Where to Stay in Athens: An Expert Guide
The perfect places to call home in the Greek capital
Athens is a city that has stood the test of time, being built up, improved upon, conquered, and changed throughout history. This means it’s constantly ripe for reinterpretation, and right now the Greek capital is undergoing a buzzy period of youthful reinvention. Ancient streets are being enlivened with trendy graffiti, lively bars, and tempting boutiques. Whether your priority is discovering the history of Athens or enjoying its new lively scene, we here at Plum Guide have got you covered - we know all the very best parts of the famous Greek capital. So, without further ado, here is out guide to where to stay in Athens.
How could you not want to stay somewhere that’s known as the neighbourhood of the Gods? The oldest area in Athens, these streets have been occupied since ancient times. The boundaries of this neighbourhood are blurred, but it stretches roughly from the base of the Acropolis in the southeast, to the Monastiraki and Syntagma neighbourhoods in the west and east.
Although it can be very touristy here, Plaka has a huge amount of charm. Almost all of it is pedestrianised, so you won’t have to contend with cars and busy streets. Stroll along the cobblestones, and spend your days popping into the small shops and little cafes that characterise the area. Foodies wondering where to stay in Athens, this one's for you - a lot of the best restaurants in the city are located here. We recommend Brettos, a distillery and bar that’s more than 100 years old, and Psarras Tavern, known for its seafood and rooftop terrace.
Monastiraki is a great option for anyone pondering where to stay in Athens - especially those of you after a traditional Greek vibe, but with fewer tourists than Plaka. With a mix of fascinating neoclassical architecture, ancient ruins, and Byzantine churches, there’s something here for everyone - no matter what historical period you’re interested in. Monastiraki is at the base of the Acropolis, surrounded by Plaka to the east, and Psirri to the north.
If you want to be in the centre of things but aren’t quite sure where to settle, this is a great compromise for everyone in your party. The shopping, nightlife, and dining scenes in Monastiraki are second to none, especially if you’re into grabbing a bargain - the Monastiraki Flea Market and Ermou (the biggest shopping street in Athens) can be found here. Expect a mix of local independent shops and international brands. At night, the area lights up with cafes and bars buzzing, all while the Parthenon glows softly in the background.
For a more low-key option in Athens, Koukaki is a relaxed and trendy contender. Resolutely un-touristy and relatively undiscovered, you’ll be the coolest person in your friend group if you stay here (and then come home bragging about how much fun you had). Koukaki is located at the base of the Acropolis and Filopappou Hill, and just a short walk away from the gorgeous views of the Acropolis - as well as the location of what is believed to have been Socrates’ prison cell. The quiet squares and bustling streets of this area have plenty of cafes and tavernas just waiting for you to discover them, and there’s a charming farmer’s market in the southwestern area on Friday mornings. It’s also just a short walk to Plaka and the Acropolis.
Found northwest of Monastiraki and Plaka, and south of Kotzia and Omonia Squares, Psirri has a somewhat lively past - it acted a hideout for revolutionaries in the 19th century. Now, it’s known for its buzzing nightlife scene and excellent restaurants. Very much a working class neighbourhood, Psirri is home to streets of artisan workshops, which make for fascinating viewing. Old, neoclassical houses have been repurposed into galleries, hotels, clubs, and bars, with live music spilling out onto the street. If you (or your kids) are into street art, there are murals aplenty here to gaze at, too. The scene here is more frequented by locals rather than tourists, so you can expect less competition than you may find in other areas when you’re browsing Psirri’s record shops, vintage clothes stores, and spice shops.
This wealthy neighbourhood can be found on the southern slope of Mount Lycabettus, the tallest of the city’s seven hills, bordering Syntagma. Known for its luxury shopping, high-end dining scene, and many museums and galleries, Kolonaki is the ideal spot in Athens if chicness is your priority. Visitors can walk the pedestrian-only streets and take in the luxurious atmosphere, before browsing for designer goods and sipping coffee at pavement cafes. There are almost too many museums in this area to mention, but our highlights include the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the Athens War Museum.
This is exactly where you should settle if you want to be in the political heart of Athens. Syntagma has been known as the most important square in Greece since the country became independent in the 1830s, and was named after the constitution that King Otto drew up a decade later. Attractions include the Old Royal Palace, which houses the Greek parliament, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where a changing of the guard ceremony is performed every hour. There’s also the National Garden and the National Historical Museum practically on your doorstep. It’s incredibly well connected too, being a major transportation hub.