Bringing the kids to Athens? At these family-friendly hotels, your children will be as welcome as you are.
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Choose the right hotel for your family trip to Athens and you’re already halfway to holiday happiness. Whether you’re travelling with a baby, toddler, or tetchy teens, we’ve rounded up some of the city’s most child-friendly hotels and resorts that cater to all ages.
Hilton Athens €€€
Check in: A central Athenian landmark with a pool that’s the hot hangout of all pampered city kids. Every Sunday during the ‘family lunch’ at Byzantino restaurant, kids are entertained gratis in a play area while you refill your plate. There’s private parking, so if you’re traveling by car, there’s no stress about where to park. Heads up: WiFi isn’t free, so if your teens shut themselves up in the room to game for hours, brace yourself for a bump in your bill. Check out: The Hilton’s spa pool (though it costs extra). It’s indoors, heated, shallow and features a bunch of button-activated massage fountains that kids love to fool around under. It may save your sanity in the winter months when the outdoor pool is closed. Oh, and there’s an exercise bike immersed in its waters.
Swim under the shadow of an Athenian architectural landmark.
Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis
Get a family room with the view they'll never forget.
Courtesy: Divani Palace Acropolis
Divani Palace Acropolis €€
Check in: If you’re looking to stay as close to the Parthenon as possible, this hotel is a good bet. Working a retro 1960s charm (you can imagine Onassis hanging out in the lobby), the Divani Palace’s rooftop terrace has astounding views of the Acropolis. It’s also just moments away from the Acropolis Museum and historic Plaka. If your kids aren’t old enough to walk longer distances, hop on the free shuttle bus to Syntagma Square to check out the city’s must-see evzones strutting their stuff. Check out: A pool is always the best solution for hot, bored, worn-out youngsters. Though not of Olympic proportions, this one still works its magic. Recharged and ready for more? The metro stop outside the Acropolis Museum can whizz you to any part of the city you want to explore.
Check in: People rave about the helpful staff at this central Athens hotel—and then the breakfast. Make sure you try anything and everything from the “Cretan corner” of the buffet, from the mizithropitakia (mini Cretan cheese pies) to the honey your kids will slather all over them. (The hotel’s owners are from Crete.) Book a ‘graffiti’ family room. It isn’t really covered with graffiti but larger-than-life children’s murals. Rooms are spacious, clean and above all, fun. What kid doesn’t love a big plastic yellow pig in their bedroom? Check out: The handy location. Grab little ones by the hand (or pull out their stroller) and explore Athens on foot. Many archaeological sites, including the ancient Agora and the Acropolis, are within walking distance and the metro is a couple of blocks away. If your teens want to venture out solo, just bear in mind that the area south of the hotel can be a little dodgy after dark, so steer them in the opposite direction.
Check in: Family-friendly doesn’t have to mean a culture-free zone. This tasteful urban bolthole, on a sleepy residential street right at the foot of the Acropolis, was once home to the famous Greek painter Spyros Vassiliou. It makes a great downtown base for families who prefer their own space. Go for the two-bedroom Garden Suite to enjoy a private shaded backyard with hot tub (think: mini pool for tots) or the classy 1920’s Residence which sleeps up to four and transports you to an era when ceilings were high and parquet floors were made of actual wood. Check out the paintings. They’re Vassiliou originals. A toddler crib, high chair, co-sleeping bed (up to 4 months), board games, free WiFi and Netflix are all on hand. Check out: Lucy and Andrew are as attentive and helpful as any hosts can be. Ask them to arrange your pick up from the airport for first class service at the same price as you’d pay for a regular taxi.
Check in: One of the few city hotels in Athens that has a playroom. Throw in a babysitting service and a rooftop pool, and this fashionable hotel in posh Kolonaki keeps the whole family smiling. The view of the city sprawling at your feet is another bonus—on clear days you can see all the way to the sea. Stores, museums, galleries, cinemas, and restaurants are all easily reachable on foot. Just keep in mind that the hotel is on a steep hill, so walking back and forth with toddlers or strollers can be a struggle in the summer months. Check out: Enjoy a mimosa at the Sunday family brunch while admiring the Acropolis, smug in the knowledge that the experienced staff of Nannuka (a local, trustworthy online babysitting service) are occupying your kids (ages 3-12) with games and activities. Oh, and they also screen kid’s movies with popcorn every Sunday at 4 pm. Just don’t forget to go sightseeing. Kids of all ages will love to ride the (indoor) funicular to the top of Lycabettus Hill, where snap happy teens can score awesome Instagram points. The funicular is only a couple of blocks from the hotel.
Check in: Stare at the sea or at the 2,500 year old Temple of Poseidon on a rocky perch high above it? Let the kids spend all day splashing in the shallow, calm waters in front of the hotel, or take the short hike up to the ancient ruins for clifftop selfies and a history lesson? Just a few questions to ponder if you stay at this affordable Cape Sounion retreat. Far enough from the city to feel like you’ve gone to an island; yet Athens’ famous sights are just one hour away. Check out: Ultra-comfy sunbeds and a pair of old-school seafood tavernas on the same curl of beach (if the tots get bored of the hotel food). There’s an indoor play area for preschoolers when they need time out from the sun. The sunset views of the Temple of Poseidon are magical.
Check in: Utter paradise for grown-ups; this Athens Riviera resort rolls out the fun for small people too. If you fear they’ve outstayed their welcome in the two designer pools, they can frolic in two sandy, shallow coves or burn off excess energy at a colourful outdoor play park. The over 8s can dive into watersports lessons at Astir Beach, where Christina Onassis learned to water ski (this ultra-glam beach just down the road is also part of the Four Seasons guest experience). Babysitters on call? Of course. If you want a total parenting break, pack them off to the kids club where they’ll go on nature jaunts and archaeological walks or put on a Greek play for you. Check out: With eight different dining options, even fussy eaters won’t go hungry. Treat the kids to arancini, pizza and tiramisu at relaxed Italian trattoria Mercato or go for a traditional Greek lunch of lamb chops and deep-fried calamari at the waterside Taverna 37. If the kids are crying out for a change of scene, take them to Akti Beach on Vouliagmeni Bay (five minutes’ away) and let them tear about on the aqua inflatables; teens will love the gelato bar scene on the main Vouliagmeni strip.
Check in: Karim Rashid’s funky design hotel looks like candy—from the neon yellow and fuchsia balconies to the multi-hued pool that’s always a hit with kids. Located in the affluent, peaceful suburb of Kifissia, you’re removed from the hustle of downtown Athens. While away a lazy afternoon by the pool and order your brood a smoothie from the poolside menu while you sip on a sundowner. There’s also a small but yummy all-day kid’s food menu with homemade fish sticks and mini burgers. And you can introduce the kids to modern art without even leaving the hotel. There’s an exhibition that changes twice a year. Check out: The park right across the street is a great place to let the kids run wild. It’s right beside Kefalari Square, dotted with cafés and restaurants that are mostly kid-friendly and smoke-free.