The capital city of Greece is a major tourist attraction. This is partly owed to the fact that Greece is a very popular summer vacation destination thanks to the beaches, but Athens has its fair share of attractions, too.
We’ll go into a bit more detail about these attractions as we go through our article that explains exactly where to stay in Athens if you’re a first-time visitor.
Where to Stay in Athens
Many consider Greece to be the birthplace of Western culture, and with due reason. It can’t be denied that Greek history paints a rich picture, encompassing philosophy, architecture, myths, and more, all intertwined.
If you’re to experience this for yourself, there’s no better place to do so than Athens. The city is simply oozing with character, and nowhere is this more apparent than the ruins and the ancient temples that tell a story just with their appearance.
However, Athens isn’t just old buildings and interesting architecture, and there’s no shortage of fun things that you can do here. The city is basically the beating heart of Greece.
It has everything from museums and entertainment venues like cinemas and theaters to entire nightclub districts where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat.
The bottom line is this – you can have a good time regardless of which area you pick, so you shouldn’t worry much about where to stay in Athens. Let’s get on with our specific suggestions.
The 5 Best Parts of Athens
Athens is a massive metropolitan city that has something for everybody, and the following five areas are the ones that we consider to have the most to offer for most tourists visiting the city.
- Athens City Center: The nightlife district of the entire city
- Plaka: The largest concentration of ancient ruins and historical locations.
- Kallithea: One of the largest districts in the city and full of everything from massive parks to culture centers
- Glyfada: Some of the most spectacular beaches in the city
- Neos Kosmos: Home to both contemporary and traditional culture centers
Athens’s Best Areas and Hotels
As we go through the article, you’ll need to keep in mind that most of the areas that we mention are pretty close to one another. This is primarily thanks to the fact that most of the major attractions in the city are largely located in the same general area.
Simply put, you can stay in pretty much any location and see what Athens has to offer without having to walk for hours.
1. Athens City Center
There is no better place to go if you’re looking to experience the nightlife scene in Athens than the center of the city. This is where you’ll find most of the bars, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.
There’s something for everyone, and while rock fans can go to a rock bar and jam out all night long, anyone that’s just looking to chat with their friends can enjoy a drink in a relaxed atmosphere in one of the many cocktail lounges.
Aside from the nightclub scene, the city center also has a few interesting tourist attractions that you can visit during the day. One of these attractions is the famous Agora of Athens, which has stood in the city since the 6th century BCE.
You might also be interested in visiting the Benaki Museum and checking out paintings, sculptures, and even clothing that dates back quite far in Greek history.
As the busiest part of the city, any restaurant or bar that you visit in the center will have prices that are quite a bit higher than most other spots in the city.
Things to Do
- Check out the many bars and nightclubs that you can find in this area and see how many you can visit in a single night.
- Go to the famous Ancient Agora of Athens and maybe snap a few picks of ruins that have been around for several millennia.
- If you’re near the Ancient Agora of Athens, you might also like to swing by the Temple of Hephaestus and check out the sanctuary that was built in honor of the god of craftsmen.
- Look through the Benaki Museum and immerse yourself in all of the exhibits if you want to get a better picture of the culture that the ancient Greeks had.
Where to Eat
- MS Roof Garden is a chic eatery with a great menu and a greater view of the city.
- Blue Parrot is a small cafe where you can grab a coffee or a cocktail.
- The Clumsies is a classic pub with quite a selection of drinks that you can try.
Athens City Centre Budget Hotels
- Belle Epoque Suites has rooms that come with a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV, and the hotel itself comes with free wifi throughout the property.
- Enattica Suites comes with a front desk that’s always open and that you can call whenever you need something, as well as a refrigerator and a safety deposit box in every room.
Athens City Centre Mid-Range Hotels
- The Lekka Hotel & Spa provides all of the guests with a coffee maker and a flat-screen TV in their room, in addition to the complimentary American breakfast every morning.
- Athens Cypria Hotel has satellite Tv and free wifi in every room, as well as a free American breakfast that’s served every morning.
Athens City Centre Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Lozenge comes with an in-house bar/restaurant where you can get a drink or get some Mediterranean cuisine, a front desk that’s open 24/7, and all the rooms come with free wifi.
- Gatsby Athens provides all of the guests with an a la carte breakfast every morning, a paid shuttle service that takes you to and from the airport, and rooms that come with a coffee maker, a mini-fridge, a flat-screen TV, and a kettle.
Plaka is located so close to the city center that they’re virtually indistinguishable. This area is a bit to the south and doesn’t have as many bars or clubs, but it does have some of the main attractions that most people come to Athens to see.
Plaka is home to a lot of temples, ruins, sanctuaries, places of worship, and ancient remains, particularly as part of the Acropolis itself.
This makes Plaka the best place in town if you’re looking to find a guided tour of the surrounding structures and learn how long ago they were presumably built, as well as which god they’re honoring.
Among the structures in this area is the Temple of Athena Nike, which served as a place of prayer for triumph in battles, hence the name. Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, while Athena was the goddess of military prowess.
