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Crete - Veláni Country Hotel
Veláni Country Hotel is a family run hotel with its own stables (Odysseia Stables) situated in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains. There are different itineraries depending on your riding level and so the holiday is suitable for groups of mixed ability and non-riders. You can arrive and depart on any day and stay as long as you like.
Competent riders can explore the surrounding area on the Panorama Rides, whilst other guests may choose the Learn to Ride programme. Sunny Rides offer shorter rides in the cool of the morning or evening, leaving plenty of time to spend either visiting the beach or heading into the mountains and the Lassithi Plateau. Children are welcome all year round with riding programmes for all ages.
The horses and ponies at Odysseia Stables include Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods and Andalusians, ranging in height from 14.2hh to 16.3hh. Chosen specifically for their temperament and stamina, they are sure-footed in the mountains and relaxed but eager on the trails.
Kept in an open-stable type environment, the horses and ponies can always choose if they want to be inside or out. All horses are trained in hand and using classical dressage training making them suitable for all levels of rider.
The riding style is English, on a loose rein.
Hard hats are mandatory.
There is a rider weight limit on all rides of 90kg (14st).
Panorama Rides: Each day you ride out from the stables, returning to Veláni Country Hotel. The rides are from three to five hours long and all are within the Langada Valley. Most days you will return to Veláni Hotel for a late lunch and a leisurely afternoon, whilst on other trails you may have lunch at a local taverna.
The pace on the ride is varied, depending on the terrain, with opportunities for trots and canters on the rural tracks. You should be a competent rider, capable at all paces over uneven terrain. Over a seven night stay you ride on six days for a total of about 22 hours. The Panorama Rides do not run during the hot summer months of July and August. Children aged 12 years and over, who are experienced riders, may be accepted on the Panorama Rides, subject to an assessment.
Sunny Rides: The Sunny Rides itinerary offers a more relaxing holiday with two hour hacks either in the morning or in the evening. Rides are split according to ability; a slower ride with generally only one short canter, and the other being more challenging. For these rides you should be happy at walk, trot and canter. Over a seven night stay you ride on six days for a total of about 12 hours. Additional riding can be arranged and paid for locally, subject to availability. Children aged 12 years and older (and exceptionally aged 11 years and under) who have the required experience, may join the Sunny Rides, subject to an assessment.
Learn to Ride: There are two different instructional programmes available all year round. The Beginner Course is for riders who have never ridden before, whilst the Starter Course is aimed at riders who have had some riding lessons, or have ridden in the past, and are keen to improve their basic riding skills. The holiday includes a combination of private and group lessons together with hacks in the area. Lessons in horse care (grooming and tacking up) are also included. Over a seven night stay you ride on six days for a total of about six hours. Children aged 12 years and older are welcome on this programme.
Children's Programme: This programme is for children aged 8 to 11 years, who are able to walk and trot. Children from the age of 4 can enjoy ten minute pony rides, whilst from 6 years old they can have half hour lunge lessons in the arena.
Please note, the hotel does not offer a child minding service and children remain the responsibility of parents at all times.
The Veláni Country Hotel is a short walk from Odysseia Stables.
There are twelve spacious, en-suite rooms each with either a private garden or verandah. Each room has a hairdryer, a television, a fridge and air con.
There is large infinity pool as well as a separately located children’s pool.
The estate has its own vegetable, herb and fruit garden providing the restaurant with fresh produce each day. Olive oil is also produced from the olive groves.
Each member of your family or group can choose a different riding programme.
Sample Itinerary for Veláni Country Hotel
Panorama Rides are available all year round, except during the hot summer months of July and August.
Sunny Rides, Learn to Ride and the Children's Programme are available all year round.
You can arrive and depart any day (minimum three nights) and we recommend stays of seven nights.
Select your preferred arrival date:
|Per person (7 nights)||Panorama Rides
(c.22 hours riding)
(c.12 hours riding)
|Learn to Ride
(c.6 hours riding)
(c.6 hours riding)
|1 Jul - 31 Aug 2019||n/a||£767.67||£749.06||£432.69|
|1 Sep - 3 Nov 2019||£921.20||£767.67||£749.06||£432.69|
|4 Nov - 14 Dec 2019||£856.07||£702.53||£683.92||£367.55|
|15 Dec 2019 - 8 Jan 2020||£921.20||£767.67||£749.06||£432.69|
|9 Jan - 21 Mar 2020||£911.90||£753.71||£725.79||£400.12|
|22 Mar - 1 Jul 2020||£977.03||£818.84||£790.93||£465.25|
|2 Jul - 1 Sep 2020||n/a||£818.84||£790.93||£465.25|
|2 Sep - 1 Nov 2020||£977.03||£818.84||£790.93||£465.25|
|2 Nov - 13 Dec 2020||£911.90||£753.71||£725.79||£400.12|
|14 Dec 2020 - 10 Jan 2021||£977.03||£818.84||£790.93||£465.25|
INCLUDES Accommodation in a room with a garden terrace; meals (from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day); riding as per the itinerary (no riding on arrival or departure day).
It is possible to upgrade to a Panorama Room £23.26 (2019) or £27.92 (2020) per room per night. Family rooms, with a connecting door, are also available. Please ask us for details.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT There is no single supplement if you are willing to share, otherwise £23.26 (2019) or £27.92 (2020) per night to guarantee a single room.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Transfers; drinks; desserts & ice cream; gratuities.
NEAREST AIRPORT Heraklion.
TRANSFERS We can arrange transfers from Heraklion airport - €50 per vehicle each way (up to 4 people). Alternatively you may wish to hire a car.
Set in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains, about 40 minutes south east of Heraklion.
The climate in Crete is primarily Mediterranean, with hot and sometimes humid summers, and mild winters. Most rain falls from January to March but, as you are riding in the mountains, you should be prepared for rain at any time and cool temperatures in the evenings, except in high summer.
This was a fantastic riding holiday that far exceeded my expectations. Between the well trained and responsive horses, interesting rides through the Cretan countryside and the absolutely delicious traditional Greek food and wine, I honestly couldn't have asked for anything more! I highly recommend this holiday!
Blake ,LondonOverall rating: 5/5
This is a delightful place to stay - plenty of riding and relaxing too.
A hire car will give you the flexibility to explore this beautiful area.