Where to stay in Athens?
It’s one of the best questions you could ask before booking accommodation.
Choosing the wrong area could completely ruin your experience in Athens. And choosing the right area could absolutely make it an amazing experience for you.
Matthew and I have been on the road since 2018 full-time and it’s crazy how much where you stay in a location can affect your experience. If you choose a bad location, it could make you look at a place in a bad way whereas if you choose a great location – you could absolutely love it.
Figuring out where to stay in Athens is no different. This all depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for! If you want to party, there’s a great area for you but if you’re traveling as a family you probably wouldn’t want to stay next to all the nightlife.
We lived in Athens for 2 months as digital nomads and we’ve explored a lot of the neighborhoods. Here’s a guide on each of the best areas in Athens depending on the kind of experience you’re looking for (and the areas to avoid at all costs).
QUICK OVERVIEW: Where To Stay In Athens
Wondering where to stay in Athens but you’re needing a quick overview? We got you! Here’s a look at the best areas for each type of traveler to give you a glance at what life could be like in each place.
The best areas to stay in Athens area Koukaki, Plaka, Kolonaki, Pangrati and Gazi. These are great areas because they are within walking distance to all the major attractions and offer a unique experience to every traveler. Here’s a super quick recap of the best place for each traveler:
5x Best Areas To Stay In Athens:
- PLAKA – Best for first-time visitors to Athens
- KOUKAKI – Best overall area for every traveler
- PANGRATI – Best area for digital nomads or expats
- GAZI – Best area for travelers on a tight budget
- KOLONAKI – Best area for families
📍 Where to stay in Athens?
The best places to stay in Athens are Koukaki, Plaka, Pangrati, Kolonaki and Gazi.
If you can’t decide where to stay in Athens, you can’t go wrong with these 3 areas. You are only a max 15-20 minute walk to the city center, close to restaurants and have easy access to public transport.
🗺 Best area for tourists to sightsee Athens?
If you’re a tourist visiting Athens for only a limited number of days, the best area for you is Plaka.
This neighborhood is in the middle of all the action, only a few minutes walk to the Acropolis and other popular attractions. You will pay slightly more but it’s worth it if you want to stay in the charming, historic neighborhood of Athens.
👩🏻💻 Best area for digital nomads to live in?
Living that digital nomad lifestyle and wondering where to stay in Athens? There are 2 really great areas – Koukaki and Pangrati. If you stay in these areas, you get to be close to the city center without being too close. You’ll have easy access to the city center (only a 15-25 minute walk), cafes and coworking spaces plus restaurants within these 2 areas to try out for yourself.
Matthew and I stayed in Koukaki for our first time in Athens and Pangrati during our longer stay a few years later. We loved these neighborhoods because you got to see how the locals live but you’re still close to all the action of the city.
💃 Best area for nightlife and party scene?
Looking for a little party? You’ll find the best, coolest parties at Psyrri. This neighborhood used to be a no-go zone for tourists decades ago and it’s changed since then. Psyrri is now a hip, edgy and cool place for young travelers to meet people, drink at bars and get dancing!
🇬🇷 Best area to live close to the beach?
Craving the beach? Lots of people may not know that just 40 minutes tram from the city of Athens is a beautiful coastline with beach towns all across. The best area to stay by the beach in Athens is called Glyfada. A slightly more affluent neighborhood, Glyfada has good shopping, beach clubs, tavernas and obviously the beach for you to enjoy.
💰 Best area to stay when on a budget?
Athens isn’t cheap. It’s a top travel destination in the world, it makes sense why it costs a lot. But if you’re willing to travel a little further, you can still find cheap accommodation. The best area in Athens to stay on a budget is Gazi. You can still find reasonably-priced housing with easy access to the city in Gazi.
⛑ Is it safe in Athens?
Yes! Athens is generally safe. Like any city, you have to watch out for bribes and scams. We have always felt safe while wandering Athens at any time of the day. There are only certain neighborhoods (Omonia, Syntagma) that are best to avoid at night.
Where To Stay In Athens, Greece: Complete Guide For Digital Nomads
Ready for the in-depth guide to figuring out where to stay in Athens? We are going to look at each neighborhood, see who it’s best for (depending on the experience each traveler is looking for) and evaluate the pros vs cons for each area.
Before you book accommodation, it’s best to have a good idea of some of the areas. This allows you to narrow down your search on Airbnb, Booking.com or whatever platform you use.
