Check out our detailed gay travel guide to Athens, based on our experience traveling there as a gay couple.
Affable. Ageless. Athens.
It's iconic. It's dirty. It's spectacular. It's hectic. It's dazzling. It's unforgettable!
This huge sprawling mess of a city shouldn't impress. It's dirty, rundown, gritty – particularly if you're staying in one of the neighborhoods just outside the center like Psiri or Metaxourgeio (and don't even get us started on Omonia!). But what Athens lacks in clean streets, it sure makes up for in character. Every day in the Greek capital was like a new adventure for us. It got under our skin so much that we return to it time and time again for more.
That's right, you better call the Acro-polis, 'cause the Nomadic Boys are in town!
Athens oozes culture with ancient monuments and world wonders (hello Parthenon!) whilst at the same time, it has a vibrant gay scene in the Gazi neighborhood, with a party happening every night of the week. Athenians are night owls, and like the Spanish, they like to eat late and then go out partying till the early hours. We also love getting lost in the village-like Plaka area, shopping in the souvenir shops of Monastiraki, and reminiscing over a romantic cocktail at a rooftop bar facing the Acropolis. Not once did we get bored in Athens. And neither will you!
Our detailed gay guide to Athens is based on our experience traveling here as a gay couple, and also from my personal experience visiting my family every summer (as a second-generation Greek kid growing up in London, UK).
Gay Sail Cruise Athens Hydra Spetses: August
The Saronic Islands are where Athenian day-trippers head on weekends. Each one is unique whether it’s the super picturesque Hydra or the village-like feel of Spetses with its glorious beaches. We think the best way to experience them is on this gay sailing trip!
Claim a 5% discount on this Gay Sail tour by quoting NOMADICGS5 when booking.
Is Athens safe for gay travelers?
We felt very safe a gay couple in the streets of Athens. The city has a large LGBTQ community with an influx of international gay visitors adding to the scene throughout the year. We found Athens to be no less gay friendly than any other big European capital city we’ve been to.
What we mean by that is that it has gay pockets like Gazi where we felt totally safe with PDAs, especially in the many queer spaces here. But, as with all other big capitals, Athens also has some pretty gritty areas, like Omonia, where everyone needs to be careful regardless of whether you’re straight or gay.
Travel worry free!
Don't skimp out on your travel insurance: make sure your trip is fun, frivolous, and free! Most importantly, good travel insurance will cover you for any medical emergencies, flight cancellations, pricey hospital bills, car rental protection, and more.
For hotels, all the places we stayed at in Athens welcomed us as a gay couple. It felt like they had dealt with LGBTQ travelers before, which is unsurprising given how international and touristic downtown Athens is. So, on this front, you’ll be just fine!
When it comes to LGBTQ rights in Greece, a lot has changed over the past few decades which has made Greece a pink leader in this very conservative region of Europe (the Balkans and Eastern Europe). Greece has progressive anti-discrimination laws, legal recognition of gender identity, and recognizes gay civil unions. But, compared to Western Europe, Greece is lagging. For example, gay marriage and adoption laws in Greece are still not legal, but watch this space… we hope to be updating this section of our article very soon!
Where is the gay area in Athens?
The main gay area of Athens is the Gazi neighborhood where the bulk of the city’s best gay hangouts is located. The nearest metro station is “Kerameikos”. Gazi is in the center of the city, around 1.5 miles (2.5km) northwest of the Acropolis.
The Gazi neighborhood is mostly quiet and residential. In the evening, parts of it feel a bit remote and rough. The reason is that Gazi surrounds the old gasworks of Athens and used to be where the famous brothels of the city were located in the early 1900s. Much has changed since(!) but Gazi has always had a reputation for being a deprived area of the city, albeit with a low crime rate.
We felt safe walking the streets of Gazi at night and never had any problems. But we are two men – if you’re traveling solo and don’t feel 100% safe, we recommend calling an Uber to get to your hotel to be on the safe side. None of our friends ever had any issues in Gazi, nor did I when walking the streets of Gazi as a young oblivious twentysomething gay boy.
In terms of the Gazi gay scene, Del Sol is one of the most popular bars to head to with friends for drinks. We also loved Big Bar, Athens' main gay bear hangout. Sodade has been the main gay club in Athens for donkey's years – as long as I can remember! Shamone is another popular gay club in Athens where the cool kids hang out… but more about all this is below.
