Greek Guide

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Athens Lodging Hotel Guides

Athens has a huge variety of holiday accommodation ranging from deluxe hotels through to small family run pensions and cheap youth hostels. Whether you book your room on the web, via a travel agent or just on spec, remember that this is an extremely noisy city that never sleeps. So if you want a good few hours' kip make sure there's sound proofing or go for a hotel located in a relatively quiet back street away from the busiest tourist and night life areas.

The undisputed champion in terms of chic places to stay is the luxurious Hotel Grande Bretagne facing the parliament building in Syntagma Square. If you're after old style elegance and money's no object then this is the place for you. The hotel was built in 1862 to accommodate heads of state visiting the nearby government offices. It was completely refurbished in 1992 and now offers sumptuous rooms with marble baths along with mod cons such as satellite TV, in house movies, 24 hour room service and air conditioning. Hotel facilities include a boutique, beauty parlour, round the clock porterage, travel agent and car rental service. The beautiful National Gardens of Athens (an absolute haven in the midst of this frantic city) and the historic heart of the city, the old Turkish quarter of Plaka, are both within five minutes walk.

There's a luxurious Hilton in Vasilissis Sofias which is one of the most fashionable avenues in the entire city. The building isn't too inspiring from the outside but it's seriously extravagant on the inside with enough marble, bronze and chandeliers to satisfy the most demanding of guests. The hotel is opposite the National Art Gallery and overlooks the Acropolis. All rooms have balconies with wonderful views and the hotel's extensive facilities include a big outdoor swimming pool.

The most popular area for visiting tourists is Plaka with its narrow pedestrianised streets lined with shady tavernas, rooftop bars with views of the Acropolis and endless rows of souvenir shops. The most upmarket place to stay in this old Turkish quarter of the city is the Electra Palace Hotel. It's slap bang in the centre of Plaka in Navarhou Nikodimou and boasts a wonderful rooftop swimming pool with that all important Acropolis view. It's not cheap but its many advantages include one of the best buffet breakfasts to be found in the whole of Athens.

For cheaper mid range and budget hotels, head for areas such as Monastiraki and Omonia. Even some of the lowliest pensions in Athens these days have comforts such as air conditioning and mini bars and you'll often find the owners provide a more personal touch and helpful service than some of the classier hotels. It's worth checking out in advance what you're going to get for your money because the rating system (using letters from A denoting top quality to E meaning ultra basic) doesn't necessarily reflect the standard of the hotel.

There are several youth hostels in the city where you can sleep in dead cheap dormitory accommodation and have access to communal facilities such as a laundry, bar and Internet access. Campers will be wasting their time looking for somewhere to pitch their tents within the city boundaries but there are plenty of sites within easy reach of Athens. The nearest is Athens Camping, seven kilometres west of the city on the road to Corinth.