Are you planning to stay in the Greek capital? Here is a presentation of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Athens!
The philosophical, intellectual, and cultural cradle of Europe during Antiquity, Greece is known for its Gallo-Roman remains, its idyllic islands, its dream Mediterranean climate – mild in winter and warm in summer -, and a wealth of other wonderful features. Athens, its southern capital, has over 650,000 inhabitants spread over 39 km². Blessed with an infinitely rich historical and cultural heritage, the Hellenic capital is one of the world’s oldest cities and its monuments are known worldwide: the Parthenon of the Acropolis, the port of Piraeus, the Attica, the Agora, etc. Between chic neighbourhoods, touristic areas, cultural, and working-class districts, staying in Athens is to immerse oneself in the city’s myriad of different atmospheres, from the seafront to the heights of the city. Torn between its social differences and its multiple cultural influences – which, according to some, makes Greece the last country in the Balkans – Athens is one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
Looking for a place to stay in Athens? It all depends on what kind of urban atmosphere suits you best, and whether you’re aiming to rest, visit historical sites, discover cultural attractions, go out at night, or go shopping… Here is our selection of the best areas to stay in Athens.
Photo credit: Flickr – cb_agulto
Located at the foot of the Acropolis, the old city gathers the most charming neighbourhoods of the Greek capital. They are called Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, Psiri, and are all concentrated around the Parthenon.The old city of Athens houses the majority of bars and restaurants, shops of all kinds, and of course, an array of hotels. Cosmopolitan and authentic, Monastiraki is the well-known and popular flea market neighbourhood attracts, while Plaka is the tourist quarter par excellence: few Athenians live there.
And yet it’s a good place to stay in Athens because it is very central, despite being crowded with visitors. So, as in all tourist areas, be sure to avoid tourist traps! The city centre offers great shopping opportunities and boasts many historical landmarks to visit, but the atmosphere can be noisy near bars and cafés. Though the area is packed with hotels, you can also rent an apartment so you no longer have to wonder where to stay in Athens.
Find a hotel near the Parthenon
Find a hotel in Monastiraki
Find a hotel in Plaka
Thissio, popular Athens
Photo credit: Flickr – Nasos Efstathiadis
Thissio or Thiseio is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, and it is also one of the most pleasant, and a true social melting pot: romantic couples, young night owls, terrace-drinking and party aficionados, souvenir-hunting tourists, and expatriate travelers contemplating the Acropolis on the hills of Filopappos after a day’s work. Indeed, overlooking Athens, this neighbourhood boasts splendid views of the city. Staying in Thissio allows you to mingle with locals, and to be steps away from the ancient Agora.
Kolonaki, the chic neighborhood
Photo credit: Flickr – Caribb
Kolonaki is is the favorite haunt of Athens’ intellectual, cultural, and wealthy elite. Avenue V. Sofias is the main street of the neighbourhood, home to foreign embassies and luxury boutiques. Though the area is definitely a suit-and-tie kind of place, you’ll find an array of small kiosks and cafés preserving the quaint charm of the Athens of the olden days. You’ll need to plan a comfortable budget if decide to stay in Kolonaki.
Psiri, the popular neighborhood
Photo credit: Flickr – Marc H
If, on the other hand, you’re everything but a socialite and prefer to avoid the fuss of a European city, then you’re far better off renting an apartment or booking a hotel room in the Psiri (or Psyrí) neighbourhood. Here you’ll find an array of craftspersons, bars, and restaurants. Psiri is located north of the Monastiraki flea market and is very well served by the Metro. To stay in Athens, it is an ideal area to shop, hunt for souvenirs, support local crafts, relax on the terraces, and visit the city.
Main photo credit : Flickr – Thomas Hackl
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