Not just any area will do. After all, choosing the right (or wrong) neighborhood could make or break your time in the city. Here’s the complete guide to where to stay in Athens to help you have the best time exploring this iconic travel destination.
Koukaki: Where To Stay In Athens, Best Overall
The best place to stay in Athens is Koukaki! Why?
Whether it’s your first time visiting Athens or it’s your 5th time, Koukaki will still be the right neighborhood for you. This is the best area to be close enough to the city center (within 15 minutes of walking) but still feel like you’re living in a more local area. It’s easy to watch the locals live their daily routine but you’re only a stone’s throw away from major attractions.
Matthew and I stayed in Koukaki when we first visited Athens. It was our honeymoon and we wanted someplace close to all the major things to do but also a more quiet, calm vibe. I can’t believe we hit jackpot when we randomly chose an Airbnb in Koukaki!
Whenever we wanted to go and see a tourist attraction, it was only a 15-minute walk away or a 5-7 minute Uber/Beat ride away. When we wanted to chill and eat at more local restaurants, we simply walked a few blocks and found some really cool spots most tourists wouldn’t experience (just because we stayed in Koukaki). Side note:If you stay in Koukaki, make a reservation at Sphika. It’s our favorite local Greek spot with great food, intimate dining and friendly staff!
Koukaki has become the best place to stay in Athens for several reasons. But it’s not perfect! Here are the pros vs cons of staying in Koukaki:
🏛 Major attractions are nearby.Want to visit the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill, Monastiraki Square, and the Plaka neighborhood? All those major things to do are only a few blocks away if you stay in Koukaki.
🥙 Popular and local restaurants nearby. Want to try a local, hidden gem? They aren’t too hard to find in this neighborhood. Want to try a popular spot? It’s easy to get there from Koukaki. The choice is yours!
🚶♂️ Good walkability. Don’t want to take public transport? Koukaki is within walking distance of most tourist attractions like Syntagma Square, Monastiraki Flea Market, the Acropolis, Aeropagus Hill and more. You won’t need to bother figuring out the transport system or spend money on Uber rides.
🪢 Local life is all around. One of the best things while traveling is that you get to see how other people live. If you stay in Koukaki, it’s nice to see how the local life goes to work every day and you’re reminded of the local culture everywhere.
❌ Becoming more popular. People are starting to realize just how great Koukaki is as a neighborhood. With that, it’s starting to become much more crowded than before.
❌ Accommodation prices are rising. Koukaki used to be a more local neighborhood where tourists didn’t really stay. Because it’s the best place now, it’s starting to cost more to stay in Koukaki. You won’t need to pay as much as you would in Plaka but… it’s definitely getting up there. The average nightly price is around $75 USD to $120 USD which is pretty fair but we’re just stating how it’s slowly increasing year by year.
You can find hotels, hostels and apartments all with different styles and price ranges. For those looking to have a mix of fun and chill vibes – Koukaki has enough bars, and restaurants to make you happy without being annoyed by all the noise.
Koukaki is a great base for any type of traveler. We loved staying in Koukaki and we would absolutely pick this area again if we have the opportunity to return to Greece!
Plaka: Where To Stay In Athens For First-Timers
Plaka is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. It’s a historical area located beneath the Acropolis. Plaka is a beautiful area to walk around on charming streets with panoramic views of the Acropolis.
If you’re a first-time visitor to Athens, Plaka is the perfect place to base yourself. You are staying in the center of the city, you literally can’t be any more center. But there are some downsides to being in the middle of all the action.
Here are some pros and cons of staying in Plaka as a first-time visitor.
📍 Central location, attractions close by. Plaka is the best place to stay if youa’re short on time. You want to see everything you can, eat all the Greek food you can and just experience as much of Athens in as little time as possible. You’ll never have to use public transport because everything is within walking distance of Plaka!
😍 Beautiful, charming area to walk around. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Athens to simply wander the streets. Even after living in Athens for 2 months, we still loved going to Plaka every week or so just to walk around the picturesque neoclassical building and narrow streets. You can’t help but imagine what it wouldn’t be like to walk around hundreds of years ago.
👩🏻🍳 Cafes, restaurants and rooftop views everywhere. If you stay in Plaka, you have an endless amount of restaurants, rooftop bars (with views of the Acropolis) and cafes right at your doorstep.
