Sparkling white island villages, set in a turquoise sea; fascinating ruins of ancient temples perched on rugged hillsides. Who needs an extra reason to visit Greece? But gay people, we have one: Greece is also the greatest country in gay history, the place where gay love had a central role in the cultural flowering that laid the foundations of Western culture. This is where democracy was invented, along with philosophy, history, and the theater (both tragedy and comedy)—all products of a culture in which male-male love enjoyed the highest prestige. So come discover the roots of Pride on this eye-opening tour: enjoy the beauty, charm, and great art of one of the world’s most beautiful countries, while learning about the gay side of the glory that was Greece!
Our trip starts with Athens, the center of Greek culture since the Classical period. We visit the famous temples of the Acropolis, but also less commonly visited sites, such as the Kerameikos, ancient Athens’ fascinating cemetery, and the city’s amazing art museums. We will learn about the great flowering of Classical Athenian culture—where Socrates conversed with Plato, and the first tragedies were performed—with a focus on the rich evidence for same-sex love, such as the story of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the male couple whom the Athenians worshiped (and we mean worshiped) as the founders of their democracy.
Athens will also serve as our base for day excursions to the other major sights of mainland Greece. First, we take a trip south to the Peloponnese, where we visit the startling Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, the city of the Homeric epics, whose story of Achilles and Patroclus is a touchstone of gay history; Nemea, where we see the remains of one of the four great stadia of ancient Greece; and Epidauros, with its amazingly well-preserved ancient Greek theater (famous today for its acoustics).
Next, we take a trip to Delphi, to visit the shrine of the ancient world’s most important oracle, famous for the obscure sayings that brought tragedy to Oedipus and Croesus—and where, among other gods, the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s male lover Antinous was worshiped, with the most beautiful of all the many statues of him still on view today. And on the way, we visit the Lion of Chaeronea, a monument to the Sacred Band, the most feared regiment in Classical Greece and a potent source of gay pride.
The next phase of our trip takes us to one of the world’s great beauty spots: the Greek Islands. And we visit the two most beautiful of them, Santorini and Mykonos. After a morning boat trip out from Athens’ ancient port, the Piraeus, we land on Santorini, where we spend the next two days visiting many epochs of the island’s history: Akrotiri, the large prehistoric city that is probably the basis for the myth of Atlantis; ancient Thera, a well-preserved ancient Spartan city whose graffiti may explain the origins of Greek homosexuality; and Oia, the beautiful all-white village famed for its views of the sunset over the island’s vast sunken caldera and for the donkeys that form its traditional transport system.
On our third island day, a short boat ride takes us to Mykonos, a beacon of gay freedom for the last 40 years, with its (even more?) sparkling white town, turquoise waters, famous beaches, and gay nightlife. While there, we also visit the nearby island of Delos, with its beautifully preserved ancient city— including a remarkable alley of ancient stone phalluses!
Price per person
In shared room (double or twin): $5740
In private single: $6940