Panorama Ride

Crete Greece: (IT-GR-SRCR02)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/greece_crete_panorama.aspx

Introduction
Crete Greece
Enjoy the Greek lifestyle - the bright blue sea, the golden sun and tastiest food!  Relax on the beach or visit the ancient sites!

Crete is an island in the sun, surrounded by the clear, blue sea and has a rough and wild landscape with mountains reaching 2.5 km high. You can ride within the silence of nature on the tiny island covered with olive trees, beautiful and natural landscapes, historical places with timeless myths, and astonishing tracks to follow. Swim in the ocean and dry on the deserted beach.

The moment you arrive on the hillside, you experience quiet serenity and have a tremendous panoramic view. Under us stretches the Langada Valley with the Apposelemis River crossing through, above us rise the red coloured peaks of the Dikti Mountains. Birds of prey, like the Griffon Vulture, glide along these peaks. The estate is surrounded by a protected Kerm Oak forest and the olive groves stretch down into the valley. On the estate, many protected trees and flowers can be found, many different types of beautiful orchids grow.

Here in the area around Avdou there is unlimited space for horse riding through the quietness of the nature and Cretan countryside with small villages. We ride active through the olive groves and hills, ride along Lake Aposelemis, visit the ancient site of Lyttos, and climb up the mountains to visit Kera. This active holiday, combines all the good aspects of the Cretan life- relaxing on the beach or swimming in the pool, visiting the ancient sites, meeting the friendly locals, enjoying the delicious Greek food and taking our 4-footed friends for a unique ride during the cool evening hours.

Accomodation


Accommodations

This is a stationary ride, so all nights are spent in the same location.

Description
The moment you arrive at our hotel, you experience the serene quietness and the tremendous panoramic view. Under us stretches the Langada Valley where the Apposelemis River flows. Above us rise the red colored peaks of the Dikti Mountains. The estate is surrounded by protected Kerm Oak forest and olive groves stretching down to the valley. On the estate, many protected trees and flowers can be found, like different type of beautiful orchids.

The hotel suits its surroundings. It is built with real natural stones collected from the land it stands on, which give it a robust and natural look. 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 also find the Restaurant with its large terrace overlooking the riding place and the valley. The terrace is surrounded by moveable glass walls and a roof that can be opened or closed depending on the weather conditions.

Next to the main building lays the naturally formed large swimming pool of 100 m2 (130 – 160 m deep) with a separate children pool of 11m2 (40 cm deep). The pools are open year round but are not heated. There is also a Jacuzzi with a lounge area that can be rented by the hour during the summer months (comes with Cretan sparkling wine and a fruit platter).
Private outdoor massages and wellness treatments are also available at an extra fee.  

The 12 hotel rooms are grouped into 2 bungalows each housing 6 rooms. The rooms are large and comfortable and all have a tremendous view over the valley. All rooms have central heating and air conditioning, a fridge, a flat screen TV with international channels, a private bathroom with hairdryer as well as coffee and tea making facilities.
Since 2020 the rooms feature new luxury cotton satin bedding, anti-allergic duvet and summer cotton sheets as well as 2 pillow choices (soft and hard).

The hotel has WIFI on the entire property.
Laundry is available for an additional fee.

On the arrival day guests are welcome the whole day, but guests rooms are not ready before 2:00pm. On departure day guests should leave the room before 10.30am, but are welcome to spend their last day in the hotel. A shower/changing room and toilets are available.


Room Options

Classic Room
(2 adults + 1 child max)
These rooms are located on the ground floor and have access to a patio and private garden. They come equipped with either a king-size bed or twin beds and a private bathroom.

Deluxe Room (2 adults + 1 child max)
These rooms are located on the ground floor (corner room) and come equipped with either a king-size bed or twin beds as well as a spacious bathroom with bathtub and a private garden with a veranda and a sun deck.

