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Athens Gay Travel

Athens gay guide the best hotels, things to do, gay bars, clubs, restaurants & cruising spots.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Athens, Greece

Athens has an enormous gay scene, full of both locals, tourists and other visitors from around the Mediterranean. Gay life thrives, it’s easy to meet new people and the gay bars are awesome.

where to stay Athens gay travelers

Gay men in Greece tend to be more reserved with their sexual orientation. While the country is relatively gay friendly, gay life is still kept largely private.

where to stay Athens gay travelers
greek flag

It’s rare to find two men or two women kissing, or even holding hands, in public. This goes for Athens as well as the Saronic and Ionian Greek Islands.

greek flag

But if you’re at one of the gay bars and clubs in Athens, things are definitely a different story! The LGBT community opens up here in these safe spaces, all of which I’ll mention in this guide.

What People Say About Athens

People tend to have strong opinions about Athens, one way or the other. Many people will immediately tell you that Athens is a dirty, unappealing city. Most likely, that’s because they simply haven’t gone to the right areas!

Psyri neighborhood
Psyri neighborhood
street graffiti

Some parts of Athens are gritty and yes, gross. Especially north of the city center, there are neighborhoods that are much less aesthetically pleasing. Other neighborhoods are stunningly beautiful. Below, I’ll let you know exactly where they are.

street graffiti

Gay Athens: Hotels & Where to Stay

Athens gay travelers tend to choose hotels in a couple different areas.

First are Plaka and Monastiraki, which are a short walk from most major attractions. Most tourists stay in this area because it’s the cute part of Athens and it’s convenient.

Plaka neighborhood
Plaka neighborhood
Gazi nightlife athens

Others prefer to stay in the called Gazi, the Athens gay neighborhood. It’s located just to the west of the city center. Gazi is most popular for enjoying dinner and partying in evening. 

Gazi nightlife athens

If you want to be within walking distance to gay bars, clubs and saunas, then I recommend staying in Gazi.

Gay Hotels in Athens

While there are certainly gay friendly hotels in Athens, you’re not going to find many outwardly gay hotels like in other European cities. 

I’ve seen many other websites advertise “Athens gay hotels” to their readers, which in reality are hotels that have just marked themselves as LGBT-friendly.

gay friendly hotels
gay hotel
gay friendly hotels

The only exception is Alexander Apartments. This is the only true Athens gay hotel. Alexander Apartments is a 3-room hotel connected to the Alexander Men’s Club gay sauna.

Below, I’ll share some fantastic hotels for LGBT travelers.

Athens Hotels I Recommend

NEW Hotel was by far the best Athens hotel I’ve stayed in. The design is fun and modern, rooms include well-kept terraces, and their air conditioning is strong.

rooms at NEW Hotel
NEW hotel Athens
rooms at NEW Hotel

Located on the eastern side of the Plaka neighborhood, it’s easy to walk to the adorable nearby areas for shopping, restaurants and exploring the most beautiful old neighborhoods.

NEW hotel Athens

Fresh Hotel is a more affordable option that still comes with a boutique hotel feel. I stayed here for a night and while it’s not the fanciest place in the world, they have an epic rooftop bar.

Fresh Hotel Athens
Fresh Hotel
Fresh Hotel Athens

O&B Athens Boutique Hotel was the last Athens hotel I stayed with. They’re a budget hotel that offers a lot for the price. The rooms are clean, bathrooms are large, and the service was incredibly friendly.

O&B Hotel’s location in the Psyri neighborhood is unbeatable. It’s only a short drive from the Gazi gay neighborhood, too.

Athens Gay Travel Experiences

First-time travelers will surely start with all the classic Athens attractions. The Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Roman Forum of Athens are all staples.

The Acropolis
The Acropolis
Acropolis

Below are some more recommendations that you may not have known about!

Panathenaic Stadium

I definitely recommend a trip to the Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Olympic games. It’s also the only stadium in the world that is built entirely of Marble.

gay couple visiting Athens
Panathenaic stadium
gay couple visiting Athens

You can grab an Uber (which is extremely cheap in Athens) or take the tram to the Záppeio stop.

