To help you decide where to stay in Athens, you will below find a description of some of the best and most popular neighbourhoods in the city – Your choice will depend on whether you want to stay near the Acropolis, Plaka and other ancient attractions, want to feel the local vibe, stay in a tranquil and less touristy area, seek an alternative neighbourhood, are on a tight budget, or want to stay in a place that is convenient for a cruise out of Piraeus.
If you love to stay in a vibrant neighbourhood with local ambience, Greek tavernas, plenty of souvenir shops, musicians performing, narrow alleys with stairs leading to secret places behind the touristy main street, then Plaka at the foot of the Acropolis is an excellent choice in Athens. You can find real gems tucked away in the side streets and it is a great feeling to get a bit lost in this part of the city.
You will stay in Plaka if you want to feel the local vibe at the very moment you step out of the hotel door in the morning. There are plenty of dining options just round the corner – and you will have the Acropolis within easy reach!
Plaka is one of the places that are must-sees in Athens. The Neighbourhood of the Gods attracts tourists and locals alike to its maze of neoclassical architecture, antique shops, local churches, and curious people visiting one of the oldest areas of Athens today. The neighbourhood is quite village-like with old cobblestone streets, orange and lime trees, as well as small shops of all kinds, selling everything from clothes, bags and ceramics to souvenirs, jewellery, and local specialities.
There are many interesting buildings in Plaka – in many different architectural styles. These include eye-catching colourful houses, whitewashed, yellow and orange walls lined with purple bougainvillea, as well as local churches that you may be able to enter to catch a glimpse of the Greek Orthodox culture. Plaka is really a gem of a neighbourhood in Athens where you can easily spend hours exploring the intricate alleys and discovering awesome small family-run tavernas.
In Plaka you are also close to ancient times in Athens with the Acropolis soaring above the streets, as well as the Arch of Hadrian right on the edge of the district. The Acropolis and the new Acropolis Museum are within reasonable walking distance to visit once you have settled in and are ready for the ancient sights.
Amazon Hotel Stylish rooms with a prime location in Athens near the main archaeological sites and near Syntagma Metro Station. Some hotel rooms offer stunning Acropolis views in addition to a balcony.
One of the popular neighbourhoods in Athens is Monastiraki, located north of the Acropolis. It is a local neighbourhood with a flea market, street artists, souvenir vendors, and vintage shops, as well as some of the most famous archaeological sites. The central location makes it popular among first-time visitors to Athens.
You may choose Monastiraki if you feel tempted to stay in a historic and one of the oldest districts in Athens, inhabited for thousands of years. The ancient sights include Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora of Athens, as well as the Roman Agora. At the same time, it is an area in Athens with a great local vibe!
An eye-catching building in Monastiraki is the Tzistarakis Mosque just off vibrant Monastiraki Square, erected in 1759 in the Ottoman period. Over the years it has served many purposes, including as military barracks, a prison, and a warehouse. Close to the mosque you will find the remnants of Hadrian’s Library, constructed in 132 AD by the Roman emperor Hadrian.
Just a stone’s throw away you will spot the Roman Agora. It was erected by order of the emperor Augustus and used to be Athens’ central market and gathering point with constructions such as the Tower of the Winds, a marble colonnade, and maybe more outstanding buildings to be excavated in the future. The Roman Agora replaced the former marketplace, the Ancient Agora of Athens, which was the public meeting point for artisans, merchants, philosophers, and politicians such as Socrates and Aristotle. The Ancient Agora with the Temple of Hephaestus and the Stoa of Attalos is today known as the birthplace of democracy in Greece! The Gate of Athena Archegetis connected the two markets.
Other sights of interest include the popular Monastiraki Flea Market where you will find Greek delicacies, olive wood cutlery, clothes at bargain prices, and all kinds of colourful accessories.
The Residence Aiolou Suites & SPA elegant boutique hotel with a historic style, as well as modern design – each room is decorated with art. The hotel is located in the historic and vibrant centre of Athens within walking distance of major sights. The hotel offers a rich breakfast, and there is a plethora of restaurants and bars in the neighbourhood.
Makryanni is centrally located in Athens, southeast of the Acropolis. It is an upscale neighbourhood featuring the Acropolis Museum, neoclassical house façades, stores, and galleries.
If you want to stay in a part of Athens where you will have both local streets with tavernas and a wide range of shops within reach, as well as be close to the main attraction of Athens, the Acropolis, then Makryanni may be a great choice. The relatively new Acropolis Museum lies at the foot of the slope, just off the wide walking street Dionysiou Areopagitou, the perfect avenue for an evening stroll!
The highlight of Makryanni is the relatively new Acroplis Museum, an amazing museum featuring parts of the Acropolis such as a fine reconstruction of the Parthenon Frieze and five of the six Caryatid status from Akropolis’s Erechtheion. The Caryatids on the Acropolis are replicas!
Of course, you have the Acropolis within easy reach – a must-see during your stay. It rises high above the city of Athens, justifying its name, which means ‘High City’. When entering through the Propylaea, you get access to the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion as some of the most famous constructions of the Acropolis.
Take a stroll along Dionysiou Areopagitou together with locals and other visitors. Just on the edge of Makryanni you will find the Holy Church of Saint Sophia, a small fine church you can enter before continuing up to the Acropolis.
The Athens Gate Hotel offers 4-star facilities, fabulous views of the Acropolis and of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The hotel has a prime location only 200 m from the new Acropolis Museum. Some rooms offer breathtaking views of the Acropolis or the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Just north of Monastiraki you will find the neighbourhood Psyri. This is a more budget-friendly district than Monastiraki or Plaka, and you will still be close to Athens’ ancient sights such as the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora of Athens, as well as Plaka’s charming streets. So, if you travel on a budget, this may be the neighbourhood to consider.
