Where To Stay In Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece is an ancient city that still bursts with life. People have been living there consistently since prehistoric times, and the city remains divided into districts that reflect that history, as well as its modern needs. All the different neighbourhoods the city comprises are stitched together with Athens’ modern metro lines and buses, so you’ll always be able to get around.

Here’s a guide to some of the best districts to stay, or just wander through, in Athena’s chosen city.

Exarcheia
Exarcheia is a neighbourhood in Central Athens. Staying here will bring you close to the city’s anarchist and intellectual culture, much of the city’s youth, and a fair amount of squatters. Police presence in the neighbourhood has increased recently under Greece’s new government, but it hasn’t done much to curtail the neighbourhood’s wild, anti-establishment vibe. If you stay here be sure to visit VOX cinema, one of Athens greatest open-air theatres.

Kolonaki
Abutting Exarcheia and still in the city centre, Kolonaki is Athens’ upscale shopping district. Find slick cafes, designer stores, and the amazing Benaki museum all within arms-reach when you stay in this area of the city. If you’re interested in a light hike, find the foot of Mt. Lycabettus in Kolonaki, and take the walk or funicular railway up for 360 degree views of the ancient city.

Monastiraki
Monastiraki is a neighborhood close to Kolonaki. It’s well known for encompassing some of the city’s most impressive ancient sites. These include the ruins of Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora. Monastiraki’s greatest claim to fame, though, is the Monastiraki market—a bustling swarm of weekend stalls selling Athenian and tourist goods alike. Take a walk through Monastiraki at night to be wowed by the vibrant restaurants, shops, and the lit Acropolis looming overhead.

 Plaka
If you really want to live under the incredible Acropolis, Plaka is your neighbourhood. While you’ll find fewer lodging options here, the area is just steps away from Monastiraki and Kolonaki’s hotels and Airbnbs. Plaka is a residential neighbourhood full of family shops, narrow streets, and hanging flowers. The village vibe is strong here, so walk the winding paths through Plaka up towards the Acropolis, and forget you ever heard of the 21stcentury.

Psyri
Bordering Monastiraki and actually technically enclosing Monastiraki Metro stop, Psyri is well known for its many bars that stay open well into the night spinning local DJs. If modern music isn’t your vibe, take in some rembetika in one of the neighbourhoods many tavernas and local restaurants. Or walk down Pittaki street, the formal industrial avenue now home to a wowing hanging lantern installation.

Petralona
In days past, Petralona was one of the poorer neighbourhoods of Athens. The artists of the city changed that when they started moving in, and today this largely residential area is a bustling district full of modern cafes and restaurants. Petralona is a few stops off from Syntagma and Monastiraki, the central metro stations, but that also makes it a little cheaper and less packed with tourists.

Syntagma
The Syntagma neighbourhood is home to Syntagma, or ‘Constitution,’ Square: Athens’ most popular and largest platia. This area is also home to Syntagma metro, Athens central metro station, which lets off into the square. Just a few metres away from the extensive Syntagma Square is the National Garden of Greece. Wander through it towards the Temple of Olympian Zeus or stay within the garden until sundown to catch a movie at the open-air cinema.

Omonoia
Omonoia means ‘peace,’ and the name suits this noisy but down-to-earth area of the city centre. Omonoia is known for hosting the Athens Central Market, an important food marketplace in the city. Visit Omonoia as well for the National Theatre of Greece, always playing a new interesting piece of Greek or world drama.

Zach Buck

Zach Buck

Zach Buck is a writer and editor currently living in South Korea. He serves as the official editor of Spatial Studies magazine HEADREST. In 2016 he released experimental digital archive game house.xct_ with Other Families, and it can be read about on otherfamilies.ca.

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