Modern hostel with funky decor and great atmosphere
Trendy Psirri location, near metro with direct airport links
Clean rooms range from private doubles to eight-person dorms
Dorms have bunk beds, reading lights, and desks
Private rooms add kettles and safes
Fun roof terrace with Acropolis and Parthenon views
Breakfast offered, plus a Greek restaurant/bar and communal kitchen
Free daily happy hour and evening bonding events
Laid-back lounge with laptops, plus a circus-themed photobooth
24-hour front desk, luggage storage, and free walking tours
Laundry service available, plus towel and locker rentals
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Not directly by sights
Rooms are noisy, and some private ones are in the basement
Complaints of top bunks lacking sockets
Fee for towels, breakfast, and lockers
Breakfast doesn't start until 8 a.m.
Pricier than competitor hostels
Hip interiors match the hip Psirri location at the budget-friendly City Circus Athens, where upbeat decor and cleanliness make it one of Europe's best-rated hostels. Near Monastiraki and the metro, it's well-placed amid bars, restaurants, and cafes, and the Acropolis is walkable. The 19 brightly colored rooms come in dorm or private setups, and though basic, all have AC, free Wi-Fi, and shared or en-suite bathrooms. Circus themes here mean plenty of eccentricity and color, and good features include a rooftop terrace, great chill-out spaces, and a restaurant serving breakfast. For lower rates, check out the AthenStyle Hostel, which still offers rooftop action, but less impressive design and cleanliness.
Quirky Athens hostel with rooftop terrace and fun atmosphere
Standards are high at the 2012-opened City Circus Athens, where an eclectic design makes for a pleasant change from often-drab hostels. It's at the pricier end for hostel accommodation, although guests typically find it's worth every penny. Expect frescoed ceilings, vintage or retro furnishings, striped wallpapers, and circus-themed bric-a-brac -- including a free-to-use photo booth complete with circus hats and costumes. The international crowd here can mingle at free movie nights, or in relaxed lounge spaces with free-to-use laptops, games, and books, and walls with colorful hooks, circus posters, and street art showcasing local talent. Circus decor continues on the rooftop terrace, where views encompass the Acropolis and Parthenon, but the place doesn't get rowdy, and "keep it quiet" policies after 11.30 p.m. are generally respected. You'll see all sorts here -- from solo backpackers to sightseeing groups, plus couples, for whom private rooms are worth the splurge.
On a quiet street in Psirri; 20 minutes on foot to the Acropolis
Major sights may not be right outside, but they're within walking distance, and the hostel occupies a great spot in buzzing Psirri. Bars, cafes, and restaurants are nearby, with Ermou shopping district, Monastiraki, and its metro a seven-minute walk away. The iconic Acropolis is a 20-minute walk, with its museum two minutes farther. Allow similar times for Syntagma Square, the Parthenon, historic Plaka, and Filopappou Hill. Most sights can be reached by metro. Athens International Airport is a 33-minute drive, or 50 minutes via direct metro (line 3) from the nearby Monastiraki station.
Dorm or private rooms; all clean and fresh-looking
Pleasant rooms come in four-, six-, and eight-person mixed or female-only dorms, plus private rooms (these range from Budget basement ones, to Quad Lofts). White dorms have wooden bunk beds, reds in walls and drapes, and large windows. They come with desks, lockers (at a fee), bedside reading lamps, and sockets, although guests have complained these can be lacking in top bunks. Mirrors, wall hooks, free Wi-Fi, and AC add further comforts, while private rooms in varying colors add on hanging space, kettles, and electronic safes. Upgraded rooms offer Acropolis views, and Loft rooms have kitchenettes. Private rooms have en-suite bathrooms, as do some shared dorms. All are immaculate, with glossed brick tiling, patterned floors, showers, sinks, mirrors, hairdryers, and hand-pumped soaps. Towels can be hired for a fee. Unfortunately, rooms are noisy, either from nearby bars or internal movement. Some private rooms can be fitted with cribs.
Great hangout spaces, a restaurant with breakfast, roof terrace, and free events
Besides cleanliness and decor, the hostel has some good features. Lounges are bright and welcoming, with plenty of comfy sofas, mezzanine-level tables and chairs, and help-yourself books, chess, and laptops (with free boarding pass printing). Intricate tiling and block colors are fun in the handy communal kitchen, which has a fridge and cooking equipment, although most guests dine out or at the on-site restaurant. Breakfasts here are at a fee (though they didn't start until 8 a.m. during our visit), but they're well-reviewed, with hard-boiled eggs, breads, cheeses, Greek yogurts, cereals, and fresh fruit, plus tea, coffee, and juice.
Zampano's Restaurant offers modern Greek fare that's discounted for guests. Its floor-to-ceiling windows bring out edgy concretes and lacquered reds, although noise from the venue can disturb some rooms. A bar here serves soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, although free happy hour with local liquor tastings are most popular, as are movie nights and free walking tours. The roof terrace is a small space with wooden benches, tables, chairs, and plants, and great Acropolis views. Laundry services and luggage storage after check-out are at a fee. Pets are not permitted. Wi-Fi is free throughout.
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