The British Foreign Office has issued a crucial travel warning for LGBTQ+ travelers planning to visit Greece. This advice comes in the wake of reported discrimination incidents against same-sex couples in some areas of the country, casting a shadow over Greece’s otherwise sunny reputation as a travel destination.

Greece legalized same-sex marriage in February 2024, marking a significant milestone in LGBTQ+ rights. The move was met with jubilation from LGBTQ+ campaigners and positioned Greece as the only country in southeastern Europe to embrace such progressive legislation. However, the journey towards full acceptance and equality is far from over.

The Travel Warning

The UK government has updated that, despite legal advancements, public attitudes towards same-sex sexual activity vary across Greece. Tourists are advised that showing affection in public by same-sex couples may be frowned upon, particularly in rural areas.

The warning comes on the heels of a mob attack against two transgender individuals in Thessaloniki.  This incident highlights the potential risks faced by LGBTQ+ visitors. However, it’s not all grim. The capital city, Athens, and several Greek islands, including Lesvos, Mykonos, and Skiathos, are noted for their welcoming attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community

Europe’s LGBTQ+ Friendly Countries

As Greece issues a travel warning for LGBTQ+ travelers, it’s a stark reminder of the existing challenges. However, Europe boasts many countries where same-sex couples can feel safe. Iceland, for example, stands out as one of the most progressive countries in the world in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance. The nation’s capital, Reykjavik, is a buzz of activity, especially during Reykjavik Pride, a major festival that honors the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community.

Likewise, The Netherlands is a pioneer for its stance on LGBTQ+ rights. It was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. It boasts strong anti-discrimination laws and a long history of supporting gay rights. The nation hosts numerous events yearly to promote and support the community, including the Canal Pride in Amsterdam.

Spain is another popular choice among LGBTQ+ travelers. It offers a censorship-free environment with plenty of safe spaces and stringent laws against homophobic behavior. The Balearic Islands, particularly Mallorca and Ibiza, are also hotspots for gay tourists.