Danny Does Athens

Danny Hilton
Authored by
Danny Hilton
London Correspondent
October 29, 2013
5:45 a.m.

Danny Hilton gives his top picks for a short stay in the Greek capital Athens. 

I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with Greece. The myths, legends, history, food and of course, the gorgeous Greek men. There’s just something about Greek guys that really gets me going! So when I was given the chance to visit Athens and the Greek islands by destsetters, a great new travel website catering for gay and lesbian travellers – with recommended gay-friendly hotels, accommodation and destinations around the world.

athens night

Vibe
Athens has a chilled out, cosmopolitan vibe, similar to other Mediterranean cities, but with striking, unmistakable classical architecture that will leave you spellbound. If you’ve been put off travelling to Greece by the recent gloomy news of economic hardship and potential meltdown, don’t be. Athens is vibrant and bustling – there were very little visible signs of any turmoil here, apart from a small protest. But which capital city doesn’t have a protest these days?  This city is thousands of years old – it’s been through a lot, and has a strong, dignified energy that is great to soak up. 

Stay
For an unbeatable central location, comfy beds, awesome pillows and some bustling views of Athenian life, go for the NJV Athens Plaza.

1203_NJV Athens Plaza - Suites M(2)

With views over the main Syntagma Square (or the Acropolis itself for a bit extra), this is a great base to explore the city. They even do a special cultural package that will get you set up to take advantage of some of Athens’ wonderful museums and historic sights. The metro is in the square opposite the hotel (with a direct line to/from the airport), and all the best bits of old Athens are a few steps away, including gay bar and cafe Roosters.

Party
At Roosters (Platia Agias Irinis 4). The church square area of Monastiraki is fast becoming a gay hub in the centre of old Athens. If you like handsome, dark, beardy guys, this is the perfect spot for a mid-week drink or snack, or to start off your night on the weekends. It was packed out here when I came, and it was a Tuesday night!

Roosters 1

Eat
For a great selection of local Greek dishes, try O Tzitzikas & O Mermigkas on Mitropoleos 12-14. It may be a mouthful, but the food here is great –perfect for an early lunch before exploring the city. Try the fava and meze selections.

For dinner, head to the Gazi College, a fantastic spot for food and drinks with a quirky ‘Team USA’ college feel. Sit outside with a burger and fries and watch the atmosphere build as the night gets later and the boys get hotter – a steady stream of Greek loveliness heading down towards gay nightspots 8th Sin (superb cocktails and even tastier staff), and Sodade2.

gazi college

See
The Acropolis. This really goes without saying – from the distance it’s an ever-present reminder of how ancient and magical this city is, but up close it’s ever better. The Acropolis is the rock on which many other buildings and monuments are based – most famously, the Parthenon. If you’re a history buff, join a guided tour. You can usual dip in and out of tours when it’s busy. I learnt a lot in ten minutes! If history isn’t your thing, come up anyway. The climb is nowhere as difficult as it looks, and the views all over Athens are breathtaking.

When
I visited Athens in October – the weather was sunny with temperatures of low/mid 20s. Really pleasant conditions for walking around and exploring. I really wasn’t in Athens for long enough (two days). Next time I’ll be visiting the Acropolis Museum and checking out the weekend party scene!

Check out destsetters for recommended gay-friendly hotels and destinations.

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