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8 Day Sunny Horse Riding Holiday in Hersonissos, Crete

Country Hotel Velani, Velani 46, Avdou, Hersonissos, 700 05, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Amazing Horse Riding in Greece

Take part in this sunny horse riding holiday in the magnificent country, Greece. Here in the area around Avdou, there is unlimited space for horse riding. You will ride through the quietness of nature and Cretan countryside with small villages. Also, you will ride actively through the olive groves and hills, through Greek villages, a visit to the cave of Saint Fotini, and a fast canter on the Mochos Plateau. You will also stay the week on the unique hillside location in Country Hotel Velani with panoramic view to lake Aposelemis, infinity swimming pool, and restaurant with local produce. Set out on a new track every day with a four-legged friend!

Key information

  • Tack Type: English tack
  • Horse Breed: Arabian horse, Thoroughbred horse, and Warmblood horse


  • Active rides through Langada Valley
  • Approximate riding time of 2 hours on 6 days
  • Ride cross the traditional Greek village of Avdou
  • Hotel, restaurant, pool, and stables all in one location
  • Ride through Kerm Oak forest and a quick canter over the plateau of Mochos
  • Visit the mysterious Church of the Saint Fotini
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights’ accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


6 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 10 participants
Airport transfer available:
Heraklion International Airport (US$61 per person)
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  • Horse riding
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Café
  • Concierge desk
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Special menu request
  • Terrace
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Tour assistance
  • Patio

You will be accommodated at Odysseia Stables' equestrian hotel, Country Hotel Velani. 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 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). All rooms feature a tea and coffee maker. There are three types of rooms including Grand Comfort room, Panorama VIP room, and Family Luxury room.

Grand Comfort

The Grand Comfort room is a two-person room that sleeps one to two persons. The total room surface is 23 square meters. The room has a terrace with private garden and a bathroom with toilet and bathtub.

Panorama VIP

The Panorama VIP room is a three-person room that sleeps two to three 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.

Family Luxury

The Family Luxury room is a four-person room that sleeps two to four persons. This room actually comprises two Grand Comfort rooms that are connected with a connecting door.

The estate also gives a home to 14 horses and 2 ponies, housed in the Odysseia Stables. Also, the stables are built with natural stones but above all, they are designed to be horse-friendly! Other activities in the hotel are paragliding (only for experienced flyers), hiking, caving, and mountain climbing for all levels. It is possible to rent mountain bikes.

The hotel has fast and free Wi-Fi in the entire property. Also free use of a computer in the main building with a printer. The owners of Odysseia, Sabine Ruijters Fragakis from origin Dutch and Manolis Fragakis, like to welcome you in a family atmosphere with personal contact and letting you feel the Greek hospitality.


The stables

Odysseia Stables is a small friendly stable giving home to 18 horses. Due to the small character of Odysseia Stables with a maximum of 10 horse riders a week, they are able to maintain 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 of the stable include:

  • 14 stables connected behind turnout paddocks giving the horses themselves the choice to go inside or outside
  • Outdoor arena (42 x 20 meters) with an all-weather proof floor and a small tribune
  • Outdoor arena (15 x 12 meters) for lunging
  • Tack room
  • A horse shower
  • Bathroom / changing-room and toilets for the guests

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 Odysseia Stables' horses’ joy, health, and peace. That is why not only the horses enjoy a large stable with an open turnout paddock, but also they have the possibility for social contact. Most of Odysseia Stables' 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.

The horses

You will ride on Arabic, Thoroughbreds, and warmblood horses. These breeds have long breaths and a never-tiring will for 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. Special 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, 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.


This partner or family program is an ideal combination for those who travel together with non-riders or whose partner joins one of the other sports activities in the hotel like golf, mountain climbing, or paragliding. You will have a daily ride (a two-hour active trip) through the valley of Langada. You will cross the traditional Greek village of Avdou with its Byzantine Church. You will climb up the mountain giving an excellent view over the stables and the Langada Valley. You will then ride through Kerm Oak forest to visit the mysterious Church of the Saint Fotini which is hidden deep to a cave. You will have two hours in the saddle and a visit to the cave and you will make a quick canter over the plateau of Mochos.

This active holiday will combine all the good of the Cretan life, relaxing on the beach or swimming in the pool, visiting an ancient site, meeting the friendly locals, enjoying the Greek food, and taking the four-footed friend for a ride during the cool evening hours. The program includes six-day horse riding with a total of 12 hours. This horse riding holiday is suitable for beginning, medium, to experienced riders. Riders will be split according to their riding levels.

