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Athens: the best neighbourhood for your stay
November 22, 2023
Athens, the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, stands as a city where ancient history and contemporary culture converge in a mesmerizing tapestry. This vibrant metropolis is not just Greece’s capital but also the heart of its historical heritage. Tourists are drawn to the iconic Acropolis, a symbol of classical spirit perched atop a rocky outcrop, visible from almost every corner of the city. The Parthenon, standing as a beacon of ancient Greek architectural brilliance, invites awe and contemplation. Beyond these timeless ruins, Athens offers a labyrinth of narrow streets in the Plaka district, brimming with lively tavernas, quaint cafes, and shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. The city’s museums, notably the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, house priceless artifacts and offer insights into Greece’s rich history and culture.
Yet, Athens is more than its glorious past. It’s a dynamic city pulsating with life and creativity. Contemporary art galleries, vibrant street art, and a bustling nightlife scene reflect a modern city constantly evolving. The neighborhoods of Monastiraki and Psiri are hubs of activity where traditional Greek music blends with modern beats, and local markets offer a sensory feast of colors, tastes, and aromas. Athens’ culinary scene is a delight, with everything from street-side souvlaki stands to gourmet restaurants offering Mediterranean delights. The city also serves as a gateway to the Greek islands, making it an ideal starting point for further exploration. Whether it’s for its historical grandeur, its lively urban culture, or its culinary delights, Athens presents a multifaceted appeal, making it a must-visit destination for travelers around the world.
Exploring the City’s Best Neighborhoods
Plaka: The Heart of Old Athens
Plaka, nestled at the foot of the Acropolis, is often touted as the “Neighborhood of the Gods”. Its labyrinthine streets, lined with neoclassical mansions, ancient ruins, and vibrant bougainvillea, offer a delightful journey into Athens’ past. Stay at the boutique AVA Hotel and Suites for an intimate luxury experience, with views of the Acropolis from your balcony. For dining, Scholarhio Ouzeri Kouklis offers traditional Greek cuisine in a charming setting. Explore the Anafiotika area, reminiscent of a Cycladic village, or visit the Museum of Greek Folk Art. To reach the city center, simply take a leisurely stroll; you’re already in the heart of Athens.
Monastiraki & Psyrri: Vibrant and Eclectic
Monastiraki & Psyrri blend the old and new with seamless elegance. Antique shops and flea markets coexist with hip bars and street art, creating a vibrant, eclectic atmosphere. 360 Degrees, a modern hotel offers panoramic views of the city, including the Acropolis. Savour Greek delicacies at Oineas Restaurant, surrounded by Psyrri’s colorful murals. Don’t miss the bustling Monastiraki Flea Market and the stunning Church of Agia Irini. The neighborhood is centrally located, with Monastiraki metro station providing easy access to other parts of the city.
Kolonaki: Sophisticated and Chic
Kolonaki, the upscale neighborhood of Athens, is a hub of high-end boutiques, art galleries, and sophisticated cafes. The chic Periscope Hotel mirrors the area’s contemporary vibe. Dine at Malconi’s, known for its Italian-Greek fusion cuisine. Visit the Benaki Museum, stroll around Dexameni Square, or enjoy a funicular ride up Lycabettus Hill. Though slightly away from the city center, it’s just a short metro ride from Evangelismos station to Syntagma Square.
Exarcheia: The Bohemian Heart
Exarcheia, Athens’ bohemian heart, is a hotbed of creativity and activism. Its graffiti-laden walls, indie bookshops, and alternative bars exude a rebellious charm. Dryades Hotel, located nearby, offers comfortable stay with easy access to the neighborhood. Enjoy a meal at Rozalia, a local favorite serving Greek dishes. Explore the National Archaeological Museum or the bustling Exarcheia Market. To reach the city center, take a bus or taxi to Omonia Square, and you’re just a short walk away from Syntagma.
The best neighbourhood for your stay in Athens
After exploring these neighborhoods, if one has to choose the best for a weekend escape, Plaka would be the top choice. Its central location, rich history, and the enchanting old-world charm provide an authentic Athenian experience that’s hard to match.