Where to stay in Athens? This guide will analyze the best areas to stay in Greek capital, and the cost of travel to visit one of the oldest cities of Europe
This post is the perfect guide featuring the best places to stay in Athens, including the area near the Acropolis like the Plaka and Monastiraki Districts.
Tourism in Athens: Overview
Athens is the capital of Greece, often also called the cradle of all the Western Civilization. The birthplace of democracy, science and drama. Having an impressive history span of over 3,400 years, it tops as one of the oldest cities in the world.
Over this period of time, a lot has happened in Athens, and that reflects in the city’s skyline, and is evident on almost every street corner. Athens manages to fit a great number of monuments, works of art, landmarks, ancient ruins and archeological sites from the Classical, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras.
The cultural heritage of the city is very rich, and can, perhaps, only compete with that of Rome’s. Despite the recent economic recession in Greece, the city still remains a busy hub. It attracts crowds of tourists, all year round, and, particularly during the high season.
There is a well-organized system of public transportation, consisting of the metro, city buses and trams. Famous ever-present yellow taxis fill the streets of Athens everywhere. The subway connects the city’s international Venizelos airport, through the city of Athens, to the southern port of Piraeus. From the port one can take a ferry boat departing regularly to most of the Aegean Greek islands.
Although the city is full of historical monuments, it is impossible to see them all during a short trip. That’s why it is important to know some places you definitely need to see in the first order. After all, as the Athenians often joke, in the city’s limits you can start digging almost anywhere and, chances are, that after a while you will stumble upon some kind of ancient ruins, marbles or stones.
Best places to stay in Athens
The best places to stay in Athens are at the very heart of the city, near the famous Acropolis central hill, with the magnificient Parthenon on top of it. Just below the hill, liest historical district of Plaka and the neighboring district of Monastiraki. There you can find some of the best places in Athens to eat or shop.
The Acropolis of Athens is in the central part of the city, and is probably the most famous landmark of Greece. Often considered also a symbol of Western democracy. That is because, it was on this very hill that the ancient Athenians gathered to discuss politics of the city in the ancient times.
Apart from the main building of the Parthenon, which proudly overlooks the whole city, the complex of Acropolis comprises of many other, smaller buildings from the antiquity. The place is open for visits daily, either with a guide, or alone, as you prefer.
If there is one place where you can experience the mythical aura of ancient Greece, it is exactly here. It is full of tremendous beauty, history and importance, and has a specific feel to it, so you definitely shouldn’t miss that experience.
The areas surrounding the Acropolis are definitely the best locations to stay in Athens.
Plaka and Monastiraki Districts
Just below the hill of Acropolis, is a district of the very old part of Athens called Plaka. It is the only district of the whole city with a continuous population since the very ancient times. After a trip to the Parthenon, it is a perfect place to eat or drink. You can find many great restaurants here, serving fantastic Greek food. The Museum of Acropolis, which is also worth visiting, is in Plaka.
The district of Monastiraki, close to Plaka is also one of the best areas to stay in Athens. You can find a flea market in the Monastiraki district where you can buy souvenirs, gifts, clothing, and what not. There you can also go out at night for a drink, a good dinner or a walk in the heart of old Athens. Monastiraki, in contrast to the Acropolis, has more of a medieval and byzantine touch to it.
The National Gardens
One of the best places in Athens, that most travel guides don’t often mention, is the National Gardens of Athens. It is located just next to the Plaka district, directly behind the building of the Parliament. For an old and dense city as Athens, the Park truly has an impressive atmosphere. It has its own history and encloses some ancient ruins, statues and mosaics, as well as an outstanding collection of exotic plants and animals.
The Park is free to enter daily and has an amazing and unique vibe to it. If you need some rest, either to take shade from the scorching Greek sun, or after walking in the noisy city, then definitely visit the Gardens! It will give you a refreshing experience.
Cost of travel in Athens
Athens is pretty welcoming for tourists with all kinds of budgets. You can easily have a nice time in the city with a budget of 50 euros a day, and even less, depending on your spending habits.
Prices of food, entrance tickets, metro tickets can be easily managed at around 20-30€ per day. Accommodation prices vary, particularly during the high season from June to September.
Best months to visit Athens
Spring and Autumn are the best time of the year to visit Athens. These months offer a stable warm weather, with all the tourist attractions open without masses of tourists, and with rather reasonable prices.
The height of the summer (July and August) is when Athens receives the highest influx of tourists. Therefore, prices are usually higher than the average during these months.