Gay Holidays in Greece can mean a lot of things: Long nights in the amazing gay bars of Athens, sunbathing at Elia Beach in Mykonos - one of the most famous gay beaches in the world, romantic honeymoon in alternative islands, gastronomic experiences and adventurous walks in some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes of the Mediterranean.
But Greece has something even more important to offer to Gay Travellers: a distinctive & unique gay scene and mentality, which is not similar to any other country around the world. This is mainly a result of the generally liberal and friendly character of Greek people, in combination with the Mediterranean mentality mixed with pure Eastern characteristics.
Yes, in certain (usually more distant) areas of Greece, people can be a little bit more conservative, however they would never act badly towards gay travellers. Diversity and freedom of expression is generally respected all over Greece, an argument that is further supported by the fact that over the last few years, more and more people tend to choose more alternative and undiscovered places to visit in Greece (like smaller islands or traditional beach areas of the mainland), rather that just ‘playing safe’ and going to Mykonos or Athens.
In this article/guide, we will help you discover some classic information about Gay Travellers who are planning their next holidays in Greece, revealing at the same time a few ‘well-hidden’ secrets that will upgrade your trip into an even more fascinating vacation.
The Must-Visit places for organized Gay Scene: Athens, Thessaloniki & Mykonos
The Gay life of Mykonos is widely popular, since this small Greek island is ranked among the best gay destinations in the world, especially for summer holidays. But Mykonos has its own gay lifestyle, which is not similar to any other place in the world.
Mykonos is gay, but is also luxury. In Mykonos, you won’t have to go to a gay place to meet other guys, since the island is full of gay travellers like you, who are enjoying this spectacular place. Even ‘Elia Beach’, the so called “gay beach of Mykonos”, presents a calm and easy going attitude that will allow you to enjoy the nature, the sea and the handsome men around you.
The upcoming Gay Beach hot spot of the island is definitely the ‘JackieO Beach’ at Super Paradise, which stands out as one of the most prestigious gay beach bars in the world. Mykonos is also proud for hosting the most fun Gay Hotel in Europe, ‘Elysium Hotel’. Elysium is a pure gay hotel, and its ‘Pool Sunset Parties’ are definitely the ‘must-go’ event of the island.
During the night, you can enjoy Mykonos Town (or Chora, as Greeks call it), where you will find several gay bars, clubs and restaurants. ‘JackieO Mykonos Town’, being the meeting point of gay travellers in Mykonos, is considered the best choice for drinks, dancing and fun. For the more naughty ones, rumor has it that the area behind Paraportiani Church is a popular cruising spot - just be careful of the rocks!
Every year during August, Mykonos hosts the Top Gay Festival, XLSIOR FESTIVAL, which attracts thousands of handsome men from literally all over the world, who love partying & dancing to fabulous music by some of the most popular DJs.
Last but not least, the amazing gay friendly hotels in Mykonos will enhance your overall experience, giving a note of comfort, elegance and style to your accommodation on the island.
Athens, the vibrant and never sleeping capital of Greece, features the most organized gay scene in the country with gay bars, clubs & restaurants, saunas, shopping areas and several cruising spots.
Gazi area (metro station: Kerameikos) and Agias Eirinis Square (metro station: Monastiraki), are the top gay areas in Athens, where most of the highly popular gay hotspots are located.
In Gazi, you can visit ‘Sodade’ bar - the classic gay bar for many years, or ‘Shamone’ - the latest ‘trend’ in the city. For a different type of relaxing & fun, you can spend some spicy time in ‘Alexander’ sauna, the most famous gay sauna in Athens.
In Agias Eirinis Square, the most known gay café-bar is called ‘Rooster’. The popular Flex Sauna is also located here, attracting mainly the most ‘bearish’ types of guys.
Gay Cruising areas in Athens are usually found within public parks, and you should always be careful when visiting one. ‘Zappeion’ park close to Syntagma square and ‘Pedion tou Areos’ park close to Victoria metro station are the most known and crowded ones.
If you are staying in Athens but want a quick escape from the city, you can take a short daily trip to one of the nearby islands such as Kea, which is located just an hour away by ferry. It is a beautiful place which will give you a satisfying dose of the traditional Greek island character.
In the north of Greece, the second largest city of the country, Thessaloniki, is gradually gaining a reputation as ‘the Gay Capital of Balkans’. Thessaloniki is a beautiful, romantic and cozy city, with a quite organized gay life.
Most of the gay hotspots are located in the city centre, however not in a specific spot. For example, the famous gay bar ‘Enola’ is in Valaoritou Street, in one of the most vivid neighborhoods of the city; but the popular gay cruising bars as well as the famous ‘Splash’ Sauna are located near Vardari area and especially at Afroditis Street. But Thessaloniki is flirty and friendly all around the center, and in the numerous cafés, bars and restaurants you will most probably see guys to flirt - maybe you are one of them?