Panorama Wellness Room (3 adults + 1 child max)
These rooms are located on the first floor and have a balcony. In case you want a personalized and private wellness experience, this room type is for you. In addition to the bedding (king size bed or twins + twin bed on split level bedroom), these rooms feature an infrared sauna cabin for 2, color therapy and aromatherapy. They are also equipped with a private bathroom with bathtub.
When booking this room type for the full week, you get a 1-hour free access to the Jacuzzi.

Panorama Wellness Suite (3 adults + 1 child max)
This room is located on the top floor of the hotel and offers incredible views. It comes with a balcony and a private garden with furnished veranda and a sun deck. Like the wellness rooms, in addition to the bedding (king size bed or twins + twin bed on split level bedroom), this room features an infrared sauna cabin for 2, color therapy and aromatherapy. It also has a private bathroom with bathtub.
When booking this room type for the full week, you get a 1-hour free access to the Jacuzzi.

Family Room (4 people max)
This room actually comprises 2 Classic Rooms that are connected with a connecting door.

Family Suite (4 people max)
This 2-bedroom suite is located on the first floor and has a balcony. It is equipped with 1 large double bed and 2 twin beds as well as an ensuite bathroom. 


Room Occupancy
Triple share is possible.
There is no single supplement fee if you are willing to share.



Meals
All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the last day. Drinks, desserts, and other foods are not included.

The restaurant has its own vegetable, herb, and fruit gardens which provide us daily with new seasonable ingredients. Ripened under the Cretan sun and grown organically, they have a rich and delicious taste. Food is prepared with extra virgin olive oil from our own olive grove. After we press the olives only the highest extra virgin quality is kept for use in our restaurant. Some of the local produce used in the restaurant includes meat from the free ranging goats and sheep of our neighbors, cheese made by the local shepherd, homemade raki, and honey from a local beekeeper. All served with good Cretan wines (extra fee), made with grape varieties that have been used since Minoan times. Sometimes our guests prefer if we eat the Greek way (mezedes) and we put several dishes in the middle so everyone can try them! 
Dinner is your choice from the menu and includes a starter, main dish, and salad.

Meals are usually served at the following times:
Breakfast from 9am to 11am
Lunch from 2pm to 4pm
Dinner from 6pm to 9pm

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding
 

Riding
This ride is suitable for intermediate to experienced riders. You must be able to control your horse at a trot and canter riding outdoors in a group.
The program includes 6 riding days with a total of 23 riding hours, averaging 3.5 hours in the saddle per day. Every day we set out on a new track, with our four-legged friend.

Tack
We use English saddles. Every horse has his own saddle and bridle custom fit for every horse, regularly maintained and refit to follow the changes in the horse body. For bridles, we use a broken or double broken K&K Aurigan bit.

Horses
Here we stable 18 lovely horses and 1 pony. We have Arabians, Thoroughbreds and Warmblood horses. These breeds have a long breath and a never tiring will for the long distance riding. They are beautiful and well-trained holiday horses. Always eager to go, very relaxed in the mind, surefooted in the mountains and human orientated.
For the children we have a Welsh B pony. A real children’s pony, very sweat, safe and with speed.
Our horses are trained following the classical dressage method (inspired by the Greek general Xenophon) to maintain the horse healthy and well balanced in its body. Or better explained by his own words: ‘Anything forced and misunderstood can never be beautiful.’
Our horse work very hard on the long distances and in a warm climate. We believe we must do everything we can within our reach to make them feel as good as possible.
On 5 hectares of land, we built the stables by using natural materials like stones and wood. The stables are designed to be as close as possible to the physical needs of the horses.
We feed our horses by placing the hay in a slow feeder on the paddock floor. This means our horses are eating all day long creating a natural grazing behaviour, preventing colics or stumic sores and creating a healthy darm flora.

