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If you visited Athens before they hosted the Olympics in 2004, then you'll find it a very different city now. Having banished cars, the historic centre is more stunning than ever, and the regeneration going on in the lead up to the games hasn't stopped. So whilst it's Europe's oldest city, with so much gentrification, it's also one of Europe's freshest.
What To Expect
The Acropolis and the areas surrounding it have seen some of the most dramatic changes. Removing all the cars has made it cleaner, more open and more welcoming. The result is that the archaeological park has once again truly become a cultural and social hub.
Pedestrianising great swathes of the city centre has helped deal with Athens' notorious pollution problem. Central areas like Gazi and Psyrri, which used to be clogged with traffic, are now packed with cafes, restaurants and bars, which suits the Athens lifestyle - one of making time to stop for coffee in outdoor cafes, evening strolls and eating out late.
New galleries and leisure precincts opening up around town, including the Benaki Museum, have led the gentrification in some areas.
The public transport system also got an overhaul, as did the airport, so now it's a lot easier to get in and get around. Almost every hotel in the city got a facelift as well - dozens of shabby old drums re-emerged as colourful and fun boutique hotels, which are now some of the best places to stay in Athens.
Athens is open all year round - it even has its own beaches where you can comfortably swim until the end of October. But, it's at its best in autumn and spring.
What Not To Miss
- The Agora, heart of public life in ancient times, is still a wonderful place to start your visit. Admission to the Agora means you're admitted to the whole Acropolis, so that's the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena, the Erechtheion...etc. They give you two days on your ticket, so you don't have to do it all in one visit.
- Anafiotika is a neighbourhood on the northern slopes of the Acropolis hill, and it's worth exploring for the whitewashed houses and tiny 19th Century streets as you pass through to go to the old bazaar.
- If you're here on a Sunday the be sure to visit the large bustling flea market in Avissynias Square.
- For a view over the whole city venture up Mount Lycabettus. You can either hike up or catch the funicular if you fancy a more laidback approach.
- Hotel Grande Bretagne oozes luxurious elegance, with gorgeous accommodation and marble clad bathrooms. Just a stone's throw away from the Parthenon and with its own fine-dining restaurant, it's the perfect city spot.
- Innathens is a chic contemporary spot with rooms in neutral paletes and located just a short distance from Syntagma Square. A sleek base from which to explore Athens.
- New Hotel is an uber contemporary designer spot - boasting rooms with plenty of natural light and quirky touches throughout. Come back after sightseeing to enjoy drinks on the 7th floor bar, with panoramic city views, and tuck into splendid cuisine.
- Athenswas enjoys a terrific location with stunning views of the Acropolis. Brimming in classical modernism, you'll love their retro-chic rooms and marble bathrooms. Fantastic meals served up.
- The Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel offers classical rooms in a superbly central location, a mere stone's throw away from the sights. Understated yet classy.
Athens City Style
- If you're after funky with a modern art twist then the Pallas Athena is one of the best places to stay in Athens. Rooms and public areas have themes based on graffiti and modern-urban artists, illustrators and graphic designers. It is definitely a quirky place to lay your head!
- Hotel Periscope offers simple accommodation in a great location for seeing all that the city has to offer. What's more, their Michelin-starred chef produces wonderful Greek cuisine.
- Young travellers will love Fresh Hotel's colourful minimalist accommodation and rooftop pool. Unwind in their spa facilities after a long day sightseeing and enjoy a tipple from the open-air bar.
- Coco Mat Hotel Nafsika provides minimalist contemporary rooms in the outskirts of Athens. Tuck into quintessentially Greek grub before grabbing one of the hotel's bicycles and spending your days exploring all over.
- The 5* Semiramis Hotel, situated in a quiet suburb, provides quirky whitewashed accommodation with vibrant splashes of colour. Mediterranean cuisine served up at the restaurant and, what's more, there's a pool, spa and a gym - what more could you possibly need?
- O&B Athens Boutique Hotel is a contemporary spot boasting smart, black and white rooms with private balconies offering views of the Parthenon. With splendid Greek cuisine served up, this is a top all round city break choice.
Athens for Families
- If you want to stay somewhere with a view of the Acropolis look no further than St. George Lycabettus. Book yourself a south facing room, or visit the rooftop pool for some really spectacular views of the whole city. Because it's in an upmarket residential area this is also one of the best places to stay in Athens with a family.