If you visit Thessaloniki during Summer, you should not miss to spend some days in Halkidiki, the nearby peninsula with the paradise-like sandy beaches, the crystal clear waters and the breathtaking natural landscapes.
See the best hotels for gay travellers in Thessaloniki and Halkidiki
More Classic Gay Favorites: Crete, Santorini & Zakynthos (Zante)
Over the last few years, one of the most beloved destinations for gay travellers in Greece, is Crete, an island which many think of as conservative due to its traditional character. However, this is not entirely true, since Gay Crete introduces a new way of gay travelling: the ‘Gay Adventure Holidays’ type.
Crete is a large island, however the majority of gay travellers choose to spend most of their holidays within the county of Heraklion. Within the city of Heraklion, you can even find some gay friendly bars for relaxing drinks and socializing.
The biggest gay attraction in Crete is the several gay beaches around the island. The most popular one is called ‘Sarantaris beach’ and is close to Hersonissos region. At the same area, you will also find the gay friendly ‘Home Hotel’, which hosts the popular Saturday Night Parties as well as barbecue gatherings during lazy Sunday noons.
Our suggestion for Crete is to spend 2-3 days near each big city (Chania, Rethimnon, Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos), since each one of them has a distinctive character and something different to offer to you. For your accommodation, you will find numerous excellent gay friendly hotels in Crete, but if you consider yourself a luxurious traveller, then have a look at the Top Luxury hotels at the renowned Elounda Area.
Santorini, one of the most beautiful and romantic islands in the world, is a must-visit destination for any traveller in the world that wants to have an updated travel journal. It’s not just the dramatic landscape with the volcano and the steep cliffs but also the overall luxurious and elegant character that emerges from the iconic island.
Gay Scene in Santorini is not well organized; as a matter of fact, the only ‘gay hotspots’ is the last section of Vlychada beach and the Gay friendly bar ‘Tropical’ in Fira. Despite this, Santorini is one of the most visited destinations in Greece, not only by gay couples in honeymoon but also by single guys who want to enjoy the amazing landscape and culture of the island.
- Choose a luxury Caldera View room/suite/villa in one of the numerous gay friendly hotels in Santorini (after all, since you have traveled all this way to come to Santorini, do it the right way).
- Things to bring withyou: a boyfriend, a book or your best friend (not all of them together)
- Make sure to enjoy as many sunsets as you can - don’t forget that they are ranked among the most impressive ones in the world!
Zakynthos (or Zante), is a beautiful island in the western parts of Greece, mainly known for the fabulous ‘Navagio’ beach with the turquoise waters - one of the most famous beaches in the world.
Gay life in Zakynthos is not organized and you will probably not find anything more than the nudist beach of Vrontonero, which is quite famous among the gay locals and travellers of the island. However, Zakynthos remains one of the top favourite destinations for gay travellers in Greece, with Italians and English visitors covering the vast majority.
While in Zakynthos, make sure to try the amazing gastronomy of the island. Ask for the local delicacies of ‘Sartsa’ (casserole beef), ‘skordostoumbi’ (aubergines blended with large quantities of garlic), and ‘rabbit stew’.
The Island Hopping Choices: Tinos/Mykonos/Paros or Naxos/Ios/Santorini
A great idea when visiting Greece is to plan an ‘island hopping’ - that is combine a stay in a number of islands, which are easy to travel from one to the other by ferry (just make sure to double-check the ferry routes & schedules). Particularly in the Cyclades complex, island hoping is a very easy and usual type of travelling.
Among the most popular island hopping examples is the one combining the vibrant island of Mykonos with the alternative and peaceful Tinos and the cosmopolitan Paros island, one of the most visited islands by gay travellers in the Cyclades. Alternatively, you can begin your holidays in Naxos with the hippie and unspoiled attitude and continue your trip to the beautiful (and popular to younger visitors) island of Ios and finish with a few days at the mesmerizing island of Santorini.
3 islands for gay couples in Love: Folegandros, Milos & Skiathos
Gay couples in honeymoon (or simply, Gay couples in love), tend to seek destinations that are characterized by their natural beauty, their tranquility and - of course - romantic aura. In addition to Santorini, which is in fact one of the Top Honeymoon destinations in the world, Greece has several other islands, smaller and less popular, that are highly recommended for your ‘voyage d’ amour’.
