Where to stay in Athens, Greece in 2016

Where to Stay in Athens

We have built an extensive guide to help you decide where to stay in Athens depending on your preferences. This is part of our Kindle Guide, “Athens in 3 Days Travel Guide”, that you can get here. Here is a quick reference for the best areas to stay in Athens:

Best Athens Hotels to Stay as a first time visitor: Hilton, Electra Palace, Grande Bretagne, Divani Caravel
Best Areas of Athens to Stay as a first time visitor: Stay at the city center, which is the areas of Plaka (more picturesque), Syntagma Square (close to metro and the absolute centre of Athens), Monastiraki (hipster area with a lot of old houses not well maintained), Thiseio (close to the electric train station and to a lot of ancient temples and sights), Psirri (many bars and restaurants), Acropolis (close to Acropolis sight and museum and close to metro), Koukaki (fairly close to Acropolis but cheaper than the Acropolis area) and Kolonaki (one of the most expensive areas in Athens, with a lot of shopping, restaurants and bars).
Best clubs and nightlife in Athens: Stay in the center, in Kolonaki, Psirri, Monastiraki, Gazi. If it’s summer, stay in Glyfada or Vouliagmeni.
Most romantic: Stay in Lycabettus or in Koukaki area. Both areas offer an amazing view of Acropolis.
Best views of Acropolis: Stay in Lycabettus or in the center of Athens. Grande Bretagne  is an excellent choice if you can afford it. Electra Palace is another excellent and more budget-friendly choice.  
Best Area to stay in Athens for shopping: Kolonaki, Halandri, and Kifisia. Hilton (city center) and Divani Caravel (city center) are the most convenient.  
Best Area to Stay in Athens for a beach place: Glyfada or Vouliagmeni [Stay at Four Seasons Astir Palace Beach Resort in Astir Beach]  
Best restaurants in Athens: Stay in the center: Kolonaki, Psirri, Gazi, Plaka. Hilton is next to a couple of excellent restaurants (i.e. “Koukouvaya” and very close to Kolonaki, which has some of the best restaurants in Athens.  
Best Athens Hotels for peace and families: Plaka, Kifisia, and Glyfada. You could stay at Semiramis at Kifisia (Northern Suburbs). It is in a very peaceful and quiet area, which also has a lot of nice shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is in Kifisia, the posh area of Athens; however ,you will be away from the city center.  
Best budget Hotels choice: Stay in Gazi or Exarheia. Airbnb has a lot of options too in these areas. Some of them are really nice (e.g. lofts at Gazi).

 Best Luxury Hotels: Grande Bretagne (city center), St George LycabettusHilton (city center),   Divani Caravel  (city center), Theoxenia Palace (14kms from the city center to the north),  Four Seasons Astir Palace Beach Resort in Astir Beach (on the best beach of Athens)
Best Budget Hotels: Central HotelElectra HotelAthensWasHotel 

Best Athens Hotels in the City Center: Grande Bretagne,  HiltonDivani Caravel , King George
Best Athens Hotels with a Pool: Hilton, PresidentDivani Caravel ,Westin Astir Palace Beach Resort in Astir Beach , Divani Appolo, Vouliagmeni Suites, Semiramis

Where to Stay in Athens from November to April:

From November to April, stay at Plaka, Psiri, Thiseio, Monastiraki or Gazi area. Read below for more information.

Where to stay in Athens from May to October

From May to October, you can obviously stay in the city center (Plaka, Acropolis, Psiri, Thiseio, Monastiraki, Gazi) but you can also stay in Glyfada or Vouliagmeni to be closer to the beach area.

Athens Areas to Avoid:

Avoid the Omonoia area, the Patision area and the Metaxourgeio area.

What is the best neighborhood to Stay in Athens?

If you want the mainstream and quick answer, we would suggest Plaka, Acropolis, Kolonaki or Psiri. These areas have the plus that they are close to Acropolis, the Athens center, all the museums, the bars and the shopping area of Kolonaki. Their downside is that they are far from the beach, so you will need 45 minutes to get to the Astir beach, or to Glyfada beach, which is usually a consideration only for the months of May to September, when the weather is great and you can enjoy the sea and the sun.