Where to stay in Athens?
We found most hotels in Athens to be very gay friendly. You won’t have any problems here getting a place with a double bed! In terms of gay male-only hotels, we found only one – Alexander Apartments, located above the city’s main gay sauna… if you're booking this bad boy, then you're looking for one thing, and one thing only! Otherwise, for a more romantic, boutique-type hotel, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Athens. To inspire you, we’ve set out some of our favorite tried-and-tested gay hotels in Athens right here:
Electra Palace Athens
In a nutshell
- Centrally located in the exciting Plaka area
- Super luxurious and lavish
- Rooftop restaurant with views of the Acropolis
- Amenities include a gym and pool
We felt like Goddesses when we sashayed our way into the main lobby of the Electra Palace! It's so grand – with iconic classical architecture everywhere you look. It felt like we were paying a pilgrimage to the Gods… Opulence darling, you own everything (well, you certainly do if you're booking to stay here!).
This is 5* gay friendly retreat at its finest. THE most luxurious hotel you're going to find in all of Athens. Says who? Says we, the new Greek deities that have been unleashed to astound the world with our Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent.
The lavishness of the hotel extends to the rooms, each with a marble bathroom, handmade carpets, and oh-so-soft duvets that you just melt into. The other thing we loved about the Electra Palace Athens is its rooftop restaurant, which faces the Acropolis. The views will knock your socks off. Even if you're not staying here, we recommend bringing your Grindr date here just to show off…
Prices at Electra Palace Athens start from $145 per night:
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.
In a nutshell
- Very cool, hip and trendy gay friendly boutique hotel
- Located within walking distance of shops, bars, and the Acropolis
- Rooftop bar for epic views of Athens and the Parthenon
- Super friendly staff who know the gay scene well
Staying at PAME felt like I'd morphed into James Bond. It's very cool! These guys *get* what travelers want, particularly (ahem!) trendy, chic, classy, forward-thinking (and highly delusional!) Millennials.
Everything is digital, contact with staff is mainly electronic (usually via Whatsapp) and there is no key – just a digital code to enter the building, and then another for your room. There is a 24-hour manned reception for those of us (looking at you Seby!) who are less savvy with their technology.
The rooms are super sleek – lots of space, with everything you need, even a Nespresso coffee machine (which made me extremely happy). Up at the top they've got a rooftop bar with view of Athens and the Parthenon. We got to meet some of their staff up here. To say they are gay friendly is putting it mildly. These guys are used to LGBTQ travelers and welcomed us with open arms. They are young, really cool, passionate about the city – some even openly gay themselves and super knowledgeable about the gay scene of Athens.
Pro tip: also check out their sister hotel next door called MELO Athens: similar vibe and branding to PAME.
Prices at PAME House start from $92 per night:
In a nutshell
- Very modern and stylish gay friendly hotel
- Beautiful sunset views of the Parthenon from the rooftop bar
- Plunge pool on the rooftop
- Close to many excellent local restaurants
SOUL is a gay friendly hotel in Psiri owned by the same company as PAME with a similar cool forward-thinking vibe. Except here, you feel more like a Bond girl than James himself. The rooftop has a plunge pool with the Acropolis backdrop – like it's been designed exclusively for Instagrammers to take their thirst traps.
The location of SOUL is in the run-down local neighborhood of Psiri. The streets around are narrow, dirty, and gritty, but alive, oozing with character, with some of the coolest street art we've ever seen. There are also many decent non-touristic restaurants nearby – the very unassuming restaurant right below SOUL (that splays out across the pavement) is excellent and worth checking out for lunch.
SOUL is a breath of fresh air from the dirt and grime of the city outside. To us it felt modern, tidy, clean, and fresh.
Pro tip: it can get quite noisy on some nights so when booking be sure to ask for a quiet room.
Prices at SOUL Athens start from $99 per night:
In a nutshell
- Very affordable male-only serviced apartments
- Only 3 apartments available to book
- Guests get free entry to the Alexander Sauna
- Located in the heart of the Gazi gay scene of Athens
Booking to stay above Athens' top gay sauna? You can be sure that Mr. Right Now will be here to welcome you – along with Mr. Sunday, Mr. Monday, Mr. Tuesday, Mr. Wed… you catch our drift!
