Wondering what are the safest areas to stay in Athens? In this post, I will help you to find out the best and safest areas to stay in Athens for tourists and the best places to stay in each neighborhood.
Athens is the capital and the largest city in Greece, located in the Attica region. The city is known for its rich ancient history and is often referred to as the birthplace of democracy. It was home to famous philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The city’s most iconic landmark is the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel where you’ll find the iconic Parthenon, a magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Athens is one of the most-visited destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. But, is Athens safe for tourists?
Yes, Athens is generally considered a safe city for tourists. The city has a low crime rate, but like any popular tourist destination, it has pickpocketing and scams. It is recommended to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas to ensure your safety.
What are the best and safest areas to stay in Athens?
The safest areas to stay in Athens are Plaka, Kolonaki, Monastiraki, Koukaki, and Thission. These are the city’s best neighborhoods that provide central locations, excellent connections to public transportation and a wide range of amenities for tourists.
Where to avoid staying in Athens?
You should avoid Omonia, Vathi, and Exarchia (the anarchist district of Athens) because these areas have high crime rates including drug addicts, prostitutes and petty criminals, especially at night. Other neighborhoods to avoid are Patisia, Larissa, Peloponissos, and Glyfada Square.
Keep in mind that Syntagma Square, as the city’s political center, is more likely to be a focal point for political protests, demonstrations, and riots. You should avoid and keep distance if you see a protest or demo going on to avoid violence and pickpocketing risk.
5 Safest areas to stay in Athens for tourists
Plaka is the overall best and safest area to stay in Athens for tourists, especially for first-timers due to its central location and proximity to popular landmarks. It is the historic heart and the old Town of the city, located at the foot of the Acropolis.
Staying in Plaka allows you to be located within walking distance from Athens’ major attractions, as well as some of the city’s best restaurants and shops. You’ll be surrounded by the popular Parthenon, Hadrian’s Arch, Roman Agora, and Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Plaka is known for its charming atmosphere and narrow, winding streets. The neighborhood has a rich history and is home to well-preserved neoclassical buildings, traditional houses, and archaeological sites. Exploring the streets of Plaka feels like stepping back in time.
History buffs will have plenty of museums to explore, such as the Museum of Popular Musical Instruments, Frissiras Museum, Jewish Museum of Greece, Athens University Museum, and the new Acropolis Museum.
Plaka is filled with traditional tavernas and cozy cafes with outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy authentic Greek cuisine and wines. Additionally, the streets are lined with shops selling handicrafts, jewelry, souvenirs where you can find unique gifts to take back home.
While Plaka is not known for its nightlife as much as other areas like Psirri or Gazi, it still offers a decent selection of bars and live music venues.
Plaka is easily explored on foot with lots of pedestrianized streets. It is also well-served by public transportation, with numerous metro stops nearby including Syntagma station, Monastiraki Station, and Acropolis station.
Best places to stay in Athens in Plaka:
- Luxury ($$$): Electra Palace Athens, 5-star hotel with beautiful rooftop pool, located in the center of Plaka.
- Mid-range ($$): Plaka Arch Suites, excellent accommodations, located in Athens city center, close to Anafiotika, Parthenon and Erechtheion.
- Budget ($): Urban Frame Plaka, 3-star hotel, located close to Ermou Street-Shopping Area, National Garden and Parthenon.
Kolonaki is a wealthy and safe neighborhood with low crime rates, located in central Athens. It is found on the southern slope of Mount Lycabettus, within walking distance from Plaka.
Kolonaki is characterized by its elegant buildings, high-end boutiques, trendy cafes, and expensive restaurants. Kolonaki Square, Voukourestiou and Stadiou shopping streets, are the heart of the neighborhood and a hub of activity.
Kolonaki is home to numerous museums and art galleries. The Benaki Museum, for example, is a renowned art museum that houses a vast collection of Greek art and artifacts from various periods. The museum also features rotating exhibitions and hosts cultural events.
Additionally, you can find many other museums on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, including the Museum of Cycladic Art, Byzantine and Christian Museum, and Athens War Museum.
While in the neighborhood, you can hike up to the top of Mount Lycabettus, which is one of the tallest Athens’ 7 hills for stunning views. There is also a funicular to the top if hiking is too difficult for you.
Kolonaki is also close to the National Garden, a beautiful park in the center of Athens, and the famous Syntagma Square, which is home to the Hellenic Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
However, it’s worth noting that Kolonaki is also one of the more expensive areas in Athens, so accommodation prices may be higher compared to other neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, areas like Plaka or Monastiraki might be worth considering.
Kolonaki is well-connected to the bus and metro services. The nearest train stations are Evangelismos on metro line 3 and Syntagma station on metro line 2 and 3.