Psyri was for many years a run-down working-class neighbourhood, but since the late 20th century it has developed into a trendy area that has been renovated or where new constructions have replaced many of the old. It is also an artistic neighbourhood, continuing the artisan tradition that has always been part of the place. You will discover treasures in the form of spectacular street art – sometimes political – and lovely art galleries.
When you get hungry, there are plenty of eateries here serving Greek specialities. Food lovers will find pleasant surprises tucked away in the narrow streets. It is really a district of Athens to explore if you are looking for unusual gastronomy – for instance in Evripidou Street where you will find awesome little food shops with local delicacies, spices, herbs, as well as goodies for the sweet tooth.
BED in Athens is centrally located in Athens near Monastiraki Metro Station and Monastiraki Square. The hotel is close to ancient attractions such as the Roman Agora. Moreover, the hotel features family rooms and a terrace.
Psyri is a neighbourhood that is relatively quiet during the day and very lively at night!
Northeast of the Acropolis you will arrive at Exarcheia, Athen’s alternative neighbourhood. Here you will find a unique vibe created by the music environment. Jazz and punk mixed with Greek blues fill the bars and clubs. Outside you will discover murals with political messages, as well as loads of eateries.
You will maybe pick Exarcheia if it is not your first visit to Athens and you want to try to stay in an alternative and a slightly anarchist part of the city where you can explore the local bookshops and vintage shops, as well as listen to live music.
Exarcheia is for the creative minds, and you will spot lots of unusual places and settings around the neighbourhood. The street art is complemented by art galleries, the EKPAN summer cinema, and places selling vintage items. You can take a street art tour – or chill around the green Exarcheia Square.
The district also houses the National Archaeological Museum which is the most important museum in the country with artifacts from a plethora of excavations in Greece. The collection contains around 11.000 exhibits spanning over a period from Prehistory to Late Antiquity. The museum is housed in a neoclassical building designed by Ernst Zeller. As a supplement to visiting the new Acropolis Museum with exhibits from the Acropolis, the National Archaeological Museum is the perfect museum to gain insight into the Ancient World.
Magenta Luxury Suites is excellently located in the heart of Athens near Omonia Metro Station and less than 1 km from the National Theatre of Greece. The hotel offers family rooms and a terrace, as well as continental breakfast.
Syntagma Square has a central location in Athens, and it is therefore an excellent place to stay if you are a first-time visitor to the Greek capital. Here you will be within walking distance of many of the must-see places in Athens and it is easy to travel to other parts of the city by metro or by bus since there is a metro station (with archaeological finds on display!), and many buses conveniently stop at Syntagma Square.
The area around the square is a vibrant neighbourhood with many tavernas and dining options just round the corner and you will have a range of stores to choose from for shopping. Moreover, it is a great place for people watching! Syntagma is both the historical and modern heart of the city!
Syntagma Square, or Constitution Square, is the social, political, and cultural centre of Athens. It is here that a military uprising towards the end of the 1800s resulted in the first King of Greece, named Otto, providing a long-awaited constitution for Greece.
The Old Royal Palace now houses the Greek Parliament, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is kept in front of it, guarded by the distinguished Presidential Guards in their traditional uniforms. You should come at 10 a.m. on Sundays to watch the most spectacular changing of the guard during the week with a parade including a marching band. Another thing to do is taking a guided tour of the Parliament.
Afterwards, chill out on a bench beneath the cypresses and citrus trees while admiring the fountain and statues.
Hotel Grande Bretagne luxury hotel opposite Constitution Square with city views from the magnificent rooftop terrace. Hotels rooms are lavishly decorated, have marble bathrooms, and some rooms feature balconies facing the Acropolis.
If you need to stay in Athens in connection with a cruise out of Piraeus, the obvious choice may be to stay in Piraeus one or two days before and/or after the cruise. In this way it will be easy for you to arrive at the cruise ship for embarkation on your departure day – and, likewise, easy for you to disembark without having a long, tiring journey ahead of you on disembarkation day. You can take it easy and do the things at your own pace without rushing.
Besides being a port, Piraeus is also a part of Athens with exquisite fish restaurants, fascinating museums, a flea market and so much more to explore during a day or two here. And it is easy to go by metro to central Athens (about 15 minutes) for a full day of sightseeing there – if time permits! Piraeus has accommodation at all price levels, so it is easy to find something affordable here if you are on a budget!
Piraeus is the port of Athens, the largest Mediterranean port in terms of passenger ferries, and the gateway to the Greek islands. You may also take advantage of being close to Athens’ beaches and small ferries taking you to a range of Greek islands – including islands just one or two hours aways.
In Piraeus you can visit the Hellenic Maritime Museum where you will gain insight into the seafarers’ exciting history. There is also the Electrical Railway Museum with a wooden metro carriage inside the metro station, the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, as well as Piraeus Municipal Art Gallery and Piraeus Municipal Theatre.
When you’re done with the cultural stuff, there are excellent shops, tavernas, and a vibrant nightlife. And then you are ready to embark on your cruise ship: Welcome on board.
Phidias Piraeus Hotel is located centrally in Piraeus, next to the port. Guests can enjoy a free shuttle service to and from the port of Piraeus, to the X96 bus stop, and to the railway station. The hotel offers elegant, spacious and bright rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Where to stay in Athens before or after your cruise – Plaka or Piraeus
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Where to stay in Athens before cruise – Plaka or Piraeus:
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Plaka Athens – Stay Athens Plaka