For Romantic Getaways
- King George Palace has stunning views of the Parthenon, especially from the restaurant and the roof terrace. If you're looking for luxury this is one of the best places to stay in Athens. Its five stars are for its opulence, but with a contemporary twist. All in all, this is one of the most romantic spots in the entire city.
- The Margi is a splendid romantic bolthole, with luxurious and sophisticated accommodation offering tremendous sea views. Ideally situated to make the most out of both the city and the beach, it's a top spot for couples.
- If you fancy some peace and quiet then Kefalari Suites is the place for you. Located outside Athens itself, the charming individually decorated rooms feature around-the-world themes and you can watch the sunset together from the rooftop jacuzzi!
- Life Gallery is also located outside the city, in Anixi, and offers chic contemporary accommodation as well as a truly spoiling spa. With a Michelin star chef to boot, you'll be sure to have a dreamy escape.
For Great Value
- Hermes Hotel, located in the centre of town, provides unfussy accommodation (including doubles, triples and family rooms) from €69 per night. Enjoy breakfast on the rooftop terrace before heading off to explore the city.
- A trendy boutique hotel, the Art Hotel Athens is one of the best places to stay in Athens if you're after a city break bolthole close to all the major sights. Built in the Neo-Classical style of the 1930s, it has been nicely renovated inside to favour pale colours and original art. And, all this starting from just €50 per night!
For A Quick Break
- The 5* Sofitel Athens Airport is located just 50 metres away from the airport terminal, making it a wonderfully convenient stop off. Upscale dining from the restaurant.
For An Apartment Or Villa
If you think you'd be best served by a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- All things considered, you're probably best off visiting Athens in May or September as it gets extremely hot and busy during July and August. The temperature's still between 21-24°C, perfect for enjoying the nice weather but spending your days wandering around sightseeing.
- That said, it actually makes a lovely winter break destination if you fancy coming at a quiet time. The average daily temperature's 12°C in December, so it's really not too bad, and you can be assured of cheaper accommodation (unless you come around Christmas!) then in peak season.
- International visitors can fly into Athens International Airport, (located 12 miles east of the city), served daily by a number of direct flights from London Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Edinburgh and with regular departures from Dublin.
- From the airport, you can either take the bus, metro or train into the centre of town. A taxi will cost you €35 during the day and €50 at night.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still Not Sure?
Best Hotels in Athens
Avra Hotel 29 rooms from $46Athens
A convenient and affordable stay, outside the bustle of the city centre. A great stopover hotel with comfortable rooms, off street parking, proximity to the airport and the ferry terminal. The sea views and beach action are a real plus!Value chic - Close to the beach, offering comfortable rooms, extensive breakfast buffet and very reasonable prices!Great walks - Wander along Perea Seafront and take in the sights and sounds.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Views - Great views from hotel
Art Hotel Athens 30 rooms from $57Athens
This 4* trendy and elegant boutique is in a great location and even better value. The building is a 1930s build, but rooms possess 21st Century elegance and mod-cons. Enjoy breakfast in your room before stepping out into Athens and exploring the ancient city.Local exploring - Within walking distance of Athens main sights and attractions, head out an explore this ancient city.Great walks - Wander the Plaka district, this old historical neighbourhood is bursting with lively cafes, tourist shops and sights.Sights nearby - Athens most famed sight, the Acropolis is within a few minutes walking distance.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Frommers
Hotel Corali 15 rooms from 60Athens
Cheap, comfortable and convenient stopover hotel in Corali for ferries to Andros and elsewhere, as well as airport transfers. Simple rooms overlook lively town square. Close to the airport, and cheap.Value chic - This cheap and cheerful family hotel is within easy ditance of the port and being newly refurbished boasts all mod cons needed.Great walks - A sunset stroll to the towns main sight, the hilltop church Aghios Nikolaos, is highly recommeded for its picturesque views.Sights nearby - Check out the the ancient temple of Artemis Tavropolos in Rafina.Views - Great views from hotel
Hermes Hotel 45 rooms from $79Athens
A charming contemporary hotel in a great location, and great value. Doubles, triples, and family rooms all modern in style with private balconies. Wonderful roof terrace and walking distance to restaurants and sights around. A great choice for families and groups of friends on a shoe string.Value chicLocal markets - Pedestrian Plaka district where you'll find flea markets, souvenirs, leather goods, pottery, tavernas, cafés.Sights nearby - Acropolis citadel.Great walks - Filopappos Hill.Recommended by - I Escape
Pallas Athena 63 rooms from $123Athens (Kotzia sq.)
