Ask a Question

Check Availability

Cretan Adventures on Horseback

Overview

In the foothills of the Dikti Mountains, high on an olive-strewn escarpment, you will find the charming Velani hotel, overlooking the fertile Langada Valley. Built from the reclaimed stone of the land it is built upon, it's as though this rural haven has grown from the hillside on which it sits. A…

Highlights

  • Unguided trail riding
  • Mountain riding
  • Spa and riding
  • Greek culture
  • Relaxed horse riding holiday

Essential Facts

  • 5 itineraries available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 4 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg/ 14.
    more info2st/ 199lbs

Description

In the foothills of the Dikti Mountains, high on an olive-strewn escarpment, you will find the charming Velani hotel, overlooking the fertile Langada Valley. Built from the reclaimed stone of the land it is built upon, it's as though this rural haven has grown from the hillside on which it sits. A lifelong project of its owners, Sabine and Manolis, this retreat has been lovingly created to showcase the rugged beauty of the island and offers spectacular views across the valley to the sea beyond. The hotel restaurant boasts fresh local produce and authentic Cretan fare, including olive oil grown from the olive trees that surround the property. The infinity swimming pool brings welcome respite from the heat of the day as does the expansive covered terrace where guests can relax and enjoy a cool drink or a bite to eat.

The 26 much-loved horses are part of the family and live on-site, enjoying their purpose-built open stables as well as year-round turnout amongst the olive trees and kermes oaks. All the rides are based at this rural idyll. The Panorama Rides comprises of full and half-day rides out in different directions, exploring the dramatic Cretan landscape and its quaint mountain villages. The Sun and Riding Programme is a relaxed version, which runs in July and August when riders can spend the heat of the day by the pool with a cool drink and save a couple of hours a day riding in the cooler hours of the morning or evening.

The Lassithi Trek is a spectacular 100 mile circular ride up and over the Dikti Mountains, down to the Libyan Sea where, if tides and temperatures allow, riders swim with their horses before returning across the farms and olive groves dotted around the island's rustic interior. This ride can be booked as a guided trek throughout the year and also as an unguided trek for the more adventurous (and experienced) rider.

Horses & Riding

Tack

English tack is used on all the rides. You should be comfortable grooming and tacking up your own horse, especially for the unguided treks as you will be responsible for all the daily care and preparation of your horse on these rides.

Horses

Local Cretan mountain horses, warm-bloods, Arab crosses, quarter horses, Andalusian crosses.

Riding

There are 5 itineraries:

  • Panorama Rides is a based ride
  • The Lassithi Trail is a trail ride
  • The Unguided Lassithi Trail is a based ride
  • Sun and Riding Programme is a based ride
  • Learn to Ride Programme is a based ride

Weight

90kg/ 14.2st/ 199lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

The food is plentiful, delicious, and typical Cretan fare. The restaurant has its own vegetable, herb and fruit gardens which provide them with new seasonable ingredients throughout the year. Ripened under the Cretan sun and grown organically they have a rich and delicious taste.

Food is prepared with extra virgin olive oil from their own olive grove. After they press the olives only the highest quality extra virgin oil is kept for use in their restaurant. Some of the local produce used in the restaurant includes meat from the free-ranging goats and sheep of their neighbours, cheese made by the local shepherd, and homemade raki and honey from a local beekeeper.

All are served with good Cretan wines, made with grape varieties that have been used since Minoan times.

Cooking lessons can also be booked with Chef and owner Manolis, who will take you on a culinary journey to delight your tastebuds and stimulate the olfactory senses! Paying homage to the local environment and its traditions, he prepares the healthy Cretan dishes with a personal touch.

Every Sunday afternoon he heats up the outdoor oven by burning wood from their olive trees. When the oven reaches the right temperature the wood is removed, the food trays are placed inside and the door is closed. Now the food can slowly cook for hours making the food soft, juicy and melt-in-the-mouth. For vegetarians, the Cretan kitchen offers a wide range of possibilities.

