then Plaka is ideal.

Things to do in Plaka

  • See Greece's most famous attraction for yourself at The Acropolis
  • The Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments
  • Benizelo's Mansion, the oldest house in Athens that operates as a museum
  • Discover The Roman Agora between 19-11BC, one of the few archaeological sites in the world
  • Purchase handmade gold jewellery at Byzantino
  • People-watch with a cappuccino on Filomouson Etairias Square
  • Visit The Tower of Winds, considered the first-ever metrological station
  • Explore the 13h-century Byzantines paintings in the church of Ayios Ioannis Theologos
  • Take pictures in front of the local graffiti
  • Go souvenir shopping on Adrianou street
  • Buy some local Ouzo at "Mr Agelos's" shop on Adrianou street
  • Watch a film at Cine Paris with outdoor views on The Acropolis

Where to stay in Plaka

Studio Under Acropolis RockCheck Studio Under Acropolis Rock on Booking.com

Studio Under Acropolis Rock

650 yards from Roman Agora, Studio Under Acropolis Rock is situated in the Athens City Centre district of Athens. The property was built in 1957 and features air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony. The apartment contains a fully equipped kitchen and private bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Electra Palace Athens

With a great location in the centre of Plaka, facing the Acropolis, this 5-star hotel offers personalised service, a beautiful rooftop pool and well-appointed rooms with a buffet breakfast included. Electra Palace Hotel Athens is within walking distance from most of Athens' main attractions. Guests can start their day with Greek Breakfast provided in the dining area. Electra Palace Hotel's rooftop has a lovely pool area and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant's terrace looks directly to the Acropolis.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Village under the Acropolis

Set in Athens, Village under the Acropolis offers accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. The air-conditioned accommodation is 350 yards from Anafiotika. This apartment is equipped with a bedroom, a kitchen, a flat-screen TV, a seating area and a bathroom with a shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Monastiraki & Psiri

Central area full of entertainment, boutique shopping, and nightlife

In the heart of Athens, and two of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city, Monastiraki & Psiri are right next to each other.

Staying in this area offers a slice of real-life experience in the city while being within a stone's throw of the famous historical sites.

Why stay in Monastiraki & Psiri

Turning corners in this area offer incredible views of The Acropolis which is a fine thing to look at while having a snack at one of the street vendors.

Both neighbourhoods are well-known as the nightlife and shopping centres of Athens.

After spending your day shopping at the many clothing boutiques, souvenir shops and speciality stores, you can dance the night away, starting at Iron Square, then continuing around the maze of bars and nightclubs on offer.

Accommodation in the area is slightly cheaper than the historic centre and has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment and a lively, more authentic atmosphere than some of the other neighbourhoods while still being in walking distance of the main sights.

Things to do in Monastiraki & Psiri

  • Go shopping the Sunday Monastiraki Flea Market to interact with the locals and shop clothes, antiques, books, souvenirs, and more
  • Visit the church of Panagia Pantanassa
  • Marvel at the entrance of Hadrian's Library
  • Relax with a drink and watch the day go by at Monastiraki square or Avissinias square

Where to stay in Monastiraki & Psiri

360 DegreesCheck 360 Degrees on Booking.com

360 Degrees

Right on Monastiraki Square, just steps from Monastiraki Flea Market, 360 Degrees features a roof bar- restaurant with panoramic views of the city and the Acropolis. It offers modern accommodation with free WiFi and easy access to archaeological sites. All accommodation types at the 360 Degrees feature neutral colours with industrial-design details. Each has a TV and a seating area. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a hairdryer and bathrobes.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Andronis Athens

Only 200 yards from Monastiraki main square, Andronis Athens offers suites in eclectic style. The shopping street of Ermou, as well as bars and restaurants, can be found in a small walk. Featuring relaxing interiors with colourful details, all suites have a dressing room and a seating area. Other facilities include bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer. A self-standing bathtub or a spacious built-in shower are available.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Kerameion

Housed in a restored neoclassical building in the heart of Psyrri Area, Kerameion has an internal courtyard with a glass floor hosting byzantine findings. It offers elegantly decorated, self-catering accommodation with free WiFi access. The Acropolis is 0.6 miles away.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Kolonaki

Upmarket area with designer shops, fine-dining, and boutiques

Located northeast of the Acropolis, this opulent area is one of the finest places in the city to enjoy a coffee and to people-watch.

Why stay in Kolonaki

With lovely leafy cobblestoned streets lined with cafes, wine bars, and expensive shopping areas, this upscale neighbourhood, built into the slopes of the Lycabettus Hill, displays luxury and wealth.