However, it is not that easy to choose the best area to stay in Athens, as you may want to combine your visit with different experiences, which would require you to stay somewhere else.

For example, if you are visiting Athens during the summer, you may want to remain in the Southern Suburbs, so that you are closer to the beach and the excellent Night Beach Clubs that Athens has to offer.

Moreover, if you are a family wondering where to stay in Athens with Kids, and you are afraid of the protests that take place from time to time in the center of Athens, you may choose a safer area, which is also more friendly to families such as Kifisia, in the Northern Suburbs.

So, allow us to provide you with more information on where to stay in Athens, based on the advantages and disadvantages of each area.

Where to Stay in Athens: General Description of the Best Areas

In general, there are four main areas or zones, where you can stay in Athens.

The first area is the center of Athens, which features the main touristic places and has neighborhoods such as Syntagma, Plaka, Monastiraki, Kolonaki, Omonoia, Ilisia, Thiseio, Zografou, and others.

The second one is the southern suburbs, which is the beachside of Athens, with neighborhoods such as Vouliagmeni, Alimos, Glyfada, Voula, Elliniko, Faliro, and others. These are excellent areas to stay from May to September, as they are close to the beaches of Athens (Astir beach, Glyfada beach etc), but they are at least 30 to 45 minutes driving time away from the center of Athens and there is no easy metro connection from them to the center.

The third area is “Piraeus,” where the biggest port of Greece lies. It has the advantage that all the ships to the Greek islands leave from Piraeus port, so you will be close to the port. It has the disadvantage that it is 30 minutes away (driving time or via the electric train) from the center of Athens, where all the historical sights are located.

The fourth area is the North Suburbs of Athens, with neighborhoods such as Halandri, Marousi, Kifisia. In short, these are residential areas, very safe, with a lot of shopping malls and restaurants but without anything interesting to see as a tourist. You may want to stay in these areas only for one reason: The protests that take place from time to time in the center of Athens. You won’t find these at the northern suburbs of Athens.

Below you can see a general map of Athens, featuring these four areas. We would not recommend staying in other sectors, e.g. on the west or east suburbs, as they tend to be quiet far from the main activities you will most probably pursue while you are in Athens and will not be convenient for your stay.

Areas of Athens to Stay
A Map with the Main Areas that you Could Stay in Athens

Now that you got a general idea of where to stay in Athens if you want to be in the main areas, let’s have a closer look at each one of them.

1. Staying at the Center of Athens [Museums, Sightseeing, Acropolis, Bars]

Staying at the Center of Athens features quite many different areas, with each one pros and cons. Below, we have prepared a map which features the main areas that you can choose when staying at the center of Athens. The Commercial Area and Plaka, the Acropolis Area, Exarheia, Pedio Areos Area, the hill of Lycabettus, Kolonaki area, and Ilisia.

Where to Stay in Athens - Map of the Center of Athens
Where to Stay in Athens – Map of the Center of Athens

Let’s have an even closer look at these areas:

a. Staying at the Commercial Area and Plaka [Underground, Bars, Sightseeing, Noisy]

If you choose to stay at the Commercial Area (or commercial triangle as it is called) and the area of Plaka, you will find yourself right in the heart of Athens.

The Plaka area is like a small village in the center of Athens. It is below the hill of Acropolis with old, traditional houses and many restaurants, cafes, monuments and things to do.

Plaka is an excellent place to stay, as it is conveniently placed regarding museums, Acropolis, the underground station of Acropolis and the main shopping street of Athens, Ermou street.

The prices are of course higher here, and you will not easily find a value for money hotel room. If you are planning for a budget of under 100E per night, you will find yourself in a standard type of room, which – on the other side- will be close to everything. This is also a safe area to stay in.