This whole building is a thirsty gay man's paradise. The Alexander Sauna takes up the first 3 floors, then directly above (on the 4th floor) are the 3 fully serviced Alexander Apartments that you can book. Entry to the sauna is free for guests, meaning you can wake up, grab a coffee then pop downstairs for some good old fashioned meat fencing.
The other big plus, the rooms are super cheap, starting from €50 a night. It's also right in the heart of Gazi, so you're walking distance to the main gay bars and clubs of Athens. But we'll be frank, this is by no means luxury, and the noise insulation leaves a lot to be desired, particularly on weekends. For gay travelers looking to bake a twinkle cake every night of their trip, this is the place for you!
Prices at Alexander Apartments start from $50 per night:
Our favorite gay bars in Athens!
The bulk of the gay bars in Athens can be found in and around the Gazi gay area. Del Sol Cafe is our favorite place to come for a few cocktails before heading to Sodade to party. Big Bear Bar is another gay bar gem in Athens – zero attitude! Here are the main gay bars in Athens that we loved and think you need to check out:
Del Sol is a great gay bar to come for drinks with friends or with your Seby. It's right in the heart of the Gazi gay area making it the ideal starting point for a gay night out in Athens. Although we came to Del Sol in the evening for cocktails (which are delicious by the way!) it's also a fantastic brunch spot during the day to nurse an intense night-out at Sodade – pizza for me, pancakes for Seby…
Opening Hours: Del Sol Cafe is open daily from 9am until around 2 or 3am
Location: It's located at 44 Voutadon Street
“Where The Greek Gay Bears Play”… bears and chasers, this one's for you. It's our favorite gay bar in Athens. A great place to meet local guys, but most importantly, an awesome place just to hang out. Big Bar feels like your friendly neighborhood dive bar where everyone knows everyone. To say it's friendly is an understatement. We felt no judgment and no attitude here, which is why we love it. They have drag shows, karaoke parties, and even exhibitions almost every night.
Opening Hours: Big Bar is open daily (except Mondays) from 8pm until 2 or 3am
Location: It is located at 12 Falesias Street
Trap is a cozy unassuming gay bar in Gazi where we loved coming for late-night drinks. You know those nights when you just want to chill with friends and don't fancy heading to a nightclub? Trap fills that void – a bar that's open until the early hours where you can just hang out with friends. The music is also on point – if you're into Greek pop music like I am ('cause hello…everyone should be!) you'll want to have your Shazam to hand when hanging out here.
Opening Hours: Trap is open Wednesday – Sunday from 9pm until around 6 am (later on weekends)
Location: It's located at Korutsas 15
Samis Bar is one of the oldest gay bars in Athens. We love the eclectic mix of people that come here every night. It's super queer in that respect. Cocktails here are as legendary as their weekend live DJ sets. The summer months are particularly lovely as the crowd spills out into their beer garden. Samis bar is located in the Metaxourgeio neighborhood, which is around a 10-15 mins cab ride to the east of the Gazi gay scene.
Opening Hours: Samis Bar is open Tuesday – Sunday from 8pm (from 10:30pm on Tuesday and Sunday) until around 4 or 6am
Location: You can find it at Filis 34
Exciting gay cafes in Athens!
The gay Greek boys love their coffee as much as they love to party. We found an abundance of gay cafes in Athens to check out, though with places like Del Sol Cafe we placed them in the gay bars section because for us it felt more like a gay bar than a gay cafe even though it's open early for brunch.
Ble Papagalos literally translates to “Blue Parrot”, which is used to describe a colorful, playful, and social creature that embodies freedom. The super cute waiters at Ble Papagalos definitely embody a playful and colorful spirit as far as we're concerned! Ble Papagalos works closely with Athens Pride and always has a strong presence in the annual parade. Cake, coffee, and brunch rule the school at this cutesy cafe.
Opening Hours: Ble Papagalos is open daily from 9 or 10am until around 2 or 3am
Location: It is located at Leonidou 31
Rooster is the only gay space in the historic downtown area of Athens – right behind the old cathedral. As well as great coffee, we love the strong support given by Rooster to young local artists. They host art exhibitions featuring paintings and photography from some of the most talented up-and-coming young queer artists.
