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

Athens is a big city counting more than 660 thousand inhabitants in the city centre and more than 3.000.000 in the metropolitan area. Each area has its own particular features, so you might feel a bit disoriented when planning your first visit!

Let’s see an overview of the main neighborhoods and some tips to choose where to stay in Athens according to your specific needs and goals.

Where to stay in Athens – City Centre

Map of the best areas to stay in the centre of Athens

Athens neighborhoods

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.

Monastiraki – the heart of the ancient bazaar

Monastiraki Square
Monastiraki Square

This central neighborhood owes its name to a small monastery overlooking the homonymous square. It is one of the favorite areas of international tourists thanks to both its proximity to the Acropolis and to Plaka neighborhood and to its vibrant and picturesque flea market offering any kind of products. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants and cafés in its narrow streets, which make it a really nice area for your nights out.

The ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalos as seen from Monastiraki
The ancient Agora and the Stoa of Attalos as seen from Monastiraki

Main points of interest:

  • Flea market (2, Ifestou): the most picturesque market in Athens looks almost like a Middle Eastern bazaar
  • Hadrian’s Library (3, Areos Street): the visit to the ruins of the ancient library is included in the combined ticket for the Acropolis
  • Ancient Agora (24, Adrianou Street): the heart of local public life during ancient times (also included in the combo ticket)
  • Megali Metropolis (Mitropoleos): the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
  • Mikri Metropolis (8, Plateía Mitropóleos): the byzantine church of St. Eleuthero is located close to the Metropolitan Cathedral

Closest metro station: Monastiraki

Who should choose Monastiraki: shopping-addicts, visitors loving vibrant and busy areas

Pros: central, picturesque and full of life

Cons: crowded and chaotic

Recommended hotels to stay in Monastiraki

360 Degrees situated in the heart of Monastiraki square, with the fantastic Flea Market on the hotel doorstep, is 360 Degrees; this swish, modern hotel has a brilliant rooftop bar, restaurant, and offers unbeatable panoramic views of the city, including the Acropolis, and has impeccably clean, spacious and comfortable rooms that offer a truly luxury feel. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

The Zillers Boutique Hotel – just a stone’s throw away from Adrianou Street and Roman Agora, is The Zillers Boutique Hotel, which offers stunning rooms, fantastic customer service, a brilliant bar, and restaurant, as well as all of the top sites of Athens on its doorstep. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Click here for my guide to Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

Plaka – a tourist neighborhood in the foothills of the Acropolis

Plaka neighborhood is a great place to stay while in Athens
Plaka neighborhood

This area is called the “Neighborhood of the Gods” since it’s really close to the Acropolis temples. It is one of the favorite areas of the city center of both locals and tourists and it includes a smaller picturesque area called Anafiotika. Here you’ll find an ancient atmosphere, some beautiful houses and buildings, picturesque cobbled streets and you’ll want to take a picture of every corner. There are also many souvenir shops, typical restaurants and bars where to taste a glass of ouzo.

the Monument of Lysicrates
Plaka and the Monument of Lysicrates

Main points of interest:

  • Anafiotika: a small area looking like a Cyclades village
  • Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (3, Epimenidou Street): a commemorative monument in honor of the choregos Lysicrates
  • Adrianou Street: the main street of Plaka is full of souvenir shops
  • Roman Agora (3, Polignotou Street): the heart of social and political Roman life
  • Church of St. Nicholas Rangavas (1, Prytaneiou Street): the oldest byzantine church of Athens
  • Church of Agioi Anargyroi – Holy Metohi Panagiou Tafou (18, Erechtheos Street): the seat of the Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher. It is especially worth a visit on Easter day to attend the special ceremony
  • Jewish Museum of Greece (39, Nikis Street): it displays the story of the Greek Jews
  • Museum of Modern Greek Culture (50, Adrianou Street): an unmissable stop to learn more about local culture and lifestyle
  • Athens University History Museum (5, Tholou Street): it is located inside the first Greek University building and it tells the story of modern Greece

