International News

Foreign Office issues travel warning for LGBTQ+ tourists travelling to Greece

Graham Robson April 18, 2024

When same-sex marriage was legalised in Greece back in February, LGBTQ+ campaigners celebrated. Now, though, the British Foreign Office has issued new travel advice for queer people travelling to the country.

An update, published on the UK government’s foreign travel advice page, has warned that same-sex couples could experience discrimination in certain parts of Greece.

While it states that “attitudes are generally much more welcoming in Athens and on many Greek islands, particularly on Lesvos, Mykonos and Skiathos,” there are concerns that queer visitors could face prejudice elsewhere.

The government advice also adds: “Public attitudes towards same-sex sexual activity vary throughout the country; showing affection in public by same-sex couples may be frowned upon, especially in rural areas.”

The warning comes after a mob attack against two transgender people in Thessaloniki in March, during which the victims were verbally assaulted and bottles were thrown at them.

While cause for concern for tourists, Greece has made some progress in LGBTQ+ acceptance, having banned so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors in 2022 and passing the same-sex marriage law with a parliamentary majority of 176-76 in February.

However, the popular tourist destination still remains divided over the practice. As soon as the vote passed, protests broke out in the country, led by the Orthodox church.

Around 1,500 people took to Athens’ Syntagma Square to oppose the change and a poll by Greek national newspaper Proto Thema found that only 55% of Greek people support the legalisation of gay marriage and even fewer back gay adoption rights.

Despite the opposition, in legalising same-sex marriage, Greece has become the only country in southeastern Europe to do so – joining 15 other EU member states and a further 35 nations worldwide.