Though a little more subtle and less public than places like Mykonos, the gay scene is still very much alive and well in Athens and we’ve put together this Gay Athens Guide to help you make the most of your visit.
The movement towards widespread social acceptance of the gay and lesbian community has been somewhat slower in Greece than in many Western countries. Greece still holds onto religious traditional values that exclude the realities of the gay community.
But as society moves forward here, the movement has grown and so has the normalization. A community that used to live in the shadows now has entire neighbourhoods that cater to making them feel at home, and a wealth of gay-friendly bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and cafés.
Here are some of our best picks for hotspots in Athens that will always make you feel seen and warmly welcomed!
Gay friendly accommodation in Athens
If you are visiting Athens for the first time as an LGBTQIA2S+ member and hesitating on where to stay, we’ve got you covered. These hotels and gay-friendly locations are perfect to diffuse any worries about being an LGBTQIA2S+ member traveling abroad, and worried about safety and acceptance.
The Gazi Area, formerly an industrial area housing a gasworks plant for the production of flammable gas, has become gentrified in recent decades. Today, it is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, and now, orientations, having become an unofficial gay district.
It’s become synonymous with entertainment and nightlife, thanks to a medley of nightclubs, restaurants, shops, restaurants, and gay bars. This is a great place to visit, and if you’re going out on any kind of pub crawl, you’ll probably end up in this area. It’s also got a smattering of gay-friendly hotels.
Gay-friendly Hotels In and Around Gazi
A For Athens can be found on almost every list of the best gay-friendly hotels in Athens. It lies just outside of Gazi, about a 20-minute walk away, but still very centrally located close to major metro stops and with incredible views of the Acropolis. The hotel has a welcoming interior, combining elements of classical Greek design with modern and earthy accents.
All rooms boast creature comforts like rainfall showers (with space for two), plush beds, and even a private terrace hot tub and in-room hammam if you upgrade to the Red or Blue Suite. But the hotel’s hands-down highlight? Definitely the rooftop bar for an evening drink with one of the most sought after views in Athens.
O&B Boutique Hotel is extremely close to the Gazi neighbourhood (only ten minutes away on foot), a bonus if you think you’ll be spending a lot of time there. This boutique hotel definitely attracts a younger crowd eager to hit the nightclub scene, so you’re sure to make a lot of friends if you’re game for going out.
Hotel guests are greeted with a mezze platter and a drink (something you’ll probably appreciate after the journey to get here), and there is a lounge and bar area just off of the check-in lobby. You can also request a room with a view, where you can see the magnificent Acropolis from your window.
Hotel Fresh is a twenty-minute walk from the Gazi district. This is a really popular choice for LGBTQIA2S+ travellers, especially because of its trendy and fun amenities; the hotel offers morning yoga, a gym facility, a sauna, rental bikes and suggested route maps. You can even book couples massages! But the best place to be in the entire hotel is definitely the rooftop: not only is there a fantastic bar with jaw-dropping views of the city, there’s also a rooftop pool where you can have a quick swim alongside your evening drink.
If you want all the perks of a gay-friendly hotel but with a side of luxury, Hotel King George is the one. Located just a six-minute metro ride away from the Gazi area, the hotel sits right beside Syntagma Square in central Athens.
This is a sumptuously decorated hotel with an old-Hollywood vibe, which is fitting as it once hosted stars like Marilyn Monroe. The hotel offers a wealth of services, including private personal shopping, and the amenities include a luxurious underground spa, access to the indoor pool of the hotel next door, and a high-class in-house restaurant.
NEW Hotel is perfect for the laid-back traveller who’s just after a good time. The eclectic décor reflects this personality, with much of the art pieces and in-room design being used from found materials that have been transformed into art pieces. Gazi is also five minutes away by metro, so you’re not far from the action.
The hotel has a rooftop bar and restaurant and a well-equipped gym facility. Morning breakfast spreads are full of fresh foods and fruit to fuel your day, whether you’re planning to get out and explore the city or step into the hotel’s renowned spa for a little pamper session.
Gay-friendly Hotels in other parts of Athens
The Margi is a stunning hotel in one of Athens’ most upscale seaside communities. It’s less than a half-hour from the city centre but provides all the relaxation and comfort from being just out of reach from the bustle of the city. If you’re planning to hit up any beaches, this is a great spot to stay!
The hotel has a beautiful pool, a poolside bar, and a pool-adjacent spa, three things you can do in that exact order for maximum relaxation. Waterfall showers, plush beds, and gorgeous views make this a great spot to stay.
Tip: book room 405 if you want dual views of the pool and the ocean. Or, if you really want to splurge, book the private, 2,000-square-foot villa that overlooks the Aegean Sea. It has a private terrace with an outdoor Jacuzzi, an elegant living room, and a fully equipped kitchen if you feel like whipping up dinner yourself.
AthensWas Design Hotel is located in Athens’ Plaka neighbourhood, about a fifteen-minute metro ride away from Gazi. This beautiful serene hotel is the perfect gay couple getaway if you’d rather stay somewhere more private and romantic, rather than somewhere busy and full of partying travellers. But, it’s still close to all the nightclubs and gay-friendly spots so if you do feel like a little excitement, you don’t have far to go.