Opening Hours: Rooster is open daily from 9 or 9:30am until 1am
Location: You can find it at Plateia Agias Irinis 4
Klosterion is an art cafe and cocktail bar. It's located in the Metaxourgeio neighborhood of Athens so it has a very local vibe. It's a popular place to come and meet a Grindr date or to have a brunch catch-up with a group of friends. We love the vibe here, particularly during the summer months when the outdoor area opens up and sprawls onto the pavement with cool red sun parasols.
Opening Hours: Klosterion is open daily from 10am until around 2 or 3am (and until 4am on Saturdays)
Location: It's located at Millerou 17
Electrifying gay clubs in Athens!
For us, Sodade has been the main gay hangout in Athens since time immemorial – at least for the past two or so decades that I've been coming here! A word of warning about the gay clubs of Athens: smoking is permitted indoors so be prepared to wash out your hair and launder your clothes after a heavy night out partying.
Sodade2 is the most popular gay club in Athens, going strong since the year 2000. And when we say popular, we really do mean it – on weekends you can hardly breathe in here cause it gets so busy! But it's a lot of fun. The music is a mix of pop and Greek hits.
The crowd is mainly local gay guys as well as gay travelers who are also in town. You can never hate a night out at Sodade2. The only downside is that smoking is allowed indoors, so as mentioned above, you'll leave reeking of cigarettes.
Opening Hours: Sodade2 is open only on Thursday-Monday evenings. Don't bother coming here till after midnight. Parties go on until around 4am, and later on weekends
Location: It's located at Triptolemou 10 right in the heart of Gazi
This is one for the cool pop kidz – guys in their 20s and 30s, who, like us, LOVE pop music. Shamone has been going strong on the Athens gay scene for over a decade. It gets super busy on weekends when they have drag shows, but it doesn't feel as crammed here compared to Sodade2. We love that Shamone calls itself “straight friendly”. Also note, it's “celeb friendly” so keep an eye out for any celebs hitting the Athens gay scene on weekends!
Opening Hours: Shamone is open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm until 5am
Location: It is located at 46 Leoforos Konstantinoupoleos in Gazi
S-Cape (sometimes called EsCape Club) in Gazi is another very popular gay club in Athens to check out. Every evening they have a party, although weekends are the most popular as well as the drag shows on Wednesday evenings. The most iconic thing about S-Cape club that we loved? They've got lifesize cages on stage to get your groove in. They make for quite hilarious Insta Stories!
Opening Hours: S-Cape is open daily from 11:30pm until 5am
Location: It's located at Iakhou 32
BEqueer is the best LGBTQ alternative club in Athens. Whereas the others attract mainly gay cis men, BEqueer has a very mixed crowd. This is a popular playground for the gender-fluid folk of Athens. It's only open on Friday and Saturday evenings when it has live DJ-themed parties with drag shows. Music is a mix of modern pop and classic Greek hits.
Opening Hours: BEqueer is open only on Friday and Saturday evenings from midnight until 6am
Location: It is located at Keleou 10 in the Gazi gay area
Bizzar is one of our favorite Greek gay clubs in Athens. It's a very local crowd who come to party to the latest Greek hits with some classics thrown in. This is the place to come to get a real flavor of local gay life in Athens. Although a predominantly gay male crowd, everyone is welcome at Bizzar.
Bizzar gay parties are only open on Friday/Saturday evenings. On the remaining nights, Bizzar is available to book for private parties of up to 50 people – a fantastic idea for a special birthday or anniversary.
Opening Hours: Bizzar Club is open on Friday and Saturday evenings only from 11pm until 4am
Location: It is located at Therinia 20 where it meets Patision Street, which is around a 15-minute taxi ride northeast of Gazi
You've been partying at Shamone or Sodade2 and want to head to an after-party for more? This is the place to head to! Moe Club is open until the early hours and is where the late-night party boys all end up at. The focus is on Greek music here so expect a very local crowd (which we're not complaining about!).
Moe gets cruisier and cruisier as the night goes on. Word of advice, don't bother coming here until after 4am. That's when Moe's comes alive – i.e. when the other gay clubs have started to close up for the night.
Opening Hours: Moe is open daily from midnight until 6am
Location: It's located at Keleou 1-5 in the Gazi gay area
Are there any gay beaches in Athens?
Oh yeah! In fact, this is one of our favorite things about Athens – you’re not only a short cab ride away from some pretty stunning Mediterranean beaches, but there's even a gay one!