Accommodation

High on a hillside, below the Dikti Mountains, this rural hotel offers beautiful accommodation looking out over the Langada Valley. The Country Hotel Velani is made up of 12 large rooms, housed in 2 buildings set back from the main structure with most superb mountain back drop. The hotel has been designed in sympathy with its surroundings and nestles naturally into the mountainside.

The hotel also boasts an excellent restaurant with a panoramic terrace, as well as a swimming pool, spacious sun deck and a hot tub over-looking Lake Aposolemis. The onsite stables are home to 26 much-loved horses.

Itineraries

Panorama Rides Standard accommodation.

The Lassithi Trail Standard accommodation.

The Unguided Lassithi Trail Standard accommodation.

Sun and Riding Programme Standard accommodation.

Learn to Ride Programme Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Paragliding for experienced pilots and tandem flights for adults.
Walking and biking routes
Birdwatching at the Aposlemis lake or spot the griffin vultures right from the hotel terrace.
Greek cooking lessons for groups.
Free use of the meditation and yoga platform under the ancient old Kermes Oaks. Professional Manduka yoga mats are available at a charge, complete with blocks and blanket.
Join the different Yoga sessions to revitalize your body and soul with a professional and experienced trainer. These sessions are only available for small groups.
Rent the Jacuzzi with hydro-massage for a romantic evening with your partner.
And complete your stay with a Cretan, Swedish or Thai massage with the use of local herbs.

Activities near the hotel:
An 18 hole golf course is located 9 km away.
A professional tennis court is 18 km away.
The nearest beaches are at Chersonissos which is approximately 22km away.

Travel

Country Hotel Velani is approximately 45 45-minute drive from Heraklion International Airport (HER). In season (April - November) several airlines fly direct from the UK to Heraklion including Easyjet, British Airways, Wizz Air, Jet 2 and Tui. With over 1 million tourists visiting every year, there is a new airport being built at Kastelli as well. Airport transfers can be arranged by Far and Ride, payable on-site.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive at Country Hotel Velani and relax into the rhythm of rural Crete.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 2

Riding: 4 hours

Enjoy a delicious breakfast on the terrace before heading down to the stables to meet your horse, groom and tack up. This morning you will ride up hill to visit the archaeological site of the ancient city of Lyttos, which provides an excellent view over the valley of Kastelli. The city of Lyttos (meaning high, tall), was a strong Minoan town and a rival of Knossos. The city was already mentioned by Homer as Lyktos. During the Roman period Lyttos was an autonomous city with great fame. It had an aqueduct, theatre and acropolis, nowadays little can be seen of this though as excavations of the site has not been done yet. The site has also two Byzantine churches. After the visit we ride along the remains of this Roman aqua duct. Head back to the yard and enjoy a cool drink on the terrace.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 3

Riding: 3 hours

On this morning's ride you will pick up the pace! Today you will ride in a northerly direction, out past the Byzantine church. You will have the opportunity to appreciate the sure-footedness of your steed as they effortlessly traverse the terrain, picking their way through the olive-strewn hillsides, until you reach the Mochos Plateau. Following a speedy ride across the plateau you will turn for home, riding back through the quintessentially Cretan village of Avdou, in time for a well-deserved dip in the pool!
Dinner and overnight.

Day 4

Riding: 4 hours

Following another sumptuous breakfast you and your trusty four-legged friend will ride down off the hillside and through the village of Avdou up into the hills of Sfendili. Breathe in the clear mountain air and take in the dramatic landscape before you, with the verdant valley of olive groves rising up to the Dikti peaks and beyond that, the Psiloritis Mountains, including the highest peak on the island. All you will hear is the wind, the call of the birds and the tinkle of goat bells. Riders will then descend to Lake Aposelemis and follow the shoreline passing by the deserted village of Sfendily before heading back to the stables.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 5

Riding: 3 hours

This morning's ride begins with a spectacular climb up the mountain. You will witness first-hand the stamina of these horses as they march ever upwards. With good weather you can even see the sea. Your destination today is the mysterious Agia Fotini church which you will find near the top of the mountain, secreted away within the walls of a cave. According to church archives this cave was created by the Virgin Mary herself, to give her a retreat closer to God. The site itself feels very remote as it sits alone in such a dramatic setting. After a visit inside you will slowly begin your decent through the Kerm Oak forest, returning to civilisation.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 6

