Rad Stay: Blu Enigma, Andros, Greece

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Blu Enigma Skate and BMX Hotel

The Blu Enigma riding hotel and resort is a boutique BMX and Skate hotel on the Greek Cycladean island of Andros which houses its own unique bowl as well as an insane DIY BMX trails which double as a skatepark. So far, so splendid.

But this is not an aspirational ‘just imagine-‘ tale of what is possible from the back pages of Conde Nast Traveller, this is about doing it with your crew. Let’s have a bit of back story and orientation, shall we?

The Blu Enigma is the brainchild of Nikolaos (‘Nikos’) Garyfallos, who any readers familiar with the London BMX scene may remember from his riding days at Stockwell skatepark in the 1990’s.

The hotel belonged to his grandfather and when Nikos returned home to take over the running of it, he had a vision of creating somewhere for skaters and BMX’ers and their families to be able to enjoy laid back Greek culture and some thrills and spills at the same time. His ambition, he says, is to develop the skate and BMX scenes in his own island community for future generations.

Where we come into the mix begins with a chance remark by one of the lynchpins of the Greek skate scene, Notis Aggelis. In a conversation about skating on Greek islands, he mentioned the existence of this place, which was apparently more or less unknown to the outside world and not even particularly well-known within the Greek scene.

Video by: Greenwood Media Solutions

Our first reaction, as perhaps yours also might be, was to say ‘Yeah, but its probably one of those islands 4 boat rides from anywhere…’ such was our pitiful knowledge of Greek geography. As it turns out, the reverse was true. Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea, meaning it is among the closest islands to Athens and well served by regular ferries from the Rafina port in the city.

If that is the case, why isn’t this place better known? Good question, and one we aim to help rectify: the answer is partly due to the fact that the Blu Enigma is still in its infancy, having opened for business in 2010 – Nikos and his crew only recently concreted over the dirt trails to create the ‘Gratitude’ spot high above the village of Apikia.

Another reason is that unlike, say, skate camps, the transitions built both in the Enigma bowl which is part of the hotel compound, and at the Gratitude trails, are built with danger and not safety in mind. Where a skate spot at a surf camp will be risk-averse and beginner-friendly, the Blu Enigma is all about Big Boy Shit and you’d be well advised to bring your A-game.

Andros island and the surrounding archipelago of course offer other more conventional activities like parasailing and wakeboarding should your better half/ family decide that there is more to life than riding (as if) – but use the Blu Enigma as your base regardless, is our advice, for the following reasons:

  1. You have the best of both worlds- Nikos knows the island inside out but has lived abroad for a long time so is very worldly.
  2. He and his team can arrange all other excursions or transport on your behalf.
  3. The location is to die for.
  4. It is really, really not an expensive place to stay and all the facilities are included in the price.
  5. There is nothing like this anywhere else in Europe.

Gratitude Trails

The weather in the Aegean is good to great for 9 months of the year. Athens international airport is served by most major airlines. All enquiries can be made directly to Nikos via: BluEnigma Hotel.

Quote reference RADSEASON while booking for a 10% discount!

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Niall Neeson

Niall has written for magazines all around the world for the last 15 years and runs a brand strategy consultancy involving youth culture and action sports.

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