You also have the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which was built as a stage back in the day and still serves as one to this day. The biggest flaw of Plaka is that you need to buy a ticket to see most of the attractions.
Additionally, the restaurants and bars around what figures as one of the most famous landmarks are inevitably pricier and more crowded than the rest of the city.
Things to Do
- Book a bus tour or a walking tour and get taken around some of the most noteworthy buildings in the city to learn a bit about their history.
- Go to the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon and check out some of the oldest and most famous ruins in Greece (which is really saying something).
- Take some time to walk around and check out the many temples of worship that are scattered all around this area.
- If you’re tired of looking at ruins, then you might like to visit the Acropolis Museum and look through some artifacts instead.
Where to Eat
- Melina Mercouri Café is a classy bistro where you can grab some coffee or a bite to eat.
- Erato Restaurant Plaka is a classy place with a wide selection of dishes that you can try.
- Taverna Saita is the perfect place where you can grab some breakfast in the morning.
Plaka Budget Hotels
- Hotel Adonis comes with an AC unit and satellite TV in every room, as well as a complimentary breakfast every morning.
- Nefeli Hotel provides all of the guests with a breakfast every morning that also comes with dessert, and the rooms come with an AC unit and a TV.
Plaka Mid-Range Hotels
- Central Hotel has a daily buffet breakfast that guests can enjoy, as well as a rooftop bar where they can sit down for a drink at the end of the day.
- Plaka Hotel is another hotel that comes with a rooftop bar where you can enjoy a nice drink with your friends, in addition to the American breakfast buffet and a Greek breakfast that you can choose from.
Plaka Luxury Hotels
- Electra Palace Athens comes with a rooftop swimming pool with a lounge area that all of the guests can use, rooms that come with an AC unit and a satellite TV, and a complimentary buffet breakfast every morning.
- A77 Suites by Andronis has a menu of six different complimentary breakfasts that you can choose to be brought to your room every morning, a flat-screen TV, and free wifi in every room, and you also get free toiletries.
Kallithea is one of the most diverse regions of the city since you’ll be able to find pretty much everything here. You have shopping centers and clothes shops that you can visit if you want to freshen up your wardrobe; you have entertainment venues like theaters and cinemas where you can catch a show.
You even have massive parks where you can just take a stroll and enjoy the greenery. Speaking of the massive parks, the Stavros Niarchos Park takes up a very large area, which makes it an ideal location for festivals, live concerts, and many other interesting events.
You can also visit the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre and check out the program for the many classes, concerts, cinema screenings, and exhibitions that take place here to see if anything interesting catches your eye.
If you’re interested in checking out something a bit more unorthodox, then you might like to visit the Benaki Toy Museum and look through the many small figurines that are on display there.
The only real issue with Kallithea is that it’s so large that it takes a bit of time to get from one attraction to the other without wearing your shoes out from walking.
Things to Do
- Check if Stavros Niarchos Park has a festival or a concert that’s lined up for the week that you’re visiting.
- Visit the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre and either enjoy a night of opera, catch a play, visit a cinema screening, or check out any of the other events that are organized on a regular basis.
- Take a stroll through the many parks in the area and just enjoy a night out in the city with the fresh sea air in your lungs.
Where to Eat
- La Maison is where you go if you’re in the mood for some pastries.
- Patisserie – A.Kanakis is a sweets shop where you can get something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Level69 Live is where you go if you want to grab a drink and catch a live show.
Kallithea Budget Hotels
- Atlantic Hotel has rooms that come with a satellite TV and an AC unit, and the more expensive ones also come with a hot tub.
- Lacoba Hotel provides all of the guests with a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, in addition to free toiletries.
Kallithea Mid-Range Hotels
- Athenian Montaza Hotel comes with an American breakfast option that’s served in the lobby every morning, as well as rooms that come with a kettle, a fridge, and a flat-screen TV.
- The Convo 336 has free wifi throughout the property, a bar where guests can enjoy a drink, and rooms that come with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV.
Kallithea Luxury Hotels
- Athenaeum Grand Hotel provides all of the guests with free parking, a front desk that’s always available, an in-house restaurant that they can use, and a car rental and shuttle service.
- Athens Avenue Hotel comes with a flat-screen TV, a safe, and a minibar in every room, as well as a front desk that’s always on-call and an on-site restaurant and bar where you can enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.
Would this article about the capital city of Greece really be complete without us mentioning some of the beaches that you can visit? It definitely would not. While you can find many beaches along the coast of Athens, Glyfada beach is still one of the better choices, thanks to all of the other attractions that can be found around the beach.
The biggest draw of the area is naturally going to be the fine sand and crystal clear water, perfect for everything from swimming to jet skiing, but that’s not all. You can also find a lot of shops relatively close to the beach, as well as boutiques, restaurants, and plenty of cocktail bars.
This means that it’s entirely up to you whether you want to spend your day sunbathing and maybe trying out some water-based activities or go on a shopping spree. Don’t forget to enjoy an ice-cold drink in one of the many beach-side bars.