Foodies will enjoy this area immensely, with it boasting a number of fine dining options including traditional Greek, as well as a wide selection of international, cuisines.

There are also a number of local independent art galleries to explore after enjoying a hearty lunch. The accommodation in this area is high-end and makes this the area to choose if you're looking to splash out on an elegant holiday in a city as beautiful as Athens.

Things to do in Kolonaki

  • Walk up Lycabettus Hill for a bird's eye view of Athens
  • Drink a coffee or go for a cocktail on the buzzing Tsakalof Street
  • Visit the neoclassical Benaki Museum for Greek Art and beautiful souvenirs
  • Explore more Greek art at the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art
  • Step back in time at the Byzantine and Christian Museum which features historical artwork and sculptures

Where to stay in Kolonaki

St George LycabettusCheck St George Lycabettus on Booking.com

St George Lycabettus

Set in the upmarket Kolonaki district, the lifestyle hotel St George Lycabettus features a breakfast room overlooking the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill and the Saronic Gulf. Taste gourmet Mediterranean flavours at La Suite Lounge Restaurant and indulge yourself at the rooftop pool or AegeosSpas and Gym. Each floor features its own theme and exhibition of Greek culture, while rooms are individually decorated. Most rooms have private balconies with breathtaking Acropolis and Athens views.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Oasis veranda under columns.Kolonaki embassy area.

Located 350 yards from Kolonaki Square in Athens, this air-conditioned apartment features free WiFi. The Acropolis is 1.1 miles away. The unit is equipped with a kitchen, a bathroom with autonomous heating and air conditioning units. Towels and bed linen are provided at Oasis veranda under columns.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Central new Kolonaki apartment

Central new Kolonaki apartment is set in the upmarket Kolonaki district of Athens, 350 yards from Dexameni Square and a 5-minute walk from Byzantine Museum. This apartment provides air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi access.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Syntagma

Modern city centre with plenty to do and an excellent transport hub

Whereas Plaka is the historical city centre of Athens, Syntagma is the new centre and one of the most popular places to be based in Athens.

It's in a fantastic location for getting anywhere else in the city, and public transport is convenient and easy to navigate.

Why stay in Syntagma

Syntagma is the new city centre and one of the most popular places to stay in Athens.

Syntagma is not without its history; the square itself is one of the most important political points in Athens today and in the past, with numerous protests, celebrations, and even uprisings battles through history having being held here.

Even today, if there's some sort of political demonstration or big event, it will happen here.

Dominating the square is the beautiful Parliament House building, the focus of power in modern Greece.

Usually, the area has a very relaxed vibe and the square is lined with cafes, restaurants with terraces, and wine bars to enjoy.

For a fashionable nightlife scene, Karytsi square is the place to be and it brings people from all over Athens to enjoy the lively evening atmosphere - this in itself makes the area ideal for young people who come to Athens wanting to make the most of their nights as well as their days.

Beloved by visitors and locals alike and with a wide range of accommodation options, this is an ideal choice for people who like an energetic and modern pace of life close to everything Athens has to offer.

Things to do in Syntagma

  • Explore the vibrant area of Anafiotika for island culture in the centre of Athens, perfect for lovers of street art
  • Throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish
  • Take a free tour of the Parliament House
  • Catch some tranquillity and visit the ruins at the National Garden's, once the King's Palace Gardens
  • Shop on the Valaoritu Pedestrian Street which joins with the square
  • Browse the ancient relics at the Numismatic Museum and the National Historic Museum
  • Take a look at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Where to stay in Syntagma

Electra MetropolisCheck Electra Metropolis on Booking.com

Electra Metropolis

Located in the heart of Athens, just 200 yards from Syntagma Square, the modern Electra Metropolis boasts a small, rooftop pool and a sun terrace with views over the city. Gourmet dishes and refreshing cocktails can be enjoyed at the top-floor restaurant or at the M Bar offering panoramic views over the Acropolis.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Elia Ermou Athens Hotel

Just 900 yards from the world-renowned Acropolis and Acropolis Museum, Elia Ermou Athens Hotel is conveniently set in the heart of Athens. This 4-star hotel features a restaurant and wellness club. The rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Arethusa Hotel

Arethusa Hotel is centrally located next to Plaka, the scenic Old Town of Athens and stands within 50 yards from the Syntagma Metro Station. It offers breakfast and air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. Simply yet tastefully decorated, all units come with a TV and fridge. Each includes a private bathroom with hairdryer and bath or shower.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Koukaki

A relaxed, traditional, yet central area to experience Athenian life

An overlooked sleepy part of the city which offers a traditional village vibe while being just south of The Acropolis.