There are lots of really lovely beach clubs just outside the main city metropolis that locals flock to on a summer’s day, most notably “Ark” in the sophisticated Glyfada neighborhood, “L’amico Beach Bar Lounge” in Anavissos, and “Bolivar” in Alimos.
But if you’re looking for a gay beach in Athens, you’ll want to be heading over Vouliagmeni for the “Limanakia B” beach. This is where the gay boys in Athens come to get their dose of the D (get your mind out the gutter, we were referring to Vitamin D…!)
Limanakia B is specifically located between Vouliagmeni and Varkiza, and takes around 40-minutes by taxi from downtown Athens or around 1 hour by metro and bus. It’s a rocky beach so bring water shoes, sandals, or flip-flops. It has plenty of hidden caves to “explore”(!) and is renowned as a ‘clothing optional’ spot if you catch our drift. Note there are no facilities or shops here, so bring everything you will need – snacks, water, and sunblock.
Gay shops and services in Athens
If you want to top up your Speedos, get a few outfits for some of those themed gay parties or just feel cute for your Insta, Athens has several gay shops worth checking out.
ES is the main gay shop in Athens. It's a famous gay Spanish brand that specializes in clothing for men. Specifically gay men. They just know how to get the perfect cut to show off the right parts of your body! We love them for this. They also own the Addicted brand, which is also featured in this shop. For a special offer – use our NOMADICBOYS code to claim a 10% discount if you're shopping from their website. ES Collection is located at 105 54, Themidos in Monastiraki. It is open daily from 11am to 5pm (9pm on weekends).
Mega is the best shop in all of Greece to come to find any toy or other fun item you could possibly need. From saucy underwear or themed outfits to any pleasure toy you can imagine. If not available, order online and they usually offer same-day delivery service. Mega is located at Iera Othos, 38 in Gazi. It is open daily from 10am to 11pm.
Checkpoint is the best healthcare center to come for gay men. It's completely judgment free, and unlike most healthcare providers in East Europe, they know their stuff! You can get tested for free at their walk-in center at Pittaki 4 in Monastiraki on Tuesday to Saturday from 12-8pm.
Seductive gay saunas in Athens!
Alexander is the most famous gay sauna in Athens and also an institution in the Gazi gay area. It frequently hosts themed parties and also houses a hotel atop (see hotels section above). Beyond Alexander, there are a few other gay saunas in Athens to try out:
Alexander is the #1 place to head to in Athens if you want action. It's a “premium gay sauna” (thank-you-very-much!) in a large building that also includes 3 guestrooms above it. The sauna includes a steamy labyrinth, an open-air garden, and an X-Action darkroom area. They also have some pretty wild-themed parties like “Toy Boy”. Alexander Sauna is located at the crossing point of Megalou Alexandrou 134 and Iera Odos. It is open daily from 5pm until 2am (6am on weekends).
Flex is another popular gay sauna in Athens, located in Monastiraki. It has a Jacuzzi, sauna, Hammam, solarium, and even a shop to top up your jockstrap collection. In the summer months, they open up their veranda area, which also has a Jacuzzi. The best time to come is on Sunday and Wednesday when they have Bear Days. The busiest times are between 4-9pm. Flex is located at Polykleitou 6 and is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 3pm until midnight.
Is there any gay cruising in Athens?
You betcha! Both indoor and outdoor cruising spaces exist in abundance in Athens.
When it comes to gay outdoor cruising in Athens, the Limanakia gay beach detailed above is your best bet. But understandably it’s a bit far! In the city center, Zappeion in the National Garden Park is the most popular gay cruising spot – at night of course, after tourists/families have left!
In terms of indoor gay cruising venues/clubs, there are several to check out, which we've listed below. For gay saunas in Athens, scroll back up.
Attraxx is the main gay cruising club in Gazi. If you want something more low-key than Alexander Sauna, then head here. It includes a cinema area, darkrooms, glory holes, and “luxury”(!) private cabins. Attraxx is located at Lakchou 36 in Gazi, and is open daily from 12pm until 2am (4am on weekends).