Note: Arrivals and departures are a 24-hour service, but Odysseia Stables needs to be informed about your arrival time and flight number.

Included excursions

  • Cross the traditional Greek village of Avdou with its Byzantine Church
  • Ride through Kerm Oak forest to visit the mysterious Church of the Saint Fotini
  • Quick canter over the plateau of Mochos


Crete, a Greek Island in the sun surrounded by a clear blue sea and with mountains rising to 2.5 kilometers makes a rough and wild landscape. Here, there is still unlimited space to ride a horse in the peace and quietness of nature. Visitors usually 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.

Visitors can also be prepared for numerous nice surprises and for a strong sense of daily life as well as for honest and warm hospitality. These characteristics need to be discovered not in the urban centers, but mainly in the remote seaside and mountain villages.


  • Avdou, 1 kilometer
  • An 18-hole golf course, 7 kilometers
  • Anissaras, 15 kilometers
  • Heraklion International Airport (HER), 40 kilometers


Please note that the hotel, restaurant, pool, and stables are located in one location.



  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Massage
  • Mountain biking
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Paragliding


  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Balcony
  • Café
  • Concierge desk
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Special menu request
  • Terrace
  • Patio


  • Bicycle rental
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hair dryer
  • Room cleaning
  • Tour assistance


The meals will be on a basis of a full board which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Restaurant Velani. You will start with dinner on the first day until breakfast on the last day. Breakfast and lunch will be served in between standard hours. Dinner will include free choices from the menu and include a starter, main dish, and salad. Reception, café, and restaurant have opening hours. Drinks and desserts are not included.

Restaurant Velani

Restaurant Velani welcomes everybody who wants to experience the local healthy Cretan diet or Greek cuisine. The Cretan diet is famous for being healthy and the use of olive oil. The olive oil is Restaurant Velani's own produce by the olive grove of the estate. The restaurant serves all fresh home cooking with organically grown vegetables and fruit from their own gardens and makes use of local products from nearby farmers. You can enjoy a refreshing drink or Greek dinner after the ride at the terrace with a view of the riding arena.

Every Sunday afternoon, chef Manolis heats up the outdoor oven by burning wood from the restaurant's olive trees. When the oven reaches the right temperature, the wood is removed and the food trays are placed inside, then the door is closed with a paste of ash and water. The food is slowly cooked for hours, making them soft and juicy. For vegetarians, the Cretan kitchen offers a wide range of possibilities.

The Restaurant Velani opens all year from spring to autumn and on a daily basis when they have guests staying at the hotel. In winter, the restaurant opens on Saturdays and Sundays. If you follow a special diet, please inform Odysseia Stables with your reservation so Restaurant Velani can cater for you. Moreover, for groups, it is possible to make arrangements outside normal opening hours.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Aqua fun park visit
  • Biking
  • Birdwatching at the dam lake of Aposelemis
  • Greek cooking class
  • Hiking
  • Mochos Village visit for a drink on its central village square
  • Mountain climbing
  • Organized tours from the harbor in Elounda or Agios Nikolaos
  • Paragliding for experienced pilots
  • Sea aquarium visit
  • Sightseeing tour of Knossos and the archeological museum in Heraklion
  • Speleology (caving)
  • Swedish massage, Thai massage, or aromatherapy
  • The island of Spinalonga visit
  • The traditional village of Amariano tour
  • The village of Krasi with a water spring and very large old Platanus tree tour
  • Tour of the Minoan Palace in Malia
  • Walking

What's included

  • 6 days with horse riding sessions
  • Visit the Church of the Saint Fotini, ride in Avdou and the plateau of Mochos
  • Full board meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Everyday room cleaning and towel change with a once a week sheet change
  • Free use of sunbeds
  • 7 nights’ accommodation

What's not included

  • Transfer from or to Heraklion International Airport (HER), port, or Heraklion
  • Drinks and desserts

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Driving directions from Agios Nikolaos

  • Take the national highway in the direction of Heraklion at Agios Nikolaos.
  • Take the exit Kastelli or Lassithi Plateau (Oropedio).
  • Turn left to Lassithi Plateau or Golf Course at the end of the exit.
  • Drive past the golf course. Please do not take the exit ‘Mochos’ from the highway as this route to the hotel will take much longer time due to the mountains.
  • Follow Lassithi Plateau when the road is split in directions to Lassithi Plateau (Oropedio) and Kastelli.
  • Follow this road until you drive into Avdou.
  • Drive past a large supermarket and the Lake Aposelemis.
  • Follow the signs Country Hotel Velani and Odysseia Stables in Avdou.
  • Turn to the right into a small street after ‘Avdou Restaurant’. The road becomes an unpaved rural road.
  • Drive uphill until you meet the hotel entrance.

