The cradle of modern civilization, Athens is a fascinating place. The recorded history of this city spans around 3,400 years, but the area has been continuously inhabited for at least 7,000 years, and there's much more than just the Parthenon, the temple to Athena high above the city, to enchant you here. This is a city where nearly every time someone digs in the ground, another antiquity is unearthed. Work on new subway lines has often had to be stopped, as ruins and artifacts of ancient civilizations are discovered along the way.
The gay scene here is growing every year. Makrigianni and Kolonaki have been the traditional gay neighborhoods, but Gazi (or Gkazi) has become very trendy lately. It's a good place to start out, with gay-friendly cafes and restaurants along with bars and nightclubs all around, and all within walking distance of one another. Places open, close, or change names quite frequently in Athens, so most international guides are quickly out of date --but in this neighborhood just follow your gaydar and the local flyers, and one place will lead to the next.
We list twenty or so bar/clubs, with some confidence, on our maps & listings page, along with a sampling of restaurants, hotels and the main museums - all with locations and website links. In a move that may herald future trends, the big dance club S-Cape recently moved, after seven years in Gazi, south to Glyfada by the coast. Athens Pride takes place early each June.
Athens International Airport has great connections to everywhere in the world. The subway, Metro Line 3, is the best way to get into the city, and 24-hour buses and taxis are also available. For other domestic detinations, Aegean Airlines makes the short hops to Heraklion, Thessaloniki, and many of the Aegean Islands.
Trainose, the national rail service, connects Athens with Pelopponese from the south, and from the north with Thessaloniki and other northern Greek cities. From there find connections to Istanbul, or other European cities to the northwest.
Piraeus, the Port of Athens, is just over an hour on the Airport-Piraeus Express bus (X96), and there is Metro rail transport from Monastiraki station in central Athens. From the port several ferry or hydrofoil services travel non-stop to the island of Mykonos, in 3-5 hours, with great views and pretty sunsets en route across the Aegean. Other islands are also served from here. The slower boats have larger decks, and restaurants. See GoFerry for information and bookings.
Metro subway trains are the quickest, easiest way to get around the city and also to the port at Piraeus for ferries to the islands. See GoFerry.gr for information and bookings. One "integrated" ticket allows travel for 90 minutes on any metro or suburban train, tram, trolley or bus - except the airport lines. There are also one, three, or seven-day passes at a discount. Automatic ticket machines at the airport metro station sell them. Taxis are everywhere, but tend to be slow and expensive.
English is widely spoken here, especially in the gay scene, and tourist areas, and signs, menus and websites are often in both languages. German and French are also used in tourist areas.
What to do
You’ll want to set aside plenty of time for visiting the Parthenon and the other attractions near the Acropolis. The New Acropolis Museum hold many original archeological treasures, and has stunning architecture as well.
For at-your-leisure walking tours with an iPod Audio Guide, see Pocket Tours. Language options include English, French, Greek and Italian.
Currency and Money
Greece is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. Check with your home bank before departure for possible ATM savings with local partner banks. Chip/pin credit cards are also handy here, as in most parts of Europe, for machine purchases such as public transport tickets.
Media and resources
Deon is the national gay publication, with information and maps in their annual guide for all of gay Greece, including Athens, in both Greek and English. Their website GayGreece.gr, with daily events, business listings and news, is updated weekly.
EOK, the Greek National Gay and Lesbian Organization also has information about the local community on their website.
See our maps & listings pages for listings of gay and gay-friendly businesses in Athens.
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