Lamda is a staple on the Athenian gay scene. It's a cruising club that's been around for decades. Every evening men looking for discreet action head here. It's €7 for an all-day ticket. Inside you'll find private cabins, glory holes, a darkroom, and a video room. It is located at the crossing point between Lembesi 15, and Syngrou Avenue 9 just close to the Olympus Zeus temple. It is open daily from 10am till midnight (till 2am on weekends).
8Downtown is a modern adults-only (i.e. over 21 years) multiplex. As well as the usual cruising set up (cabins, darkroom) it also has a cinema to immerse yourself in! Whereas Lamda is more cis gay men dominated, the crowd at 8Downtown are a mix of everyone LGBTQ, and closet-married straight men! It is located at Karolou 8. It is open daily from 12pm until 3am (4:30am on weekends).
What are the best gay events in Athens?
The Athens gay scene is evolving all the time, with more and more gay events being added to the calendar each year. Most recently is the expansion of Mykonos' XLSIOR party. Here are the main gay events in Athens that you should keep on your radar:
XLSIOR Athens Easter Festival (April)
The XLSIOR gay party in Mykonos every August has become so popular that it's expanded to the country's capital city. It takes place during the Easter holidays, usually in April. It's a weekend of parties with the hottest Circuit-party-type muscle boys from all over. The climax of the weekend is the WE Party, which usually takes place at Oddity club (located at Hrakleidon 61) in Athens.
Outview Film Festival (April/May)
Outview is Athens' awesome LGBTQ festival that takes place just after the Easter holidays. It's been going strong since 2007, with each year growing in popularity. They celebrate and honor the best LGBTQI-themed movies and shorts. As well as film screenings they have Q&A sessions with the directors/actors, debates, masterclasses, and an award ceremony.
Athens Pride (June)
Be careful not to confuse it with Georgia's Athens Pride when researching it online! This is Athens' annual gay Pride event that takes place in June. The festival includes various parties usually hosted by the gay bars and clubs across Gazi (Alexander Sauna too!), culminating with the Athens Pride Parade on the final day.
Bearly Athens (July/August)
What XLSIOR is to the muscle queens, Bearly is its antithesis – a breath of fresh air if you ask us! This is the best gay bear event in Greece that happens in July/August. It only started in 2021 but has grown massively in popularity since. Every summer, the hottest bears from all across Europe descend on Athens for this event. Check their website and social media for the dates of the next one.
Where to eat in Athens?
Greek food. Enough said. Famous for being one of the healthiest in the world and one of the tastiest. From souvlaki to moussaka, taramosalata to pastitsio, foodies will be spoilt rotten in Athens. So, “Καλή όρεξη!” (Greek for ‘bon appetite – kali orexi).
Dopios is our favorite restaurant in Athens. Most tourists will (quite rightly) head to the many restaurants in and around Plaka for a romantic view of the Acropolis. You'll quickly find that they all offer the same sort of menu.
We stumbled on Topias because we wanted a change. We were not disappointed. It's local food but with a Greek twist… tzatziki with avo anyone? Herring salad? Grilled sardines wrapped in grape leaves? Trust us, every dish here is really good. Oh, and make sure you leave room at the end for the walnut cake!
One of the best places to head to for delicious Greek Gyro. We found it on Tripadvisor from the many 5* excellent reviews when looking for a place to grab a bite in Monastiraki. Victory is also a good spot to get coffee and/or fresh juice. Other delights here to try out – their moussaka, and their octopus salad. Seby particularly loved their souvlaki – so much that after dining here a few times I started calling him Seby Souvlaki…
Another gem we found in the Monastiraki area. Everything here was spot on – the food, the service, the wine… Seby's favorite was the pork tenderloin, mine the orzo prawn dish. It was divine…heavenly! Another dish we recommend is their Euphoria “exotic salad”… our pleasure! Portions are generous, prices are reasonable… what's not to love?
Prosopa (which means “faces” in Greek) is a more upmarket restaurant in Athens, with the price tag to go with it. It's worth the money though, especially if you want to impress a date. The setting is really beautiful. In terms of the food, pasta rules the school here – I left with very happy memories of the squid ink pasta. For Seby, he said he will never forget their octopus.
The Athens Gate Hotel's restaurant was recommended to us mainly for the epic views of the Acropolis and Temple of Zeus. It's one of the most famous rooftop restaurants in Athens, so we highly recommend booking beforehand, especially in the busy summer months (we got turned away the first night we tried to dine here). If you don't make it here for food, we recommend coming here for romantic cocktails for the view.
