Where to stay in Athens
When planning a trip to Athens for a deal, our clients often ask us about the best place to stay in the city for a few days. We have compiled our recommendations in this article. We have chosen areas that are comfortable for living and at the same time have good transport accessibility for a convenient combination of business and leisure.
In short, the city centre is perfect for a tourist pastime, the south — for sea holidays, and the north — for walking down the cool shaded streets among expensive houses and beautiful estates.
In the centre, visit Monastiraki
The central districts are located around the main attraction of the city — the ancient temple complex, which includes the Acropolis of Athens. These areas were formed in a very diverse way, so the differences between the neighbourhoods can be huge: from poor areas to vibrant tourist and prestigious ones. Therefore, you should carefully choose a place to stay in the centre. We recommend staying in the Monastiraki district, which is north of the Acropolis. An intricate network of pedestrian streets, where you can see the monuments of Ancient Greece, covers the entire area. The district is very tourist-friendly; there is everything a tourist might need: street vendors and cafes with cuisines for every taste, flea markets, antique squares, souvenir shops as well as sightseeing tours. Along Ermou Street, there are hotels for any taste and budget. A small double room with a balcony will cost about 100 euro per night. From Monastiraki, you can easily get to any part of the city: the Monastiraki metro station is a transfer hub for two metro lines.
When staying in Athens on business, I like to dine in the city centre at two restaurants: Ατίταμος (I think it is pronounced as «atítamos») and Mani Mani. These restaurants are not too expensive, but they serve delicious traditional Greek cuisine.
And although they are not too close to Monastiraki (but rather to the south of the Acropolis and the historical hills), they are close to the municipal offices with which we often have to interact and perhaps you, too, if you are engaged in obtaining a residence permit or real estate in Greece.
In the south, visit Palaio Faliro
On the Saronic Gulf coast in Athens, all areas are good. But if you come to the city for a short business trip, then Palaio Faliro is perfect. On the one hand, there is everything you need for a seaside holiday: city beaches, coastal hotels, and the best marina on the local coast — Flisvos Marina. On the other hand, this area is close to the city centre, only 6 kilometres away.
There is no metro in Palaio Faliro, but the ground transport system is well-developed.
Accommodation in Palaio Faliro will cost 20–30% cheaper than in the centre. Life in this district is measured and calm, although still urban. The area has its own sights and attractions: maritime museums, sports arenas built for the 2004 Olympic Games, various monuments and places for family recreation. To the east of Palaio Faliro are the more resort suburban districts of Athens: Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni. Here you can find expensive luxury hotels and beautiful beaches. If time permits, we can also recommend visiting these areas of the Athenian Riviera, but be aware that it will take at least 40 minutes to get to the city centre.
In the north, visit Kifissia
The elite suburb of Athens is located in the north. There are many beautiful traditional villas and castles with gardens in the area. Mass development here began only after the 1970s, when the dense development was already abandoned. The layout of the neighbourhoods is spacious, most of the plots are privately owned. The climate in the northern foothill areas is cooler than on the southern coast. Therefore, if you do not like the heat, we recommend staying in the north.
The most typical district in the north is Kifissia. This is a green and prosperous area just half an hour from the centre. Most of the houses are surrounded by shaded gardens. In the north, in Kifissia, you can find five-star suites or cosy apartments with a Greek charm for the price of a small room in the city centre overlooking the Acropolis.
From Kifissia, it is more convenient to get to the beaches of the northern and eastern coast of the Attic Peninsula than to the southern city beaches of Athens. The district is perfect for lovers of solitude, but at the same time it has good transport accessibility to the centre.
Airport, taxi, hotel
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport is located in the eastern part of Athens. You can get anywhere in the city from the airport by taxi, metro or bus.
The blue line of the metro (M3) goes to the city directly from the airport, the train schedule can be found on the website of the Athens Metro. Trains depart every 5–15 minutes.
A taxi ride to the centre will cost approximately 40 euro. The most popular taxis in Athens are Uber and Beat. The second one, in our experience, arrives faster and works more reliably.
Finally, the cheapest way to get to the city is by means of ground public transport. Bus routes and schedules can be viewed on the official OASA website, which has an English version.
Whichever area you choose, we recommend booking a hotel in advance. Despite the fact that the city has a huge number of hotels and private apartments for short-term rentals, it can be difficult to find a free room or apartment on the spot. In 2022, tourism in Greece in general and in Athens in particular broke all records. In any Athens hotel, a room can be booked six months in advance. Almost everywhere breakfast is included in the price.
Places to avoid in Athens
In general, Athens is considered a safe and hospitable city; however, there are several unfavourable areas that visitors should avoid. And although you are unlikely to encounter any serious criminals, street thieves can still cause some trouble. We do not recommend staying in the following areas in Athens: Omonoia square, Sofokleous street, Karaiskaki and Vathi squares as well as near the Larissa station.