Why stay in Koukaki

If you love traditional Greek food rather than the dishes geared towards tourists in areas like Plaka then you'll be thrilled with the overwhelming amount of tavernas and local cafes to choose from in this vibrant neighbourhood.

Orange trees provide shade and an intoxicating scent to the air as you wander the uneven cobbled side streets and enjoy the local shops and art galleries.

If you'd like to experience real Athenian life and want to keep costs down or you've visited Athens before and want something a little different then Koukaki will be perfect for you.

Things to do in Koukaki

  • Visit the Trii Ark Hub for coffee and to support local artists
  • Head to The Acropolis Museum to learn more about Athens's extraordinary structure
  • Sit in the heart of the neighbourhood, the pedestrian street of Drakou to enjoy a coffee
  • Admire the jewellery at the Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum
  • Browse Greece's finest artwork at the magnificent National Museum of Contemporary Art

Where to stay in Koukaki

Herodion HotelCheck Herodion Hotel on Booking.com

Herodion Hotel

Situated at the foot of the Acropolis, Herodion Hotel offers elegantly decorated air-conditioned rooms. It has a beautiful roof garden with sun loungers and 2 hot tubs boasting spectacular views over Athens. The modern rooms feature light wood furnishings and parquet floors. They are fitted with a satellite TV, safety box and soundproofed windows. Most of the rooms have private balconies and some have a view of the Acropolis.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Blue Ark Elegant Athens 1&2

Located in the Athens City Centre of Athens within 0.6 miles of Filopappos Hill, Blue Ark Elegant Athens 1&2 provides accommodation with free WiFi, seating area and a kitchen. Fitted with a terrace, the units offer air conditioning and feature a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries. An oven and toaster are also offered, as well as a coffee machine and a kettle.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Comfy Koukaki Apartment

Comfy Koukaki Apartment has a balcony and is located in Athens, within just 900 yards of Odeum of Herodes Atticus and less than 0.6 miles of Acropolis Museum. This apartment is a 13-minute walk from Filopappos Hill. This air-conditioned apartment features a bathroom with a bath and free toiletries. The accommodation is equipped with a kitchen with an oven and fridge.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Exarchia

Vibrant hipster neighbourhood popular with Athenian youth

The edgy part of Athens, Exarchia is a creative and youthful hub which has strong associations with anarchist culture and anti-capitalist movements.

Why stay in Exarchia

Although it has been deemed a turbulent spot, this has been mostly to do with the regular protests that happen in this area and definitely shouldn't put anyone off in terms of safety.

In fact, Exarchia has a lot to offer anyone looking for a different side to Athens.

Full of live music and music culture in general, vinyl stores line the street and there's always a gig going on in one of the many bars.

There's also a thriving vegan and vegetarian culture here and so you'll find quirky restaurants and cafes that will suit anyone who loves vegan cuisine and delicious Greek food.

It's a youthful and colourful area, literally colourful since there's graffiti everywhere, and there's plenty to see and do.

For those on a budget who are looking for a fun time in Athens, this is ideal.

Things to do in Exarchia

  • Visit the National Archaeological Museum of Athens to see incredible history
  • Catch a show at Vox, the city's oldest theatre
  • Wander up Lofos Strefi, a famous hill with views over Athens
  • Go vintage or book shopping in Exarchia's many retro and second-hand stores

Where to stay in Exarchia

Polis Grand HotelCheck Polis Grand Hotel on Booking.com

Polis Grand Hotel

Polis Grand is located a 5-minute walk from Omonoia Metro Station and 350 yards away from the National Archaeological Museum. It offers a small fitness centre, a rooftop bar overlooking the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill. Rooms at Polis Grand Hotel are appointed with elegant furniture and marble bathrooms. They come with air conditioning, a laptop safe and a flat-screen TV. Some rooms have a balcony with views of Lycabettus Hill and the Acropolis.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Melia Athens

Located just a short walk from Athens’ attractions, luxurious 4-star hotel Melia Athens features a rooftop restaurant with stunning views of the Acropolis. All guests enjoy free access to its health club, the seasonal outdoor pool and the hot tub. Guest rooms are soundproofed, air-conditioned, and decorated in earthy tones with sycamore furniture and paintings signed by contemporary Greek artists. They enjoy a minibar, satellite TV and marble bathrooms with jet shower cabins or spa baths.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Athens Way

Located in the heart of Athens, this modern hotel offers soundproofed rooms with free wired internet and flat-screen TVs. It is 1.2 miles from the Acropolis. The spacious air-conditioned rooms at the Athens Way feature a contemporary style. They are all equipped with en suite bathroom with hairdryer.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Responses