Athens has 7 districts, which are divided into 91 neighborhoods, called gitonies. Each district has its own charm and opens a completely different facet of Athens.
To give you an overview of the main districts for your trip to Athens, here we describe the best neighborhoods in Athens with tips on the best areas to stay.
On the slope of the Acropolis lies the picturesque old town of Plaka. As the oldest part of Athens, it is rich in ancient monuments, churches and museums. Strolling through the labyrinthine alleys, one feels transported back to antiquity. Plaka is lined with souvenir stores, tavernas and rooftop cafes overlooking the Acropolis. As the tourist center of Athens within walking distance of quite a few top sights, Plaka is arguably the most popular neighborhood to stay in.
2. Syntagma - The Historic City Center
Around Syntagma Square, the political, social and commercial life of Athens takes place. From shopping to nightlife and entertainment to hotels, banks and magnificent buildings, you can find everything here. Main sights are the Greek Parliament, the National Garden and the Athens Trilogy. Although hotels here are generally a bit more expensive, the area around Syntagma Square is an excellent place to stay, especially for first-time visitors to Athens.
This is where the heart of Athens beats. A unique flair defines this lively shopping district, which is a real tourist magnet with boutiques, stalls and rooftop bars. Around Monastiraki Square it is bursting with entertainment and shopping opportunities. Monastiraki is famous for its flea market. Numerous attractions are located near the central part of the city. With comparatively cheaper hotels than in Plaka or Syntagma, the area is a great place to stay.
The trendy Psyri district near the Acropolis is the address for Athens nightlife. The district is considered one of the hippest areas of Athens and accordingly offers many hip bars, clubs and restaurants. The lively district in the center of Athens is somewhat less touristy and has numerous hotels, boutiques and street art. Many sights are within walking distance. Night owls may prefer this area for staying.
The alternative Exarchia district, north of the city center, is considered a hip trendy neighborhood of Athens. Here, past and present merge, which determines the unique character of the district. Street art with political messages characterizes the streetscape, as the area, known for its riots, is considered a symbol of the anarchist scene. The taverns, bars and nightlife are very popular. You can find many cheap hotels and Airbnb accommodations here. However, you should avoid deserted streets at night, as drug use is a problem in this neighborhood.
Piraeus, in the south of Athens, is the main port of Athens and basically a city in its own right. It consists of several traditional neighborhoods, three harbors and a lovely city beach. There are archaeological sites as well as museums related to the country's maritime past. For culinary delights, there are taverns and restaurants along the coast. Piraeus can be reached by metro in about 30 minutes from the city center. For cruise passengers staying overnight in Athens or visitors who want to explore the islands around Athens, a hotel in Piraeus is therefore ideal.
The picturesque Anafiotika neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis charms with its quaint architecture. It is built in the style of a Cycladic village and features whitewashed stone houses and idyllic gardens. A stroll through the area's dreamy and narrow streets exudes a romantic ambiance and vacation flair. The neighborhood in the center of Athens borders the Plaka district and is a dreamy place to stay.
These two historic neighborhoods in central Athens are located next to Athens' main sights, including the Acropolis, Dionysus Theater and Filopappou Hill. The centerpiece of the Acropolis neighborhood, also known as Makrygianni, is the Acropolis Museum. The authentic Koukaki neighborhood offers an innovative gastronomic offerings and many hotels. Its pedestrian streets, such as Dionysiou Areopagitou and Drakou, are full of cafes, bars and lively activity.
This traditional neighborhood between Plaka and Monastiraki is a quieter alternative to the more touristy parts of Athens. Nevertheless, Thissio boasts lively cafes, bars, restaurants and an open-air cinema. Grandiose panoramas can be enjoyed from Filopappou Hill. Street musicians performing live music on the Apostolou-Pavlou promenade add to the pleasant ambience. Nearby are the Acropolis and the ancient Agora.
Kolonaki, the upscale posh district in the center of Athens, is considered the meeting place of the chic. It is known for its classy boutiques, the many embassies and the coffee house culture. With museums such as the Benaki Museum, the Byzantine Museum and the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, culture lovers get their money's worth here. Another highlight is Lycabettus Hill, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Athens.
11. Gazi/ Kerameikos
Once known as a desolate industrial and commercial area, this area is now considered a hip nightlife district of Athens. With its queer bars and clubs, Gazi is a popular address for young locals for nightlife in the metropolis. Main attractions are the Kerameikos archaeological site and the Technopolis venue in Athens' former gasworks.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The districts that stand out the most for their location, incomparable charm, nightlife options, transport links and proximity to attractions are: Monastiraki, Plaka and Syntagma. They are recommended especially for first-time visitors.
The Psyri district is the locals' insider tip when it comes to nightlife in Athens. But Exarchia, Gazi and Monastiraki are also popular addresses for nightlife in the Greek metropolis.
In the Gazi district you can stay comparatively cheaply. Accommodation in Exarchia is also quite affordable, which is why the district is increasingly preferred by young travelers. However, Exarchia is known for its unrest and the problem with drug use. This should be taken into consideration.
For families with children, the neighborhoods of Koukaki or Thissio are suitable. Both are pleasant and comparatively quieter areas that still offer good access to Athens' sights and museums. The coastal city of Piraeus is also a wonderful alternative for families, especially if you want to make excursions to the islands near Athens or arrive by cruise ship.
February 28, 2023
February 28, 2023
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