Mar 21, 2024

7 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Athens

Join us as we break down the top 10 neighborhoods ranked from least to best, that make Athens an extraordinary city which many call home.

#7 - Exarcheia

Coming in at number 7 is Exarcheia. Situated in downtown Athens, Exarcheia is a vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood that is considered a classic choice due to its central location. While it offers proximity to various transportation networks, the area is known for its anarchistic reputation, often witnessed through graffitied streets and student demonstrations. Even though parking can be a challenge (much like the surrounding neighborhoods in central Athens), Exarcheia is a pedestrian-friendly hub with unique spots like vinyl stores and comic book shops, reflecting an underground culture. Its neighborhood appeals to university students, artists or professionals seeking a lively and alternative scene, considering its activist culture and a strong student population, as Exarcheia houses the old Politechneio University campus.

However, due to frequent student demonstrations, Exarcheia has the most police patrolling compared to other neighborhoods. A documentary that highlights its ample activism is titled  ‘Love and Revolution’ by Yannis Youlountas.

#6 - Piraeus

Coming up next is Piraeus, a coastal city and home to the busiest port of Athens located 10 km southwest of the city center. As one of the oldest areas in Attica, traditional neighborhoods boast scenic views to the sea and gorgeous sunsets. In Mikrolimano, located at the end of Kastella hill and a few kilometers away from the main ferry port of Piraeus, you will feel as if you were strolling around an island, givenwith the selection of seafood restaurants and seafront promenades.

Pasalimani, or Marina Zeas, is considered to be the 2nd largest port in Piraeus and is characterized by the plethora of restaurants, bars and cafes, with luxurious yachts parked at the dock.

The Piraeus region is easily accessed by the newly built metro with the blue line taking you straight to Syntagma square.

Piraeus station (Green line)
View from Kastella hill

#5 Pangrati

Nestled within Athens, Pangrati stands out as a charming neighborhood characterized by its distinctive buildings. This neighborhood is a hub of activity, with its streets lined with an eclectic mix of bars, cafes, and restaurants that serve as popular hangouts for both locals and expatriates alike, fostering a fun, cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Pangrati is also home to an enchanting open-air cinema, providing a unique opportunity for residents to enjoy the latest movies on display. With its vibrant and artistic ambiance, Pangrati also serves as a refuge for creatives, with its artwork-filled spaces, galleries, and theatrical workshops.

The neighborhood is adorned with three iconic squares, each with its own unique charm and character, including the beautifully paved Proskopon Square, the bustling Plyta Square nestled near the district of Gouva, and the lively Varnava Square, teeming with vibrant markets and delectable food options.

#4 Halandri

Despite being far from downtown Athens, Chalandri is a family-friendly area in the northern suburbs with a great selection of restaurants and a tight-knit community. Agia Parasceni and Cholargos are close by with blue metro lines, providing convenient access to the city.

You will most likely see children playing in this safe neighborhood, and in recent years, the area has expanded with new eateries with hearty comfort food as well as vegan and sugar-free options, great bars with live performances, and attractions. For instance, families and children can indulge in a range of outdoor activities, which includes seeing the Penteli waterfall and going to the outdoor cinema at Cine Athina Piscines Ideales. There is also a range of shopping districts, with retail franchises and independent boutiques for residents to enjoy.

Courtesy of Greek City Times

#3 Kifissia

Sitting at number 3 is Kifissia of this list of best neighborhoods to live in Athens, an affluent northern suburb located at approximately 45 minutes away from the city center. It features a mix of architectural styles in its villas and neoclassical houses. While offering a cooler climate given its location near Mount Pendeli, the neighborhood offers designer shops, upscale restaurants, and cozy cafe-bars.

Kifissia also provides easy access to greenery and green spaces, which are not so common in central Athens. Besides its proximity to nature, visitors can explore various attractions, including the Goulandris Natural History Museum, Mihalarias Art Gallery, and the House of "No" Ioannis Metaxas.

Overall, Kifissia provides a sophisticated and leisurely retreat for visitors with its blend of culture, shopping, dining, and outdoor experiences.

#2 Voula

Nestled along the stunning Athens Riviera lies Voula, as the second best neighborhood in Athens. Visitors can leisurely stroll or bike ride along the coastline, explore inner streets lined with diverse shopping, dining, and café options. The area is home to the esteemed Nautical Athletic Club of Voula, hosting water sports activities from its own port facilities.

Sitting close by, is Vouliagmeni, which offers scenic beaches that make you feel as if you were living on an island. The renowned Astir Beach, situated on the picturesque pine-covered peninsula of Mikro Kavouri, caters to visitors given its luxurious vibe and celebrity allure (it was once frequented by the likes of Jackie Onassis and Brigitte Bardot). Central Akti Vouliagmeni also offers a welcoming ambiance with sun loungers, grassy areas, sports facilities, and affordable access for all.

For a more authentic experience, locals often opt for swimming from rocky piers near En Plo café or Sardelaki, providing direct access to the crystalline waters of Vouliagmeni. Alternatively, Limanakia Vouliagmeni offers a free option, where locals gather to unwind, enjoy music, and take refreshing dips in the inviting sea.

#1 Kolonaki

Stealing the first spot with its charming, high-end location, is Kolonaki. As a hub for signature stores of top designers, expect to find more exclusive items on show here. With close proximity to Lycabettus hill, the neighborhood has an American and European feel. Streets to browse: Voukourestiou, Kanari, Milioni, Tsakalof, Patriarchou Ioakim, and the most expensive stretch in town, Anagnostopoulou – the Athenian home of Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Versace, Ferre, Lagerfeld and Laroche.

Conclusion

Choosing where to live very much depends on your lifestyle needs: whether you are searching for a vibrant area with bustling nightlife or a quiet neighborhood with pet-friendly areas, Athens caters to each individual needs.

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