Best places to stay in Athens in Kolonaki:
- Luxury ($$$): COCO-MAT Athens Jumelle, 5-star hotel, located in the Kolonaki area, close to Benaki Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art and Syntagma Square.
- Luxury ($$$): St George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel , 5-star hotel, close to Benaki Museum, Lycabettus Hill and University of Athens – Central Building.
- Budget ($): Project 3 Urban Chic Hotel, great accommodation, close to Syntagma Metro Station, National Garden.
Koukaki is a safe neighborhood located in the southern part of the city, just a short distance from the historic center and the Acropolis. It is one of the best areas to stay in Athens for the local atmosphere.
Koukaki’s charming streets are lined with small shops, traditional tavernas, ouzeries, and cafes. Drakou and Olympiou are popular pedestrian streets in the areas where you can have a cup of coffee or enjoy local Greek food.
One of the main highlights of Koukaki is its proximity to the Acropolis, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit destination for tourists.
The Acropolis Museum, at the foot of the Acropolis, offers a fascinating collection of ancient Greek artifacts, while the Parthenon, the iconic temple atop the Acropolis, offers breathtaking views of Athens.
The area is home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art Αthens, and the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, so history lovers will have lots to explore.
Koukaki has central location, quieter, and cheaper accommodation compared to other central neighborhoods such as Plaka. It is also well-connected to public transportation. The nearest metro stations are at Syngrou-Fix station and Acropolis station.
Best places to stay in Athens in Koukaki:
- Luxury ($$$): Athenaeum Intercontinental, an IHG Hotel
- Mid-range ($$): Ilissos
- Budget ($): Marble House
Monastiraki is situated right in the heart of Athens, making it a convenient base for exploring the city. It provides easy access to major landmarks, such as the Acropolis, Psirri and Plaka neighborhoods, and Syntagma Square.
The area is rich in history and retains its traditional character. You can explore ancient ruins, visit the iconic Monastiraki Flea Market, and wander through narrow streets lined with neoclassical buildings.
The central square of Monastiraki, known as Monastiraki Square, is a lively gathering place surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants. The main shopping street of Monastiraki is Ermou Street, home to many local boutiques and international brand shops.
You’ll also be located within easy access from Athens Central Market, Library of Hadrian, Roman Agora and Tower of the Winds, and Ancient Agora.
The Monastiraki metro station is a major transportation hub, connecting you to different parts of the city. It’s easy to reach Athens International Airport, Piraeus Port, and other neighborhoods in Athens using the metro or buses.
Monastiraki offers a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, tavernas, and live music venues. You can find a wide range of dining options, from traditional Greek tavernas serving delicious local cuisine to international restaurants catering to different tastes.
Monastiraki is generally a safe area for tourists, but as a popular area and transportation hub of the city, there are pickpockets and scams targeting tourists, so you should be aware of this potential risk and alway be aware of your surroundings.
Best places to stay in Athens in Monastiraki:BEST HOTELS IN MONASTIRAKI
Thissio, also spelled Thission, is a hilly, leafy, and safe neighborhood situated northwest of the Acropolis. The neighborhood is known for its narrow streets, neoclassical buildings, and charming cafes and taverns.
One of the main attractions in Thissio is the Thissio Park, a green oasis that offers a pleasant escape from the bustling city. The park provides stunning views of the Acropolis and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Thissio is also home to the Ancient Agora of Athens, which was the central marketplace and civic center in ancient Athens. The Agora is a significant archaeological site that contains various ruins, including the Temple of Hephaestus, the best-preserved ancient Greek temple.
Take a leisurely walk along Apostolou Pavlou Street, which runs along the edge of the Ancient Agora. The street offers stunning views of the Acropolis and is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops.
Thissio is within walking distance from Plaka, Monastiraki, Filopappou Hill, and Acropolis Hills. It is also well-connected to other parts of Athens. It has its own metro station, Thissio Station, making it convenient for visitors to reach Thissio from other areas of the city.
Best places to stay in Athens in Thission:
- Mid-range($$$): Be My Guest Athens, great hotel that has a rooftop terrace with views over Athens Observatory and Parthenon. It’s within walking distance of both the scenic Thission and Petralona districts, and Apostolou Pavlou street.
- Mid-range ($$): Acropolis Vision, located within walking distance from Temple of Hephaestus, Monastiraki Station, Monastiraki Square, and Odeum of Herodes Atticus.
- Mid-range($): Athenian Yard Suites, close to Temple of Hephaestus, Ancient Agora of Athens and Kerameikos Metro Station.
In conclusion, Athens offers several safe areas to stay, including Plaka, Kolonaki, Koukaki, Monastiraki, and Thission. Plaka is the best overall area for first-timers, Kolonaki for luxury seekers, Koukaki for a local experience, Monastiraki for a vibrant atmosphere, and Thission for a mix of history and modernity. Choose the area that suits your preferences best.