Much like the center of the city, this area of Athens is incredibly popular with tourists and sees a lot of visitors on a regular basis. As a result of this, everything from the rooms to the drinks is pretty expensive.
Things to Do
- Spend a whole day on the beach just lounging around, working on your tan, enjoying a drink in the shade, or maybe even doing a bit of swimming.
- Visit the many shops around this area and check out all of the different clothes boutiques and different shops that you can explore.
- If it’s too hot outside, then you can take full advantage of the many beach-side bars in the area and escape the sun while enjoying a cocktail in the shade.
Where to Eat
- Vera Napoli is where you go if you’re in the mood for a slice of pizza.
- Roumeliotis Tavern is a very classy restaurant with a great wine selection.
- Dionýsēs is a small restaurant where you can get traditional Greek dishes.
Glyfada Budget Hotels
- Hotel London comes with a buffet breakfast every morning, as well as free wifi and a flat-screen TV in every room.
- Kreoli Hotel has room service that’s available around the clock, as well as a flat-screen TV with satellite channels in every room.
Glyfada Mid-Range Hotels
- Emmantina Hotel provides all of the guests with rooms that come with an Ac unit, a satellite TV, and an orthopedic mattress.
- Golden Sun Hotel has a pretty big outdoor hotel that guests can take full advantage of, as well as a 24-hour front desk and free wifi throughout the property.
Glyfada Luxury Hotels
- Glyfada Riviera Hotel comes with a buffet breakfast that’s served every morning, a front desk that’s always available, and that comes with car rental services and satellite TV in every room.
- Brasil Suites Boutique Hotel provides all of the guests with access to an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area and a cafe restaurant where they can enjoy a drink, as well as rooms that come with kitchen facilities.
5. Neos Kosmos
If you go a bit to the south of the Plake region, you’ll wind up in Neos Kosmos. At first glance, this is a pretty unremarkable part of the city. It doesn’t have much of a nightlife, and there aren’t really many historically significant locations close by.
However, this is a very important location if you want to learn a bit more about Greek culture. This is the home of the National Museum of Contemporary Art. This former brewery was fully refurbished and turned into a home to some of the most interesting pieces of art that you’ll find.
While this may be a look into more recent entries in Greek culture, the Center of Folk Art and Tradition that’s not too far away can show you some more traditional pieces.
Additionally, this area is home to quite a few churches and mosques that you might be interested in visiting if you’re tired of looking at old places of worship and want to check out the more contemporary ones.
If you’re not too interested in learning about Greek culture or visiting churches, then this area of the city honestly doesn’t have much to offer you.
Things to Do
- Go to the National Museum of Contemporary Art and check out all of the interesting pieces that are on display here.
- Visit the Centre of Folk Art and Tradition if you want to learn a bit more about Greek customs and garb.
- Check out the Onassis Stegi and see if there’s anything interesting on stage in the theater, any live performance that’s scheduled for that day, or if the rooftop restaurant has something good to eat.
Where to Eat
- The Empiro Grill is where you go if you want to try some classic Greek Gyros.
- Our Plateiaki is a simple restaurant where you can grab some lunch.
- Naif is a small cafe where you can enjoy a coffee.
Neos Kosmos Budget Hotels
- Acropolis Ami Boutique Hotel comes with a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, as well as a front desk that’s always available.
- ibis Styles Athens Routes has rooms that allow you to keep pets, and they also come with a flat-screen TV and both American and Greek breakfast options.
Neos Kosmos Mid-Range Hotels
- B4B Athens Signature Hotel has a 34-inch smart TV in every room, along with a coffee maker and a buffet breakfast that’s served in the lobby every morning.
- Athenaeum Smart Hotel comes with a flat-screen TV and an AC unit in every room, as well as free wifi throughout the property.
Neos Kosmos Luxury Hotels
- Athenaeum Intercontinental has a 32-inch satellite TV in every room, a fully-equipped fitness center, an award-winning restaurant inside the hotel itself, and even a full-service spa center that guests can take full advantage of.
- Grand Hyatt Athens comes with a fitness center that’s always open, an on-site restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat, an outside swimming pool with a bar, and turndown services for every room.
So, Where Should You Stay in Athens?
Athens is divided into a few too many districts and regions for even the locals to be able to keep things straight, so it’s no wonder if you don’t remember everything that we just went through about the city.
To make things a bit easier, here’s a sort of cheat sheet for the main things you need to know about each area we covered. Athens City Center is the nightclub district, and it’s where you’ll find most of the interesting drinking and partying spots in the city.
Plaka is at the base of the Acropolis, and it’s a great spot for history buffs and those that want to check out the iconic Greek architecture of these temples. Kallithea is one of the largest districts in the city, and it has a varied selection of different entertainment venues that you can visit.
Glyfada is separate from most of the other regions we mentioned, and it’s where you’ll go if you prefer to spend your vacation close to the beach and the water. Neos Kosmos is the place to visit if you’re looking to get a look into both traditional and contemporary Greek culture.