Riding: 5 hours

A full day ride today! You will begin today's ride riding down through the winding olive groves until you reach the well-worn path that leads to the gorge of Gonies (Rosas Gorge). You will then begin your ascent up this quiet trail whilst enjoying some breath-taking views. You may pass a shepherd with his flock, or perhaps the vultures in flight - in spring time you can even find the nests of the Griffon Vultures on the gorge walls. Your trail today will take you to the Greek village of Kera at 800 meters above sea level. In Kera you will settle the horses in a nearby olive grove and give them their lunches and water- they are working hard today! After this riders will make their way to Restaurant Niki, for a sumptuous meal straight from the traditional wood-fired oven. The taverna terrace looks out over the gorge so you can almost retrace your steps. Refreshed, the group will then ride down past the Kera springs, along mountain paths and through quiet rural settlements until finally reaching the village of Avdou and making the final ascent towards home.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 7

Riding: 3 hours

After breakfast today it is time for your final ride out. Now familiar with this stunning landscape, and having fallen in love with the horses here, it will be hard to leave! You will ride out through the quiet valleyof olive groves and through a small cypress forest, the scents of the mountain flora hanging in the air as you go. Revel in the unspoilt nature that surrounds you as you make some steep ascents with the horses which you now fully trust. Back to the stables and it is time for cuddle with your horse, thanking them for a fantastic adventure.
Dinner and overnight.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Breakfast and check out.

Accommodation

The accommodation on this ride is the beautiful Country Hotel Velani. The property is made up of 12 large rooms, housed in 2 buildings set back from the main hotel area with a superb mountain back drop. The hotel has been designed in sympathy with its surroundings and nestles naturally into the mountainside. Velani also boasts an excellent restaurant, which uses a lot of its own home-grown produce, which can be enjoyed on the extensive, panoramic terrace. When not riding guests can take advantage of the infinity swimming pool and spacious sun deck over-looking Lake Aposolemis.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

This ride is suitable for intermediate and experienced riders who are confident and in control at walk, trot and canter in open spaces and on mountain trails.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2024 - June 30, 2024  (For groups of 2+ riders on request)

At any time during: Sept. 5, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2024  (For groups of 2+ riders on request)

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£1215 $1540 €1440
High Season (17 Mar 2024 - 3 Nov 2024) (14 Dec 2024 - 11 Jan 2025)
2024
Per person, sharing
£1155 $1465 €1370
Low Season (2 Jan 2024 - 16 Mar 2024) (2 Nov 2024 - 14 Dec 2024)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£705 $895 €840
High Season (17 Mar 2024 - 3 Nov 2024) (14 Dec 2024 - 11 Jan 2025)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£650 $820 €770
Low Season (2 Jan 2024 - 16 Mar 2024) (2 Nov 2024 - 14 Dec 2024)
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (dinner: 1 starter, 1 main and a salad) based on 2 people sharing a room, all riding and guiding as per itinerary.
Not included Flights, transfers, drinks, desserts, travel insurance, use of the hot tub (70EUR including fruit and sparkling wine)

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £205 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in time for a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant where you will meet the rest of the group and your guide for the trail, Vladimir, to discuss the trail ahead. There will be a briefing on the trail route complete with maps to show the direction and distance you will be travelling each day on this circular trek.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 2

