The above is a legal sex studio somewhere in the centre of Athens. This is the Greek equivalent of an illegal massage parlour in Canada, especially famous in Chinatowns around the country. Prostitution has been legal in Greece since 2010.
During my last stay in the city centre, I decided to take the deal on trivago and stay at a cheaper hotel just south of the ever-popular Omonia Square, known for its seediness and abundance of purse snatchers. You can get a very good hotel room with fridge in Central Athens for about €60 a night.
I knew and confirmed the drill with a taxi driver. Just walk and stay on Pireos Avenue and you’ll be safe. The taxi brought me to the hotel using a side road whose houses looked abandoned by its original owners and that was now a liveable pseudo-haven for south Asians.
All this being said, Athens is one of the safest cities in Europe and the most affordable in western Europe. Central Athens is always close to the Acropolis, almost always visible no matter where you are.
This is an example of a street we passed by. At the time, I made a mental note that thus was simply a bunch of abandoned buildings. And although squatting would have been possible as another option, brothels never would. And the owners of the brothels were not pimps but simply government workers. The diaspora on the streets was not profiting from the brothels, the government and the employees were.
This building apparently has multiple brothels. The price for a hookup ranges from €10 – €20.
This is where we should make the distinction between brothels (more popularly known as bordellos) and studios. Brothels are mostly hidden and the clients know about them by word of mouth. This seems odd since they are all supposed to be legal. And being legal consists of medical testing bi-weekly. This is very important because those not passing the tests can no longer work legally. This may explain their hush hush existence and lower prices.
I started realising early on in my stay that my hotel was one of the popular ones for call girls to make outcalls to because of its location. The hotel was respectable and quite clean. It seemed a bit secretive, but I blamed that on a lack of motivation by the staff.
A housecall in Athens will set you back between €80 and €120. They advertised €350 for an overnight stay. The agency would give you peace of mind that these girls were well-bahaved, clean, and would not bleed you dry when you were sleeping.
There is no red light district in Athens, just studios scattered throughout the city. They are almost exclusively near the city centre and tend to be in industrial sectors, abandoned streets, or nestled somewhere barely in sight. The studio is the form of prostitution the clients are attracted to the most.
The rules are simple. You enter and sit down in the lobby, usually on a couch. You are then approached by the girls that are free. Surprisingly, most studios have few girls. And 80% of the girls are not Greek. Greek girls are usually a bit pricier. The most popular ethnicities of prostitutes in Athens are Romanian, Russian, and Bulgarian.
After a girl is chosen, you can negotiate limits. This brings up the price. It seems that the studios are not as busy as they should be. They have been known to have to bring their prices down to compete with legal and even illegal brothels.
Then you have the freelancers, or street walkers. I don’t recommend going with them. They are probably illegal migrants or have STIs or HIV. This is dangerous in ways that are apparent.
Then there are the local Greek women suffering from the economic constraints that exist in the country. This has opened up a new market of renting a girlfriend. These are girls, almost exclusively Greek, who will offer themselves as girlfriends or guides for a day, a week, or however long is agreed upon. They are usually women who don’t want to be prostitutes and who give men the Greek girlfriend experience.
No matter what your preference, always be safe and respectful. Athens is a beautiful and safe place. Enjoy it.
Article on €4 prostitutes in Athens
A bit more insight on the subject
Myrto Papadopoulos’ study on prostitution