Eco-Friendly stables
We reduce waste to a minimum and use renewable energy as much as we can. We use solar panels, placed on the roof of our stables, to produce our own electricity. We warm up water by running the water through solar collecting panels and to reduce west, we use 2 septi tanks.
For stable bedding, we use rubber permeable stable mats.
In 2015, the stables achieved an ISO 9001:2008 certificate for stable management and safety.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
After arriving to our hotel, enjoy a welcome tour through the stables, a dive in the pool, and evening dinner in the Restaurant. In the evening, we will have a briefing on the trail route.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****

Day 2 : Ancient Lyttos Ride
We ride up to visit the archaeological site of the ancient city of Lyttos giving an excellent view over the valley of Kastelli. The city of Lyttos (meaning high, tall), was a strong town and a rival of Knossos. The army of the city joined the Trojan War and the city was already mentioned by Homer as Lyktos. During the roman period Lyttos was an autonomous city with great fame. It had an aqueduct, theatre, and an acropolis; nowadays little can be seen of this as excavations of the site has not been done. The site has 2 churches. After the visit, we ride along the remains of this roman aqueduct. 
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 3: Olive Ride
We make an active trip in north direction up the hills of Sfendili. We cross the Byzantine church of Avdou and ride quick over the plateau of Mochos where we are greeted with an excellent view to the Psiloritis Mountains, highest peaks of the island (2.5 km).
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 4: Lake Aposelemis River Ride 
A man-made damn was closed in 2015, creating a 3km long lake. The water attracts all kinds of birds and animals, creating a very special biotope. We follow the lake's edges and ride along the abandoned village of Sfendily, which is now half sunken into the surface of the water.
Riding: 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 5: Red Rock Ride
A steep climb up the mountain gives you an excellent view over the stables and the Langada valley. We ride through Kerm Oak forest to visit the mysterious Church of the Saint Fotini, which is hidden deep in a cave.
Riding: 2.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 6: Vulture Gorge Ride
We ride through the gorge of Gonies to start our spectacular climb to the Greek village of Kera at 800 meters. Here we make a lunch break in Restaurant Niki before we start our decent along the springs of Kera. 
Riding: 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 7: Cypress Ride
The last day we ride out through a very quiet beautiful valley full of olive groves. We ride along a small cypress forest and make some steep descents with the horses, which we now fully trust.
Riding: 3 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Country Hotel Velani****


Day 8: Breakfast and Departure
Enjoy breakfast at our hotel before heading off to your next adventure.
Meals included: Breakfast



Non-Riding Activities (available at additional cost)
- Paragliding (only for experienced flyers)
- Hiking
- Caving
- Mountain climbing
- Mountain biking
- Birding
- Yoga onsite
- Cooking classes onsite
- A 18 hole golf course is located 5 miles away
- The wide sandy beach of Anissaras is 10 miles away



Wellness (available at extra cost)
Also possible to reserve in the hotel are massages and wellness treatments, given by a professional therapist.
The different massage offered are relaxing (Swedish Massage), deep tissue (Cretan Massage) or Yoga based (Thai Massage). Massage can be combined with aroma therapies and/or body treatments. All products used are 100% organic and made with Cretan herbs and olive oil. Already from Minoan times the use of herbs from the rich Cretan land combined with essential oils and olive oil were used as a base for massages of relaxation and well being.
A massage can be booked in the hotel, prices starting from 50 euro for a hour. Prices are depending on massage type, duration and products used.


Rates and Dates for Panorama Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations in Grand Comfort room, All meals, 6 riding days & Government taxes.
Riding helmets and mini chaps are available for free in the stables.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day ride, AP (High)€1050$1190
  • B
    20208 day ride, AP (Low)€980$1110
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from Heraklion airport one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
50 $60
2020 Transfer from Heraklion city center one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
55 $65
2020 Transfer from Hersonissos one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
25 $30
2020 Single supplement (requested) 210 $240
2020 Upgrade to luxury room, dbl, pp 210 $240
2020 Non-rider discount -420 $-475
2020 Child rates- please inquire 0 $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
B 2020 01/01 - 03/21 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2020 03/22 - 06/30 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2020 09/01 - 10/31 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 1 /10 Reserve
B 2020 11/01 - 12/13 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2020 12/14 - 12/31 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 1 /10 Reserve

Dates Note: Not available during the summer or the Crete Mountain Explorer weeks.