Folegandros is one of the most picturesque islands in Greece. A tiny island which boasts for its amazing beaches,the breathtaking landscapes as well as its local culture. What is truly amazing about this magical place is that it always manages to surprise the gay couples with its fabulous gay friendly hotels with the impeccable service and excellent staff. These small, boutique hotels of Folegandros are real gems and the best choices for your relaxing and comfortable holidays.
Milos island is a similar place to visit, though not so popular to gay travellers - at least not yet. Over the past few years, a significant increase of gay couples who choose Milos for their honeymoon trip or their romantic summer holidays has been noticed, giving to more and more people the opportunity for enjoying the mind-blowing beauty of the island.
Let’s change the scenery: Skiathos is an all-green island with amazing beaches, very different from the characteristic landscape of Cyclades islands (such as Mykonos, Santorini or Milos).
Being a little bit northern, Skiathos belongs to the Sporades complex and is an excellent choice for gay couples who are looking for a true paradise-like destination for their honeymoon.
And a last hint: None of these 3 islands has an organized gay life. But who cares, really?
The Luxury Resort Destinations: Costa Navarino, Sani Resort & Porto Heli
Costa Navarino, is a new-born resort destination in Messenia, Peloponnese, standing out as one of the most luxurious destinations in the Mediterranean. The entire area has been developed with the highest respect to the natural environment, and the two fabulous hotels of the resort have been fully harmonized with the natural beauty of the area.
Costa Navarino is a particularly beloved choice for gay travellers in the region, who are able to find all the facilities for relaxing holidays, such as impressive pools, relaxing spa, the best hotel restaurants with a great variety of cuisines and tastes and, of course, plenty of wellness & sport options. It is worth mentioning that Costa Navarino is the No 1 Golf Destination in Greece, offering top quality Golf courses.
Sani Resort is located in the beautiful and popular to gay travellers peninsula of Halkidiki, featuring 4 luxury hotels, one marina, an amazing spa centre and top quality restaurants. It is considered one of the top luxury destinations in Northern Greece and it is famous for the impeccable service and staying experience it offers. Sani Resort organizes the annual ‘Sani Festival’ which implements quality music and arts in your overall holiday experience, giving it an even more memorable twist. And remember: Sani Resort is located in Halkidiki, which means you are about to swim in some of the most dreamy beaches of Greece!
Porto Heli is a top-notch area in the Argosaronic gulf in Peloponnese, which is very well connected with the famous nearby islands of Spetses and Hydra. The whole area has been developed as a luxury resort, featuring several excellent hotels. One of the latest additions is the stunning Nikki Beach Hotel, which presents a modern and luxurious character, transforming it into an ideal choice for gay travelers.
10 Proved Gay Friendly Hotels in Greece: Read our personal experience & see why each one of them is a must-stay!
For a City Break:
New Hotel, Athens: A brand new property at an excellent, downtown location, with a fabulous design and a unique concept.
Anatolia Hotel, Thessaloniki: The hotel is close to all the gay hotspots of the city and offers an excellent value for money.
For Gay Honeymooners:
Above Blue Suites in Imerovigli, Santorini: Stunning, caldera view suites with a private Jacuzzi in your terrace that literally define the terms ‘luxury’, ‘comfort’ and ‘romance’.
Greco Philia Luxury Suites & Villas, Mykonos: It is a complex of unique, independent houses & suites, built in an exotic setting at the top of the cliff over the popular gay beach Elia, with an amazing pool and the most high-quality service.
For a Luxury Retreat:
Canaves Oia, Santorini: The amazing hotel suites with the breathtaking views, the superb main pool and the top-level service highlight luxury living in Santorini.
Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites in Elounda, Crete: Featuring a selection of truly impressive Spa Villas with private swimming pools, indoor & outdoor Jacuzzis, Sauna and Gym, this beautiful property has everything you need for your supreme luxury holidays in Greece.
For Wellness Lovers:
Arion Resort, Athens: The Spa Facilities of this lovely hotel are ranked among the best in Athens, while its dreamy location at the edge of the Athenian Riviera contributes in providing a complete wellness experience.
Esperos Village, Rhodes: Meet a hotel that is actually what its name suggests: a village! The various rooms & suites complexes are built on the slopes of a hill, surrounded by trees, gardens and lakes, providing outstanding views and absolute privacy. Make sure to taste the delicious dishes of the hotel restaurant.
For the best Breakfast of your life:
Aether Boutique Stay, Mykonos: With just 5 cute, luxury, cozy and minimalistic suites and with the personal care of the lovable owners Athina & Thanassis, Aether takes care of every little detail. Your delicious homemade breakfast, prepared every day based on your specific requests, is served on your private balcony at the time you choose.
Planning your next Gay Holidays Soon?
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2. Interactive Hotel Maps, with Gay Places around the hotels