Where to stay in Athens for first time: 6 Safe areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about staying in Athens without a car (I will put the links to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Athens for first-time visitors and tourists.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Athens for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Athens and recommend some of the best hotels in Athens for various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Athens:

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece situated in the southern part of the country on the Attica Peninsula. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Visitors come to explore its historical sites, including the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and various museums. 

Athens is often referred to as the cradle of Western civilization because of its significant contributions to philosophy, democracy, mathematics, and various other fields during ancient times. It was the birthplace of famous philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a symbol of the city. It’s an ancient citadel atop a rocky outcrop and is home to several historic buildings, including the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.

The city has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses, trams, a metro system, and suburban railways. It is served by the Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.

Athens is generally safe for tourists. While no place is entirely free of risk, the city has a low violent crime rate. But, like any major city, there is petty theft and pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation, so it’s essential to be vigilant and take care of your belongings wherever you go. 

It is also recommended to avoid political demonstrations and protests as they can turn violent. Monitoring local media, following instructions from local authorities, and common-sense safety guidelines will help ensure a safe visit to Athens.

Where to stay in Athens for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Athens for first-timers and tourists are Plaka, Syntagma, Kolonaki, Koukaki, Monastiraki, and Thiseio. Remember that safety can vary from street to street, so it’s a good idea to stay alert and take care of your belongings no matter where you stay.

Plaka is one of the most popular areas for tourists in Athens. It’s located at the base of the Acropolis and is known for its charming, narrow streets, neoclassical buildings, and traditional Greek tavernas. 

Syntagma Square is the central hub of Athens and home to the Greek Parliament and luxury hotels. It’s a great location for those who want to be close to shopping, dining, and public transportation.

Kolonaki is a safe, upscale, residential area known for its boutique shops, cafes, and elegant architecture. It’s a bit removed from the tourist crowds.

Koukaki is a trendy neighborhood that’s become popular with travelers in recent years. It’s known for its proximity to the Acropolis Museum and more local atmosphere, and budget-friendly accommodations.

Monastiraki is a lively and bohemian area known for its flea market and vibrant street art scene. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and nightlife.

Thissio is a charming, historic area located next to Monastiraki. It offers a quieter alternative while still being close to the main attractions.

There are some areas that are best to approach with caution or avoid, especially at night. Omonia Square and its immediate surroundings are known for high crime rates. Exarchia, a neighborhood often associated with protests and civil unrest, parts of Metaxourgio can be less inviting after dark.

During my trip to Athens, I stayed for 4 nights at the mid-range Ergon House. The hotel has a convenient location within  walking distance of everything, only a short walk from Syntagma, Plaka, and Acropolis . My room had a lovely view of the Acropolis. Breakfast was fabulous.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Athens for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Athens first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Athens first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Athens, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Athens have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Athens for first-timers and tourists

1. Plaka

Plaka is one of the most popular areas to stay in Athens, especially for first-time visitors. Plaka is a picturesque and historic neighborhood centrally located at the foot of the Acropolis, offering a unique and charming atmosphere.

This area is just a short walk away from major historic attractions like the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, and the Roman Agora. You can explore these sites at your own pace.

Plaka’s narrow, winding streets, neoclassical buildings, and traditional Greek tavernas provide an authentic and charming ambiance that many travelers appreciate.

You’ll find a wide range of dining options, from traditional Greek cuisine to international dishes, making it a great place to savor Greek food.

Plaka is home to many shops where you can find souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, and local crafts. Much of The neighborhood is pedestrianized, making it a pleasant area for walking and exploring.

Plaka can be quite crowded during the peak tourist season. Accommodations tend to be more expensive compared to some other neighborhoods, but you can find a range of options to suit different budgets. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance to secure the best deals.

