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Posted on July 17, 2023
In April 2023, Lois stayed at Velani Country Hotel in Crete. Here she tells us of five things she loved:
These are some of the aspects which make Velani Country Hotel special. They are in no particular order, but I think they all deserve a mention:
I was lucky enough to stay in a Deluxe Suite. This meant I had a jacuzzi style bathtub, a sitting area and my room opened onto a lounge area with an outdoor shower.
The big bathroom, and jacuzzi bathtub.All the rooms have their own sitting area and garden.
I received a very warm welcome at the airport from Sabine, one of the owners of the hotel (even though my flight landed very late at night at 23:30). Sabine showed me to my room, how the heating and air con system worked and also left me some tasty Greek food to tuck into. Throughout my entire stay, all the staff were super friendly and professional. Nothing was too much trouble.
The riding was all along harder tracks, which is quite different to the UK. However, the horses were sure footed and fit for the terrain. There was a great mix of paces, and if the terrain allowed, we would kick on and have a canter. Some of these canters were quite fast and for long distance (I joined Panorama Rides) and the only trotting was as we were going into or coming out of canter.
For less experienced riders or those who wish to do less riding, the Sunny Rides are shorter rides which last two hours. There is still cantering but the Sunny Rides are normally steadier than the Panorama Rides. The ride operator also offers a Beginner and Starter Course for those who are brand new to horse riding, or perhaps are looking to improve their confidence.
Throughout our rides the guide talked to us about the history of the island and pointed out ruins of times gone by.
I took so many videos, but here are some of my favourites:
Cantering on one of the paths.
Walking home through Avdou village
Learning about the ancient city of Lyttos.
I just loved the amazing food (the breakfast in particular sent me WILD). I have been on holidays to other Greek islands and have always loved the food, but the food here was so fresh and well cooked. All the ingredients are sourced from as close to the hotel as possible, with some even grown in the hotel’s own garden. The hotel’s restaurant is very popular amongst locals, which is always an excellent sign when on holiday.
The wonderful breakfasts included granola, full fat Greek yoghurt, honey, orange purée, apple purée, sliced fruits (different each day), freshly baked bread, ham, cheese, tomato, and you could have eggs cooked to your liking too. The orange juice was freshly squeezed each morning and the coffee was fab! I know this sounds like a ‘normal’ breakfast, but the freshness of all the ingredients was obvious. The purées and the honey were the perfect sweetness.
One of the lunches.
The view across the Langada Valley and the Aposelemis Lake is stunning. Each morning I stepped out to this beautiful panoramic scene.
Stepping out of my room one morning.
Whilst riding, it seemed every corner you turned was worthy of a photo!
There was always plenty to be looking out for whilst riding.
You can arrive and depart any day to ride at Velani Hotel, subject to availability and a minimum three nights stay.
If you are an experienced rider looking for an adventure, Sabine also organises the Lassithi Trek which runs once per month in the Spring and Autumn. This trail will take you to the south coast of the island along routes which are seldom visited by tourists. As well as the Velani Hotel you also stay at a further two hotels and may even get the chance to swim in the sea with the horses.
If you would like further information, or to reserve your place, please contact Lois on 01299 272 240, or firstname.lastname@example.org