Most people who visit Athens want to be in or near the Plaka since just about every archaeological site, not to mention primary shopping, nightlife and restaurants areas are within walking distance.
But the area around Omonia Square which includes the Larissa Train Station, Metaxourgio and Kariaskaki Squares and the Central Market neighborhood contain
a number of economy hotels as well as some pretty decent hotels that because of their less than stellar locations offer cheap rates. These areas are not as nice as the Plaka, Syntagma, Makrianni and the other neighborhoods which surround the Acropolis in terms of scenary, and in fact many people may be put off by their appearance. You may feel like you are in a city that is more Third World than it is European or perhaps Eastern European but in terms of culture if you are young and adventurous you will probably
find it more interesting than the tourist neighborhoods and not only will the hotels be cheaper, food will be too.
These are neighborhoods of immigrants, refugees and working-class Greeks and though certainly not dangerous by American or even European standards, they may seem scary to some people, especially coming home late at night. That's the bad news. The good news is that if you are on a budget and only staying in Athens for a night or two you can stay pretty cheaply and
there are convenient
metro stations that can get you to Monastiraki, Syntagma and the Acropolis in a matter of minutes. You can also walk to the Acropolis in about 45 minutes and the Plaka and Monastiraki in about half an hour. Though there are Greek travel agents who won't book their clients anywhere west of Omonia Square, budget tour companies from the USA use these hotels as do tour companies from Eastern European countries because of the low rates they offer. So its not like you will be the only tourist in a hotel
full of refugees. The neighborhoods are full of fast food places and a taverna here and there and Omonia Square is really the center of Athens despite what you may have heard about it. So if you are looking for a budget hotel and you can't get a room at the Hotel Attalos, and don't want to use a Greek travel agency, here are some choices. Many of these hotels will have availability even during periods when it seems impossible to find a room in Athens.