Athens is a bustling, somewhat chaotic city. It’s most famous for its extraordinary relics from antiquity. Athens is worth a visit just to get a glimpse of the ancient world. Western civilization began in Athens, as did democracy. The city’s golden age didn’t last that long. The Romans took over and later the Ottomans. Athens spent far longer under the dominion of foreign powers than it did inventing democracy and invading Perisa. But in its days of glory, it forged a cultural and political legacy that still shapes the world we live in.
Gay travellers have long been attracted to Athens. Same-sex relationships took place in Ancient Greece and were not frowned upon. You’ll find a decent gay scene in Athens and lots of dreamy men.
Athens is more than an open-air museum. It has a great food scene, many bars and cafe, not to mention nightlife and some excellent hotels. Athens was once considered a flyover city. A place you may briefly visit on your way to and from the Greek islands. That reputation is no longer deserved. Athens is a city on the rise.
The jewel in Athens’ crown for 2,500 years, The Acropolis is the greatest surviving relic of Ancient Greece. It represents the power of Athens in antiquity when it was at its absolute peak. The Parthenon was built after the Athenians victory of the Persians. It’s the embodiment of democracy, philosophy, theatre and free thought.
It’s a miracle that the complex of buildings that makes up The Parthenon has survived through 25 centuries. Unlike other historic monuments, what The Parthenon represents is as relevant now as it was when it was built.
The Acropolis Museum
Although The Acropolis is well preserved in its original form, it has its own dedicated museum and it’s well worth visiting. The design of this museum is very modern, which caused some controversy when it was completed in 2009. It also stirred further controversy for spearheading a campaign to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.
This museum is interactive and it will give you insights into Athen’s greatest monument. Before you go into the museum, take a walk around the streets just below the museum. A newly excavated settlement is now open to the public. You can join a guided tour and visit houses where Athenians lived back when The Parthenon was being built.
The Olympic Stadium
We all know the Greeks invented The Olympics. They invented a lot of things. The contemporary Olympic Stadium in Athens is built on the site of an ancient arena. The original arena was paved with marble. It was also used for the first modern-day Olympics. You can even take an early morning jog through the stadium. You’ll be jogging in the footsteps of history. If you’re jogging in Athens do it as early as possible. This city gets very hot.
You be a bit historied out after all that. Take a trip to the neighbourhood of Plaka. It’s the old town section of Athens. Although it’s quite touristy, it’s well worth visiting. Greek cuisine is celebrated for a reason. You may wish to avoid breakfast. There are plenty of places to eat in Plaka. You’ll also see the influence of different empires in the architecture. Layers and layers of history are stacked on top of each other wherever you look.
National Archeological Museum
A must-see museum in Athens, it was founded in 1829 just after Greece’s liberation from the Ottomans. It has gathered and preserved Greek art ever since. It’s one of the most important museums in the world. There are over 11,000 exhibits. You can explore Greece’s prehistory and work your way right up to the present. Yes, you’re likely to encounter a lot of vases. The Ancient Greeks had a thing about vases.
Greek island hopping
Island hopping in Greece is always a good idea. If you’re looking to put together a Greek island-hopping itinerary, our colleagues at Out Of Office can tailor-make the perfect experience for you. Booking a Greek island hopping trip through a tour operator is a safe bet. Relying on the whims of Greek ferries and timing your transfers correctly can be tricky. Mykonos and Santorini are the most popular Greek islands, especially for gay travellers. But if you’re looking to centre your trip around Athens, you can visit Aegina and Angistri. They are the closest islands to Athens.
Taking a trip to Meteora is a great idea. Delphi is perhaps more famous, but its appeal is more limited to history buffs. Whereas Meteora is enjoyable even if you’re knowledge of Greek history is limited. It’s worth joining a day tour to make the most of it.
Meteora is essentially a rock formation on which you’ll find a complex of monasteries. They’re built so precipitously they look like their spilling off the rocks. It’s unknown when the first temple was built, but it was around a millennium ago. Meteora is one of the most dazzling parts of Greece to explore.
by Alex | On: Gay Athens