Best places to stay in Athens in Plaka for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Electra Palace Athens, 5-star hotel centrally located in the heart of Athens, within walking distance from most sights including Syntagma Square, Acropolis museum, the Acropolis, the parliament and shopping districts. It has a healthy breakfast with lots of choices. There are also 2 swimming pools and paid airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Elia Ermou Athens Hotel, popular 4-star hotel in central Athens, great base for first-timers, within walking distance from the iconic Acropolis and Acropolis Museum. Easy access to the scenic Plaka and the lively Monastiraki. It has a wellness club and very good breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Adonis, 2-star accommodation in the heart of Athens, 5 mins walk from a metro station for links to Athens port and the airport. It features a roof garden with panoramic views of  the Acropolis. Great central location to explore Athens nightlife, shopping, and its important monuments.  

2. Syntagma

Syntagma is a great base for first-time visitors to Athens. This area is home to Syntagma Square, the central hub of the city. It has been a central location for various political events and demonstrations throughout Greece’s history.

Syntagma is at the heart of Athens, making it convenient for exploring the city. You’ll have easy access to public transportation, including buses, trams, and the metro, which can take you to various parts of the city.

Ermou Street, one of Athens’ main shopping streets, is just steps away from Syntagma Square. You’ll find a wide range of shops, from international brands to local boutiques.

The most prominent feature of Syntagma Square is the Greek Parliament, which was originally constructed as the Royal Palace for King Otto I in the 19th century. The building is known for its neoclassical architecture and the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the Evzones, who are elite ceremonial soldiers dressed in traditional attire.

The National Garden of Athens is nearby, offering a peaceful oasis for a leisurely stroll. Syntagma is close to cultural institutions like the Olympic Stadium, Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art.

Best places to stay in Athens in Syntagma for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Electra Metropolis, extremely popular 5-star hotel, centrally located in the heart of Athens, a short walk from Syntagma Square. You can find many  Restaurants, bars and shops in its surroundings. The hotel features a rooftop pool and a sun terrace with city views.
  • Mid-range ($$): Amalia Hotel Athens, 4-star hotel, conveniently located in Syntagma Square in central Athens, next to the National Gardens and Ermou commercial district. It is only 10 mins walk from the Acropolis and Plaka, as well as close to metro/tram stations, and the airport express bus. It has Fabulous breakfast, great family rooms, and parking for those who drive.
  • Budget ($): Amazon Hotel, 3-star hotel, situated in a prime location in the heart of Athens, within walking distance of Syntagma Metro Station and the main archaeological sites. It has a 24-hour front desk and spacious family rooms.

3. Kolonaki 

Kolonaki is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a more upscale and residential neighborhood in Athens. You’ll find boutique shops, high-end restaurants, and stylish cafes in this neighborhood.

The area is famous for its luxury shopping options, including designer boutiques and upscale department stores. There are also a wide range of dining choices, from gourmet restaurants to trendy cafes.

Compared to some other central neighborhoods, Kolonaki is relatively peaceful and less crowded, providing a more tranquil environment for your stay.

You can take a funicular railway or hike to the top of Lycabettus Hill, which offers breathtaking views of Athens and is a great spot for sunset watching.

The neighborhood is home to several cultural institutions and museums, such as the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art, Benaki Museum, Byzantine and Christian Museum, and the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum.

Best places to stay in Athens in Kolonaki for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Athens Capital Center Hotel – MGallery Collection, 5-star hotel located between Kolonaki and Syntagma Square, featuring a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and good breakfast. The rooftop bar and restaurant offers delicious meals and stunning views. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Lozenge, popular 4-star hotel, located in the high-end Kolonaki area, within walking distance from Zappion – National Garden and Kolonaki Square. Short walk from the historic center of Athens. 
  • Budget ($): Athinais Hotel, great 3-star hotel located 10 mins walk from popular Kolonaki shopping area, close to a metro station, so you can easily explore the city. It is within walking distance to several cultural hotspots and good restaurants. The  National Gallery is nearby. 

4. Koukaki

Koukaki is a trendy and increasingly popular neighborhood in Athens, making it an excellent choice for first-time visitors who want to be close to the Acropolis, a more local atmosphere, as well as affordable accommodations and dining choices.

Koukaki is one of the closest neighborhoods to the Acropolis, making it an ideal location for those who want easy access to this iconic historic site. You can walk to the Acropolis and its neighboring attractions.

Koukaki offers a range of accommodation options, including budget-friendly hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. This is a great choice if you’re traveling on a budget.

