Athens being the capital of Greece, has some very good hotels, but the area and the neighbourhood you will be staying in can make or break your accommodation in this historic city. The Best Hotels in Athens are the ones that are in close proximity to the main archaeological attractions such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis museum, Plaka, Monastiraki, Ancient Agora and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens (this one is my favourite).
BEST HOTEL IN ATHENS: Coco-Mat Athens BC
I was born and raised in Athens (back in the 80’s) and one thing I can tell you is that not all areas are the same. Athens is probably the only European city that its centre is actually so deprived and that is quite evident. That is why most athenians these days prefer to live in a suburb that is close to the beautiful Athens beaches in the southern areas.
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The good thing about Athens is that most of the attractions are within walkable distance or a couple of metro stations away but as with every big city you will be walking quite a lot of kilometres every day to manage to see everything. The other great thing about my city is that you can actually do a greek island tour from Athens that will allow you to explore the stunning Saronic gulf islands.
However, there are some areas that you should better avoid and these are: Exarcheia, Plateia Vathis, Omonoia, Plateia Amerikis, Kypseli or Kolonos. These can be very dodgy areas in the night especially and police raids is a daily thing in those neighbourhoods (not always justified though, but that’s a different story…).
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Best Hotels in Athens
So without further ado, let me show you the best hotels you can stay in Athens
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT ATHENS
- Best Area To Stay in Athens: Plaka is the best area to stay in Athens (see hotels in Plaka) but also Kolonaki, Petralona, Monastiraki and Koukaki are all great and safe areas to stay. Plaka is definitely the most touristic area but it is also the most picturesque of them all. Avoid areas such as Exarcheia, Gyzi, Plateia Vathis, Kypseli, Omonoia Square as they are considered less safe.
- Best Hotel in Athens: Coco-Mat Athens BC
- Best Luxury Hotel in Athens: Hotel Grande Bretagne
- Best Budget Hotel in Athens: Plaka Hotel
- Best City Villa in Athens: Athenee Residence by K&K
- Safest place to stay in Athens: Plaka, Kolonaki, Koukaki, Monastiraki and all the areas around Acropolis (Thission, Petralona, Filopappou) are considered super safe. Syntagma Square is not so safe as it is usually the epicentre of demonstrations and riots. Also, Exarcheia, Kypseli, Gyzi and Omonoia are less safe. They are definitely worth your visit though!
- How many days do you need in Athens: if you are in a rush, 2 nights in Athens should be ok, but if you want to explore the city more, then I suggest you spend 4-5 nights. But in general you will be better off visiting a greek island and spend more time on the beach!
- How to Move Around in Athens: if you stay in Plaka, Monastiraki, Koukaki, Petralona, Thission or Kolonaki then everything will be in 30 mins walking distance but if you really want to move around then you should hop on the Athens Metro which is very safe, clean and reliable
- Best Neighbourhood in Athens: Plaka, Monastiraki, Kolonaki, Petralona, Koukaki, Filopappou and Thission
- What is the best area to stay in Athens on a budget: You can find excellent amazing budget hotels even Plaka or even around Acropolis temple. Athens is a very budget friendly city and you can find a great appartment / flat in the center of Athens with less than 50 euros per night! Kolonaki and Plaka areas in general are more expensive though.
- What is the best area for nightlife in Athens: Gazi and Keramikos are the nightlife centres of Athens but you will find lots of cute bars and wine restaurants behind Syntagma Square (Kolonakiou Square)
- Where to Stay in Athens with family: Plaka and Kolonaki are great options as they are both very safe and quiet residential areas
- Is it safe to walk in Athens at night? Yes, in general it is as long as you avoid certain areas (Areas around Omonoia Square, Gyzi, Exarcheia, Syggrou Street etc). I have never felt threatened in Athens but common sense should be applied everywhere you travel…
Why would you want to stay in Athens?
There are 2 main reasons why you would want to stay in Athens for a few days:
- It has some of the most significant archaeological sites, museums and cultural events in the world (especially in the summer with all the festivals that are happening)
- You are flying from outside of Europe (like the US, Canada or Australia) and Athens is your stop before taking a flight or a ferry to an island like Santorini, Mykonos or Crete
How Many Days do you really need in Athens?
Athens is a city of more than 4 million people and it will be quite naive to think that you can explore all of its neighbourhoods and areas in a few days.
So, here is my suggestion for Athens:
- If you are heading to one of the greek islands (like Santorini or Mykonos), this is your first time in Greece and you only include Athens because your flight doesn’t go directly to an island then you only need to stay 2 nights in Athens. You will then see the basics like Acropolis, Plaka, Monastiraki and Syntagma Square and then…you will be off to a marvellous sunny island!
- If you really want to dive into the history of Greece and Athens while visiting more areas and neighbourhoods then I suggest you stay at least 4 nights in Athens. You will then be able to visit less touristic areas, visit more hidden museums and also take a ride to the marvellous Athens Riviera seaside areas (southern suburbs like Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza)
- If you are really NOT interested at all in visiting museums, archaeological sites, cultural events (such as the famous summer Greek Festival) and you can’t wait for the time you will be next to a pool or a beach bar then DO NOT STAY AT ALL in Athens. Yes, it’d be nice to spend a few days there but you will be bored to death and at the end it will feel like a waste of time since you will only have limited time in Greece in total. You should rather spend more days at an island or any oher beach side resort.
I will be honest with you and admit that Athens is not the most beautiful city in the world. Yes, there are beautiful neighbourhoods (like Plaka, Monastiraki, Anafiotika, Psyri etc) but the city was developed wthout any proper planning and urban design back in the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s. Also, bear in mind that apart from the areas that are directly linked to archaeological sites and/or museums the centre of Athens hasn’t seen much love and it is surprisingly the less developed area of the city and it would feel degraded and abandoned if it wasn’t for the tourists… To understand that you need to ask any young greek living in Athens why nobody actually would choose to live in downtown Athens but everyone prefers the suburbs. Most big businesses are also outside of Athens.
Athens is one of the most exciting cities in Europe and one with thousands of years of history. Its modern urban environment is definitely not one to admire but with the addition of the Athens Metro and lost of impressive renovated or newly built hotels it’s now an excellent destination for a few days, to explore and discover some of the most impressive archaeological monuments of the western civilisation. The best hotel in Athens is Coco-Mat Athens BC in my opinion and it is one that won’t break the bank either. The area that is located is very close to Acropolis and overall it’s got amazing reviews from verified guests ion Booking.com.
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