How will I choose the appropriate accommodation for me?
Where should I stay in Athens? How will I choose the appropriate hotel for me? How many days should I stay? Is Athens expensive? These are the basic questions that my friends from abroad usually asking me before visiting me. So, I am guessing you have the same queries. Weeell, each person will search and finally choose his/her appropriate accommodation according to some factors, which may differ each time.
Either you will decide to choose by hotel’s category or by the location. Or by the price-budget or if it has a pool. Either by reviews that they mention it was safe or by your friend’s recommendation who did actually having a blast in Athens. Ohh do not wonder. I am only referring to that, since indeed it’s our way of choice. Us Greeks we prefer to visit a doctor that our cousin trusted him. Or a restaurant that our friends told us the food was delicious and the view magnificent. Or even a bar that our sister went and said the dj’s performance was spectacular.
I am always choosing a hotel based on the reviews that referring to cleanliness and neatness. For as much as in Greece we have an old saying to follow. ”Cleanliness is the half of your nobility”. Meaning: the cleanliness is so important that has to be the half of your ‘personality’.
So, let’s find out for you an appropriate accommodation according to your preferences. Athens is not that cheap nor expensive than other European capitals. It’s somewhere in the middle, but it has everything. A variety of hotels from 1*-5*, hostels, bed&breakfast, villas, rooms in family homes, pensions, cheap youth hostels, holiday homes where you can stay for 2-3months, camping, half board hotels, resorts and even floating accommodation if you decide to stay at the Athenian Riviera Coast and not inside the city.
City break or a stopover?
I am considering that 3-4 days are more than enough. In that way, you will have enough time to see all the significant monuments of the city without rushing yourselves. As a result, I propose to choose your lodge to the quarters around the walkable city center. In order for you to be within a walking distance from Acropolis. Meaning: Either Plaka-Anafiotika, the upcoming fashionable and trendy choice of Psirri and the gentrified Thissio. Or the vibrant Monastiraki, Syntagma square or upscale neighborhood of Kolonaki and Kallimarmaro-Makrigianni. Or you could move further away to Koukaki and Petralona, which are -even so- only 30 minutes walking to Acropolis. Many of the hotels at these areas they have view of Acropolis rooms.
This extended area has everything you need along with your hotel. All the restaurants and Greek taverns, shops, metro to El.Venizelos airport, train to the Peiraeus port and other public transportations like blue buses or yellow trolleys, taxis, coffee places and bars, patisseries-bakeries, rooftop caffe-bars and many-many shops at the famous Ermou street. And all these, with spectacular view of the Parthenon and a breeze to lean gently to your shoulders. Do not worry about the city noise. All the hotels have enough sound insulation and you can stay pleasantly enough. But, I strongly believe that you can prove me wrong. You will not stay at your hotel more than the bath time and nap time at night. If you decide, eventually, to follow my advice and stay at these areas, you will never probably take the public transport. Except maybe to go to and from the airport and port.
Prioritize your preferences
Before you decide to book your hotel, wonder about what you want. Which is the most key feature you want? Is it the pool? To cool yourselves under the Greece’s hot sun? Will you be at your room enough to enjoy it? Or you just want a safe room within walking distance to the archaeological sites, meaning a convenient location? If you will find both, then “ding ding ding, folks, we have a winneeeer”. Wander around and in the middle of the day you will enjoy the pool. And recharge your batteries before the second round of wandering.
I do not want to advertise specific hotels, so I am only giving you my professional-local opinion. If you like the big hotels and you can afford to pamper yourselves like that, then you know what to choose (e.g. the Grand Bretagne, which is one of the globally recognized hotels with pools, is located at Syntagma square and you can watch the ceremony of changing the Evzone guards every morning at 11:00 from your room or the famous Hilton).
My advice: Choose smaller ones
If you want something more earthy with homier!!! atmosphere!!!, then choose wisely a bargain recommended hotel with very economically priced too. Choose a smaller but with lots of character a hop-skip jump away from a pedestrian street. There are many top-rated boutique hotels in the easy-walk city center. Most of them are located to old restored houses and preserved buildings with wood or stones. You will love making the acquaintance of the life of 1920’s or 1940’s. But, do not be fooled yourselves. They are equipped with all the amenities and conveniences of the modern world like air condition and flat TV’s. They even have a gym, some of them. Most importantly, they offer more reasonable prices than the big faceless hotels, usually.
Do you have kids to your party? You can choose a futuristic fancy hotel to amuse them with the special theme decorations from their beloved comic book or
animated cartoon. Or another one having a safe playground or water slide.
Now,…….if you do not like the sound of the city center, you can easily stay at the southern suburbs close to the beach. In about 30 minutes you will reach these quarters by taking the tram from Syntagma square. Alimos, Palaio and Neo Faliro, Glyfada, Kalamaki, Voula-Vouliageni have many hotel options like beachfront bungalows or rooms with balconies to enjoy the sun and the water sports.
- If your trip is fixed, try to book your hotel few months before your arrival, in order to achieve a better price. ‘A special offer’ as the hoteliers named it. Otherwise, book a room with: pay later.
- Stay downtown, since the hotels close to the airport are more expensive and there is no point of it since they do not offset with the convenience. Eat like a Greek at Plaka’s taverns (but choose a tavern that its clientele looks like Greeks. The food will be more traditional over there.), try the ouzo, sleep (ouzo will help you with that) and then take the metro from Monastiraki to reach the airport in 1hour.
- Always read about the size of the room and choose a decent size. How many sqm are they?
- Do not choose a business hotel if you are here for leisure. You will not find a room with short notice during summertime.
- I advise you to avoid staying at Omonoia, Vathi’s square and Attiki’s square, where many immigrants – who do not know the Greek language well- are staying and it’s a little bit scary to walk around at night to find your hotel.
Below, I will give you a hint about the prices in Athens (for a double room in euros):
Hostels: 8-20€ (where your bed is in a 4-bed dormitory room) 1* Hotel: 17-45€
2* Hotel: 40-89€ 3* Hotel: 56-136€ 4* Hotel: 143-267€ 5* Hotel: 250-504€
No* Hotel: 56-692€ (do not be frighten of staying at a hotel without stars, since most of the small ones, like the boutique hotels and villas-homes, they are not rated with stars, so the price is vary, but they offer many amenities like private pools or private access to the roof garden).
Travel tip: Choose wisely your arrival at the capital city, for as much as Athens is really crowded during the period May to October. (Go to Acropolis at 08:00 or at 19:00 or skip the lines at all the archaeological sites with the appropriate tickets. Shop at 9:00 in the morning. Eat like Greeks at 14:00 and 21:00 to avoid all the other tourists at the taverns that they are eating at 16:00-20:00 (You will not crush into Greeks, since on weekdays they usually eat at home.). Always wearing hat, since in Greece (even in October) we have up to 23degrees of Celsius.
Or check how some events are distributed over the months at the article: city break, in order to schedule your trip accordingly.