Areas to stay in Athens

Best areas to stay in Athens

Thanks to the 2004 Olympics which was held in Athens, most hotels went through an overhaul and as such there’s plenty of stylish or renovated options to choose from, whether you want vintage restorations (like an iron-caged elevator) or trendy rooftop bar additions. Narrowing down exactly where to stay in Athens depends on your priorities: there’s history everywhere in its museums and buildings, but if it’s lively markets you’re after, head to the likes of Omonia or Monastiraki, while you can wind down the day with a snazzy cocktail at a luxury hotel bar in Syntagma. Many make for pleasant walks in between each area, too.

  1. Makrygianni
  2. Plaka
  3. Monastiraki
  4. Omonia
  5. Syntagma

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1. Makrygianni

Makrygianni is one of the best areas to stay in Athens, thanks to its plethora of ancient sites and upmarket dining options. While you’re here, there’s no missing the ancient Acropolis, an iconic postcard-friendly landmark which sits atop a tall hill, and you can find out more about this slice of ancient Greek history in the glass-fronted Acropolis Museum. There’s a good range of places to stay in Makrygianni whatever your budget, from multi-storey hotels and family-fun pensions to roof garden options, most of which offer views of the Acropolis. There are also many car hire options here, which is ideal if you’re planning on exploring further afield.

Vibe: Getting your ancient Greek on.

While you’re here: Check out the Theatre of Dionysus.

2. Plaka

Is Plaka one of the most historic areas to stay during your holidays in Athens? We certainly think so. Thanks to its throng of ancient structures (many of which have been painstakingly preserved), narrow lanes leading onto quiet squares and a range of museums, it’s one of the most charming areas in the city. You can get a good sense of Athens pre-20th century here: there’s the likes of the Frissiras Museum and nearby Temple of Olympian Zeus; Jewish Museum of Greece and the fourth-century BC Monument to Lysikratos; a Roman Forum and restored Fethiye Mosque. As for accommodation options, choose from roomy apartments to smaller suites, as well as child-friendly options (such as playrooms) and balconies with a view. In fact, there’s too much in the way of sights and accommodation to mention – just visit to see for yourself.

Vibe: Historic charm.

While you’re here: The Greek Agora was the ancient market and heart of public life: this was where the Greek philosopher Socrates presented his theories.

3. Monastiraki

This vibrant area of Athens offers pavement cafes, tourist shops and a weekly flea market held every Sunday. Life centres around Monastiraki Square, and while there’s an ancient library and ancient-focused museums to take in, there’s also a Museum of Modern Greek Culture to bring things slightly more up to date. Monastiraki makes up part of the old bazaar area, and so its accommodation options are complete with period decor and furnishings, roof terrace bars and a la carte restaurants.

Vibe: Lively centres.

While you’re here: Monastiraki leads onto the Athnias and Aiolou thoroughfares which spread out to Omonia Square, a non-touristy part of Athens which boasts an authentic central market.

4. Omonia

There’s not much to do in Omonia, but that’s part of its charm; this area is one of the least-touristy parts of Athens. You can reach here from Monastiraki via two thoroughfares (see above) which leads onto an excellent, buzzing central market. Once you’ve dropped your bags off at your hote, swing by the National Archaeological Museum, which displays one of the most prestigious items in the ancient Greek world: the gold burial mask of Agamemnon. Agamemnon was a 13th century-BC king who played a prominent part in the Trojan War, and even had his own Greek tragedy about his death covered by Aesychlus. There’s plenty more on display at this museum, spanning prehistory, sculpture and more; factor in a day here.

Vibe: Slow travel.Omonia.

While you’re here: Continue onwards to Syntagma, where you can take in the Museum of the City of Athens and National Historical Museum.

5. Syntagma

Syntagma boasts the Grande Bretange, a famous hotel which dates back to 1846. It served as German and British headquarters during World War II and Winston Churchill once stayed here; its high-profile status today is reflected in its ballroom, basement spa and outdoor pool garden. If you don’t want to stay in one of its 320 rooms, at least stop off for a drink at its hotel bar, the Alexander Bar. Fancy hotels aside, while you’re here you can go for a stroll around Platia Syndagmatos (Constitution Square) with its Parliament Building and Memorial of the Unknown Soldier. There’s an hourly changing of the guards (to the tomb) of evzones (traditionally dressed soldiers) which simply can’t be missed, wherever you are in Athens!

Vibe: Greek traditions and memorials.

While you’re here: Watch a more formal changing of the guards ceremony on a Sunday at 10.45am.

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