Psiri in Athens is also a nice neighborhood to stay if you want to stay near the center of Athens. Psiri is full of bars and restaurants. Psiri used to be a very poor neighborhood in Athens, which got renovated and is now quite popular with the younger generation of Athenians. Even though it was trendy and was visited by the hipsters of Athens a decade ago, it is now being snubbed by them.

The best hotels to stay in Plaka are:

1. The Central Hotel in Plaka: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book the Central Hotel Online

2. Electra Palace Hotel in Plaka: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book Online the Electra Hotel in Plaka

b. Staying at Acropolis Area [Quiet, Sightseeing, Difficult Transportation]

Acropolis is on a hill, so the whole Acropolis Area is quiet difficult to walk. Here, you will find hotels in an area that is called “Koukaki” and is 500 meters from Acropolis.

It is a safe area, and you might get a hotel with a view of Acropolis and Parthenon. This is not such a convenient place to stay at, not the same with staying in Plaka, as you will have to walk a lot (and usually uphill and downhill), to get to the other side of the hill, where all the action takes place.

The best hotels to stay in the Acropolis area are:

1. The AthensWas Hotel:  Click to See Ratings, Reviews and Book Online the AthensWasHotel 

2. Hotel Grande Bretagne: Click to See Ratings, Reviews and Book Online the Hotel Grande Bretagne

c. Staying at Exarheia [Hipster, Noisy, Not That Safe, Bars]

Graffiti Exarheia
Graffiti at Exarheia Street

Exarheia area is very close to the center of Athens. This is the most alternative area of Athens. With a good and a bad sense. In Exarheia you will find the most alternative bars, restaurants, and people.

On the other side, this is the most “revolutionary” part of Athens. Protests start from Exarheia, and you may find police giving fights with people belonging to the anarchist groups. It’s not easy to judge Exarheia. It has its character. You either love it or hate it.

Exarheia is not the safest area of Athens to stay at. If you are young and wild, you may want to choose it for its feeling and to get a better sense of Athens. If you are a more conservative traveler, stay away from it.

d. Where to Stay in Athens: Lycabettus [Nice Views, Not convenient for Transport]

Lycabettus is a hill. The second hill of the center of Athens, which is on the opposite of Acropolis’ hill. It is very close to the posh area of Kolonaki. As it is on a hill, it offers a fantastic view of Athens, and it has some nice hotels, such as St George Lycabettus, which you will certainly enjoy.

It is also a safe area to stay at. On the downside, you will still have to walk a lot (and uphill/downhill), it is not that close to the underground stations, so we would not recommend staying in this area.

The best hotel to stay in Lycabettus is the Hotel St George Lycabettus.

e. Where to Stay in Athens: Kolonaki [Posh, Central, Shopping, Bars, Cafes, No Sightseeing]

Kolonaki is the most expensive area of Athens. It is the main shopping center of Athens, with the most expensive streets, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Although Greece is in crisis since 2010 and Kolonaki have lost some of its glam, especially visible in the first decade of 2000, it remains the “VIP” area of Athens. Kolonaki is an old area, so you will not find new hotels or new apartments to stay at.

Kolonaki is a safe area to stay. It is 2kms away from Acropolis, so a 10E Taxi drive to there. The good thing about staying at Kolonaki is that during the evening you will find many bars and restaurants open and usually full of people. Moreover, it features many great shops from top brands, including Louis Vuitton, Armani, Prada, Boss, etc. You get the idea.

Kolonaki doesn’t have any important museums or monuments to see. Still, it is a safe choice when choosing an area to stay at, if you want to explore the center of Athens and get some fun in the evening. St George Lycabettus is the best hotel in the Kolonaki area. You will not find many hotels to stay here. It is easier to find places from Airbnb (apartments). Please bear in mind that most buildings are very old here so that the apartments might be over 40-50 years old.

f. Where to Stay in Athens: Ilisia [Student Area, Cheaper, No Sightseeing, Easy Transport in Lower Ilisia]

Ilisia is also three km from the Acropolis hill and 3kms from the Kolonaki area. Ilisia is the place where the biggest university of Greece lies, the University of Athens, which has 80.000 students.