What are the best things to do in Athens?
Athens, the heart of the Ancient Greek empire. From the Acropolis to the Temple of Zeus, the Greek capital is swarming with ancient monuments to explore. Athens also comes alive at night, which is another reason we fell in love with it. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Athens to inspire your own Bucket List.
Our heads up on tickets: book a Combo Ticket which includes entry to all 7 ancient monuments, along with a queue jump.
Athens has always been dominated by this famous 5th-century BC landmark – the Acropolis. It is a hilltop citadel with several ancient monuments like the Temple of Athena, and the Porch of the Caryatids, but the most famous (and iconic) of all is the Parthenon. There's an excellent museum here (called the Acropolis Museum) which we recommend visiting to learn more about the complex.
As with all world wonders though, it gets super busy, so our advice to you is either come early at 8am when it opens (before tour buses arrive en masse) or at around sunset – usually 6/7pm (closing time is 8pm) for the best light. If sunset is late and you're kicked out at 8pm, then head to Areopagus Hill next to Acropolis to enjoy the sundown.
Temple of Zeus and other historical sites
There are a total of 7 “headline” historical sites in Athens to check out. Along with the Acropolis, the others are the Temple of Zeus, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Aristotle's School, Hadrian's Library, and Kerameikos Ancient Cemetery. Each one is spectacular in its own right and worth a visit.
We recommend setting aside a whole day to visit them all – start early with the Temple of Zeus, then visit all the others, leaving the Acropolis for last (at sunset).
Stroll through the Plaka neighborhood
We love exploring the cutesy picturesque village-like streets of Plaka. It is a neighborhood on the northern side of the Acropolis. Plaka is renowned for its narrow winding pedestrian cobblestone streets and village-like squares lined with bougainvillea-trimmed buildings. It is very touristy, packed with lots of souvenir shops, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants.
Despite this, Plaka retains an authentic charm that keeps you wanting to come back for more. Oh, and a unique souvenir to buy? For some reason, phallic-shaped bottle openers are super popular here!
Watch the changing of the guard at Syntagma Square
Oh, this is quite a site to behold! If you want to inject a bit of camp couture into your trip head to Syntagma Square every day just before 11am. At the “Tomb of the Unkown Soldier” bang on 11am, the changing of the guards' ceremony takes place.
Their guards wear a pretty dramatic traditional outfit which includes pleated skirts, leg tassels, and pompom shoes, all topped with a snazzy red hat… Shantay Dears, you all SLAY!
The views from Lycabettus Hill
Hiking up to the top of Lycabettus Hill is our favorite thing to do in Athens. It's the city's highest point (745 ft/227m high) and has the best views across the entire Attica peninsula. Hiking up is the most rewarding, but there's also a cable car. Up at the top is the unassuming quaint whitewashed St. George's Church that looks over the sprawling capital below.
In terms of facilities, there is a restaurant and cafe near the church so you can make a day of it. The biggest heads-up we can give you – the Acropolis lies to the west of Lycabettus Hill. In other words, this is THE best spot to watch the sunset in Athens. You're welcome!
Have a drink in an Athenian rooftop bar
Seby said he knew I was The One when, early on in our relationship on our first trip to Athens as a young gay couple, I took him to a bar in Monastiraki for a sundowner cocktail with a view of the iconic world wonder of the city. It really is a beautiful setting and one to use to woo your lover.
There are many rooftop bars, mainly in Monastiraki each offering views of the Acropolis. Some of the best ones that we recommend include Anglais, Couleur Locale, A for Athens Rooftop Bar, and the 360 Cocktail Bar. Also note some of the hotels we mentioned above also have their own rooftop bar, like PAME House, and SOUL.
Day trips to the Saronic Islands
The Saronic Islands are the closest island set to Athens, most of which you can visit as part of a day trip. The nearest ferry port is Piraeus which is around 30 minutes by taxi or metro from downtown Athens. It’s easy to buy tickets online or just turn up on the day you want to travel and get a ticket there.
We recommend pre-booking during the peak summer months (July/August). The main islands to visit on a day trip are Hydra (super pretty with no cars on the island), Poros (famous for its iconic lighthouse), and Aegina (closest island to Athens), each beautiful and unique in their own different way.