Riding: 3 hours

Today's ride is about getting to know your horse and making any adjustments needed before heading out on trail. After breakfast riders will meet at the stables where they will meet their four-legged friends for the week and groom and tack up. Riding north the group will head to the plateau of Mochos. On this introductory ride you will have the chance to get to know the horse who you will ride on the trek and establish a nice partnership together. You will ride up into the hills above the village of Avdou, and on passing the Byzantine church of this village, enjoy a lovely canter across the flat plateau. Riding on, you will have an excellent view of the Dikti Mountains, which you will be climbing atop your trusty steed in the coming days.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will prepare your horse for the trail! Riding down into the valley you will wind your way through the olive groves, some of which belong to Velani and create the delicious olive oil for the restaurant. The trail starts with a spectacular climb along and then up through the gorge of Gonies. Here you will witness the strength and stamina of your horse, as together you climb up from sea level to 1000 metres high. The views from the top of the gorge are breathtaking and you will often see the Griffon Vultures in flight. On reaching the little village of Kera you will settle the horses in a nearby olive grove with their lunch and fresh water, before making your way to Taverna Niki for your own well-deserved meal, cooked in a traditional wood oven.
After lunch the climb continues up and onto the old donkey track, once the only possible path to the Lassithi Plateau. For this riders will need to dismount and lead their horses as the going is rocky, uneven and steep in places.

This fertile Plateau between the tops of the Dikti Mountains is known for its white windmills irrigating the land. Once down on the plateau farmland you will see the locals still working with their donkeys, and farmers tending their crops. The going here is flat and often sandy, perfect for some quick canters to finish off the day.
Dinner and overnight in Magoulas, Hotel Dionissos.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will ride higher still, off the Lassithi Plateau and through the Dikti Mountain Range in a southerly direction. Few people ever venture up here with the exception of shepherds and their sheep. Here you will experience the special feeling of being alone with the horses and the mountains and the peacefulness that it brings, as the imposing mountain peaks rise above you, often circled by gliding Griffon vultures, their vast wings silhouetted against the sun. The horses will stay in the mountains while riders will be transported back to Velani for the night.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Velani.

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

This morning's ride has a different atmosphere as you have now crossed the great mountain range and begin your ride downhill, on the southern side of the island, through a desert land dried by the south winds out of Africa. It is good to see the sea again and you will continue this decent until you meet the clear blue water of the Libyan Sea. If the weather is good and sea conditions are favourable, this afternoon you will take the horses to the beach for a swim in the sea - a magical feeling that the horses enjoy after a strenuous day. Tonight you will sleep next to the sea, with the horses resting in a nearby olive grove, and of course here you can enjoy a dinner of fresh local fish.
Dinner and overnight in Keratokambos, Finikas Rooms.

Day 6

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Waking up by the sea, you will enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting off on another full day of riding. After riding 3 days tackling mountainous terrain you will now ride through the Greek countryside, with more undulating landscape and dirt tracks that invite quick canters here and there. You will start the ride by following the sea before turning inland and following the Anapodaris River which millennia ago cut out a 5-km long gorge through the landscape. Even now the water is cutting the gorge deeper. Suddenly the land becomes more friendly, hilly with many olive trees and vineyards. You will ride through the little villages, where the children often come to see the horses, and along the shores of Lake Ini where the horses can enjoy a refreshing drink.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 7

Riding: 4 hours

Today you will ride back to the Odysseia Stables through picturesque Greek countryside, reflecting upon your epic journey across the island of Crete. You will ride through Cretan villages where time seems to have stood still, the gentlemen at the kafeneion drinking coffee and playing cards, the women under the plane trees, putting the world to rights. Feel welcome to stop and drink a Raki with the Cretans at one of the village squares. As you ride back to Velani, the mountains are always by your side, a reminder of this incredible adventure.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After a last delicious breakfast at the Velani Hotel it is time to say farewell.

Accommodation

Your accommodation on this ride, with the exception of Day 3 and Day 5, will be the Velani Hotel, perched on a hillside in the foothills of the mountains. The hotel has 12 spacious ensuite rooms, a restaurant and a swimming pool with sun deck.
On Day 3 you stay out on trail with the horses up on the Lassithi Plateau, on Day 5 you will stay in Keratokampos, on the coast. These accommodations are simple, but clean and comfortable.

