How to have a stylish stay In the heart of Athens

The ancient ruins of the Acropolis in Athens
The ancient ruins of the Acropolis in Athens

Editorial Manager

The ancient city of Athens boasts a myriad of treasures that continue to fascinate visitors from all corners of the world. The domineering ruins of the Acropolis are visible from pretty much everywhere but what will surprise first-time visitors is just how easy it is to get around. With a smooth metro system and clever street layout, if you pick a central hotel you’ll be able to cram a lot into even the briefest stay.

For more adventures in Greece, join one of our trips that take you from the ancient landmarks of Athens to spectacular islands in the Cyclades.

Arriving in Athens is a straightforward affair. The main international airport might be on the outskirts of the city but getting to the centre of town is easy. Taxis are reliable and safe, if a little expensive when traveling longer distances so your best bet is to use public transport. Head to the train station, which is clearly signposted, and buy a ticket to get on the metro system. You can buy a variety of tickets from single fares to returns, but the best option for a short trip is the 3-day pass which covers everything including a return to the airport for your journey back. You can also take a bus but as the open ticket only costs €20 you’re better off on the much quicker subway network.

There are only three metro lines in Athens and these crossover in the centre of the city. These three stations are where most people will instantly head to as the majority of attractions and places to stay are situated here.

Where to stay in Athens

Syntagma Square is one stop away from the main Acropolis station and a very short walk from Monastiraki which is probably the busiest shopping district in Athens. A great option if you want to be within easy reach of great restaurants, rooftop bars and world-famous attractions is Gatsby Athens. The hotel only recently opened but has already become a popular destination for both international travelers and Athenians too. All 33 rooms and suites have an art deco design, with signature pastel pink headboards, diamond tiled showers, golden wardrobes, velvet corner sofas, balconies and even a ‘surprise’ button for those who dare to press…

The rooftop of Gatsby Athens

For anyone staying here the cool design, comfortable rooms and excellent service make it a top choice with everyone else able to enjoy the vast bar area long into the night. A vivid combination of indoor and outdoor dining concepts, the space has a cool vibe you’ll pick up on as soon as you arrive.

Famed Greek architects WOA led architectural restoration of the building, employing design intricacies that complement the boundaries of where it is located in the Old Historic and Commercial Center of downtown Athens. Created to convey a sense of timelessness the setting evokes the glamour of mid-1930 Athens, creating a fine balance between old and new. The all-day restaurant is the main social hub of the hotel, and the rooftop garden offers a casual-cool vibe, welcoming hotel residents and guests to dine with stunning panoramic views and a glimpse of the Acropolis.

Things to do on a short break to Athens

Having sung the praises of the 3-day metro pass, you could easily get around Athens without ever using it until you need to head back to the airport! Obviously, you’ll want to visit the Acropolis, but be prepared for the long queues and intense heat in summer. An autumnal trip might be a better option to avoid both, but it will be busy no matter what time of year you visit.

You’ll quickly learn the ‘Acropolis’ actually means edge of town and refers to the hill on which the famous ruins sit. There are some incredible things to explore on your way up so don’t just rush up to the top to get the perfect selfie. Another good option here to save some money and add some structure to your sightseeing is an organised tour which will not only give you a good sense of the city but also come with a ticket to visit other popular attractions like Ancient Agora and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The Parthenon is the most distinctive ruin on the Acropolis. You can see it from everywhere in Athens and the further away you get, the better the view.

Why not explore the best of Athens with a 5-day speedy tour which will take you to all the best attractions as well as showing you the artistic side to the city?

If you look in the opposite direction to the Acropolis from Gatsby Athens, you’ll spot the unmistakable Mount Lycabettus in the distance. It might look like a long walk to get there, but in reality this is only 30 minutes from the hotel. Well, the base of it anyway, as to get to the top you have a fairly challenging hour hike ahead of you. It’s worth it to get the best views of the city, especially around sunset, just be prepared to work up a sweat. Also, don’t feel obliged to buy anything from the restaurant that sits just off the summit if you’re going along the walking path. It looks like you have to pass through it as you climb one of the staircases, but this is just a sneaky trick as you can simply walk around it and get back to your ascent.

Mount Lycabettus is the highest point on Athens. The hike up isn’t easy, but the views are worth the challenge.

On a good day you can run from the top of the Acropolis to the crest of Mount Lycabettus in about 90 minutes, although this is more of a Herculean challenge beyond mere mortals. A pleasant walk in the morning and a rewarding rooftop drink in the afternoon to take in the views is the way to see it all in comfort.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article