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Odysseia Stables offers an adventurous guided trek which is only suitable for the experienced horse riders. You will travel for a week through the Dikti Mountain Range, the Cretan south coast, and the Greek countryside. Every day has a different terrain! You will make a fast canter over the Lassithi high plateau, climb up to 1800 meters, and meet the Griffon vultures in the Dikti Mountains. You will sleep directly next to the Mediterranean Sea where you will eat fresh fish and swim with the horses. Back you ride through the Greek countryside with its villages, olive groves, and wine yards. Explore the beauty of Crete in a saddle!
Heraklion International Nikos Kazantzakis Airport (US$61 per person)
During the horse riding holiday, you stay in Country Hotel Velani and family hotels with private bathroom.
The moment you arrive on the hillside, you will experience the serene quietness and the tremendous panoramic view. Under the hotel, stretches the Langada Valley with the Apposelemis River crossing through. Above Country Hotel Velani, rises the red-colored peaks of the Dikti mountains. Birds of prey, like the griffon vulture, glide along these peaks. The estate is surrounded by protected kermes oak forest and olive groves stretching down to the valley. On the estate, many protected trees and flowers can be found, such as a different type of beautiful orchids. The hotel suits its surrounding as it is built with real natural stones collected from the land it stands on, giving it a robust and natural look. The hotel has a neo-classic style creating a romantic atmosphere for long summer nights.
The main building houses the reception and a café with a large balcony on which you can drink your Greek coffee or rakí. In the main building, you can also find Restaurant Veláni with its large terrace overlooking the riding place and the valley. Next to the main building lays the naturally formed large swimming pool that is 100 square meters in size (130 to 160 meters deep) with a separate and lower situated children’s pool of 11 square meters (40 centimeters deep).
The 12 hotel rooms are grouped into two bungalows, each housing six rooms. The bungalows lay quietly separate from the main activities. The rooms are large and comfortable and all have a tremendous view over the valley. Each room has a large bathroom with bathtub. The rooms have central heating and air conditioning (both included in the price), a fridge, a flat screen TV with international channels, a hairdryer, a large glass door of two meters, and a private balcony or terrace. Most rooms are equipped with a wood stove (the wood is not included in the price). There are three types of rooms including Grand Comfort room, Panorama VIP room, and Family Luxury room. Every day, there is a service of room cleaning and towel change at the Country Hotel Velani. Every once a week, the sheets are changed as well. You can also have a free use of sunbeds. Reception, café, and restaurant have opening hours.
The Grand Comfort room is a two-person room that sleeps one to three persons. The total room surface is 23 square meters. The room has a terrace with private garden and a bathroom with toilet and bathtub.
The Panorama VIP room is a three-person room that sleeps two to four persons. The total room surface is 29 square meters with a balcony. The bathroom has a bathtub and a separate shower cabin. The toilet is housed in a separate room.
The Family Luxury room is a four-person room that sleeps two to five persons. This room actually comprises two Grant Comfort rooms that are connected with a connecting door.
You will also stay in various family hotels with private bathrooms. The hotels are: Magoulas, Hotel Dionissos, or Dzermiado Hotel Kourites, and Keratokambos (Finikas Rooms).
For the experienced rider, there is this heavy adventures trail of 160 kilometers through mountain area. You will travel a week, with an experienced guide, through mountain area. You will make a quick canter over the Lassithi high plateau, meet the biggest colony vultures of Europe in the high mountains, sleep on the south coast where you eat fresh fish and swim with the horses. The trail has three days over the mountainous area where you travel slowly as you decent and ascent over rocky paths. And the next three trail days, you travel actively as you ride over the flat plateau or through the countryside with its villages, olive groves, and wine yards.
Odysseia Stables welcomes you at Country Hotel Velani (three stars). Have a dive in the pool and evening dinner at the Restaurant Velani. There will be a briefing about the trail route.
You will make an active trip in the north direction and ride up the hills of Sfendili. You will cross the Byzantine Church of Avdou and ride quick over the plateau of Mochos and have an excellent view to the Psiloritis Mountains, the highest peaks of the island (2.5 kilometers). Overnight in Country Hotel Veláni.
The trail starts with a spectacular climb. After riding through the gorge of Gonies, climb up from sea level to 1100 meter high over the small old donkey route. In the past, this is the only possible path to the Lassithi Plateau. You will enjoy the breathtaking views and eat lunch cooked in a traditional oven. At the end of the day, you will ride over the Lassithi Plateau. This fertile plateau between the tops of the Dikti Mountains is known for its white windmills irrigating the land. Meet the locals who will be still working with their donkeys on the land. Here, you will make a quick canter over the flat plateau. Overnight in Magoulas, Hotel Dionissos, or in Dzermiado Hotel Kourites.