Experience Experienced

The guided ride is suitable for strong intermediate and experienced riders confident and in control at walk, trot and canter in some challenging terrain and comfortable spending 4-7 hours in the saddle a day. You will be expected to groom and tack up your own horse and mount and dismount unaided. There will be times when you need to lead your horse across tricky terrain.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 9
Departure windows

March 24, 2024 - March 31, 2024

April 14, 2024 - April 21, 2024

May 12, 2024 - May 19, 2024

May 26, 2024 - June 2, 2024

June 9, 2024 - June 16, 2024

Sept. 8, 2024 - Sept. 15, 2024

Sept. 22, 2024 - Sept. 29, 2024

Oct. 6, 2024 - Oct. 13, 2024

Nov. 3, 2024 - Nov. 10, 2024  (Low Season)

Pricing

2024 £1465 $1860 €1740
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (dinner: 1 starter, 1 main and a salad) based on 2 people sharing a room, all riding and guiding, transportation of luggage on nights out on trail (Day 3 and Day 5).
Not included Flights, airport transfers (please enquire), travel insurance, drinks, desserts, tips.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £205 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in time for a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant where you will meet your hosts, Sabine and Manolis, and have the opportunity to discuss the trail ahead. There will be a briefing on the trail route complete with maps to show the direction and distance you will be travelling each day on this circular trek.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 2

Riding: 3 hours

Today you will have a guided ride to check the horse chosen for you is a good fit and to make any adjustments needed before you head out unguided on the trail. After breakfast you will meet your four-legged friend for the week and groom and tack up. Riding north you will head to the plateau of Mochos. On this introductory ride you will have the chance to get to know the horse who you will ride on the trek and establish a nice partnership together. You will ride up into the hills above the village of Avdou, and on passing the Byzantine church of this village, enjoy a lovely canter across the flat plateau. Riding on, you will have an excellent view of the Dikti Mountains, which you will be climbing atop your trusty steed in the coming days.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will prepare your horse for the trail! You will be kitted out with maps, route description and a special GPS app. The trail is also marked at regular junctures with blue arrows to help riders navigate confidently. Riding down into the valley you will wind your way through the olive groves, some of which belong to Velani and create the delicious olive oil for the restaurant. The trail starts with a spectacular climb along and then up through the gorge of Gonies. Here you will witness the strength and stamina of your horse, as together you climb up from sea level to 1000 metres high. The views from the top of the gorge are breathtaking and you will often see the Griffon Vultures in flight. On reaching the little village of Kera you will settle the horses in a nearby olive grove with their lunch and fresh water, before making your way to Taverna Niki for your own well-deserved meal, cooked in a traditional wood oven.
After lunch the climb continues up and onto the old donkey track, once the only possible path to the Lassithi Plateau. For this you will need to dismount and lead your horse as the going is rocky, uneven and steep in places.
This fertile plateau between the tops of the Dikti Mountains is known for its white windmills which irrigate the land. Once down on the plateau farmland you will see the locals still working with their donkeys, and farmers tending their crops. The going here is flat, perfect for some quick canters to finish off the day. Your accommodation tonight is in the little village of Magoulas, and the horses will stay in the olive grove opposite the hotel.
Dinner and overnight in Magoulas, Hotel Dionissos.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will ride higher still, off the Lassithi Plateau and through the Dikti Mountain Range in a southerly direction. Few people ever venture up here with the exception of shepherds and their sheep. Here you will experience the special feeling of being alone with the horses and the mountains and the peacefulness that it brings, as the imposing mountain peaks rise above you, often circled by gliding Griffon vultures, their vast wings silhouetted against the sun. The horses will stay in the mountains while riders will be transported back to Velani for the night.
Dinner and overnight at Hotel Velani.

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

This morning's ride has a different atmosphere as you have now crossed the great mountain range and are begin to ride downhill, on the southern side of the island, through a desert land dried by the south winds out of Africa. It is good to see the sea again and you will continue this decent until you meet the clear blue water of the Libyan Sea. If the weather is good and sea conditions are favourable, this afternoon you will take the horses to the beach for a swim in the sea - a magical feeling that the horses enjoy after a strenuous day. Tonight you will sleep next to the sea, with the horses resting in a nearby olive grove, and of course here you can enjoy a dinner of fresh local fish.
Dinner and overnight in Keratokambos, Finikas Rooms.