Driving directions from Heraklion

  • Follow the signs at the airport or port of Heraklion to the national highway in the direction of Agios Nikolaos.
  • Stay on the highway for about 25 kilometers.
  • Take the exit Kastelli or Lassithi Plateau (Oropedio).
  • Turn right direction Lassithi Plateau or Golf Course in the end of the exit. The road will split when you drive past the golf course in directions to Lassithi Plateau (Oropedio) and Kastelli.
  • Follow Lassithi Plateau until you drive into Avdou.
  • Drive past a large supermarket and the Lake Aposelemis.
  • Follow the signs of Country Hotel Velani and Odysseia Stables in Avdou.
  • Turn to the right into a small street after ‘Avdou Restaurant’. The road becomes an unpaved rural road.
  • Drive uphill until you meet the hotel entrance.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER). Transfer from and to this airport is available upon request.

Transfer from or to the airport, port, or Heraklion is organized. Odysseia Stables will be waiting in the arrival hall with a sign mentioning your name. It is not included in the price but arrivals and departures are included in Odysseia Stables' 24-hour service. However, they need to be informed about your arrival time and flight number. Transfer from Heraklion International Airport (HER) to the hotel is 50 EUR one way. Guests can also share a transfer. Odysseia Stables will inform you and you can share the price per person. Moreover, the transfer from Heraklion center is 55 EUR one way and transfer from Hersonissos is 25 EUR one way. The prices are for one car with maximum of four persons.

From Heraklion International Airport (HER), you can also reach Odysseia Stables by renting a car. Odysseia Stables advises you to rent a car in case you like to see more of Crete since the location is remote and public transportations to Avdou is scarce. For several years, Odysseia Stables has happily worked together with a small family business who rents good cars. You can pick up and return the car at Heraklion International Airport (HER), Heraklion city, or the port. Please send an inquiry for more information and the prices.

Furthermore, there is another airport which is Chania International Airport (CHQ) with a three-hour drive away from Odysseia Stables. You may need a rental car to travel from there. If your arrival and departure times are during the day, you can travel by bus from Chania to Hersonissos.

Arrival by bus

If you want to arrive by public bus to Avdou, you need to be aware that bus only goes twice a week. You can make a phone call from the village and Odysseia Stables will pick you up at the bus stop for free. Avdou is not easily reachable by bus. Buses drive in between Heraklion and the Lassithi Plateau on Monday and Friday only with Avdou as the bus stop. Departure from Heraklion is at 2:15 p.m. and departure from Lassithi Plateau is at 5:45 a.m.

There is also a regular bus service in between Heraklion and Hersonissos in the summertime for every half hour. Odysseia Stables can organize a transfer from Hersonissos at the bus station of Spar Supermarket for 25 EUR (one way). For regular bus service from Agios Nikolaos to Hersonissos, Odysseia Stables can also meet you at the bus station of Spar Supermarket.

Arrival by taxi

If you organize your own transfer, you have to be aware that most taxi drivers don’t want to drive the last two kilometers over the unpaved road to the hotel or they will count extra money for this. However, please make sure that the driver does not charge you 10 EUR extra for the last two kilometers of dirt road from Avdou to the hotel.

Airport: Heraklion International Airport Airport transfer available: Heraklion International Airport (US$61 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 21 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
8 days / 7 nights
from --

This horse riding holiday is available from June 14 - September 6, 2020 and June 13 to September 5, 2021 Please select an arrival date below.

Pricing information

Other available options (valid in 2020 and 2021):

  • Non-rider: 630 EUR per person
  • Non-rider of 0 to 3 years old: Free of charge
  • Non-rider of 4 to 7 years old: 315 EUR per person
  • Non-rider of 8 to 11 years old: 350 EUR per person
  • Single room supplement: 210 EUR per person
  • Upgrade to a luxury room: 210 EUR per person

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