Closest metro station: Monastiraki and Syntagma

Who should choose Plaka: visitors looking for Instagram worthy spots, people who like to walk around the city without using public transports

Pros: the main tourist attractions are all within walking distance

Cons: crowded and a bit touristy

Recommended hotels to stay in Plaka

Niki Athens Hotel – just 550 yards from the Acropolis lies Niki Athens Hotel, a modern and elegant hotel that offers luxurious rooms and high-quality services, with all of Athens primary historic and cultural sites in close proximity. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

New Hotel – New Hotel is a gorgeous design hotel in the center of the Plaka neighborhood; it was designed by the Campana Brothers, who are award-winning Brazilian designers, and the rooms are truly stunning. The hotel offers unbeatable views and is within walking distance to many of the city’s key sites. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Psiri – the nightlife district loved by young locals

Psiri, Athens
Psiri, Athens

Psiri is close to Plaka and Monastiraki, but it’s often a bit neglected by tourists despite its central location. It’s recently become a trendy area, very popular among young people because of its vibrant nightlife. During the day, it’s a relatively quiet neighborhood with plenty of craftsmen’s shops, neoclassical buildings and art galleries, while during the night it is crowded and full of bars and gathering points.

Psiri Area in Athens
Psiri Area in Athens

Main points of interest:

  • Kerameikos Cemetery (Ermou Street): the visit to the cemetery and its funerary art examples is included in the combined ticket for the Acropolis
  • Pottery Museum (4, Melidoni Street): it’s about Greek pottery art
  • Armenian Cathedral (10, Kriezi Street): it is dedicated to St Gregory the Illuminator
  • Street Art at every corner!

Closest metro station: Monastiraki

Who should choose Psiri: young travelers

Pros: one of the best areas to experience local nightlife

Cons: busy and crowded at night

Recommended hotels to stay in Psiri

The Foundry Suites – for a unique and luxurious getaway in the Psiri neighborhood, The Foundry Suites is one of the best places to stay. Each suite is fully equipped with kitchen amenities, and a continental breakfast is offered each morning. These aparthotels offer a high-end feel with lots of freedom and flexibility. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

14 Reasons Why – just off of the vibrant Monastiraki Square lies the 14 Reasons Why Hotel, which offers guests some fantastic amenities, such as city views, balconies, and quirky, uniquely designed rooms. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Athens Lodge – for large, spacious rooms with a modern twist, head to Athens Lodge in the Psiri district of Athens; featuring an on-site spa area, a rooftop terrace with city views, and a central location, this is one of the best hotels to stay in in the city. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Thissio – the perfect combination of fun and nature

Thissio area in Athens
Thissio area in Athens

Squeezed between Philopappou Hill and the Acropolis, you’ll find this elegant neighborhood that is suitable for both your daily wanderings and your nights out. There are many entertainment facilities, bars, and restaurants, but also a lot of greenery and a beautiful view of the Acropolis hill that’s especially worth it at night.

Thissio Athens
Thissio Athens

Main points of interest:

  • Acropolis hill
  • Apostolou Pavlou Street: a pedestrian and scenic street
  • Herakleidon Museum (37, Apostolou Pavlou Street): interactive, educational and suitable for kids and students
  • Hephaestus temple (24, Adrianou Street): it is dedicated to the God of Fire, but also to Athena (part of the Ancient Agora)

Closest metro station: Thissio

Who should choose Thisio: young travelers, families with kids

Pros: rich in culture, entertainment and nature

Cons: crowded at night

Recommended hotels to stay in Thissio

Hotel Thissio – with stunning views of the almighty Acropolis visible from its rooftop terrace, Hotel Thissio is a wonderfully situated accommodation with stylish, elegant rooms that offer comfort and luxury, and unbeatable city views from the balconies or windows. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Makrygianni – the Acropolis neighborhood