Day 6

Riding: 7 hours

Waking up by the sea, you will enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting off on another full day of riding. After riding 3 days tackling mountainous terrain you will now ride through the Greek countryside, with more undulating landscape and dirt tracks that invite quick canters here and there. You will start the ride by following the sea before turning inland and following the Anapodaris River which millennia ago cut out a 5-km long gorge through the landscape. Even now the water is cutting the gorge deeper. Suddenly the land becomes more friendly, hilly with many olive trees and vineyards. You will ride through the little villages, where the children often come to see the horses, and along the shores of Lake Ini where the horses can enjoy a refreshing drink.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 7

Riding: 5 hours

Today you will ride back to the Odysseia Stables through picturesque Greek countryside, reflecting upon your epic journey across the island of Crete. You will ride through Cretan villages where time seems to have stood still, the gentlemen at the kafeneion drinking coffee and playing cards, the women under the plane trees, putting the world to rights. Feel welcome to stop and drink a Raki with the Cretans at one of the village squares. As you ride back to Velani, the mountains are always by your side, a reminder of this incredible adventure.
Dinner and overnight at Velani Hotel.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After a last delicious breakfast at the Velani Hotel it is time to say farewell.

Accommodation

Your accommodation on this ride, with the exception of Day 3 and Day 5, will be the Velani Hotel, perched on a hillside in the foothills of the mountains. The hotel has 12 spacious ensuite rooms, a restaurant and a swimming pool with sun deck.
On Day 3 you stay out on trail with the horses up on the Lassithi Plateau, on Day 5 you will stay in Keratokampos, on the coast. These accommodations are simple, but clean and comfortable.

Experience Experienced

This ride is suitable for experienced riders only, who are knowledgeable about horse care and confident in their navigation skills. Riders must be in control at walk, trot and canter, be prepared to groom and tack up, and be able to mount and dismount unaided as well as fit enough to spend 4-7 hours in the saddle a day. They must also be prepared to look after their horses the two nights that they stay out on trail (Day 3 and Day 5).

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 4
Departure windows

At any time during: March 14, 2024 - June 19, 2024  (For groups of 2+ riders on request)

At any time during: Sept. 15, 2024 - Nov. 1, 2024  (For groups of 2+ riders on request)

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£1465 $1860 €1740
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (dinner: 1 starter, 1 main and a salad) based on 2 people sharing a room, all riding, transportation of luggage on nights out on trail (Day 3 and Day 5), transfers to and from Velani during the ride.
Not included Flights, airport transfers, travel insurance, drinks, desserts, tips.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £205 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive and settle in, enjoy a swim, read on the terrace with a cool drink and relax into your holiday.
Dinner and overnight.

Days 2 to 7

Riding: 2 hours

During the hot summer months Odysseia Stables offers 2 hour hacks in the cool morning or evening hours. Every day you will head out in a different direction, sometimes climbing up into the hills for the incredible views, sometimes heading down to the lake for a meander along its shores. The morning rides are relaxed and easy, mainly walk and trot, maybe some short canters depending on the group (the riding speed is adjusted to the level of the riders).

The evening rides are more active and only suitable for riders who are able to control their horses at walk, trot and canter. The olive groves and the Mochos plateau offer good opportunities for some fast, fun riding.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

On the last morning guests enjoy a farewell breakfast and depart.

Accommodation

Country Hotel Velani is the base for this holiday, offering 12 spacious en suite rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and terrace.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

This horse riding holiday is suitable for novices, intermediate and experienced riders. Riding groups are split according to their riding levels.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2024  (For groups of 2+ riders on request)

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£1005 $1270 €1190
Low season (8 January – 16 March 2024, 3 November – 20 December 2024)
2024
Per person, sharing
£1060 $1345 €1260
High season (17 March – 2 November 2024, 21 December – 8 January 2025)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£650 $820 €770
Low season (8 January – 16 March 2024, 3 November – 20 December 2024)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£705 $895 €840
High season (17 March – 2 November 2024, 21 December – 8 January 2025)
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (dinner: 1 starter, 1 main and a salad) based on 2 people sharing a room, 2 hours riding per day (no riding on arrival or departure day).
Not included Flights, airport transfers, travel insurance, drinks, desserts, rental of the hot tub (70EUR for up to 5 people), tips.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £205 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive after 4pm at Country Hotel Velani
Dinner and overnight

