First time in ATHENS? Here's some tips on where to stay and where explore, by MARIA FARRO. 

ATHENS areas guide



I have become somewhat obsessed by Athens. On each corner there is either a taverna, wine bar, habidashery shop, fabric store -- everything, anything. Not only is the city steeped in history, it has a vibrant charm that is guaranteed to inspire most people. I am lucky enough to spend three months in the city each year whilst I work on ideas for new collections and I make it my mission to find new spots while always hitting of the old faithfuls. Below are some tips on where to stay if it's your first time visiting Athens and have limited time. For the most part, these areas are in central Athens.

There are of course other neighbourhoods not listed here which offer different cultural options to the obvious first-time sights — we'll get to those on another list. If you find this particular list helpful, we have a more comprehensive ATHENS GUIDE you can download from here.



My personal favourite neighbourhood and where I spend most of my time. KOUKAKI has streets and streets of shops, cafes, wine bars, tavernas, restaurants and random stores that sell things you will probably never need. It feels safe and buzzy but not loud and busy. Walking distance to monuments such as the Acropolis / Parthenon, Hadriens Arch, the Temple of Zeus and Filopappou Hill. Stop for a wine at LOTTE and a get a gyros at local-favourite AMBROSIA.


A view of the AKROPOLIS from THISEIO in the spring time.


near markets, shopping, night life, etc

To me, these areas all kinda feel the same place. Being the centre of Athens, most of the neighbourhoods on this list are are walking distance for from one another; for example to walk to the Acropolis from Thiseio it would take about 15-20 minutes. The streets are busy day and night, so If you want quiet in your hotel it might not be area for you. If you want to be part of the action this is the area for you. Eat lunch at DIPORTO or AVLI, and pop by WINE IS FINE for an afternoon/evening wine. We highly recommend LINOU for dinner.


walking distance from THISEIO and KOUKAKI

Petralona is a picturesque neighbourhood with quieter streets and more of a neighbourhood feel whilst still being pretty central. While beautiful is doesn’t have the hussle and bustle of other areas such as Psyrri and Thiseio. However it is walking distance to the Acropolis and key areas so it is perfect if you like to escape. Two of our favourite places to eat are here—ASTER and OIKONOMOU—and as it is a quiet neighbourhood, it's more of an AirBNB area rather than hotels. Visit the ADAD bookstore before or after a Sunday lunch.



Definitely a posher area with the more expensive restaurants and hotels. It is beautiful but it does have the more upmarket feel which doesn’t always have the vibrancy of the areas of the other neighbourhoods in my opinion. The architecture in this area is beautiful.


I probably wouldn’t stay in these areas, more so spots to check out. EXARCHEIA is an ex-punk/anarchist neighbourhood and has amazing record stores, book stores, bars, and restaurants. Lots of the hotels in OMONIA have rooftop pools which is nice in the peak of July and the city is steaming hot.


A view across KOUKAKI and beyond, from the AKROPOLIS / PARTHENON.


near Lake Vougliameni, Athens Riviera

People ask us where to swim in Athens, and to be honest, save that for some islands if you have limited time. That said, these are the areas to stay if are seeking a beach holiday. If you are only in Athens for two or three nights I wouldn’t suggest this is how you experience the city, however if you are staying a bit longer it is worth checking out.

Special mention: RAFINA

About 40 minutes from Athens and closer to the airport, this is a small port town. You can get ferries from Rafina to Andros, Mykonos, Santorini, and Tinos. There a few great places to eat like TO LIMENI and SEIRINES, and beautiful beaches such as BLE LIMANAKI. Absolutely worth staying there if you want to be close to the airport and the beach and have already experienced Athens.

ATHENS 2024 guide

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