Last Updated: 10/3/2023 | October 3rd, 2023
Athens, the cradle of democracy and the foundation of Western civilization, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Europe. Home to the iconic Acropolis, with its hilltop of millennia-old structures and ruins, Athens is one of the most-visited destinations on the continent.
This bustling Greek capital has a slew of great neighborhoods to explore, each one with its own distinct flavor and character.
While I don’t love Athens, the more time I spend here, the more I warm up to it. It’s huge, with a lot to offer (no matter your interest or budget).
To help you make the most of your trip (and save both time and money), here is where to stay in Athens. There’s a lot of neighborhoods to choose from so I’m going to highlight the best ones for travelers.
For more detail, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood in Athens, with suggested accommodations for each:
Athens Neighborhood Overview
Where to Stay for Sightseeing: Plaka
Plaka, located right under the Acropolis, is unavoidable if you’re in Athens for longer than a few hours. This is the main area of the city where you’ll find the majority of ruins and tourist attractions. It’s also an area where limestone-paved streets are flanked by fun bars, cafés, and restaurants. Despite the crowds, I think the area is beautiful and it’s one of my favorite parts of Athens. If you stay here, you’ll be in the center of it all.
Best Places to Stay in Plaka
- BUDGET: Student & Travellers Inn – This hostel smack-dab in the middle of Plaka is your classic backpacker hostel, with 4-8-bed dorms and its own bar for meeting people. The dorms are basic but comfy, and it’s the most affordable place to stay in the area.
- MIDRANGE: Athens Center Square Hotel – True to its name, this is in the center of absolutely everything, with great views of the Acropolis from many rooms, as well as the rooftop terrace. Rooms have flat-screen TVs and air conditioning, and a daily buffet breakfast included in the room rate.
- LUXURY: Plaka Hotel – Comfortable and friendly, the Plaka Hotel is in the heart of the neighborhood. Rooms boast flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and balconies with stellar views. There’s also a complimentary American-style buffet breakfast.
Where to Stay for Nightlife: Psyrri
Bars and diminutive meze restaurants fill Psyrri (sometimes spelled Psiri). Once a rather sedate, working-class part of town, Psyrri is now one of the best places to gravitate to at night for eating, drinking, and debauchery. It’s my favorite place in the city to spend time in. You have some great little squares, eateries, and bars here. And, despite being close to the main sights, there’s a lot of locals here too.
Best Places to Stay in Psyrri
- BUDGET: Pella Inn Hostel – Just a few minutes’ stroll from the Monastiraki metro station, Pella has private rooms with and without a private bathroom. Rooms have lockers, and some even have balconies. There are female-only dorms too.
- MIDRANGE: Athensred – This property has all the perks of a midrange hotel: a nice location near lots of fun bars and restaurants, free Wi-Fi, rooms with large flat-screen TVs, and friendly service.
- LUXURY: Lotus Inn – The spacious rooms of the Lotus Inn are bedecked with hardwood floors, plus-sized TVs, and upscale bath products. Some have balconies with views. There’s a hot tub on the premises too, in case you really need to relax after a day of exploring.
Where to Stay for Street Art: Exarcheia
Exarcheia, north of the National Archeological Museum, has a highly energetic student vibe. It’s also historically home to the city’s anarchist set so it’s also got a little punk taste to it. The once-bare walls of Exarcheia are now bathed in street art, much of it intriguingly political. One of the more affordable places to stay in Athens, stay here if you want to get away from the tourists and be surrounded by locals.
Best Places to Stay in Exarcheia
- BUDGET: Nubian Hostel Athens – With murals and artwork in every room, this hostel fits right in with the neighborhood’s artsy vibe. There are mixed and female-only dorms, as well as private rooms, common areas, and a backyard patio. There’s also daily free breakfast and a free happy hour with wine every night.
- MIDRANGE: Dryades & Orion Hotel – Hugging a hilly park, this chill hotel has rooms with views of the Acropolis. Plus, it has a lovely roof garden in which to watch the sunset while sipping a glass of wine.
- LUXURY: Colors Hotel Athens – With spacious rooms (that include desks), Colors offers bright, cheery accommodations with free Wi-Fi, rainmaker showers, cozy bathrobes, and a tasty breakfast.
Where to Stay for Families: Kolonaki
Upscale, quiet, and clean, Kolonaki is a lovely oasis that is home to several great museums. It’s a good base for families because it’s still close to all the major attractions but has quiet, uncrowded streets. This district is renowned for its upscale clothes and jewelry boutiques, shoe stores, art galleries, and is home to my favorite tea shop, To Tsai.
Best Places to Stay in Kolonaki
- BUDGET: Greek Gastronomy Center Apartments – Don’t let the name fool you. Or get you too hungry. This multiroom property offers comfortable private rooms and dorms for budget travelers. Some rooms have kitchenettes.
- MIDRANGE: Coco-Mat Hotel – Rooms in this design-friendly spot in the heart of Kolonaki are equipped with TVs with international channels, free and fast Wi-Fi, coffee machines, and upscale bath products. It’s located just steps away from great restaurants and bars too.
- LUXURY: St. George Lycabettus – The ultra-spacious rooms here are stylish and comfortable. Many have balconies; some boast panoramic views of the Acropolis. Rooms and in-room bathrooms are accented with marble; the rooms also have AC, minibars, and super-fast Wi-Fi.
Athens may be a bit grittier than other European capitals, but the city is bursting at the seams with delicious food, ancient history, and affordable activities. While Plaka and Psyrri may be my personal favorite districts to stay in, the mix of vibrant, eclectic, and fun neighborhoods ensures that no matter where you choose to stay in Athens, you’ll have an amazing time!
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Book Your Trip to Greece: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know no stone is left unturned!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld, as it has the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com, as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancelations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I’m on the road. They will save you money too.
Want More Information on Greece?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Greece for even more planning tips!