Today you will cross through the Dikti Mountains range in the south direction. Nothing but loneliness - experience the special feeling of being alone with the horses, the mountains, nature, and some rough but friendly shepherds. While you're having an overnight transport to Country Hotel Velani, the horses will stay in the mountains.
You will ride downhill through a desert land dried by the south winds out of the so close Africa until you meet the clear blue water of the Libyan Sea for a refreshing dive. You will go for a swim with the horses (Odysseia Stables decides if the sea conditions are safe to do so). You will sleep next to the sea and, of course, here you will eat fresh fish from the wood-fire. Overnight in Keratokambos (Finikas Rooms).
First, you will ride along the sea and then turn inland again. You will follow the Anapodaris River which cut out a five-kilometer long gorge. Still, now the water is cutting the gorge deeper you will grow dizzy from the depth. Suddenly, the land becomes more friendly, hilly with many olive and wine yards. You will cross through villages and let the horses drink in lake Ini. Overnight transport to Country Hotel Veláni.
You will ride back to Avdou through typical Greek countryside. You will pass Greek villages where time has stand still. Feel welcome to stop and drink an Ouzo with the Cretans at one of the village squares. Next to your path rise the Dikti Mountains which you will not quick forget. Overnight in Equestrian Country Hotel Veláni.
On the last day, you will have breakfast and departure.
Note: Every day, your luggage is transported to the next hotel.
Odysseia Stables is a small friendly stable giving home to 18 horses. Due to the small character of Odysseia with a maximum of 10 horse riders a week, they are able to maintain a close and personal contact with the guests. The stables are designed in a way to be as close as possible to the physical needs of horses. The facilities include:
Odysseia Stables has high standards for their horses, facilities, and equipment. They use English saddles. Space, outside air, and contact with other horses are what give the horses joy, health, and peace. That is why not only the horses enjoy a large stable with an open turnout paddock, but they also have the possibility for social contact. Most of the horses are stabled in pairs in one large stable of 6.2 x 3.2 meters and the separations in between the stables are half open. The roof all around is openly giving the horses a constant flow of fresh air. Also, the top of the roof has an open construction leaving hot air to travel out.
You will ride on Arabic, thoroughbreds, and warmblood horses. These breeds have long breaths and never tires in a long distance riding. They are beautiful and well-trained holiday horses that are always eager to go and have a very relaxed mind. The horses are also sure-footed in the mountains and human-orientated. Especially for a novice rider, you will use reliable and easy horses to give them the trust and safety that you need. For the children, Odysseia Stables has a Welsh B pony - a real children’s pony. It is very sweet, safe, and with speed. All of the horses are friendly, well-cared, well-fed, and regularly trained and they all have an excellent condition for the long distance riding. The horses are ridden in English riding style but are easily handled with long rains.
Crete, a Greek island in the sun surrounded by a clear blue sea and with mountains rising to 2.5 kilometers (8,000 feet) and a coastline with 1000 kilometers (650 miles) in length, makes a rough and wild landscape. The island is blessed with a warm Mediterranean climate, gorges and fertile plains. Here, there is still unlimited space to ride a horse in the peace and quietness of nature.
You can ride among a land dotted with olive groves and ancient sites holding timeless myths, take amazing paths way up into the rough mountains enjoying breathtaking views, swim in the clear blue waters, and dry at an abandoned beach. The visitor should be prepared for numerous nice surprises and a strong sense of daily life, as well as honest and warm hospitality. These characteristics need to be discovered not in the urban centers, but mainly in the remote seaside and mountain villages.
Situated in between three continents (Europe, Africa, and Asia) and conquered by many invaders have created an island rich in history with influences in the food and culture. In Heraklion, there is the ancient site of Knossos and the Minoan culture, the cradle of the European continent. Together with the pleasant Cretans and the Greek filotimo (hospitality), it is an island worth a visit.
The stay is on a basis of full board, so breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the price. Starting with dinner on the first day until breakfast on the last day. Breakfast and lunch are served in between standard hours. On riding day one, lunch will be in Restaurant Velani. Day two lunch will be in Restaurant Niki in Kera and four times a saddle bag lunch. Dinner includes a free choice from the menu and includes a starter, main dish, and salad. Drinks and desserts are not included in the price.
Please book your flight to arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request.
The transfer is not included in the price and costs 50 EUR per trip (one way) with a maximum of four guests. If possible, you will share the transfer (and the costs) with other guests.
In case more guests can share a transfer, Odysseia Stables will inform you and you will share the price. Odysseia Stables' driver will be waiting in the arrival hall, near the exit door, opposite the desk 28, and holding a paper with your name written on it. In case of any delays or flight changes, please inform Odysseia Stables.