❌ Crowds everywhere. If you don’t like stepping out of your hotel or apartment and immediately having to dodge crowds of people, Plaka might annoy you a little. But then you walk around and you’re charmed by the neighborhood so all is forgiven. We’ve been tempted to stay in Plaka because it’s a beautiful area but the crowds are enough to scare us away.
❌ Most expensive area to stay. If you’re looking to save some money on accommodation, Plaka is not the place for you! It is the most popular area for tourists to stay and more than that, it’s a really small area which means there’s only a limited number of hotels and Airbnb you can book. Demand for housing is high so you are going to pay a pretty penny to stay in the most central location!
Plaka isn’t for everyone but it is the perfect place for first-time visitors to Athens. You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful, more central location than Plaka. If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Athens as a first-time visitor, Plaka is the place for you!
Pangrati: Where To Stay In Athens For Digital Nomads
Are you thinking of being an Athens digital nomad? It’s a great place with plenty of cafes, coworking spaces and a growing digital nomad community.
The best place to stay in Athens for digital nomads is Pangrati. This neighborhood is not really talked about and that’s why Matt and I were hesitant to stay here at first. When I looked at Pangrati on the map, I couldn’t figure out why other blogs didn’t talk about this area. I guess it just hadn’t been discovered yet well…
Let us introduce you to the hidden gem of a neighborhood in Athens – Pangrati!
Pangrati is close to the city center (about 15-25 minute walk), it’s got more of a local, quieter vibe and there is a great selection of cafes, bars and restaurants within the area.
Here are the pros vs cons of staying in Pangrati:
Pangrati isn’t the neighborhood for everyone. It’s a little quieter, a bit further out and a different vibe to a central neighborhood like Plaka.
🚶♂️Good proximity to the city center.We loved the area because if we wanted to walk, it was about a 20-minute walk from our apartment. If we didn’t want to walk (which was pretty frequent lol), it’s easy enough to take public transport (bus or metro) and it’s only a 7-minute Uber ride to Syntagma Square.
🏡 Affordable accommodation for long-term rentals (1 month+).As digital nomads, you’re not splurging like you would on a vacation right? It’s easier to find affordable accommodation in Pangrati. We paid $932 USD per month for a one-bedroom apartment on the top floor. While it might be a little more than we’re used to, it was a really great apartment and you’ll get value for money in Pangrati.
🍹 Fun and hip restaurants, bars and cafes are still around. Pangrati has got its own thing going on – you don’t need to go to the city center to enjoy a nice restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of options we had just around the corner and authentic Greek tavernas we got to try. One of the best coffee in Athens is located nearby – Rule of 4m! You’ve got to try it out if you’re a fellow coffee lover like us.
🥳 Great lifestyle. Living in Pangrati is just a great place to have a balanced lifestyle. Again, this is probably not the place for tourists but it’s great for digital nomads who want some normalcy like being able to go to the gym or work from cafes. Pangrati has all you could need to live a great lifestyle in Greece.
❌ Not great for tourists.While it’s a great neighborhood overall, it might be a little too far out for tourists with a limited number of days in the city. Pangrati is also a little more sleepy than other areas like Plaka and Koukaki!
If you’re wondering where to stay in Athens as a digital nomad, Pangrati is a great place to have a nice work-life balance. You’ve got all you could need (gym, cafes, restaurants) to have a social life and a good routine without being too far from the city center!
Kolonaki: Where To Stay In Athens For Families
Kolonaki is an upscale, affluent neighborhood in Athens. It’s become a great place for families because it’s safe, has parks, beautiful sidewalks and a huge local community.
This Athens neighborhood is in a great location – only a 10 minute walk to the Acropolis, 5 minutes to the popular Plaka neighborhood and about 20 minutes to Syntagma Square.
Want a great place for your family to stay in Athens? Kolonaki is the best place to stay. But there are some downsides to it.
Here are the pros and cons of staying in Kolonaki:
🧼 Beautiful, clean streets and sidewalks.As a more posh area in Athens, you can expect the streets to be very clean and just nice to walk around. This is great for families to walk around with strollers and see the beautiful Greek architecture.
🏫 Plenty of museums to visit.You’ve got the Benaki Museum, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, National Gallery and so much more all within 10-15 minutes of walking distance.
