GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Athens

27 Sep, 2018
In this article you can find out why and when to visit Greece and Athens, how friendly is this city for LGBT persons, where to go for gay-friendly dinner options, bars, clubs and other venues, what are the most important LGBT events of the year not to be missed; how to meet locals; and other interesting and important practical details.

About Greece and Athens

The Greek state is in the extreme southeast of Europe, in the south of the Balkan Peninsula. It is located between the Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It borders with Albania in the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria in the north and Turkey on the north-east. With an area of less than 132,000 km², it is the largest state in the Balkan Peninsula.
Greece is a cradle of modern "Western civilization" spreading from Europe, and today dictates the world order. Traces of "written civilizations" that started in Mesopotamia, across Egypt and Crete, arrived in Greece, where they fell to fertile ground.
We owe old Greeks the foundations of most of the relevant sciences that human society has brought to the present stage of development. In their colonies, the Greeks taught other peoples of the Old World of Science and Art. In the long period of Helenic culture whose foundation was set by Alexander the Great, the Greek way of life organization was maintained until Roman domination. The world's important archaeological sites dispersed throughout this state lead us into the world of myths and legends that helped the ancient Greeks overcome the boundary of scientifically inaccessible secrets of this world. Myths about Greek gods and heroes today inspire the artists of the world and an excellent opportunity to trace modern Western concept of the world at localities where mythical and historical events were played.
Athens is the capital. It can be said that Athens is at the same time a classic, marble cradle of Western civilization and a contemporary concrete traffic light. It combines different styles and influences - classical, Hellenistic, Byzantine, Ottoman and neoclassical. Archaeological finds and Byzantine churches are all over the city, though in terms of one of the several hills, the whitewashed, harmonious, and, fortunately, disrupted architecture prevails. The city was named after the war goddess of wisdom and philosophy, which is also the goddess of weaving and the patron of the city.
The main sights in the city center are easy to walk on foot. Tourism is certainly the most attractive Plaka, the oldest part of Athens, located below the Acropolis. The streets of Vijuglje are full of souvenir shops and taverns.

LGBT situation

The Greek case of discrimination against same-sex couples who came to the European Court of Human Rights has won a big victory for the LGBT community across Europe. The Court has sent a clear message: All member states of the Council of Europe must prohibit any form of discrimination against homosexual persons.
The court ruled that Greece failed to deliver enough convincing evidence of exclusion of same-sex couples from the law. The Greek Government's argument that the main aim of the law on extramarital communities to protect children of unmarried parents has not proved to be sufficiently convincing because the real purpose of the law is to recognize the new form of family - that is, extraditable by the Court.
That case brought a historical moment to Greece. In 2015 Greek parliament went through with same-sex partnership act, regulating same-sex registration. Yet, it is not giving the same rights to same-sex partners as are guarantied through a marriage between a man and a woman. In 2005, Greece went through to make an anti-discrimation law inclusive for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Queer culture is alive in Athens. Go to neighbourhood Gazi, or to Thessalonici and ofcourse, the islands. Mykonos is known worldwide for its gay scene. Lezbos is worldly known for its lesbian summer gatherings, and also for Sapho. Sapho is a legendary poet, potential lesbian who lived in the iceland exclusively for women. There are four pride parades annually held, in Athens, Thessalonici, Patras and Heraklion, the capital of the island of Crete.
According to ILGA Europe’s latest research on the state of LGBT rights around EU area, Greece has climbed to the 19th place, which is a very big upgrade when it comes to this country. According to Greek history, and the history of male decadence, these rights should have been gained long before. It is left to be seen whether Greek government will proceed with the law that would allow same-sex partners to have kids.
When it comes to public opinion, many LGBT’s are still in the closet because the patriarchy and religious attitudes are still publicly restrictive on LGBT visibility.

Where to stay:

King George A Luxury Collection Hotel - A very luxurious LGBT friendly hotel with spa, pool and sauna - 3 Vasileos Georgiou A Street, Syntagma

A for Athens - If you want to have a view of the magnificent Acropolis, this is your place. -2-4 Miaouli Street, Psyri.

LGBT guided tours:

DeTours Travel - In Athens, you can book a gay tour.
Oscar Wilde gay tours

LGBT venues:

Rooster Cafe- Every day chill out place to grab a coffee or party in the evening.
Cafe Del Sol - Cafe in the famous gay neigbourhood Gazi.

Must see:

Parthenon - More than any other monument, the Parthenon epitomises the glory of Ancient Greece. Meaning 'virgin's apartment', it's dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the goddess embodying the power and prestige of the city.

Acropolis - The Acropolis is the most important ancient site in the Western world. Crowned by the Parthenon, it stands sentinel over Athens, visible from almost everywhere within the city.

Byzantine & Christian Museum - This outstanding museum does not look like much at first, but its exhibition halls lead one to the next in an expansive underground maze of glimmering gold and mosaics.

Benaki Museum of Greek Culture - Antonis Benakis, a politician's son born in Alexandria, Egypt, in the late 19th century, endowed what is perhaps the finest museum in Greece. Its three floors showcase impeccable treasures from the Bronze Age.

Temple of Olympian Zeus - A can't-miss on two counts: it's a marvellous temple, the largest in Greece, and it's smack in the centre of Athens.