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What's it like to stay in Plaka for several days?

I've been reading up on Plaka as well as watching You Tube videos of it. Although I disliked it when I visited Athens 6 years ago because I found the main shopping drag filled with tacky tourist shops, I didn't walk all that much through it per se. The You Tube video I saw of it on a rainy day made it seem like Beacon Hill in Boston (well, less posh but still quite charming with its small Neoclassical buildings.

The guidebooks make it sound like it is MOSTLY a tourist trap, which is just the thing I want to avoid. I don't like doing touristy things, e.g., shopping or eating/drinking.

Has anyone actually stayed a couple of weeks or more in Plaka, at an airbnb or a bed and breakfast (they must be hard to find as I couldn't find many, just nondescript buildings on the outskirts)?

I found an airbnb in Koukaki just south of Filoppopou Hill, about a 20-25 minute walk away. There is a hotel I found as well close to the Acropolis Museum but I'd prefer not to stay in a hotel, which I will be doing plenty of later in during my trip.

Posted by
84 posts

Denny,

The Koukaki district is a good alternative when looking for a bit of tranquility and not being in the tourist district of Plaka. I go to Athens regularly for stays of around a week, and since I no longer need to see the Acropolis or the main sites, it is one of the districts where I like to stay.

In Koukaki you won't see souvenir shops for tourists or international Zara-style clothing stores (as in Ermou Street for example) but only small shops for locals.
This does not prevent this district from being very lively and from having some good hotels and restaurants.
For example in the south of Koukaki there is a small pedestrian avenue (Georg Olimpiou) that I like, with lots of bars and restaurants where you will see 90% of locals going out with their families.
There is also a large market on Friday morning in Zacharitsa street where you will find everything, vegetables, fish, meat, etc.

It's surprising that you can't find any Airbnb in Koukaki, By filtering "entire accommodations" in this district there are dozens of them. It may be your date or price criteria or other criteria that prevent you from seeing them.

Last time I was in koukaki (about 3 months ago) this is where I stayed:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/29359316

Magda, the owner is a real private person and not a real estate agency as we find more and more on Airbnb.
The apartment is not very big but enough for two people. On the other hand, the roof terrace is huge (more than 100 m2) with a 360° view.

That said, if Koukaki still isn't your thing, you can go to the Exarchia or Kypseli districts where you won't be bothered by tourists while being less than 20 minutes from Syntagma square by public transport

Posted by
1937 posts

We stayed just south of the Acropolis in an area best I can figure out is called Makrigianni. It is a bit touristy but nothing like Plaka. We stayed in an air Bnb in an apartment that had a roof terrace with a view of the Acropolis. The Acropolis museum was down the street.

Edited to add: I just read Jolui’s response. We stayed same area south of Acropolis but further west. We were first time visitors to Athens and liked the area.

We used map view on Airbnb to find a place. That may help you as well.

Posted by
186 posts

If you don't find something that appeals to you, you may want to also check out the Psyri area. We stayed there in June and found it enjoyable.

Posted by
831 posts

We stayed right in the heart of the Plaka and LOVED it.

We stayed at Hotel Phaedra (https://hotelphaedra.com/) which has a great location right underneath the giant Greek flag on the Acropolis. Within a couple of minutes are: west to the alternate gate to the Acropolis; northwest to the heart of the Plaka and Anafiotika; northeast to Syntagma and the National Gardens; east to Hadrians' Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Panathinaikos Stadium; and south to the Acropolis Museum and Akropoli metro station.

The rooms have balconies. Ask for one with a view of the Acropolis.

Rooms are basic, but service is good and location is perfect.

Posted by
406 posts

It's surprising that you can't find any Airbnb in Koukaki, By filtering "entire accommodations" in this district there are dozens of them. It may be your date or price criteria or other criteria that prevent you from seeing them.

I maybe mistakenly said I was looking for an airbnb in Koukaki. I meant Plaka. I've given up finding something other than a hip modern hotel on the outskirts.

Thank you for the link. It's already booked for my days. But since I'm seriously thinking of going back from time to time to Greece (l really liked the Cyclades and have studied Greek art history as well as been a reader of Greek mythology since a child), I definitely will keep it on my list of possible stays.

Posted by
406 posts

We stayed just south of the Acropolis in an area best I can figure out is called Makrigianni. It is a bit touristy but nothing like Plaka.

I've watched videos of Koukaki and it seems really quite ugly, streets with non-ending rows of concrete bunker apartment buildings and office buildings. Actually, from what I understand most of Athens looks like this. Despite Plaka being swarmed with tourists, the smaller buildings, many neo-classical, have a charm that may be hard to find anywhere else in Athens, which is now a metropolis reminding me of the dreary suburbs of Paris or other large French cities.

Posted by
1937 posts

Plaka is the prettiest area of the city but also the most touristed. You have to decide what your priorities are.