The neighborhood is known for its hip cafes, trendy restaurants, and modern bars, making it a great place to sample contemporary Greek cuisine.

While Koukaki is close to the main tourist sites, it still retains a local, residential feel, which can provide a more authentic Athenian experience.

Koukaki has pedestrianized streets and squares, creating a pleasant environment for leisurely walks.

Best places to stay in Athens in Koukaki for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Coco-mat Athens BC, great 5-star hotel in central Athens, close to Acropolis Metro Station, Syngrou/Fix Metro Station and Odeum of Herodes Atticus. It has Fabulous breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool. You can walk to the acropolis and many restaurants. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Acro Urban Suites, 4-star good value for money accommodation located within walking distance from the Acropolis, Acropolis museum, and Odeum of Herodes Atticus.  4 mins walk from an area of ​​restaurants. Easy access to metro stations. It has laundry services.
  • Budget ($): Acropolis View Hotel, 3-star accommodation offering views of the Parthenon, within walking distance from New Acropolis Museum and the metro station. You can enjoy incredible view from balcony and rooftop.

5. Monastiraki

Monastiraki is a fantastic base for those seeking a bohemian atmosphere, unique shopping opportunities, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Monastiraki is known for its vibrant street life, historic charm, and its bustling flea market.  

Monastiraki is famous for its flea market, where you can shop for antiques, jewelry, clothing, and local crafts. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs.

Monastiraki comes alive at night with numerous bars, restaurants, and clubs. It’s one of the city’s nightlife hotspots, offering a diverse range of entertainment options.

The neighborhood is home to several historic sites, including the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Roman Agora, all within walking distance.

Monastiraki has an eclectic and bohemian vibe, with street art, live music, and a diverse crowd, making it a great place for people-watching and soaking in local culture.

Monastiraki is conveniently located near Plaka, Thiseio, and Psyri, so you can easily explore these adjacent neighborhoods as well.

Due to its lively nightlife scene, Monastiraki can be noisy at night. If you prefer a quieter environment for rest, you might want to consider other neighborhoods.

Best places to stay in Athens in Monastiraki for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hellenic Vibes Smart Hotel, 5-star hotel in central Athens short walk from  Monastiraki Square and  Ermou Street-Shopping Area. Easy access to the Railway and Metro stations. It has a lovely breakfast with a wide choice of tasty egg dishes.
  • Mid-range ($$): Royalty Hotel Athens, 4-star accommodation, conveniently located within a short distance from Monastiraki Square, Monastiraki Railway Station and Monastiraki Metro Station. It has paid airport shuttle service and Very good breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Adrian Hotel, 3-star hotel located on Adrianou Street, right under the Acropolis hill, a great base to explore all major Athens attractions. You can view the Parthenon from its rooftop terrace. Short walk from the Ancient Agora, Monastiraki flea market, and Monastiraki Metro Station

6. Thission

Thiseio (or Thissio) is a charming and historic neighborhood located near Monastiraki and Plaka. It is a great area for first-timers and travelers who want a tranquil and traditional Greek experience while remaining close to historic sites and city attractions. 

Thiseio is within walking distance of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, and other major historic sites. You can easily explore Athens’ ancient history from this neighborhood.

Thiseio is known for its picturesque, cobblestone streets, neoclassical buildings, and traditional Greek tavernas, providing a charming and authentic Greek ambiance.

While it’s close to the main attractions, Thiseio is generally quieter and less crowded than Monastiraki and Plaka, making it a peaceful place to stay.

You’ll find a variety of cozy tavernas and local restaurants where you can savor Greek cuisine.

Thiseio is close to the Filopappou Hill, a peaceful green space with scenic views of Athens and the Acropolis. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk or picnic.

Best places to stay in Athens in Thission for first-timers:


In conclusion, Plaka, Syntagma, Kolonaki, Koukaki, Monastiraki, and Thission are the best places to stay in Athens for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe and central areas for travelers, making them great choices for booking your accommodation and for exploration.

If you don’t plan to drive in Athens, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Athens without a car. Or check other destinations in Greece in this articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Athens. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment