Don’t listen to the haters, Athens has an incredible variety of neighbourhoods. Whether you’re a tourist planning a quick getaway or a digital nomad looking to immerse yourself in a dynamic culture, the Greek capital has a district for everyone. In this definitive guide to the best neighbourhoods to stay in Athens, I’ll dive into the distinct character of each district to help you find a home base that suits you best.

I must emphasize that Athens is not just a city for sightseers. It has heaps of character and plenty of unexpected diversions. Plus, given the strength of its infrastructure, the city presents a great option for those looking for a longer-term stay.

Let’s explore the colourful tapestry that is Athens’ neighbourhoods, we’ll help you weigh the pros and cons. Keep reading to find out which district resonates with your tastes and needs! 

The 10 Best Neighborhoods To Stay In Athens

If you don’t have time to read about each neighbourhood in-depth, here is the complete list of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Athens.

  1. Kolonaki: This central neighbourhood has an exclusive atmosphere, with upscale cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s in proximity to prestigious museums but tends to be hilly.
  2. Plaka: Known for its Acropolis view, ancient Greek ruins, and quaint restaurants, Plaka is central and safe. It can get crowded with tourists, and accommodation tends to be pricier.
  3. Piraeus: Although technically its own city, Piraeus offers calm coastal neighbourhoods, ocean views, and fresh seafood. It’s well-connected to central Athens and a great option for those seeking a seaside vibe.
  4. Exarcheia: This unique, anarchic neighbourhood offers an interesting atmosphere with its graffiti-filled streets and anarchist vibe. It’s not for everyone, but it’s close to the historical sights and to Athens’ few co-working spaces.
  5. Kifissia: As a Northern suburb of Athens, Kifissia offers a sedate and affluent atmosphere, popular with families and couples. It has many upscale boutiques and a tranquil dining scene.
  6. Psiri: The city’s nightlife hub, Psiri is popular with young locals and tourists alike. It’s central, vibrant, and a short walk from major sights.
  7. Monastiraki: Renowned for its food scene and shopping, Monastiraki is centrally located and provides easy access to every corner of Athens.
  8. Koukaki: For those seeking a local experience, Koukaki offers an eclectic and creative atmosphere, great nightlife, and is located near major attractions.
  9. Thissio: Offering picturesque views of the Acropolis, Thissio is defined by its cozy wine bars and access to some of the best views of the city.
  10. Athenian Riviera: Stretching along the southern coast of Athens, the Athenian Riviera offers beautiful coastal views with fewer tourists. Areas like Glyfada, Voula, and Vouliagmeni possess trendy restaurants and clean beaches.

Now, I’ll elaborate on the main drawing points of each neighbourhood and help you weigh the pros and cons of living in Athens.

Kolonaki – Best Upscale Neighborhood in Athens

Average rental price: High

Safety: Excellent

Transportation: Good

Food: Restaurants are accessible, grocery stores less so.

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Good

Social Life: OK

Nightlife: OK

Proximity to tourist attractions: Excellent

In the heart of Athens, the Kolonaki neighbourhood stands out as a beacon of luxury and class. Named after the small ancient column or ‘kolonaki’ that adorned an ancient square, Kolonaki boasts a unique charm and elegance, characterized by its upscale boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and high-end residential living. This neighbourhood, nestled on the southern slopes of Lycabettus Hill, is a destination for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Staying in Kolonaki feels like diving into a world of sophistication. From the moment you step into its orderly streets, you’re treated to an array of high-end shopping opportunities, from globally-renowned fashion houses to local designer boutiques. Dining options are equally impressive, with an array of restaurants serving exquisite Greek and international cuisine. Add to this the wealth of art galleries, museums, and stunning views from Lycabettus Hill, and Kolonaki truly becomes a luxurious haven in Athens.

Pros of Kolonaki Neighbourhood:

  • Upscale, safe neighbourhood with high-end residential living.
  • An abundance of luxury boutiques and shopping.
  • Variety of gourmet dining options.
  • Proximity to art galleries, museums, and cultural attractions.
  • Excellent views of the city from Lycabettus Hill.

Cons of Kolonaki Neighbourhood:

  • More expensive compared to other neighbourhoods.
  • Limited budget-friendly dining and shopping options.
  • Can be crowded during peak tourist seasons.
  • Nightlife is more subdued compared to more lively areas like Psiri or Kerameikos.

Plaka – The Best Neighbourhood For Greek Architecture

Average rental price: High

Safety: Excellent

Transportation: Excellent

Food: Excellent, but limited options for groceries.

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: OK

Social Life: OK

Nightlife: OK

Proximity to tourist attractions: Perfect

Plaka, often called the ‘Neighbourhood of the Gods’, is the oldest district in Athens, located just beneath the northern slope of the Acropolis. Its beautiful neoclassical architecture and picturesque narrow lanes make it an enticing destination for lovers of design and culture. The neighbourhood is brimming with colourful buildings, preserved ruins, and the relaxed atmosphere that Greece is so acclaimed for.

Staying in Plaka is almost like stepping back in time. Every cobblestone street and alleyway narrates a piece of Athens’ long history, with architectural styles ranging from ancient Greek and Roman ruins to Ottoman-era houses and neoclassical mansions. Plaka’s unique charm also lies in its numerous cozy tavernas, antique shops, and traditional markets, all set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Acropolis. It’s not just an architectural paradise but a cultural and historical journey into the heart of Athens.

Pros of Plaka Neighbourhood:

  • Historic and charming neighbourhood with unique architectural beauty.
  • Proximity to major archaeological sites like the Acropolis.
  • Variety of traditional dining options with authentic Greek cuisine.
  • Many artisan and antique shops offer unique shopping experiences.
  • A rich blend of culture, history, and modern comforts.

Cons of Plaka Neighbourhood:

  • Prices may be slightly higher due to the neighbourhood’s popularity and historical significance. Read more about the cost of living in Athens and tips to save money in the city.
  • Can be crowded due to its popularity among tourists.
  • Limited nightlife, it’s quieter and more relaxed.
  • Not a hub for modern amenities.

Piraeus – Best Alternative To Athens City Centre

Piraeus Views
Views you can expect in Piraeus

Average rental price: Moderate

Safety: Good

Transportation: Excellent

Food: Excellent, with lots of grocery stores and seafood restaurants

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Good

Social Life: Good

Nightlife: OK

Proximity to tourist attractions: Easily accessible through public transport

Piraeus, located on the southwest coast of Athens, is the city’s primary port and an increasingly popular alternative to living in the city centre. Famous for its maritime history and bustling port activities, it offers a different flavour of Athenian life. A blend of urban vibrancy and serene coastal charm makes it a unique neighbourhood for those wanting to experience Athens from a different perspective.

Living in Piraeus offers residents the opportunity to enjoy a bustling urban environment combined with the charm of a Mediterranean seaside town. The neighbourhood is home to a variety of restaurants, serving everything from traditional Greek cuisine to fresh seafood, thanks to its proximity to the sea. The neighbourhood is also famous for its open-air markets, offering fresh produce and local delicacies. Besides, Piraeus provides easy access to the beautiful Greek Islands via ferry, making it the perfect neighbourhood for those who want to continue further.

Pros of Piraeus Neighbourhood:

  • Access to beautiful coastlines and sea views.
  • The neighbourhood has a vibrant food scene, especially for seafood lovers.
  • Easy transportation via buses, trams, and the metro to the city centre and other parts of Athens.
  • Less crowded and more affordable than central Athens.
  • Proximity to the port offers easy access to the Greek Islands.

Cons of Piraeus Neighbourhood:

  • Not as rich in historical monuments and architectural sites as other neighbourhoods.
  • The area around the port can be busy and noisy due to shipping activities.
  • Limited options for coworking spaces or laptop-friendly cafes.
  • Nightlife is more low-key compared to other neighbourhoods in Athens.

Exarcheia – Best Value Neighbourhood In Athens

Exarcheia at night
Exarcheia at night

Average rental price: Affordable

Safety: Fair

Transportation: Good

Food: Excellent

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Good

Social Life: Very Active

Nightlife: Good

Proximity to tourist attractions: Good

Exarcheia, often called the heart of Athens’ counterculture, is an exciting and value-packed neighbourhood that offers a distinct vibe from the rest of the city. Known for its bohemian spirit, street art, and lively political scene, Exarcheia boasts a vibrant community that effortlessly blends Athenian heritage with the anarchist lifestyle.

A stay in Exarcheia isn’t your traditional tourist stay. And while the neighbourhood has plenty of affordable housing options, you will notice much of the graffiti that covers this anarchist neighbourhood urges Airbnb holiday-makers to leave. 

That said, Exarcheia is still a popular choice among students, artists, and those looking for an affordable stay in Athens. Besides its affordability, Exarcheia stands out for its eclectic street life. From independent bookshops and alternative music stores to artisan coffee shops and street food spots, Exarcheia promises a rather unique Athenian experience.

Pros of Exarcheia Neighbourhood:

  • Affordable housing options compared to other central neighbourhoods.
  • A vibrant social scene with numerous cafes, bars, and music venues.
  • Home to local markets and independent shops offering unique finds.
  • Rich in street art, contributing to its unique, bohemian atmosphere.

Cons of Exarcheia Neighbourhood:

  • The area has a reputation for occasional political protests.
  • Safety could be a concern at night for some visitors, though many residents feel comfortable.
  • Limited in terms of high-end dining or luxury shopping options.
  • Some might find its alternative, rebellious spirit not to their taste.

Kifisia – Best Neighbourhood in Athens for Families

Average rental price: High

Safety: Excellent

Transportation: Connected to the city, but time-consuming

Food: Varied and High Quality

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Moderate

Social Life: Quiet, Family-Oriented

Nightlife: Limited

Proximity to tourist attractions: Far, but accessible via public transportation

Kifisia, an elegant suburb to the north of central Athens, is widely regarded as an ideal neighbourhood for families. Known for its leafy avenues, manicured parks, and more tranquil pace of life, Kifisia offers an appealing blend of city amenities and suburban charm. Its stately villas, prestigious schools, and an array of chic boutiques and cafes add to the charm, making it an attractive option for those seeking a family-friendly atmosphere.

Staying in Kifisia means immersing yourself in a serene environment that’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of Athens’ city centre. The neighbourhood provides plenty of open spaces for children to play, along with a host of family-friendly restaurants and shops. Additionally, Kifisia is home to several educational institutions, making it an excellent choice for families planning a longer stay in Athens.

Pros of Kifisia Neighbourhood:

  • High safety standards and a peaceful atmosphere, are suitable for families.
  • An abundance of green spaces, parks, and recreational areas.
  • High-quality educational institutions and family-friendly amenities.
  • Varied dining and shopping options, from high-end boutiques to quaint cafes.

Cons of Kifisia Neighbourhood:

  • Higher rental prices compared to more central neighbourhoods.
  • The quieter pace and tranquil atmosphere may not appeal to those seeking nightlife.
  • It is further away from the major tourist attractions in central Athens.
  • Public transportation to and from the city centre is good, but commute times can be long during peak hours.

Psiri – Best Neighbourhood in Athens for Nightlife

Average rental price: Mid-Range to High

Safety: Moderate, caution advised at night

Transportation: Excellent

Food: Great variety, of local and foreign cuisines.

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Good

Social Life: Very Active

Nightlife: Outstanding

Proximity to tourist attractions: Excellent

Psiri, the heart of Athens’ nightlife, and the pulse of the city, is a neighbourhood that truly comes alive when the sun sets. By day, it’s a quaint area with narrow streets, quirky boutiques, and street art, but by night, it transforms into an electrifying hotspot brimming with trendy bars, live music venues, and energetic nightclubs. Psiri offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern, urban lifestyle, making it a fascinating place to explore and stay in.

Experiencing Psiri as a resident, even temporarily, is quite the adventure. The neighbourhood is rich with locales offering Greek cuisine and food from around the world., Plus, the local shops and markets give you a little slice of Athenian life. 

Pros of Psiri Neighbourhood:

  • An array of nightlife options from stylish bars to live music venues.
  • Proximity to central Athens and key tourist attractions.
  • Plenty of local eateries and markets offering authentic Greek cuisine.
  • Unique character and vibrant atmosphere.

Cons of Psiri Neighbourhood:

  • It can get quite noisy, especially on weekends.
  • Safety might be of concern late at night.
  • May lack family-friendly amenities and spaces.
  • Rental prices can be higher due to the neighbourhood’s popularity.

Monastiraki – Best Neighbourhood in Athens for Shopping

View of Monastiraki Square

Average rental price: High

Safety: Moderate, caution advised at night

Transportation: Excellent

Food: Diverse Range

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Good

Social Life: Very Active

Nightlife: Good

Proximity to tourist attractions: Excellent

Monastiraki is a historical neighbourhood teeming with a myriad of retail options. From the renowned Monastiraki Flea Market that comes alive every Sunday to chic boutiques and antique shops that line Ermou Stree, this neighbourhood is a paradise for those bitten by the shopping bug. A mix of old and new, Monastiraki beautifully combines historical landmarks, like the Tsisdarakis Mosque, with rooftop cafes and traditional craft shops, offering a unique shopping experience.

Staying in Monastiraki places you in the heart of the city’s retail scene, where you’re only a few steps away from fascinating shops, markets, and boutiques. Monastiraki is not just about shopping, though. The neighbourhood is known for its mouth-watering street food and substantial nightlife options, providing you with a well-rounded Athenian experience. The area’s colourful streets, neoclassical architecture, and stunning view of the Acropolis add to its unique charm.

Pros of Monastiraki Neighbourhood:

  • A wide range of shopping options, from high-end boutiques to traditional markets.
  • Proximity to iconic landmarks and tourist attractions.
  • Excellent transportation links, including the Monastiraki metro station.
  • Varied food scene with a blend of street food and upscale dining.

Cons of Monastiraki Neighbourhood:

  • It can become crowded, especially during peak tourist season.
  • Noise levels can be high due to their bustling nature.
  • Safety concerns can arise, particularly late at night.
  • Rental prices might be high due to its central location and popularity.

Koukaki – Best Neighborhood in Athens for A Local Experience

Average rental price: Moderate to High

Safety: Very Good

Transportation: Good

Food: Authentic Local Cuisine

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: OK

Social Life: Laid-back and Local

Nightlife: OK

Proximity to tourist attractions: Good

Koukaki, a neighbourhood that pulses with the heart of local Athenian life, is a true gem for those seeking an authentic experience in Athens. Just a stone’s throw away from the Acropolis, it is often overshadowed by its grand neighbour, yet the local charm and laid-back vibe of Koukaki have not gone unnoticed by the astute traveller. With its array of traditional tavernas, family-run businesses, and charming cafes, Koukaki encapsulates the spirit of everyday Athenian life in the 21st century.

Staying in Koukaki gives you a sense of belonging, of becoming a part of the local fabric, rather than just being a visitor. The neighbourhood is full of small, unique shops, markets, and eateries that offer a taste of true Greek cuisine. It’s also known for its artistic flair, hosting several local galleries and performance spaces. Despite its central location, Koukaki has a quieter, more relaxed feel than the bustling heart of Athens, which can provide a welcome retreat after a busy day of exploring the city.

Pros of Koukaki Neighbourhood:

  • Authentic local experience, from food to shopping.
  • A quieter, more relaxed atmosphere compared to the city center.
  • Proximity to major landmarks like the Acropolis.
  • Good public transportation options.

Cons of Koukaki Neighbourhood:

  • May not be as lively or bustling as some other neighbourhoods.
  • Nightlife options might be limited compared to other areas.
  • Rental prices can be higher due to its proximity to the Acropolis.
  • The area is becoming increasingly popular, which may lead to overcrowding.

Thissio – Best Neighbourhood in Athens for Couples

Philopappou Park View
A romantic view in Philopappou Park, adjacent to Thissio

Average rental price: High

Safety: Very Good

Transportation: Excellent

Food: Excellent and varied

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Limited

Social Life: Quiet and Romantic

Nightlife: OK

Proximity to tourist attractions: Excellent

A warm haven for romance and intimate experiences, Thissio is the top neighbourhood in Athens for couples. Known for its serenity and laid-back yet upscale vibe, Thissio provides an ideal setting for couples to experience Athens’ rich history while enjoying each other’s company. The district is home to the ancient Agora, the heart of classical Athens, offering romantic strolls amidst historical landmarks.

Staying in Thissio is ideal due to its proximity to the lush Philopappou park. Plus, you can enjoy charming, cobbled pedestrian paths, lined with cafes and restaurants offering local and international cuisine while gazing upon the Acropolis. At night, Thissio transforms into a magical setting with its well-lit streets offering a romantic atmosphere that’s perfect for late-night walks.

Pros of Thissio Neighbourhood:

  • Ample historical sites for exploration.
  • Quiet, pedestrian-friendly streets.
  • Numerous dining options with stunning views.
  • Close to major tourist attractions.

Cons of Thissio Neighbourhood:

  • Can get crowded due to its proximity to popular tourist destinations.
  • Limited nightlife compared to more modern neighbourhoods.
  • Rental prices may be higher due to its desirability and location.
  • Limited options for coworking spaces or laptop cafes.

Athens Riviera – Best Area in Athens for Beaches

Average rental price: High

Safety: Excellent

Transportation: OK, Private Transportation Recommended

Food: Excellent, Especially Seafood

Proximity to Coworking spaces/ laptop cafes: Limited

Social Life: OK

Nightlife: Lively, Especially in Summer

Proximity to tourist attractions: Far, Focus on Beaches and Water Activities

As one of the lesser-known jewels of Athens, the Athens Riviera, puts forward a blend of urban sophistication and relaxed beach lifestyle that’s truly unrivalled. This coastal neighbourhood is the go-to spot for beach enthusiasts looking for that perfect sandy getaway without straying too far from the heart of Athens.

Staying in the Athens Riviera is like stepping into a Mediterranean paradise. Stretching from the southern suburbs of Athens to the southernmost point of Attica, Cape Sounio, the Riviera boasts miles of beautiful, pristine beaches. The neighbourhood is home to luxury resorts, marinas, and a variety of water sports facilities, providing plenty of entertainment and relaxation opportunities. The district also offers a range of dining options, from casual beach bars to high-end seafood restaurants.

Pros of Athens Riviera:

  • Wide variety of beaches for all tastes and budgets.
  • A mix of vigorous nightlife and relaxing beach spots.
  • Access to luxury resorts and water sports facilities.
  • High-quality seafood restaurants and beach bars.

Cons of Athens Riviera:

  • More expensive than other neighbourhoods due to its prime location.
  • Can become crowded during the peak summer season.
  • Farther from Athens’ historic city centre and key tourist attractions.
  • Limited options for coworking spaces and laptop cafes.

My Favourite Neighbourhood

In the end, as you explore the labyrinthine streets of Athens, you’ll discover that each neighbourhood carries its own unique charm, reflecting the many faces of this magnificent city. My personal favourite, though, is Kolonaki. It has a certain elegance that manages to combine the hustle and bustle of the city with a certain calmness to it that I find captivating. The charming cafes, upscale boutiques, and historic squares give it a sophisticated personality that’s hard to resist.

Of course, Athens is far more than Kolonaki. Each neighbourhood, from the architectural marvel that is Plaka, to the exciting nightlife of Psiri, to the beach lover’s haven in the Athens Riviera, has something unique to offer. Your ideal spot could be anywhere, depending on what you’re seeking in this ancient, yet dynamic city.

To learn more about what it’s like to live in Athens over the long term, read the article I linked. In it, I cover everything from finding housing to dining out.

Finally, if you’ve already started searching for an short-term apartment in Athens, you might have found it tough to assess whether they are actually suitable for remote work, and livable for a months-long stay. 

Most rental sites have posed major problems for me, and I know I’m not alone. If you want a more consistent solution, we’re in the process of curating a large database of digital nomad apartments in Athens and beyond. Enter your name and email below to get access to them as soon as they’re released.

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