Athens

Overview

Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece , dominates the Attica periphery, as one of the world´s oldest cities, its recorded history spans at least 5,000 years.


Greece is the birth place of homosexuality - at least recorded - and this can be seen in the famous philosopher's texts - The History of Sexuality, by Foucault. His texts are very much discussed today and imagery of homosexuality in the country is extremely prevelant.

Athens is a wealth of history with many buildings standing for nearly 3000 years. It is a perfect destination for a long weekend and offers diversity in architecture, food, entertainment and people. The locals are incredibly friendly, more often than not approaching confused tourists to give you a helping hand, striking up conversation in the street or offering advice on your visit. Most Greeks speak English and can easily point you in the right direction.

Athens is an easy city to navigate and a full exploration can be achieved in just a few days - if you have the stamina. A ticket can be purchased for all the sites worth visiting for €12, this will give you access to six ancient points of interest. There are also quite a few museums that are from free, to €3, €10 for entry. Although Britain holds most of the valuable antiguities.

Greek food is fresh and plentiful. You'll behard pushed to find somewhere that doesn't feed you well. Just one err of cautfion - check the prices. There are so any restaurants so you'll have no shortage but some places are over priced. The only real disappointing aspect is the price of alcohol - it's far from cheap, expect to pay €4 - 7 for a bottle of beer and €8 - 12 for a spirit/mixer/cocktail. Bottles of wine are anything €18+ but some can be found on the rare occassion for €12.

 

The best place to go for nightlife is Gazi - distinquished by three chimney's lit in red lighting. This is packed with bars and clubs. The entertainment in the evening doesn't get started until around 11pm and gets busy about 1am - it continues until at least 5am. Athens by day appears quiet but it certainly changes by night.

 

Athens is perfect for a romantic break but less so for the sexually driven singleton. It doesn't really scream sex - which is a bit absurd considering Greek's history. We found there to be lack of overtley or clearly gay men and women and there was certainly a lack of couples. Also when it came to the gay bars there are very fee, those we did find are listed here with photos. The gay map - known as the LGBT Map in Athens, was a bit sparse and showed few  areas to visit but they are sprinkled across the city and not one area. Furthermore many were referred to as gay-friendly which on a visit really were not that gay after all. This should not deter your visit.

Culture

Even today gay life in Athens is still quite hidden. Many of the bars are located in darkened alleyways and some of them are using shut gates that require you to be screened before being admitted.Most of the gay men are going to the clubs/ bars etc way after midnight because they try to ensure that their anonymity will remain intact. Before going home you should make a trip by bus or cab to Limanakia Voulagmenis, the rocky part of Varkiza-Limanakia Be(just down from the foostd), which is exclusively gay and nude.

Equality

While history of homosexuality is engrained in their culture the Greek's are covert about their sexuality, presumably due to modern Orthodox ways. The LGBT community only in 2009 celebrates its 5th pride festival faced with the challenge of encouraging local gay people to take pride andhave confidence in their sexuality.

The city in 2009 also celebrates its 3rd International gay and lesbian film festival.

Homosexuality is completely legal in Greece and perhaps more accepted in Athens than eslewhere in the country, but do expect the attitudes to be different. All the gay bars seemed hidden behind closed doors and were not really out in the open, and those that were people seemed to treat each other  as distant friends - very different to the straight bars just round the corner in Gazi.

Travel Information

You can fly in to the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”


The best way to get around is by foot and subway. The transport system costs €3 a day.

The bus journey from the airport to the city centre (Syntagma) takes about an hour and costs €3.20.

When arriving at theairport, collect a map from the tourist office (just outside the Arrivals gate), also there are great get-around guieds in the hotels - they will keep you on course.