Acropolis from Makrygianni area
Acropolis from Makrygianni area

The Southern part of the Acropolis hill is named Makrygianni, like a famous Independence War general that lived there. It’s an elegant area with many Embassies and former noble mansions, but it also has some nice pedestrian streets and many entertainment facilities.

beautiful buildings in Dionysiou Areopagitou
beautiful buildings in Dionysiou Areopagitou

Main points of interest:

  • Acropolis Hill
  • Acropolis Museum (15, Dionysiou Areopagitou Street): it displays all the works of art of the Acropolis temples
  • Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (12, Kallisperi N): it was conceived by a famous local jewelry designer

Closest metro station: Acropolis (Dionysiou Areopagitou), which is worth a visit too, thanks to its many archeological remains!

Who should choose Makrygianni: visitors only spending a weekend in Athens

Pros: you’ll be right on the Acropolis hill!

Cons: none

Recommended hotels to stay in Makrygianni / Acropolis

Herodion Hotel – nestled beneath the foot of the Acropolis lies the Herodion Hotel, which is a spectacular hotel that offers gorgeous panoramic views of the city from its stunning rooftop garden, as well as modern and spacious rooms that each have a luxurious feel. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

The Athens Gate Hotel – this impressive 4-star hotel is situated in the heart of the city, and many of the rooms offer incredible views of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, as well as the Acropolis. The rooms are spacious, modern and airy, and there is a prestigious on-site restaurant serving fine cuisine. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Koukaki – many different realities living side by side

View of the Acropolis from Filopappos Hill
View of the Acropolis from Filopappos Hill

An historic and charming neighborhood which includes some popular smaller areas like Philopappou Hill. It is mainly a residential area including several different features: on its upper side, it is quiet, glamorous and full of beautiful houses and olive trees, while its lower part is more cosmopolitan, mainstream and full of apartment buildings where locals live.

Main points of interest:

  • National Museum of Contemporary Art (Leoforos Kallirois Amvrosiou Frantzi): a modern and innovative building dating back to 2000
  • Philopappou Hill: a scenic park to relax in nature
  • Georgaki Olympiou Street: a green and pedestrian street, perfect for a stroll

Closest metro station: Syngrou-Fix 

Who should choose Koukaki: families with kids, visitors who want to experience local lifestyle

Pros: quiet and green

Cons: not suitable for nightlife

Recommended hotels to stay in Koukaki

NLH FIX, Neighbourhood Lifestyle Hotelsoffering spacious modern suites that exude an air of elegance, this accommodation option is centrally located to all of the key sites of Athens, and many of the suites also offer a kitchenette, which adds a sense of freedom and flexibility. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Hotel @Syngrou Fix – situated within walking distance to a string of trendy bars and restaurants in the Koukaki district lies Hotel @Syngrou Fix, which is a modern, contemporary and stylish hotel, that is located within close proximity to a huge array of tourist attractions in Athens. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Syntagma – modern Athens

Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square

The area surrounding Syntagma Square is the center of local political, social and cultural life. It’s always crowded because of the presence of the Parliament and the daily ceremony of the Changing of the Guard in front of the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. It’s also the main transport hub where metro trains, buses and trams converge. From Syntagma Square, you can take Ermou Street, which is one of the main shopping streets of the city center and it’s also full of restaurants and cafés.