A hotel like no other. A luxury boutique filled with modern art works, individual designs, and an inventive restaurant to match. Rooms and suites range from chic to super chic, each different but equally modern. A hotel for those who like invention and creativity.Foodies - Unique presentations of traditional Greek food.Romantic BreakCity StyleBoutique
St George Lycabettus 154 rooms from $130Athens
Classic luxury meets 21st-century style at this Athens Grand Dame. Dignified and charming, with great rooftop pool and contemporary rooms. Some rooms have views of the Acropolis. Not super central so good rates, and in upmarket, quiet residential area.City Style - In the city's most exclusive neighbourhood, with excellent views of the Acropolis from the sleek rooms and hip rooftop bar.Swimming Pool - Outdoor PoolLively - Hip and happening.Full of characterRecommended by - Frommers, Fodors
Hotel Periscope 21 rooms from $134Athens
A smart boutique hotel with gorgeous rooms and a gourmet restaurant. Rooms and suites have shiny parquet floors, all the mod cons, lots of natural light, and private balconies. Wonderful restaurant and close to the main attractions and shopping area.Foodies - Michelin star chef.Views - Great views from hotelCity StyleRomantic BreakRecommended by - I Escape, Tablet
Fresh Hotel 136 rooms from $137Athens
Luxury meets minimal to make a statement at this colourful boutique hotel in the centre of Athens. Spacious and stylish rooms come with all the mod-cons. Admire the sunset from the rooftop pool and open-air bar. Top notch breakfast buffet at Magenta Restaurant. Great for romantics and explorers.Romantic Break - A hip spot for young couples- Tassos Zepos design interiors and achingly cool rooftop bar with pool and views of the Acropolis.Total relaxation - For those looking to unwind, take the suites featuring Zen Gardens and make the most of the Hammam, spa and steam rooms!Local markets - The food markets along nearby Athinas street sell herbs, honey, sweets, nuts and fresh fish, a lively and interesting sight.Great walks - Wander through the ancient Plaka district for flea markets, souvenirs, leather goods, pottery, tavernas and cafés.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Coco Mat Hotel Nafsika 22 rooms from $143Athens
Smart and sleek, Coco Mat Hotel Nafsika is a stylish, modern hotel on the outskirts of Athens. The comfortable rooms feature crisp colour schemes and minimalist furnishings. Downstairs guests can enjoy delicious Greek specialities in the restaurant. Perfect for a romantic break to Athens.Local markets - Visit the nearby local market at Zotos.
The Margi 88 rooms from $147Athens
A super luxury hotel in an upscale district on the edge of Athens. Boutique living areas, rooms and suites are sophisticated in style and have all the mod cons. Wonderful views of the sea, huge lounge areas and pool, easy access to the beach and into Athens. The best of both worlds!City StyleRomantic BreakBeach LifeLuxuryRecommended by - Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
Kefalari Suites 13 rooms from $154Athens
Gorgeous boutique hotel with lots of character. Rooms and suites have around-the-world themes - from Jaipur to Paris. Each has all the mod cons, private balconies, and charming unique style. Rooftop jacuzzi and lovely terraces.Romantic BreakCity StyleLocal markets - 19-century Plaka district with its flea markets, souvenir stalls, leather goods, pottery, tavernas, cafés.Great walks - Filopappos hill or in the forests and gorges of Mt. Parnitha (45 minutes by taxi).Recommended by - I Escape
Life Gallery 29 rooms from $166Athens (Anixi)
A very special hotel. Modern chic design, contemporary art works, zen spaces curated specially for relaxation and meditation, a Michelin star kitchen, and a luxury spa. Rooms, studios and suites are romantic, contemporary, and sophisticated. A unique hotel for the luxury customer.Foodies - Michelin star chef.LuxuryRomantic BreakCity StyleRecommended by - CN Traveller
InnAthens 22 rooms from $181Athens (Syntagma)
InnAthens offers chic contemporary accommodation in a quiet but central location a short walk from Syntagma Square. Each room features Cocomat mattresses and marble bathrooms with Olive amenities. Enjoy a traditional Greek breakfast on your balcony each morning. A stylish stay, in a great spot!Romantic Break - An elegant and tranquil hideaway- think plush bedding, cool marble bathrooms and balconies overlooking the cityLocal exploring - With so many historic sights on your doorstep you'd be amiss not to take in all that Athens has to offerSights nearby - Visit the tiny and scenic Anafiotika neighbourhood located on the Acropolis hillGreat walks - Take a leisurely stroll through the city's Zappion National Gardens
AthensWas 21 rooms from $189Athens