Day 2

Riding: 1 hours

After a delicious breakfast on the terrace you will make your way down to the stables to meet the friendly horses and your instructor for the week. You will begin the course with a private lunge lesson. So as to really feel the horse's movement and rhythm in this first lesson, the horse is not be wearing a saddle, but a vaulting surcingle and pad on which the new rider can hold. This lesson concentrates on finding balance, rider position, leg aids and sitting trot. After this exciting first experience, riders will head back to the hotel to reflect and relax.

Day 3

Riding: 1 hours

Today begins with private lesson on the lunge, this time with a saddle. You will learn the basic body position with stirrups, learn to do a sitting trot with and without holding the saddle, and focus on following the rhythm of the horse and how to rise to the trot. Today you will also be learning about handling a horse on the ground, grooming and tacking the horse.

Day 4

Riding: 1 hours

An exciting day today! This will be your first time riding independently in a small group in the arena. You will be learning how to hold the reins, steer and stop the horse. You will practice the use of the leg aids that you learned whilst on the lunge, as well as how to communicate with the horse so that it will listen to the rider. Before the group lesson you will brush and tack up your horse; each rider prepares their own horse with the help of the instructor.

Day 5

Riding: 1 hours

After breakfast you will return to the stables ready for another group lesson where you will be reinforcing the skills you have learned over the last few days. Today you will also be increasing the time spent in rising trot, helping improve your balance. You will also be making turns and changes in direction in the trot, as well as upward and downward transitions from and to walk. In this lesson some games are used to improve recently acquired skills. Today everybody will more confidently take their own horse out of the stable, groom and tack up.

Day 6

Riding: 1 hours

This morning you will take your horse from its stable, groom and tack up independently (although help is always on hand and tack will always be checked before mounting). Today marks the first time you will be taking a gentle, quiet hack out into the beautiful surrounding nature of the Cretan mountains, mostly in walk with occasional short trots where it is safe to do so. The countryside is spectacular, with high mountain peaks and the green, fertile valley. Enjoy sweeping views from the back of your new friend before heading back to the stables.

Day 7

Riding: 2 hours

After a hearty breakfast on the terrace it is time to head down to the stables for your final ride. Confidently you will groom and tack up your trusty steed before heading out on a longer, 2 hour ride into the Cretan countryside. Admire the silver olive groves the stretch out as far as the eye can see as you ride along rugged mountain trails. Listen to the birdsong, the soft breeze and the gentle tinkle of the goat bells. You will enjoy more short trots and learn how to position yourself to help your horse negotiate the terrain, both up and down hill. On returning to the stables you will then bid your horse farewell and head back up to the hotel for a refreshing drink, a dip in the pool and a delicious meal overlooking the valley.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Departure after breakfast.

Accommodation

Country Hotel Velani is the base for this holiday, offering 12 spacious en suite rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and terrace.

Experience Beginner

The Learn to Ride holiday is for riders who have never ridden before or have ridden a horse occasionally before.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

At any time during: Jan. 1, 2024 - Dec. 31, 2024

Pricing

2024
Per person, sharing
£900 $1140 €1070
Low season (8 January – 16 March 2024, 3 November – 20 December 2024)
2024
Per person, sharing
£960 $1215 €1140
High season (17 March – 2 November 2024, 21 December – 8 January 2025)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£650 $820 €770
Low season (8 January – 16 March 2024, 3 November – 20 December 2024)
2024
Non-Rider Per person, sharing
£705 $895 €840
High season (17 March – 2 November 2024, 21 December – 8 January 2025)
Included 7 nights of full board accommodation (dinner: 1 starter, 1 main and a salad) based on 2 people sharing a room, 6 horse riding days as per itinerary.
Not included Flights, airport transfers, travel insurance, drinks, desserts, rental of the hot tub (70EUR for up to 5 people), tips.

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £205 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.