Moreover, it is close to the National Technical University of Athens, which has another 10.000 students. So, it is the area of Athens that is mostly inhabited by students and young people.

Ilisia is split into two areas: Upper and Lower Ilisia, or “Ano Ilisia” and “Kato Ilisia” as it is called in Greek. The Lower Ilisia is on the foot of Ilisia’s hill and closer to the center of Athens and Kolonaki area. This is where the Hilton hotel lies. The Upper Ilisia is on the hill, and we would not recommend staying there, as it is harder to walk and to get to other places. There is no underground station in Upper Ilisia.

Lower Ilisia is closer to two underground stations, the one at the Concert Hall of Athens, and the underground station of “Evangelismos” which is close to the Hilton hotel.

This area is also safe, but it doesn’t have any monuments, important museums or other things to explore. You can find better prices than staying at Plaka or Kolonaki.

An area you should avoid to stay while you are in Athens is the area in the Omonoia square. It is probably the most dangerous area in Athens, with a lot of illegal activities, including drug dealing and prostitution and a lot of small burglary taking place.

The best hotels to stay in Ilisia are:

a. Hilton Hotel in Ilisia, Athens: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book Online the Hilton Hotel in Athens

b. Divani Caravel Hotel in Ilisia, Athens: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book Online the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens

2. Staying at the North Suburbs of Athens [Posh, Safer for Families, More Expensive]

Let’s have a look now at the opportunities that the North Suburbs of Athens offer for your stay. North Suburbs in general, are considered to be the areas where the upper-middle class of Greeks remains, especially in the rich areas of Kifisia, Ekali, and Dionysos. As you can imagine, the inhabitants of these areas of Athens, worry the least about the capital controls in Greece!

They don’t feature museums, ancient sights or anything touristic.

Here, you will find three many areas with hotels: Halandri, Marousi, and Kifisia.

Where to Stay in Athens - Map of the North Suburbs
Where to Stay in Athens – Map of the North Suburbs

a. Staying at Halandri

Halandri is a great northern suburb of Athens. It’s full of restaurants, bars and is very safe. It is a very vivid place, and it’s much “happier” to hang around when compared e.g. to Marousi.

It has an underground station, but it is not that close to the center of Halandri. If you take a taxi from here to the heart of Athens, so as to visit the more touristic areas, you will have to pay around 15 to 20 euros, and it is a 30-minute drive, with all the traffic of Athens.

The best hotels to stay in Chalandri (or Halandri) are:

1. The Athens Habitat Hotel: Click to See Rates, Reviews, and Book Online the Athens Habitat Hotel

2. The Civitel Olympic Hotel: Click to See Rates, Reviews, and Book Online the Civitel Olympic Hotel

b. Staying at Marousi

Marousi is the business center of Athens. All the big multinational companies and the biggest Greek companies, such as the National Telecommunications Company, have their offices here.

Marousi is a safe area to stay at. However, it doesn’t offer too much other than that. It has a beautiful central square with cafes and restaurants, and it has the electric train of Athens passing from its center. You will need around 40 minutes with the train to reach the center of Athens.

Marousi is around 12 km away from Acropolis. You can find cheaper hotels to stay, but you will pay the price of having to move all the time with the train or a taxi towards the center of Athens.

If you choose to stay here, get a cab and go out at Halandri or Nea Erythraia in the evening, as Marousi is quieter when it comes to nightlife.

c. Staying at Kifissia

Semiramis Hotel in Kefalari Square at Kifisia

Kifisia is a posh area of Athens. It is on the same level (if not even higher) with Kolonaki area. Here you will find many villas from some of the richest Greeks, a great shopping center with expensive jewelry, clothes and shoes, fantastic restaurants and posh nightclubs.

Kifisia’s best areas are the Kefalari Square – where you can find some nice hotels to stay at and the center of Kifisia, where its shopping center exists. Be careful not to stay at Nea Kifisia, which is a new area that is close to the national road of Athens and doesn’t offer many things to do. The hotels in Kifisia are quite expensive.