Panathenaic stadium

Explore Plaka

One of my favorite parts of my Athens adventure was wandering the beautiful mountainside pathways. You can find these gorgeous, restaurant lined paths along the southwestern end of the Plaka neighborhood.

athens gay traveler
athens gay traveler
Plaka streets

The Plaka Stairs are the most notable spot in this area. You’ll find restaurants perched all along the street, which are most popular for epic sunset views. In my opinion, this area is way better than the rest of Plaka!

Plaka streets

Visit Anafiotika

Most tourists don’t know about Anafiotika—you absolutely cannot miss this spot! Here you’ll get some of the best views of Athens while navigating some beautiful winding staircases.

Anafiotika views
Anafiotika views
Best areas of Athens

I actually found out about Anafiotika from a local Greek guy that offered to take a photo of my on the street in Plaka. Continue walking up the hillside until you reach a lookout point that sits just below the walled mountainside of the Acropolis viewing point.

Best areas of Athens

The Acropolis Museum

The ultra-modern Acropolis Museum is actually pretty well-known, but I still want to mention how amazing it is! About a 15-minute walk from the base of the Acropolis, you can see some of Greece’s most prized artifacts.

visiting Acropolis Museum
Acropolis Museum exhibit
visiting Acropolis Museum

If you’re visiting during summer, the Acropolis museum is an amazingly air conditioned, comfortable place to spend a hot afternoon. Their café space has indoor and outdoor seating with a clear view of the Acropolis.

Acropolis Museum exhibit

Don’t miss the ancient ruin excavation area underneath the museum! There’s a separate entrance around the side of the building.

Athens Gay Sailing Trips

Greece’s Saronic Islands are easy to get to from Athens. Consider joining a group of Athens gay travelers for an epic gay sailing trip with Pride Sailing Holidays.

Athens gay sailing

I did one of these 7-day trips in August 2021 and had the time of my life. I highly recommend!

Athens gay sailing
athens catamaran tour

If you’re only looking for a sailing day trip, consider one of these 5-hour catamaran tours of Athens Riviera.

athens catamaran tour

The main port area in Athens is Piraeus Harbour, about a 25-minute drive from the city center. So, it’s easy to get to and from any sailing or cruise expeditions. Some years, Atlantis cruise ships will dock here.

Restaurants in Athens

Brunch at the fabulously pink-themed ELLYZ Athens is a neighborhood favorite. Fashionable tourists and local Greeks are both always here.

ELLYZ Athens

ELLYZ is an all-day brunch restaurant and cocktail bar through the evening. The restaurant and their food are also incredibly instagrammable!

gay friendly restaurant
ELLYZ Athens
gay friendly restaurant

Don’t miss a sunset dinner at one of the picturesque restaurants along the mountainside steps of Plaka. Elaia is a gorgeous rooftop restaurant with beautiful views. You can also browse a bunch of other restaurants along the cobblestone stairways nearby.

Μπιρμπίλω

While you’re exploring the Kolonaki neighborhood, stop at Μπιρμπίλω (Mpirmpilo) for lunch. Food here is some of the best quality I’ve eaten in Athens. The salads, seafood and local wine are superb.

Lunch restaurants Athens
Lunch restaurants Athens
Μπιρμπίλω

Dialogos (Διάλογος) was a delicious seafood restaurant in the convenient and popular area of Monastiraki. The service was fast and ordering is simple. 

Dialogos restaurant food

Dialogos (as well as the many other nearby restaurants) are quite well-known to tourists, so it’s an easy option for first-timers to Athens that want good food!

The Place Athens
Dialogos restaurant food

I really loved The Place, located in Gazi. The Place is perfect for dinner/drinks before heading to gay bars. I loved their natural, almost tropical-feeling back area.

The Place Athens

An Athens gay local showed me The Place, which is one of his favorites. You’ll likely run into other Athens gay travelers or locals here since it’s so close to the gay bars.

Athens Gay Bars

Gay nightlife in Athens is fantastic. LGBT travelers love the energetic bars and clubs, which are located in the Gazi gay area. 

gay club selfie

In Gazi, you’ll hear clubs blaring music all around and people clamoring in the streets. The center of all nightlife is around the Kerameikos Metro stop.

Here are the best Athens gay bars worth a visit.

