Athens Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Athens gay guide to hotels, things to do, gay bars, clubs, restaurants, saunas & cruising.
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 here. It’s easy to meet new people, especially in Athens’ energetic gay bars. I even met another gay traveler right on the steps of the Acropolis!
Greece is generally considered to be gay-friendly, and Athens even more so. But you might be surprised to learn that local gay Greeks tend to be private with their sexual orientation outside of the LGBT community.
While people in Greece have become increasingly accepting of LGBT people in recent years, older generations are still quite conservative.
It’s rare to find same-sex couples kissing, or even holding hands, in public. This goes for Athens as well as the Saronic and Ionian Greek Islands.
Gay tourists and ex-pats in Athens rarely encounter discrimination, though. Especially out in the gay neighborhood, the LGBT community shines. Most gay locals aren’t afraid to visit the safe spaces of Athens’ awesome gay bars, which I’ll cover later in this guide.
General Opinions About Athens
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!
Some parts of Athens are gritty and yes, gross. Especially north of the city center, there are neighborhoods that are much less aesthetically pleasing. But other neighborhoods are stunningly beautiful. In the sections below, I’ll tell you exactly where they are.
Gay Athens: Hotels & Where to Stay
Gay travelers tend to favor hotels in a few different areas of Athens. Plaka and Monastiraki are the most popular neighborhoods overall.
Hotels in Plaka are great for cozy boutique vibes, while hotels in Monastiraki offer the most central location you can get.
Gazi is the Athens gay neighborhood, naturally making hotels in Gazi a popular choice for LGBT travelers. The neighborhood is located to the west of Athens’ city center. It’s packed with local restaurants and has a ton of nightlife.
Apartment rentals in Gazi are also great, not to mention affordable. They tend to be modern, many with perks like terraces and views of the Acropolis.
If you want to be within walking distance of gay bars, clubs, and saunas, then I recommend staying in Gazi!
There are certainly gay-friendly hotels in Athens, which I’ll mention below. However, you should know that Athens doesn’t have many outwardly gay hotels like other European cities.
You may have seen other websites advertise Athens gay hotels, but these are simply hotels that have marked themselves as LGBT-friendly.
Alexander Apartments Gay Hotel
Alexander Apartments is the only true Athens gay hotel. It’s worth mentioning, but it’s they only have three apartment units.
The hotel is connected to the Alexander Men’s Club gay sauna, so anyone who is visiting Athens mainly for cruising might find Alexander Apartments to be ideal!
If you want more of a traditional hotel experience, then you’ll be better off with one of the gay-friendly hotels below.
NEW Hotel was by far the best Athens hotel I’ve stayed in. The design is fun and modern, the rooms include well-kept terraces, and their air conditioning is strong.
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.
Hotel Fresh 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.
O&B Athens Boutique Hotel
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, the 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.
More Athens Hotels I Recommend
Here are a few other fantastic hotels for gay travelers in Athens that are highly rated and located in the most popular neighborhoods of the city.
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.
Below are some more recommendations that you may not have known about!
The Panathenaic Stadium was the site of the first modern Olympic games. I highly recommend a visit! It’s also the only stadium in the world that is built entirely of Marble.
Experience the gorgeous, restaurant-lined paths along the southwestern end of the Plaka neighborhood. One of the best parts of my Athens adventure was wandering these beautiful mountainside pathways.
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!
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.
I found out about Anafiotika from a local Greek guy that offered to take a photo of me 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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve done several of these 7-day trips, one of which was from Athens in August 2021. These trips are always life-changing and I truly have the time of my life. I highly recommend joining one!
If you’re only looking for a sailing day trip, consider one of these 5-hour catamaran tours of the Athens Riviera.
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 expedition. 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 is an all-day brunch restaurant and cocktail bar through the evening. The restaurant and their food are also incredibly instagrammable!
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.
Stop at Μπιρμπίλω (Mpirmpilo) for lunch while exploring the Kolonaki neighborhood. The food here is some of the best quality I’ve eaten in Athens. The salads, seafood, and local wine are superb.
Dialogos (Διάλογος) was a delicious seafood restaurant in the convenient and popular area of Monastiraki. The service was fast and ordering is simple.
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!
I really loved The Place, a restaurant located in Athens’ Gazi neighborhood. The Place is perfect for dinner/drinks before heading to gay bars.
Their tropical-feeling back area is trendy and fun. 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 & Clubs
Athens has some pretty awesome, energetic gay bars. They were so much fun! Most of the gay bars are located in the gay area of Gazi.
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 and clubs to visit.
Shamone is absolutely the best gay bar in Athens. I loved the music here, which was a mix of the most popular international hits mixed by a live DJ. With a bit of a club feel, Shamone is an awesome place to dance.
During the warmer months, everyone takes advantage of Shamone’s large outdoor bar and seating area. Plenty of streetside tables make for a great place to meet new people.
Sodade2 Gay Bar
Sodade2 is a smaller gay bar in Athens, also in Gazi. I’d say it’s the next best choice of gay nightlife spots after Shamone.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Noiz Club is the go-to Lesbian bar in Athens. I didn’t visit, but I’d love to know what you think of it. The interior looks beautiful!
Athens Gay Saunas & Cruising
Alexander Sauna is the most popular gay cruising spot in Athens, located in the Gazi gay area. This place is huge, including a full bar, garden lounge, wet and dry saunas, private cabins, and a labyrinth area.
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!
Attraxx Gay Cruising
Attraxx is another gay cruising venue, ideal if you’re just looking for a cruising experience rather than a sauna. They have 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.
Athens Travel Tips
The Typical Morning Greeting
Greet everyone with a “yasas” in the morning, which is the informal way to say hello. You’ll hear this everywhere. And once you start listening for it, I bet you won’t be able to stop!
Need a Laundromat?
Especially while enduring the brutal summer temperatures in Athens, you might need to wash your clothes sooner than you think. If you need to do some laundry, head to Easywash, a self-service laundromat that’s super cheap.
Avoid EuroNet ATMs
Avoid EuroNet ATMs for cash at all costs. They charge absurd fees by offering poor exchange rates and charging you an additional commission. It’ll be difficult because these ATMs are everywhere and in all the most convenient locations.
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 5 AM) is decently higher. Make sure to bring Euros as well. Taxis in Athens do not accept credit cards.
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.
Using 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.
Get Airport Lounge Access
Flying out of Athens International? Access to an airport lounge will make the experience much more enjoyable. The terminal can be pretty chaotic with summer tourists!
Priority Pass offers 10% off annual memberships, which you can use in so many airports worldwide. I have a membership and it’s more than worth it if you take a few international trips yearly.