If you choose to stay here, you will have only the choice of the electric train to get to the center of Athens, in around 45 minutes. There is no underground station in Kifisia. It is a safe area to stay at.

The best hotels to stay in Kifissia are:

1. The Theoxenia Palace: Click to See Rates, Reviews, and Book Online the Theoxenia Palace

2. The Semiramis Hotel: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book Online the Semiramis Hotel in Kifissia

3. The Y Hotel in Kifissia: Click to See Rates, Reviews and Book Online the Y Hotel in Kifissia

3. Staying at Piraeus

Piraeus is the second biggest town in the prefecture of Athens, after ..well, Athens. It is home to the famous team of “Olympiacos” and has the largest port in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe.

Piraeus is on the beach of Athens. However, you cannot swim here, as the water is polluted. You will find many restaurants with excellent sea view (“Ahinos” restaurant is one of them for example) and quite a few hotels.

The good thing about staying at Piraeus is that if you are planning to get a boat to any Greek island, you will be only 10 minutes away from the port. Boats to every Greek island, even the best kept secret Greek islands, leave from Piraeus’ port.

Piraeus is not close to the center of Athens, so you will need at least 30 minutes to get there. It has an electric train but no underground stations. The prices of hotels are lower than the ones in the center of Athens.

One of the best areas of Piraeus is called “Kastela,” and it is the hill that overlooks a beautiful beach area of Piraeus.

4. Staying at the South Suburbs of Athens

Let’s have a look at the South Suburbs of Athens. The South Suburbs of Athens offers you the opportunity to be next to the beaches of Athens, and you will find it easy to swim at one of them.

The main hotel areas are the neighborhoods of Palaio Faliro, Alimos, Elliniko, Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni.

Where to Stay in Athens - Map of the South Suburbs

We will not get into much detail about each area in the Southern Suburbs of Athens. First of all, let us tell you that these are better places to stay at if you are looking into enjoying the beach, so you may not want to stay here from November to April, in the heart of the Greek winter.

The most convenient time to swim at the beaches of Athens is from June to late September. Sometimes May is a beautiful month too, or October can prove to be quite hot as well.

From all these areas, here is a quick review:

– Best Beaches: The best beach is in Vouliagmeni and is called “Asteras Vouliagmenis.” It is a private beach, and you will have to pay 17 euros per person from Monday to Friday and 25E per person on the weekends to swim there. Voula and Vouliagmeni also have lovely beaches. The farther you go from the center of Athens, the better the beaches get. It’s not nice to swim at Palaio Faliro or Elliniko – or at least we don’t like it that much.

– Best Overall Area: Glyfada is the best overall area. It has the best shopping center in the south, the best night clubs, restaurants and easy going style. It also features many hotels. The downside of Athens is that it doesn’t have an underground station.

– Best Access to the Center of Athens: Elliniko, Alimos, and Palaio Faliro have the best access to the center of Athens. Elliniko and Alimos have underground stations which will get you easily to the center of Athens. If you stay at Glyfada, you will have to get to Elliniko and get the metro from there.

5. Athens Areas to Avoid

Like every town in the world, Athens has some areas that you should better avoid either due to security reasons or due to difficult access to everything that the city has to offer. The areas that we suggest that you avoid Omonoia Square in the center of Athens, the whole sector close to the main train station of Athens called “Larissis Station”, the Patision street area and the Metaxourgeio area, even though the latter one has been upgraded during the last years and offers some gourmet restaurants.

So, that’s all regarding where to stay in Athens. We hope you got an excellent overview. If you are planning to visit Greece, you may also want to consider one of our travel guides to Greece. Have a look below!

Greece Travel Guide

Greece Travel Guide

See Also

The 15 Best Luxury Hotels in Athens,

The Absolute 10 Best Day Trips from Athens 

Astir Beach: A Guide to the Best Beach in Athens

Where to Stay in Athens in 2016: The Best Areas and Top 20 Hotels

What are the must-try dishes while you are in Greece – How to Eat like a Greek!

Athens to Santorini: Should you get a flight or a ferry?

Published by Guidora Team

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