Grande  Bretagne, King George, and Athens Plaza hotels on Syntagma
Grande Bretagne, King George, and Athens Plaza hotels on Syntagma

Main points of interest:

  • Parliament: the former royal palace is open for visit
  • Monument of the Unknown Soldier: where the Evzones perform the Changing of the Guard
  • Ermou Street: a nice and vibrant shopping street
  • National Gardens: the largest park in the city center

Closest metro station: Syntagma

Who should choose Syntagma: visitors arriving by plane or by ferry and just staying in Athens for a few days

Pros: it is within walking distance from the main attractions and it is suitable for some nightlife too

Cons: it’s mostly modern

Recommended hotels to stay in Syntagma

Electra Metropolis situated in the heart of Athens, just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Syntagma Square is the Electra Metropolis, an elegant, contemporary hotel that boasts impressive views of the city, gourmet dining, and luxury rooms and suites. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel – with its grand neoclassical exterior and central location, the King George Hotel is situated within walking distance to some of the most prestigious stores, restaurants, and cafes in Athens, as well as the primary historic and cultural sites of the city. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Click here for my guide to Syntagma neighborhood.

Exarhia – the University district

view from Strefi Hill.
view from Strefi Hill.

Unconventional, young and cosmopolitan: a typical University district, which has similar features to the ones you’ll find in other European cities. It’s full of students and young people in general and it has a creative and dynamic vibe which creates an interesting cultural melting pot. It was once named Neapolis, meaning “New City”, since it was the first area that grew outside the city center. Later on, it took the name of a former grocery store and its owner!

Main points of interest:

  • National Archeological museum (44, 28is Oktovriou Street): the most important Hellenic art museum in the world
  • Strefi Hill (134, Emmanouil Benaki): the main green area of this neighborhood
  • Epigraphic Museum (1, Tositsa Street): it is entirely dedicated to stone inscriptions
  • Street Art everywhere!

Closest metro station: Panepistimio

Who should choose Exarhia: young travelers and backpackers

Pros: young and dynamic

Cons: not suitable for families

Recommended hotels to stay in Exarhia

Museum Hotel – for a chic, modern, and comfortable accommodation option in the heart of Exarhia, opt for Museum Hotel, which is within walking distance to many of the key sites. It has a wonderful Greek breakfast buffet, air-conditioning, large beds, and many of the rooms have city-view balconies. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Dryades & Orion Hotel – the Dryades & Orion Hotel is a fantastic place to stay in the city; there is a roof garden, rooms that offer views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill, large, comfortable rooms, as well as a string of gorgeous bars and restaurants on the doorstep. –Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Kolonaki – upper class and green

Lycabettus Hill
Lycabettus Hill

It takes its name from a column located at the center of the neighborhood and it’s a residential area close to the beautiful Lycabetto hill. Its elevated position was always loved by nobles and elite members who wanted to enjoy some quiet and privacy, but to also stay within walking distance from the city center. In Kolonaki, you’ll find many neoclassical and Liberty mansions, but also some trendy restaurants and luxury shops.

Main points of interest:

  • Lycabettus hill: scenic and green
  • Benaki Museum (1, Koumbari Street): you’ll see many examples of both Greek and Asian art inside a beautiful villa
  • Museum of Cycladic Art (4, Neofitou Douka Street): a small museum full of interesting and valuable works of art from the Cyclades
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum (2, Leof. Vasilissis Sofias): if you like this kind of art, you’ll find more than 3000 works there!

Closes metro station: Syntagma

Who should choose Kolonaki: visitors loving some luxury and glamour but also wanting to be withing walking distance from the city center

Pros: quiet and elegant

Cons: expensive

Recommended hotels to stay in Kolonaki

St George Lycabettus – in the heart of the prestigious Kolonaki district, this unique lifestyle hotel offers individually decorated rooms that are themed in line with aspects of Greek culture. There is a vibrant rooftop bar and pool, which is the perfect place to spend a leisurely summer afternoon. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Periscope – this wonderful boutique hotel in the center of the upmarket Kolonaki district offers simplistic but nonetheless elegant and chic rooms, many of which offer unbeatable views. It is centrally located, within walking distance to many of the key sites. It is a particularly good option for couples. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Where to stay in Athens – Piraeus Port & North Suburbs

Piraeus – the port area

Mikrolimano harbour
Mikrolimano harbour

This neighborhood is often crowded with cruise passengers and people heading to the islands, but there are also many offices and shipping companies that make it a real business district. From there, you’ll surely enjoy a beautiful view of the sea and you can immerse yourself in a busy atmosphere made of local everyday life, tourism, landscapes and ancient ruins, all within a few blocks.