🤫 Quiet, calm vibes.As a family, the last thing you want is to be woken up at 1:00am from the bar nearby still raging. Kolonaki has a much calmer vibe with a nightlife scene being on a more sophisticated scale.
❌ Expensive neighborhood.Kolonaki is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Athens. It’s not cheap to stay in Kolonaki but as a family, it could be worth it!
Kolonaki is the posh area that’s home to designer shops, boutique hotels with views of the Acropolis and the beautiful Lycabettus Hill where you can go for your daily walks with your family. There are also plenty of museums like the Benaki Museum and more to explore right within Kolonaki!
Gazi: Where To Stay In Athens On A Budget
Accommodation is going to be your biggest expense when you stay in Athens. It’s a top travel destination, what do you expect right?
Gazi is a slowly up-and-coming neighborhood in Athens. This area is further from the main attractions (about 15-20 minutes by public transport or walking). But that means that you are more likely to get a great deal on accommodation.
Granted, the area may look a little rougher and I guess a nice way to put is edgier. It’s still a great option if you want to save some cash!
Here are some pros and cons of staying in Gazi as a budget traveler:
💸 Save money on accommodation.You will get more bang for your buck if you stay in Gazi. You can get a hotel or Airbnb for about $45-$80 USD which is pretty reasonable because you are still within walking distance of the city center.
🥙 Cafes, restaurants might also be cheaper. If you stay in a lesser-known area, the chances are pretty high that the food in the area will be cheaper. For example, a gyros in a popular area like Plaka will cost more than €3.50 whereas a gyros in Gazi can cost as less as €2.50.
💃 Nightlife is pretty great. Gazi is a pretty fun spot for the nightlife scene. There are hip bars, cool pubs and clubs within the area. It’s also an area full of street art and an interesting district to walk around and dance the night away.
❌ Little rough around the edges. The neighborhood isn’t the most picturesque area in Athens. There’s going to be a little graffiti on the buildings, there aren’t going to be tons of neoclassical buildings around and it might feel rough at times. If you can deal with that, you get rewarded with saving some money!
There’s no doubt that Gazi is the best place to stay for travelers on a budget. Save on accommodation and you’ll still get good value for money in this area!
4x More Areas In Athens Worth A Mention:
The 5 best areas to stay in Athens are Koukaki, Kolonaki, Plaka, Pangrati and Gazi. But there are 2 more areas that are worth mentioning – Psyrri and Glyfada.
What about areas to avoid? We will also mention those 2 areas below.
Psyrri: Where To Stay In Athens For Nightlife And Parties
Looking to party and experience the nightlife scene that Athens has to offer? Psyrri is the best place for you to stay in Athens! While Gazi is a great place for budget travelers with a decent nightlife, Psyrri is the ultimate area for parties and hitting the clubs.
The area is very cool, very hip and a great place for young travelers to hang out, meet up and party all night long!
Glyfada: Where To Stay In Athens Close To The Beach
Athens isn’t the city you think of when you want clear, blue waters and the beach. But to our surprise, there are some great areas along the coast of Athens with beaches to enjoy the sunshine.
Glyfada is one of the best areas for tourists, expats or locals to live if you want to be close to the beach yet still have easy access to groceries, shops and all the necessary things to live.
2x Areas To Avoid Staying In Athens – Omonia & Syntagma
Omonia isn’t the safest place to stay in Athens. It’s just a rough area that has a pretty high crime rate for robberies and petty theft. It’s cheaper to stay in Omonia which can tempt some travelers but it’s not worth the risk for safety, in our opinion.
Syntagma Square is a popular tourist area but it’s also chaotic.There are huge crowds of people in the area making it a little overwhelming for some travelers. To add to that, it’s pretty susceptible to petty theft because it’s such a high foot-traffic area. It’s also pretty expensive to stay this central. You don’t want to pay extra to stay in an area that isn’t really worth it.
Where To Stay In Athens in 2023 – The 5x Best Neighborhoods
There you go – the 5x best neighborhoods in Athens for all kinds of travelers!
Our personal experience after living in Athens for 2 months is that the best areas are Koukaki, Pangrati and Kolonaki. They are great because you are within walking distance of the city center but far enough away from all the crowds and traffic!
Hopefully, this guide helps you figure out where to stay in Athens, based on the kind of experience you are looking to have. Every area is very unique and that’s what makes Athens such a beautiful, diverse and charming city to live in or simply visit!