Shamone Club

Shamone is the absolutely the best gay bar in Athens. If you’re short on time and trying to choose between gay venues, you should pick Shamone. They’re located in the Gazi gay neighborhood.

Shamone gay bar
Shamone gay bar
Shamone Club Athens

They have both an indoor and outdoor spaces. Indoors there’s a bunch of dancing, with much more of a club feel. I loved the music, which was a mix of the most popular international hits mixed by a live DJ.

Shamone Club Athens

Even during the pandemic, Shamone was pretty packed. The club requires proof of full vaccination, so make sure to have your ID and picture of documentation.

Sodade2

Sodade2 is a smaller gay bar in Athens, also in the Gazi gay area. I’d say it’s the next best choice of gay nightlife spots after Shamone.

Sodade2 gay bar

They play some pretty loud music and have some space for dancing (although during the pandemic they may switch to tables). I enjoyed the colorful, dim lighting.

Sodade2 gay bar
gay bars in Athens
gay bars in Athens

The tricky thing about Sodade2 is that it’s difficult to tell how busy the club is from the street. The entrance is a small vestibule with a double door so you can’t easily see inside. It’s best to ask around outside or on your preferred gay dating app.

S-Cape

S-Cape is third among the trio of top Athens gay bars. It’s especially popular among younger guys. It’s a two-level club with a fun pedestal cage in the middle of the dance floor.

s-cape gay bar

Drinks are cheap and the music tends to be more on the European side. Expect to pay a small cover at the door, which should include a free drink.

More Athens Gay Bars

Del Sol Café is primarily a gay friendly café, but in the evening, it definitely has a relaxed gay bar vibe. It’s the perfect place to sit down for cocktails before heading to the other bars.

Del Sol Cafe
Del Sol Cafe
gay club selfie

Through the evening, you’ll hear all the gay-favorite songs playing at Del Sol Café. Lots of guys sit here to people watch since the outdoor patio is directly in front of the Kerameikos Metro stop area.

The go-to Lesbian bar in Athens is called Noiz Club. I didn’t visit, but I’d love to know what you think of it. The interior looks beautiful!

Gay Cruising in Athens

There are two popular Athens gay saunas, both located in the Gazi gay area.

Alexander Sauna

Alexander Sauna is most popular gay cruising spot in Athens. This place is huge, including a full bar, garden lounge, wet and dry saunas, private cabins and a labyrinth area.

Alexander Athens gay sauna
Alexander Athens gay sauna
gay cruising athens

They offer all the essentials including towels, lockers, flip flops and showers. Busiest hours are typically from 10 PM to 1 AM, so don’t be too late!

gay cruising athens

Attraxx

Attraxx is another gay cruising venue. If you’re just looking for a cruising experience instead of a sauna, then check this spot out. Attraxx has a bunch of individual dark rooms and movie areas.

After they open at 12 PM, you can find guys here all afternoon! Attraxx gets steadily busier as the day progresses, and you can even expect a bit of a crowd after 4 PM.

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Travel Tips

Greet everyone with a “yasas” in the morning, which is the informal way to say hello! You’ll hear this everywhere. Here are a few other useful Greek phrases to use as well.

Need to do some laundry while in Athens? Head to Easywash, a self-service laundromat that’s super cheap.

guide to visiting Athens

Don’t use EuroNet ATM machines for cash. They charge absurd fees by offering poor exchange rates and adding a commission markup. Instead, go to an iBank ATM or into the Bank of Greece.

guide to visiting Athens

Taxis from Athens Airport

Grabbing an Athens airport taxi is very easy. The rate to go into central Athens is fixed, so you won’t need to stress about overpaying.

Note that the nighttime rate (midnight to 5AM) is decently higher. Make sure to bring Euros as well. Taxis in Athens do not accept credit cards.

Athens airport taxi
street sign for acropolis
Athens airport taxi

Taxis show up constantly at Athens airport too, so even if there’s a long line, it will move quickly. The drive into the city center isn’t quick though. Without traffic it takes roughly 40 minutes.

street sign for acropolis

Uber in Athens

Once you’re in central Athens, you can use your Uber app to request local taxis, a service called Uber Taxi

To clarify what you made read elsewhere online, Uber is not banned in Athens; instead, Uber drivers must be official taxis.

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