The hotel is situated in the periphery of the Acropolis complex and combined with the quieter neighbourhood you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to ancient times. Hotel décor is modern and sleek, but warmly welcoming. Unlike many other hotels, there are fewer amenities available to guests (there is no pool and no spa), but things like the incredible breakfast and standout guest service make up for this.
The real knockout part of AthensWas, though, are the incredible rooms: interior modern wood panelling, dark coloured accents, rich drapes, and black marble bathrooms.
Further reading :
Things to see and do in Athens
Aside from the obvious Acropolis & Parthenon and the wonderful Acropolis Museum there are many other things to do in Athens that the gay community like to do including;
- The Technopolis – a performance venue & history museum in the heart of Gazi
- Big Olive Walks “Tales of Same Sex Love” – a walking tour of Greece’s history of gay love
- Vouliagmeni Beach – a gay-friendly beach 35 minutes outside the city
- Alexander Sauna – a gay sauna in the heart of Gazi
Athens Pride Week
Normally held during the first week of June every year, Athens Pride Week is one of the highlights of the summer in Greece’s capital city.
It’s not only a week-long amalgamation of parties, events, and dazzling performances but an important week for the LGBTQIA2S+ community, in a country where traditional religious values made it hard for this critical social movement of acceptance to gain any real traction for a long time.
The very first Athens Pride Week took place in 2005, with around 500 attendees. Today, the celebration draws around 40,000 people, an incredible jump from just 16 years ago and showing how far Greece has come in its acceptance and support of this community.
This is an amazing week-long event that not only has a heavy emphasis on socialization and connection but on human rights and health initiatives.
There are always health organizations offering resources and free on-site HIV and STI testing. Many local politicians and public figures also attend, including the mayor, so you can be sure that this is one big party with some very prominent support.
Dining out in Athens
Athens has a wealth of popular restaurants, nightclubs, and bars frequented by the gay community.
Whether you’re looking for a taste of the city’s best cuisine, a cocktail menu like you’ve never seen before, or you just want to meet and mingle with like-minded people from all over the world (or all of the above), there will definitely be something for you on this list.
Rooster Cafe is great for typical Greek fare in a gay-friendly restaurant. As the name suggests, they specialize in chicken-based dishes and they are open during the day which is a nice change of pace for LGBTQIA2S+ folk who aren’t into burning the midnight oil.
Food is served in a garden-like setting, with great service and delicious food. The portions are generous and will often require a takeaway dish that staff are more than happy to provide. The drinks are popular for good reason: cold, refreshing, and flavourful.
Prosopa is an amazing gay-friendly restaurant with some pretty mouthwatering food. Most of their dishes are made with fresh ingredients and meats sourced locally, including seafood, meat, and produce. The food combines Greek cuisine with Western elements, such as tenderloin with espresso and figs, of all things!
Their website shows that they love good wine, and offer an extensive wine list. This is a popular gay haunt, being located in the Gazi area.
Mount Lycabettus has the best views in town with sweeping views over the city, The Acropolis and out to sea and the islands. You can access it by catching a Fenicular tram or driving and the sunsets are incredible. Have dinner and drinks at Orizontes Restaurant for a truly romantic and unforgettable evening.
If it’s a traditional Greek Taverna you are looking for then you are spoilt for choice. We think Lithos Tavern has the best Moussaka in town while Nikitas is our favourite spot in Psyri for a quick lunch. In Gazi you can’t go wrong at Nezos or Alexandras while Tres Laloun is great for Vegans and Privilege is perfect for a romantic dinner with amazing views.
The Athens Rooster
Athens Gay Bars
Sodade2 might be one of Athens’ most famous gay nightclubs. Being one of the most popular club choices, weekends get jam-packed and there is almost always a long queue, but that only adds to the excitement and it’s worth it once you get inside. There are two dance floors, each playing different music: one for contemporary pop hits, and the other featuring house music.
Koukles Club is a must-visit; run by trans women, it’s become a symbol in the city for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. It’s particularly famous for its live shows, where they run nightly cabaret and drag shows. It’s located in the Koukaki neighbourhood of Athens, only a short metro ride from Gazi (or a half-hour walk, if you are so inclined).
BEqueer is one of Athens premier Queer clubs and have special themed shows and events including live bands, Halloweem events and Drag Shows. Open on Friday and Saturdays until 6am.
MOE Club is a great spot to unwind after the afterparty; open until six am, this is the place to go when all the other clubs have closed and you’re not done with your night. They play live music with DJs, do regular theme nights, and play a lot of Greek hits. Moe is located in the heart of the Gazi gay village.
Enodia Bar & Café is a more casual gay-friendly bar, playing more Greek music than Western hits. They also have an outdoor back terrace that’s open in the daytime during the summer months, so this is a spot you can enjoy while you’re exploring the city during the day, or you can come experience the fun at night. It’s quieter than your average music-thumping club, more of a sit-down-with-a-drink kind of spot.
The TRAP is both a café and music bar located down an alley off of Syntagma Square in central Athens. Though it’s only been open for a few years, it is both straight and gay friendly and has already amassed a loyal LGBTQIA2S+ following. Stepping inside is like jumping back in time; the decor is classy and vintage-feeling and the cocktail menu is truly extensive.
Where to after Athens
Don’t discount the mainland though! The Peloponnese and Meteora are two of the most incredible places you can visit on the planet. Grab a car and explore at your own pace – driving in Greece is easy once you are out of Athens and there are thousands of hidden gems to explore.