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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 so the holiday is suitable for groups of mixed ability. It is also a great base for 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. Novice riders can choose the Learn to Ride programme. Sunny Rides offer shorter rides in the cool of the morning or evening. There is 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 and Warmbloods 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.
Please note that much of the riding, including the faster work, is on hard tracks.
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 the Hotel for a late lunch and a leisurely afternoon but on some trails you 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 23 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 is a 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.
There are twelve spacious, en-suite rooms each with either a private patio garden or balcony. Each room has a hairdryer, television, fridge and air con. Prices are based on a Classic Room and Family rooms, but upgrades are available.
Classic Rooms are on the ground floor and have a private veranda. Each room has either a king size bed or twin beds, and a spacious bathroom with a bath. Ideal for couples, friends sharing or single guests.
Deluxe Suites are on the ground floor and have a private veranda and sun patio. Each room has either a king size bed or twin beds, and a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi bath. In addition, there is an open plan sitting corner with a fireplace. Ideal for couples, friends sharing or single guests.
The Family Room sleeps a family of up to four people. This first-floor room has a large double bed and a single bed, and a further single bed in the split-level room. There is a spacious bathroom (with a bath), an open plan sitting corner with fireplace and a balcony. This room would also be suitable for friends wishing to share.
The Superior Family Suite has two connecting ground floor rooms with a private patio and garden. The master room has a large double bed and an open plan sitting corner with fireplace. The second bedroom has twin beds and an open plan sitting area and extra TV. Each room has a spacious bathroom with a bath. This suite is suitable for a family of up to four people. It would also suit friends sharing. A single supplement is payable if either room has single occupancy.
The Panorama Wellness Suite offers you a personalised Wellness experience in the intimacy of your own room. The suite is on the first floor with a king size bed or twin beds, and a further single bed in the split-level room. In addition to the spacious bathroom (with a jacuzzi bath), there is also an infrared sauna cabin (for two), colour therapy and aroma therapy, an open plan sitting corner with fireplace, a balcony, and a private sun patio with sun beds. Ideal for couples, friends sharing or single guests.
The Superior Wellness Suite offers a personalised Wellness experience, together with a large private garden. The suite is on the first floor with a king size bed or twin beds, and a further single bed and child’s bed in the split-level room. In addition to the spacious bathroom (with a bath), there is also an infrared sauna cabin (for two), colour therapy and aroma therapy, an open plan sitting corner with fireplace, a balcony plus private veranda and sun patio with sun beds. Ideal for couples, friends sharing or single guests. With the child’s bed, the suite can accommodate a family of four. Please note this bed is not suitable for adults.
You can arrive and depart any day (minimum three nights). We recommend stays of seven nights.
Each member of your family or group can choose a different riding programme. Panorama Rides are available all year round, except not during the hot summer months of July and August. Sunny Rides, Learn to Ride and the Children's Programme are available all year round.
Sample Itinerary for Veláni Country Hotel
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)
|8 Nov - 14 Dec 2022||$1,113.49||$948.94||$896.28||$510.12|
|15 Dec 2022 - 9 Jan 2023||$1,190.28||$1,025.73||$973.07||$586.91|
|10 Jan - 13 Mar 2023||$1,256.11||$1,058.64||$992.82||$927.00|
|14 Mar - 5 Nov 2023||$1,332.90||$1,135.43||$1,069.61||$1,003.79|
|6 Nov - 14 Dec 2023||$1,256.11||$1,058.64||$992.82||$927.00|
|15 Dec 2023 - 9 Jan 2024||$1,332.90||$1,135.43||$1,069.61||$1,003.79|
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).
Deluxe Suite $71.31 per room per night.
Panorama Wellness Suite $142.61 per room per night.
Superior Wellness Suite $164.56 per room per night.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT There is a single supplement of $38.40 per night for single occupancy. A supplement also applies in a family suite if either room has single occupancy. Room upgrade prices also apply.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Transfers; drinks; desserts & ice cream; gratuities.
NEAREST AIRPORT Heraklion.
TRANSFERS from Heraklion airport are €55 per vehicle each way (up to 4 people). Alternatively you may wish to hire a car.
Flights can arrive and depart at any time.
Transfers can be arranged from Heraklion airport, a journey of about 40 minutes (payable locally). Alternatively you may prefer to hire a car and self-drive to the hotel. We recommend this option for guests on a centre based holiday.
It may be possible to share the transfer with guests arriving at a similar time but we are not likely to know that until nearer the date.
Room check-in is from 14:00 on the first day and check-out is by 12:00. Guests arriving or departing outside these times are welcome to use the public areas.
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.