Rates do not include:

Drinks, Gratuities & Transfers from/to Heraklion

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Panorama Ride on Crete (IT-GR-SRCR02):

For all guests that reserved a riding holiday with us in March and April, we would be happy to change your holiday to a new date. It is also possible to move your holiday to a new date in 2021. Of course, any changes in the reservation like extra booked nights or riding will be charged.

We are opening again for horse riding holidays from the 1st of July!
All European nationalities are welcome from the 1st of July but only for guests travelling from code green airports as marked by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency are allowed to travel into Greece without a quarantine period. Code red airport guests need a self-quarantine period of 1 week.
For a detailed weekly updated list of code red/high risk airports look at this link;
https://www.easa.europa.eu/SD-2020-01/Airports

We just finished a 4 days training from the University hospital with all our staff members, on all the rules, protocols and measurements we need to take in our hotel to keep all our guests and staff safe, and what we need to inform the people.

Every tourist visiting Greece needs to fill in the PLF (Passenger Locator Form) 48 hours before check in at the airport. For more information on the form, see: https://travel.gov.gr/#/

For guests travelling to Greece they need to know that they need to comply with all the necessary hygiene measures (use of masks and physical distancing).
Masks need to be worn in any situation where a 2 meter distance cannot be kept or where there is close contact like at hairdressers or doctor visits.
Masks also need to be worn during the transfer from the airport to the hotel and in the airport building.

All our staff needs to wear masks during work, with the exception of the guide during the horse treks or outdoor lessons.
All our staff gets their temperature checked daily.

Reception desk is moved outdoors and indoor contact is kept at a minimum.
Guests are requested to use the toilets inside their own room.
Check in times have changed to 15pm and departure time to 11am. So after cleaning and disinfection, the rooms are left to ventilate with open windows.

As our hotel has plenty of outdoor space we have room enough for all guests to eat at the same time and keep all the necessary physical distance.
The pool is open but we do have a maximum amount of guests that can be in the water at the same time.
Massage and face/body treatments are not possible at this time

We apologise to the guests for the use of 1 time packed products in the restaurant and rooms. But at the moment even napkins or pepper/salt are prohibited for use and are provided in 1 packed portions.

We are not allowed to enter the rooms of the guests. Not even for the cleaning. Except if the guests invite us to do so.
So guests are given the choice to have the room cleaned as normal or to have us put the clean towel on the balcony from where we will also collect the dirty wash.
We ask guests daily if they like full cleaning or just towels out.

Disinfectant gels are provided in all areas and inside the rooms.

Hotel rooms have recently been renovated to make them more spacious.
We created 3 new room types that can be booked at an extra charge:

  • Wellness rooms feature a 2 person Infrared Sauna cabin as well as a radio system, aromatherapy and colour therapy. The Superior wellness suite is located at the highest point of the hotel and it has a fantastic view on the surrounding. It also has a private balcony and a private garden with a furnished veranda and a sun deck with sunbeds. The room is equipped with the same amenities as the wellness rooms. It comes equipped with a sitting area with fireplace, a king size bed and a split level extra bedroom for an extra person.

  • Deluxe double suites (2 persons) have a private garden with sunbeds, and an open plan sitting area with a fireplace.
  • Family rooms. Families now have the choice to book the one-bedroom family suite which has a double and a single bed as well as a split level bedroom for another single bed OR the Superior family suite which consists of two connecting bedrooms.

Rooms included in the horse riding holidays are the Classic double room for 2 persons, the Family panorama suite for 3 persons and the Superior family suite for 4 persons.

The swimming pool area has a new closed off area with a 6 person heated jacuzzi with hydro massage and a lounge area for relaxing. The jacuzzi can be rented by the hour and includes Cretan sparkling wine and a fruit platter. The jacuzzi has led lights and a sound system for romantic evenings.

If guests stay in the wellness room for 7 nights they have a 1-hour jacuzzi for free.
The restaurant has now an extra 2 new verandas for all weather outdoor dining and a tremendous view of the lake. Under warm conditions the glass walls can be opened electronically from all 3 sides and the roof can also be opened/closed.
The outdoor terrace has been enlarged and covered with an electronic roof closure.

