Think of Athens and you’ll surely think of its ancient history, the famed Greek food, the epic Parthenon, or the Mediterranean sunshine.

Athens is amazing! But it’s also good to know that not every area of Athens is perfect to stay in, particularly if it’s your first time.

I quickly found this out when I’d booked a budget hotel just a few blocks from the tourist center; all along the way, my cab driver warned how it was such a bad area and that I really shouldn’t have booked there.

In the end it was fine, but it was clear to me that Athens has some desirable and less desirable parts. On a subsequent stay in Athens, I booked an Airbnb in the heart of charming Plaka, and it made a huge difference in how I experienced the city.

Having been in the Greek capital on more than one occasion, I’ll share with you the three best areas to stay in Athens, as well as some hand-picked Airbnbs that will make for a safe, comfortable, and happy stay.

Best Airbnbs in Plaka

Plaka is the one neighborhood in Athens that’s the easiest to recommend. It’s simply delightful, thanks to its friendly cafes and tavernas, cobbled steps, and shaded squares. Hugging the slopes of the Acropolis and largely free of motorized traffic, it has an almost Greek-island vibe.

As one of the oldest areas of Athens, you’ll find mostly charming low-rise 19th century townhouses here. In Plaka, you’ll be ideally positioned to visit the Parthenon, the Adrianou market street with many souvenir shops, as well as to dine in one of the many traditional tavernas, many of which have rooftop access for some amazing views of the Parthenon.

Even though Plaka is a bit touristy, I think the atmosphere is unbeatable, so it makes sense to make it your first area to look for accommodation!

Even though prices may be a tad higher than in other areas, I thought it was well worth the minor extra expense given the lovely surroundings, not to mention saving a few euros on unneeded taxi rides, given that most sights are within easily walkable distance.

Best Airbnbs in Koukaki

This neighborhood is the perfect choice if you want to be somewhere central but still with a local and creative vibe. Like Plaka, it’s located at the base of the Acropolis, except on the south side instead of the north side. It’s also less obviously touristy than Plaka, finding popularity with both residents and visitors alike.

Koukaki is an ideal area for finding a great Airbnbs in Athens, as it is a hip residential neighborhood where more locals are likely to rent out their place. This article will tell you much more about the museums, art galleries, and quirky bars that you can find in Koukaki.

Consider booking a place in Koukaki for a true ‘live like a local’ vibe, while still being a stone’s throw away from all the action. From Koukaki, it’s just a 30-minute walk via Plaka to the central Monastiraki Square.

You’ll also be just a 5 to 10 minute walk from the Acropolis Museum. This indoors museum — where all the artifacts from the archeological site are displayed — is one of the must-see sights of Athens.

Best airbnbs in Psyri

Psyri is where you’ll want to be if you’d like to be reasonably close to the Parthenon and the Plaka tourist neighborhood, but also be near many places to shop and go out. It’s a charming neighborhood and one of the key nightlife areas of the city, though you’ll also find numerous artist shops, restaurants, and cozy cafes. Like a spider’s web, all the roads in Psyri lead to the central Iroon plaza, which is a nice spot to dine outdoors away from the main crowds in Plaka.

If you’re staying in Psyri you will be very close to Monastiraki Square, the main meeting point around these parts, which also has several hotels besides it with rooftop bars overlooking the Parthenon. I recommend checking out the rooftop bar at the A for Athens hotel, which is open to non-guests.

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