Ancient Athenians have been credited with two very important inventions: democracy and homosexuality. While only the first is true, I never rush to correct people. Having traveled a lot I’ve heard a number of credible and incredible questions on Athens, like, “Does everybody wear togas?” or “Are donkeys the main method of transportation in Athens?” to “Do you have electricity?” Apart from these wildly inaccurate assumptions, the most common misconception about Athens and Greece in general is that we have a tropical climate. Let me get this straight once and for all – we have seasons, and yes we have snow sometimes!
The ugly and the beautiful
Athens as a city is very diverse, but as a whole it’s not very pretty. Wild property development in the 50-60-70s gives the city a chaotic feel, with ugly multistoried buildings in many pockets. The good news is that the historical centre has escaped that phenomenon. For archeology enthusiasts Athens is a must. A visit to the historical centre gives you the opportunity to visit the actual sites where people like Socrates frequented and talked to people. ‘Must sees’ are the Acropolis, the new Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, and the Archaeological Museum.
Plaka is the area under the Acropolis Hill towards the city centre, an area filled with Neoclassical buildings whose architecture is protected by law. As the area is close to the sites, it is full of tourist shops and restaurants, to avoid tourist traps, look out for places where a lot of locals are eating. Next to Plaka you will find Monastiraki. Still under the shadow of the Acropolis, you will find many interesting buildings and Athens’s Flea Market (on Sundays). It’s an outdoors flea market with many antique sellers.
Right next to the Monastiraki area you’ll find the newest gay centre which is around the Square of Agia Eirini. There are two places for gay boys on this square: Rooster Café, which in my opinion is where the sexiest men and boys of Athens hang out. This is the place to be seen during the day and they also have a good food menu. Magaze on the other side of the square is another hotspot for coffee. A few blocks down you will find the Eagle Bar (12 Agias Theklas), a great place if you’re a fan of meatier and hairier men. Eagle Bar now also houses Zipper, a sex-shop with private cabins and cruising. In this general area you will also find Flex Sauna (6 Polikleitou Street), which is Athens’s second largest sauna.
Gazi Gay Village
One stop down from Monastiraki on the Athens Metro is Keramikos. Known as Gazi, this is the biggest gay village of Athens. Gazi is a vibrant neighbourhood full of bars, cafes and restaurants. Sodade 2 (10 Triptolemou), (yes I know it sounds like a sequel), is the bar that started it all, always popular with Athenian boys. Newest addition in the street is Valentino Boys Club (14 Triptolemou) with themed nights and regular drag shows. Further down is Fou Club (8 Keleou) for dancing with bears.
Sex and cruising
For cruising there are three main choices: The Alexander Sauna (134 Meg. Alexandrou) is multifloored, clean and the biggest sauna. There’s also Attraxx Cruising Point (36 Iakxou). Think of this as a dry sauna, with cabins and movies. Lastly, there’s FCUK (3 Keleou), your regular sex club with sling! A popular gay-friendly spot is Shamone a new bar/club, which attracts many people from the media scene in Athens. If you are hungry, try the Kanela Restaurant (70 Konstandinoupoleos). Across from Kanela you will find the 8th Sin Bar for groovy pop music and stylish men.