When non-Greeks think of Athens, they picture a city of culture and history. They envision ancient ruins and quaint cafes along narrow, winding streets. The locals sip their ouzo, play backgammon, and click their prayer beads.
When most Greeks think of Athens, they see a noisy, traffic-jammed sprawl of cars and buildings. They remember that, until a few years ago, Athens was the most polluted city in Europe and that much of the city is poorly planned, poorly built, and generally worth avoiding.
In fact, Athens is both. It can be overwhelming to tourists looking for Athens hotels that are reasonably priced and close to the attractions they want. There are still good Athens hotels to be found for people in the know.
Location, location, location
Not surprisingly, the cost of rooms at Athens hotels is proportional to its proximity to attractions. You pay more for a convenient location, but it is worth it to avoid dealing with the traffic. The inexpensive Athens hotels listed in guidebooks are so well known that it’s often difficult to get a reservation.
At one end of the spectrum of Athens hotels, you have the Grande Bretagne Hotel Athens. This is the best hotel in Greece and one of the finest in the world. It is designed for royalty and priced accordingly. More budget conscious customers might consider the Plaka Hotel or the Hermes Hotel. Both of these business-class Athens hotels are owned by the same company. They offer large rooms, modern bathrooms, and modern amenities.
See the sights…
There are basically four things to see in Athens: the Acropolis, the Plaka, the Agora, and the National Archaeological Museum. Each takes about half a day, so two days in Athens hotels should be all you need to explore the city.
The Acropolis is one of the most important sites in the Western world. The history embodied there dwarfs that of almost any city in the world. It holds attractions such as the Theatre of Herodes Atticus and the Erechtheion and, of course, the Parthenon.
The Plaka is a region of the city north of the Acropolis. Sites here include a number of cathedrals and churches, the Greek Parliament building, and a variety of shops and cafes.
The Ancient Agora, a huge marketplace, was the heart of ancient Athens. Crowds not only shopped here, they listened to philosophers such as Socrates or debated Greek politics. Although much of the area has been converted to private housing, attractions such as the Temple of Hephaestus give a taste of the ancient city.
The National Archaeological Museum boasts the largest collection of Greek art anywhere in the world. Over seven thousand years of art and culture are displayed here, from ancient clay fertility statues to the Mask of Agamemnon to the statue of Athina Varvakeion.
…then get out and explore
After two days in Athens hotels, you will likely want to enjoy all of the other amazing sights and experiences that Greece has to offer. Outside of Athens, hotels are less expensive so you can vacation longer on a smaller budget. The Greek islands offer a different experience that the attractions on the mainland, so a visitor could spend days or even weeks getting to know this ancient land.
Edo Jansen is the co-owner of EuroBookings.com, a discount European hotel booking company that offers deep discount rates on popular European and Athens hotels. EuroBookings.com offers translation in 13 languages, and charges no reservation fees, no cancellation fees, and no advance payments.