Main points of interest:

  • Archeological Museum (31, Char. Trikoupi): it houses several ancient sculptures that were found in the port area and on the coast nearby
  • Bay of Zea: the iconic circular port of Athens
  • Mikrolimano Harbour: a small port where you’ll find both glamorous yachts and local fishermen’s boats

Closest metro station: Piraeus

Who should choose Piraeus: visitors arriving to Athens from the sea or departing to the islands on a morning ferry.

Pros: scenic and close to the ferries heading to the islands

Cons: it’s mostly modern

Recommended hotels to stay in Piraeus

Piraeus Theoxenia Hotel – located in the business district of Piraeus, this hotel is ideally located within walking distance of the main port. This is the only 5-star hotel in Piraeus, and the rooms are beautifully furnished, and offer a truly luxury feel. There are lots of amenities on-site, such as the restaurant, excellent transport links, and a bar. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Piraeus Port Hotel – just a stone’s throw away from the main port of Piraeus and Piraeus Metro Station, Piraeus Port Hotel is a great option for anyone staying the night in the area. There is a fantastic American buffet-style breakfast and large, comfortable rooms with air-conditioning. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Kifisia – an exclusive suburb

Photo from famous public Villa Kazouli in the heart of Kifisia
Photo from famous public Villa Kazouli in the heart of Kifisia

If you want to stay far away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, choose this elegant suburb with its old-world charm. It’s been a popular summer retreat for local high society members since the Roman era thanks to its greenery, its cool weather and its relaxed mood. In Kifisia, you can find many green areas and flowered gardens, but also several restaurants, cafés and shops of the main international brands. It is not too far from the city center (about 40 minutes by metro) so you can go sightseeing while enjoying a quiet yet exclusive and posh accommodation at the same time!

Main points of interest:

  • Goulandris Natural History Museum (13, Levidou Street): it’s a nice visit for families with kids
  • OTE Telecommunications Museum (25, Proteos Street): this museum will make you discover the evolution of the telecommunication technologies throughout the years
  • Kefalari Square: the central square of the neighborhood with a small park

Closest metro station: Kifisia

Who should choose Kifisia: visitors searching for both relax and entertainment in a refined setting

Pros: green and upper-class

Cons: not so close to the city center

Recommended hotels to stay in Kifisia

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. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

Semiramis – with views of a leafy green park, Semiramis Hotel is a wonderful boutique hotel in the beautiful Kifisia district of Athens. It is bright, colorful, and totally unique, and is one of the most well-known Design Hotels in the city. – Click here to check the latest prices and book a room.

1. Where to stay in Athens for first timers?


The best areas to stay in Athens if you visit for the first time is Monastiraki, Plaka, Makrygianni, and Syntagma

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


Budget travelers can stay in Psiri, Koukaki, and Exarhia.

3. Where to stay in Athens for nightlife?

Psiri is the best area to stay for nightlife.

4. Where is the best area to stay in Athens for families?

Plaka, Makrygianni and Monastiraki are great areas for families as they are safe and within walking distance from all the attractions.

5. Where to stay in Athens for Shopping?


Kolonaki and Syntagma are great areas for upscale shopping. Psiri has also some alternative boutiques too and Monastiraki and Plaka are great for souvenir shopping.

6. Where to stay in Athens if you have to catch the ferry early in the morning?


Piraeus is the best area to stay if you have to catch the ferry.

7. Where you should NOT stay in Athens?


I suggest that you avoid the area around Omonoia square, Vathis square, Metaxourgeio, and the area around Larissis train station. They are a bit sketchy especially at night.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

shares