Gay Sail Cruise Athens Hydra Spetses: August 2023
Our friends at Gay Sail are hosting this fabulous gay cruise around the Saronic Gulf setting sail from Athens and heading to Hydra and Spetses, with stopovers at Poros islands and parts of the Peloponnese including the super gorgeous Monemvasia. Sailing around Athens with a group of gay guys? Yes, please!
Claim a 5% discount on all Gay Sail tours by quoting NOMADICGS5 when booking.
Planning Your Own Gay Trip To Athens
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Athens. Read on to find out everything the gay traveler should know before they go.
Travel insurance: Even in safe destinations like Athens, things can go wrong when you're traveling, from lost luggage to illness. We never travel without the security of travel insurance and urge you to do the same. We've been using Heymondo Travel Insurance for years and always been happy with their affordable but comprehensive cover. It's also really easy to make a claim online when something does go pear-shaped!
How to get there: Athens International Airport is the largest in Greece, with flights from all over Europe and even direct from North America during the busier times of the year. It's possible to get from the airport to the city center of Athens via metro, train, bus or taxi. We personally prefer to pre-book a private airport transfer with Welcome Pickups though, as they're more affordable than the local taxis and you're guaranteed an English-speaking driver who will be waiting for you no matter what time you arrive.
Visa requirements: Many visitors to Athens will not need a visa to enter Greece and stay as a tourist for up to 90 days. If you come from another country in the EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, or the United States then you won't need a visa, but make sure you check your personal visa requirements before booking anything, just to be 100% sure!
Getting around: The main sights of Athens are mostly clustered around the city center, so it's quite possible to see a lot by just walking around. If you want to explore further out or aren't able to walk everywhere, the Ath.ena unified ticket system makes transport on the metro, bus, tram and suburban rail system really easy and affordable.
Power Plugs: Power plug sockets type C and F are used in Athens (and the rest of Greece). These are the ones with 2 round pins and are also compatible with plugs for type E. If you're traveling from within Europe you shouldn't have a problem, but visitors from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia will definitely need to bring a travel adapter with them, at least if you want to be able to charge your electronic devices!
Vaccinations: All travelers to Athens should ensure they are up to date with routine vaccinations for measles, mumps, chickenpox etc, and Covid-19. Depending on where else you might be visiting in Greece, and what you might be doing, you may also need vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B or rabies. Make sure you check the CDC website and speak to your doctor before planning your trip.
Currency: The currency used in Athens is the Euro, just like the rest of Greece. The symbol for the euro is € and $1 US converts to around €1. £1 is worth around €1.17.
Tipping culture: Since Greece as a whole (and Athens as the capital) are popular tourist destinations, tipping is widely expected as a reward for good service. Some restaurants may include a service charge on the bill so you don't need to tip on top of that. Generally, a few euros or ten percent of a bill is a normal amount to tip for good service. You can read more about tipping in Greece here.
Internet access: Free WiFi is available at most hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars in Athens. If you will need a reliable connection for work or want to be able to connect multiple devices, you can also get a portable WiFi device to use during your trip.
Accommodation: For more accommodation options in Athens, head to Booking.com, our favorite place to choose hotels, resorts and more. We often like to be spontaneous when traveling, like if we decide we love somewhere and want to extend our stay. Luckily many of the listings on Booking.com offer free cancellation and their excellent online customer support is also available 24/7 if you need assistance.
Sightseeing and adventure: We always use GetYourGuide to find fun activities, tours and excursions in Athens, as they have so many different options to choose from. No matter your interests you're sure to find something you love! They also have excellent customer service that's available 24/7 and it's really easy to book online through the website.
When to visit: The best times to visit Athens are the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, since summer is super hot and crowded! The weather is still lovely in spring and fall, plus things are a little less expensive. You could also save money by visiting during winter since it still isn't too cold because of that lovely Mediterranean climate.
Gay Map of Athens
We've put all of the places we mentioned in this guide onto a handy map so you can plan your own fabulous gay trip to Athens!
For more inspiration:
- For more partying in the stunning Greek isles, check out our gay guide to fabulous Mykonos
- As well as our gay guide to Crete
- If you're all about the sun and sea, these are the best gay beaches in Europe
- Or these best gay nude beaches in the world for an all-over tan!
- And if you don't want to unpack at every new destination, try these amazing gay cruises