Classic modernism in the heart of ancient Athens. A sleek stay providing hard to beat views of the Acropolis and the city. Retro-chic rooms feature contemporary, marble-clad bathrooms and well-stocked minibars. Enjoy an indulgent breakfast before seeing the sights that lie on your doorstep.Foodies - The rooftop restaurant serves Greek-Mediterranean cuisine with French and Japanese influences, accompanied by spectacular views.Local exploring - Just metres away from The Temple of Olympion Zeus and many of Athen's sights.Sights nearby - The Temple of Olympion Zeus, Syntagma Square and many more sights are within walking distance.Great walks - Take a stroll along Dionysiou Areopagitou - the most scenic street in Athens.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Semiramis Hotel 51 rooms from $190Athens (Kifissia)
5* designer hotel in quiet suburb of city. Eclectic interiors have eye-catching lighting features, white furnishings and quirky bathrooms, with floor to ceiling windows. Outdoor pool, spa, sauna and gym. Fusion Mediterranean cuisine in chic restaurant, buzzy bar lounge. Colourful, modern and unique.City Style - Über design hotel down to every detail and brimming with artworks gives a quirky twist to a trip to historic GreeceSights nearby - Thirty minutes from historic Athens' sightsDesigner - Karim RashidSpaRecommended by - Tablet, Kiwi Collection
O&B Athens Boutique Hotel 22 rooms from $194Athens
A small contemporary hotel with wonderful views of the Parthenon. Sophisticated black and white rooms and suites with all the mod cons and private balconies. Excellent restaurant, very friendly staff. A great choice for a weekend in Athens.Views - Great views from hotelCity StyleGreat walks - Filopappos Hill for excellent views over Athens.Local markets - Monastiraki flea market on a Sunday.Recommended by - I Escape
New Hotel 72 rooms from $198Athens
Cutting edge designer-chic hotel. Bedrooms and suites full of natural light have all the mod cons, private balconies, and quirky modern furnishings. Fabulous restaurant and spa with hammam. A luxury choice for the design conscious.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.City StyleSights nearby - 200m from Constitution Square and walking distance from all the city's major attractionsSpaRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Sofitel Athens Airport 345 rooms from $216Athens (Spata)
For those arriving late or leaving early in or out of Athens International Airport or on ferries to and from nearby Rafina, the five-star Sofitel is the number one choice.Sailing - Yacht charter at nearby Porto Rafti marina.Sights nearby - Less than ten miles from Athens.SpaSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Acropolis Museum Boutique Hotel 23 rooms from $278Athens (Acropolis)
Set in central Athens, the Acropolis Boutique Museum Hotel offers charming and traditional accommodation. The property exudes an air of elegance with antiques and artworks adorning the walls. With a prime central location this is a great city spot!Local exploring - Situated in central Athens, the Acropolis Boutique Hotel is a fantastic base from which to get to know the cityGreat walks - Wander through this spectacular ancient city taking in the beautiful architectureSights nearby - Acropolis, Anafiotika and Monastiraki Square are all just a short distance awayLocal markets - The bustling Dimotiki Agora (Central Market) is a must-visit!
King George Palace 102 rooms from $357Athens
A neoclassical grand dame hotel, in the historic Syntagma Square. Opulent interiors with hardwood floors, classical furnishings and stunning views of the Parthenon. Everything you would expect of five star luxury- with some contemporary twists.Views - Fantastic views of the Parthenon.Sights nearby - A short walk to the Acropolis, containing the remains of several ancient buildings, the most famous being the Parthenon.Great walks - Wander the labyrinthine streets of Plaka, absorb the beautiful neoclassical architecture in this ancient neightbourhood.Swimming Pool - OutdoorRecommended by - Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Fodors
Hotel Grande Bretagne 320 rooms from $456Athens (Syntagma Square)
A historic hotel in the heart of Athens. Find elegance in abundance throughout. Gorgeous rooms with high ceilings, large windows and filled with antiques. The marble clad bathrooms aren't bad either. A fine-dining restaurant and glamorous bar for nights of indulgence. Highly recommended.City Style - The height of glamour, this is a must stay for total indulgence.Local exploring - Well located for easy access to the city's main attractions.Sights nearby - Athens is famed for its historical monuments. Just a few of the must sees are the Parthenon, Acropolis and Byzantino.Swimming Pool - Outdoor and indoor pool.Recommended by - Tablet