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Where to Stay in Athens?
Sitting on the northern slopes of the Acropolis, Athens’ Plaka area seems like a village within a city. Its winding streets are full to bursting with colourful Greek souvenirs shops, busy bars and peaceful restaurants and they are all a stone’s throw from hundreds of hotels that populate the nearby warren of streets between Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square. Staying here will also mean you’re close to the city’s other major attractions. In Syntagma Square itself, also known as Constitution Square, you’re in the heart of Athens. From here, it’s a quick trot to the fancy shops of Ermou Street which will lead you to Monastiraki Square.
North of Monastiraki is Omonia Square which in recent decades became so clogged with traffic that it was almost a health hazard to visit. These days, following the discovery of ancient antiquities, it has protected status and the many hotels in the area mean guests are in close proximity to the lovely Vouli (Parliament Building), which now houses the National Historical Museum and is fronted by the rather grand statue of Greek independence fighter Theodos Kolokotronis.
Athens Accommodation Options
Hotels in Athens range from tiny one star rooms useful for those staying overnight before heading for the islands to five star luxury places and chi chi boutique affairs where style is all. The streets around Omonia Square offer many discounted hotels where you’ll get a basic rooom, bathroom and continental breakfast. In summer, air-conditioning is essential if you want to sleep at night so shop around some of these hotels and see the rooms before handing over your money. Syntagma Square is dominated on one side by the famous Hotel Grande Bretagne, the grand dame of Athens hotels which has seen everyone from Hitler to Bruce Springsteen stay the night. Boutique hotel fans love the neo-classical Art Hotel in the Omonia area for its modern, stylish rooms.
Athens Hotel Recommendations?
Five-star rooms designed by individual artists - The Classical Baby Grand Hotel
Amazing Acropolis views - St George Lycabettus Boutique Hotel
Good rates and central location - Best Western Pythagorion Hotel
Transport in Athens
It takes between half and hour and an hour to travel from Athens airport to the city, depending on the traffic. You can take a taxi (but beware they double the price after midnight) or an Express Bus to Syntagma Square. The excellent metro system will also speed you to Monastiraki and Syntagma for far less than your taxi fare.