Panorama Ride

Crete Greece: (IT-GR-SRCR02)
URL: http://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 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 pool is open year round but is not hated. In 2020, a Jacuzzi with lounge area will also be available to rent by the hour during the summer months.
Another addition (for 2020) consist in a private outdoor massage area and wellness treatments.  

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. Each room has a large bathroom with rain showers. All rooms have central heating and air conditioning, a fridge, a flat screen TV with international channels, a hairdryer, coffee and tea making facilities, a large glass door, and a private balcony or terrace.
In 2020, the rooms will feature new luxury cotton satin bedding and all beds will be equipped with mattress toppers and 2 pillows (soft and hard choice).

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

Grand Comfort Room
(2 adults + 1 child max)
Total room surface of 23 m2. The room has a terrace with private garden and a bathroom with toilet and bathtub.


Panorama VIP Room
(3 adults + 1 child max)
Total room surface of 29 m2. The bathroom has a bathtub and a separate shower cabin. The toilet is housed in a separate room. The room has a balcony. 


Family Luxury Room
 (4 adults max)
This room actually comprises two 2 Grand Comfort Rooms that are connected with a connecting door.

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. Dinner is your choice from the menu and includes a starter, main dish, and salad. 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! Drinks, desserts, and other foods are not included.

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

As we do not have a standard arrival day, the riding days of this program are offered in random order.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Other 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



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 4 star equestrian hotel Velani with swimming pool, all meals from dinner on the first night to breakfast on the last morning, lodging in private rooms with bath, daily room clean, 6 riding days (23 hrs), English speaking guide, Government taxes. Rates are based on 2 people in the Grand Comfort room or 3 people in the Panorama VIP room.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day ride, AP (High)€990$1190
  • B
    20198 day ride, AP (Low)€920$1105
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

Non riders: There are many activity options available - from Paragliding to Caving, Mountain Biking and Hiking to Golfing (5 miles away)

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Non riders: There are many activity options available - from Paragliding to Caving, Mountain Biking and Hiking to Golfing (5 miles away)


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from Heraklion airport one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
50 $60
2019 Transfer from Heraklion city center one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
55 $70
2019 Transfer from Hersonissos one way, per car (up to 4 pax)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
25 $30
2019 Single supplement (requested) 175 $210
2019 Upgrade to luxury room, dbl, pp 175 $210
2019 Non-rider discount -395 $-475
2019 Child rates- please inquire 0 $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
B 2019 01/01 - 03/16 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2019 03/17 - 06/29 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2019 09/01 - 11/03 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 1 /10 Reserve
B 2019 11/04 - 12/14 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 1 /10 Reserve
A 2019 12/15 - 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, dessert. Transfer from Iraklio (Heraklion) airport not included (paid locally).

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