 


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Avdou
Airport: Kazantzakis International Airport (HER)
Transfer: Kazantzakis International Airport (HER), Hersonissos bus stop, Heraklion ferry terminal, or city center

Climate:
                                            Heraklion area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

59

60

63

68

74

81

84

84

80

74

68

62

Average Low Temperature (°F)

48

48

49

53

59

66

71

71

67

62

56

51

Average High Temperature (°C)

15

15

17

20

24

27

29

29

27

24

20

17

Average Low Temperature (°C)

9

9

9

12

15

19

22

22

19

17

13

10

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

9

8

6

3

1

0

0

0

1

3

6

8

Source: NOAA


Seasons
The island of Crete has a temperate Mediterranean climate. This means it experiences hot, dry summers and mild winters. Crete has the mildest climate of anywhere in Greece. Average temperatures are at their peak in July and August while January and February see the coldest temperatures of the year on average.

Different parts of Crete can experience very different weather patterns, due to the weather barrier created by the mountain ranges that stretch from east to west across the island. The south is on average a couple of degrees warmer than the north and is also drier. Similarly eastern Crete is drier and warmer than those regions in the west.

Crete straddles 2 climatic zones – Mediterranean and North African. Southern Crete falls into the North African climate zone, enjoying warmer weather and averaging over 2800 hours of sunshine a year. The varying climates on the island are reflected by the landscape and vegetation. The south can be very arid, especially in summer, while the north is more green and verdant. Southern Crete’s similarities with the North African climate are evident in the fact that African swallows remain year round rather than migrating south.

Sea temperatures around Crete are generally warm, and bathers can always swim comfortably from May right up to November. The water remains above 20 ºC during these months, peaking at 25 ºC in high summer. The sea temperature will drop to about 15 ºC in February before beginning to warm again with the onset of spring.

Spring
Springtime weather on the island can still see a number of rainy days, especially in the North, though clear and mild days are frequent as well. Temperatures can begin to hit the 20 ºCs and the sea begins to warm up.

Summer
Summer begins in earnest from June. The period June to September sees almost no rainfall and average temperatures of around 25 ºC. Daytime temperatures in mid summer are often in the low 30 ºCs, though it can sometimes reach up to 40 ºC!

Winter
Winter months, especially December to February, can be quite wet. In winter the temperature rarely falls much below double figures in lowland and coastal Crete. Normally, snow is very rare anywhere on the island apart from in the higher mountains. The mountainous regions can experience heavy snowfall in winter due to their high elevation. Snow can often remain on the higher peaks such as Mt Ida until June.

Autumn
Temperatures begin to cool off in late September again and the now dry island begins to receive some much needed rainfall. Early autumn is a pleasant time with calm, clear days. The weather becomes more unstable from November on as rainy and windy days increase, though sunny days with temperatures in the low 20s C are not uncommon.


Special note – Sirocco wind
The winds that visit Crete have an important role in shaping the island’s weather patterns. Cold, wet and windy winter days are experienced when the strong northern winds hit the island. The sirocco winds arrive from the southeast bringing hot, sand filled air from the deserts of Africa. When the sirocco winds arrive the island becomes very dusty and hot and visibility can fall. However, when they blow in winter they bring warm air and pleasant temperatures. Southerly winds in the summer months can sometimes bring stifling temperatures of up to 45 ºC. On other summer days the welcome ‘meltimi’ winds arrive from the north-west bringing a much needed cooling breeze to the island. When the wind blows from the east, Crete usually experiences calm and clear weather.

What To Bring:
In the mountains it can also be cold in May or September.
The hotel has laundry available.
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Riding pants or Jodhpurs (used if possible!). No jeans.
Riding boots that are also comfortable for walking. Mini chaps.
Riding helmet. Best if you bring you own. We have simple helmets for free in the stables.
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Lightweight Rain coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra film or batteries
Belt pack
Address book and pen (for postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm