On the sun-drenched island of Lesvos you will find Molyvos, a beautiful Greek village with Turkish influences, and your base for this relaxing riding holiday. Accommodation is in a friendly and peaceful hotel 4 km from the equestrian centre and 2 km from the village centre. The hotel has comfortable en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant serving pizzas from a traditional wood oven, a swimming pool, a children's pool and playground and a shuttle bus that come and goes to the village centre 4 times a day, making this a perfect destination for families and groups with non-riders. For an additional price a hotel right on the beach can be booked with transfers to the riding centre. This hotel has a restaurant offering excellent cuisine, bar, cafeteria, swimming pool and direct access to the beach as well as comfortable and spacious rooms with private bathroom and air conditioning, again perfect for families and groups with non-riders.

The riding school was founded in 2012 and is run by an enthusiastic Greek / Dutch family. Their horses are mainly Haflingers, and Haflinger crosses. These sure-footed, reliable horses will carry you confidently through beautiful, unspoilt scenery from impressive mountainous trails to pristine beaches - stunning views are guaranteed.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from MS of nicosia on 25/08/2014

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments RITA ROCKS!!!
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments The most amazing friendly beautiful obiddient horses ever!!!
Ikaros and Romeo the stallions and Donna and Juliet the girls






Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Lesvos is the most beautiful greek island a hidden secret !!! amazing food amazing beaches amazing forests and traditional villages .The most beautiful scenery and trails for horseriding .Swimming with the horses was something i will never forget so as the dedication of my horse Juliet that helped me overcome my fear of heights !!!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
What could we do to improve this ride? absolutly nothing
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 8
Please explain why you scored it as you did long but unforgetable rides through forests villages uphill downhill sunrise to sunset, once even at pitch black AMAZING just trust and follow your horse!!!And lets not forget the steady full speed gallop of all our horses even though it was our first time to try gallop we loved it even my 8 year old daughter
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments THANK YOU
Unicorn comments

Day 1
Arrive at the yard, meet your host and wander across to your hotel where you can check in and rest.
Visit the horses at the stables, enjoy a drink at the bar, and settle into the swing on your relaxing holiday. Dinner at the hotel.


Day 2
Excursion to Bafios: Perched above the town of Molyvos on an adjoining mountain is the small settlement of Vafios, with its exquisite views and quintessentially Grecian village life. We leave the stables and ride up into the hills on sandy tracks  enjoying the panoramas along the way, and getting to know our horses. We will also take the time to stop at a local café for a beverage.
Today we will be 4hrs in the saddle

Day 3
Excursion to Ipsilometopo: Today is a longer ride with about 5hrs in the saddle. We climb a steep path to Bafios where some off-horse walking is required (5 mins). we can of course stop to admire the views! Once we have reached Bafios a sandy road will take us to Stipsi village where we will take the asphalt road for 2kms to get to Ipsilometopo, where refreshments will await us in the local taverna.
Day 4
Excursion to Molyvos Race track: Today is a shorter but faster ride with 2hrs in the saddle. We explore the back roads of Molyvos, passing by the local race track for a gallop for whoever is interested finishing up the trip at the beach, where we canter next to the sea; in the summer period we take the saddles off and take a swim with the horses.

Day 5
Excursion Petri: A longer ride today with 4hrs in the saddle; we ride through the little cobbled streets of Molyvos to Petra, ascending steep hills, passing through archeological sites of ancient watermills, and past rivers that run all year round before we stop at the taverna of Petri for refreshments.

Day 6
Excursion Sk. Sikamnia: Today is the longest riding day with 6hrs in the saddle. We start early in the morning and ride the sandy coast road passing by Eftalou hot spring waters. We arrive in the afternoon in Sk. Sikaminia where we stop for lunch, swim in the sea and exploring the harbour village until the afternoon where we take a leisurely ride back to Molyvos after a delicious lunch and restful siesta.

Day 7
Day off. Lesson available at the yard

Day 8
Depart after breakfast

Please note that the programme may vary according to season and to the rider’s capabilities.

Beginners Programme

Day 1
Arrive at the yard, meet your host and wander across to your hotel where you can check in and rest.
Visit the horses at the stables, enjoy a drink at the bar, and settle into the swing on your relaxing holiday. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 2
After breakfast it's time to meet your horse! After an initial introduction to horses and riding you'll start off by having a 45 minute lesson in the arena. After the lesson there is time to learn about caring for your horse too and stable management - an important part of learning to ride.

Day 3
Today's 45 minute lesson will re-visit all that you learnt from yesterday. You may feel new muscles today as you start to feel more comfortable in the saddle! Make sure you stay active after your lesson to help with any aching. 

Day 4
By now you may be starting to feel a bit more confident in the saddle so if you are feeling ready your lesson today will start to explore new skills in the saddle. All this is in readiness for tomorrow's excursion out of the arena and into the beautiful countryside.

Day 5
Today is an exciting day - your first excursion on your new four-legged best friend. Leave the arena behind and explore the sights, sounds and smells of the mountains, enjoying the exquisite views from a new height. The excursion will be for around 45 minutes while you get used to riding and controlling your horse in the open countryside, a completely different experience to riding in an arena.

Day 6
Enjoy a day off today. Explore the local area, sit by the pool, catch the shuttle to the village, the choices are endless.

Day 7
Your final day of riding will compliment your week of tuition perfectly - today is a bigger excursion out into the countryside for around 1 hour 20 minutes. The pace will be dictated by how you have progressed through the week so enjoy the fresh mountain air, the far-reaching views and sit back and relax on your trusty steed. After the ride say a fond farewell to your horses; hopefully this week has sparked a new passion and you'll be back for more adventures soon!

Day 8
Depart after breakfast.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

Winds of Crete - David MacNeill Doren
The Chania Town News - Douglas Bullis 
Last Temptation and Zorba The Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
The King Must Die and The Bull From The Sea - Mary Renault

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

• The horses are in good condition, well fed and much loved

• 8 horses available at the yard and more available upon request

• Mainly Haflinger and Haflinger-crosses with nice temperaments and well-suited to their mountain environment

• Most horses are around 1,40-1,60cm around 400-500kg, 2 cob horses at 600 and 650kg.

• The riding is English style, although there is a western saddle available upon request.

• 70% of the trip is in walk, some of the excursions are uphill/downhill. Race track available on the trip for people that would like to go for a gallop

• Early morning starts, afternoons free for most days.

• All tours are guided

• The yard is 10 m2 with 7 stables and 2 riding arenas, one a round pen and one 40x20m. There are more fields in the area for the horses to graze.

Rider requirements

Riders must have a secure seat at walk, trot and canter for the normal programme.
Beginner riders are accepted on the Beginner's Programme. It helps to be in general good fitness but no other riding experience is required.
Riders should preferably be able to mount and dismount unaided but assistance can be arranged if necessary.
Riders are requested to help with grooming and saddling their own horse and will be given assistance if required.

Children from 9 years old can ride including on the beach.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The Eftalou Hotel is situated 2 km away from the village and 4 km away from the stables. It has 43 bedrooms which feature a refrigerator, television, hair dryer, balcony, air conditioning, a sofa bed and free WiFi. Standard features of the en-suite bathrooms are towels and a shower.


All rooms have either a mountain or partial sea view. The hotel facilities include a swimming pool, children's swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, children's playground, free WiFi, ping pong, mini golf, botanical gardens and a shuttle bus service. A pizza restaurant at the hotel serves delicious pizzas from a traditional wood oven and plenty of local produce can be enjoyed.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Climate Summary

Summer on the island begins during May and carries on right through until October. In the peak of summer during July and August, the barometer can peak at 35°C to 40°C. The temperature will often see days reaching above 30°C in the middle six months of the year.

The heat in the height of summer can sometimes be oppressive, so if you like heat but don’t want to live in a dry sauna then plan to visit the island in June or September. The heat is not as stifling and there is the added benefit of lower prices.

May and June see average temperatures of 20°C and 24°C respectively, while July and August each see an averages of 26°C before falling to 23°C in September. Keep in mind that these averages are misleading as the island gets scorching in the day and is cooled in the evenings by the sea breeze. This evening sea breeze brings a welcome break from the sometimes unbearable summer highs.

Sunshine levels are immense, peaking at 14 hours per day in July. May sees 10 and October seven – still very sunny.

Rain during the months of June to September is basically nonexistent, with only about 23 mm precipitation recorded across the four months. May and October see 21mm and 38 mm respectively.


Climate Chart

Climate graph, Mytilene

Health

We strongly advise you to consult with your General Practitioner before travelling. The best medical advice regarding suitable immunisations and prophylaxis to enable you to travel safely requires knowledge of your medical history and therefore cannot be covered in this advice sheet. Recommendations are also subject to change and it is important to obtain the most up to date information available.

Health (ride specific)

No specific health requirements - just bring plenty of suncream!

Electricity

Similar to USA. Electricity 110V 60HzHz. Electric Plug Details: Typically 2-pronged plug with flat metal pins.

Film and Camera Equipment

Film and batteries can be purchased in the village of Molyvos. Camera and mobiles equipment can be taken with to all rides in the riding bags, no internet access at the yard but most hotels have internet access.

Packing List

Mosquito repellant, sun screen, chaps or riding boots (some are available at the yard), water bottles, rain proof gear if needed, sunglasses, long sport pants or jodhpurs.
Hard hats available/size range and number: all sizes available, most hats have the knot on the back to change the size so 2 small, 2 medium, 2 large, 3 size 58, 1 size 59.
Body protectors provided to children under 14 years old.
Hats required to be worn: at all times on the horse during the trip

Programmes

8 days/7 nights/5 days riding
Beginners Programme: 8 days/7nights/6 days riding

Departure Dates

2017: Saturday to Saturday from April to October

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20178d/7n5double pp765
20178d/7n5single supplement189
20178d/7n5non rider429
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6Beginners Programme: double pp529
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6single supplement209
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6non rider305
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20178d/7n5double pp865
20178d/7n5single supplement209
20178d/7n5non rider489
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6Beginners Programme: double pp595
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6single supplement235
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6non rider345
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20178d/7n5double pp955
20178d/7n5single supplement235
20178d/7n5non rider539
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6Beginners Programme: double pp655
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6single supplement259
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6non rider379
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20178d/7n5double pp8,465
20178d/7n5single supplement2,065
20178d/7n5non rider4,759
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6Beginners Programme: double pp5,819
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6single supplement2,285
2017: Beginners Programme8d/7n6non rider3,375
Wildlife

On the ride wildlife we might encounter: turtles, a lot of sheep and goats (not wild), eagles, foxes, birds, squirrels, non-poisoned snakes, donkeys and horses. During the spring Lesvos has a bird watching season where rear birds migrate passing through our beautiful island.

Other Activities

Ippos is located in the centre of Molyvos, thus non-riders have the opportunity to explore the village, take a trip to the sea for a swim and Panatella Holidays, the travel agency is around the corner that offers many touristic activities such as jeep safaris, kayaking, boat trips, ,museum and church guides and many more.

Non-riders also have the opportunity to join riders at the break points and have lunch, car hire is needed for this.

Other Information

Lesvos is the third largest island of Greece and has a long history that goes back more than 3.000 years. It has been the birthplace of famous people, such as the poets Sappho and Alcaeos, Arion the Guitarist, and Pittacus, one of the seven wise men of ancient Greece. A tradition that even continues today and gives the island that distinctive atmosphere which makes it so different from the rest.

Sappho's reputation as a lover of her own sex, has given the word "Lesbian" an international currency. Her reputation is based on some of the fragments of her poetry: "I was in love with you once, Atthis, long ago..."

Rich in olives and fish, the island has an economic balance rare in the Aegean and because of its relative prosperity the island is very easy for travelers to reach even in the quiet months of winter. By air, one can get to Lesvos from Athens five times a day and from Salonica seven times a week. By Ferry-boat, one can reach Lesvos every day from Piraeus, and from Salonica on a less frequent schedule.

Mytilene is the capital of the island and has a population of 30,000 people. This is about one third of the total population of the island. It is built amphitheatrically around its well preserved Byzantine Castle. Not very far from there, on the north-east side of town, one can find the Hellenistic Theatre with its superb acoustics and capacity of 10,000 people. Further in the suburb of Varia one can visit the Theophilos Museum.

Other Country Information

Greece is located in south-eastern Europe bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Greece shares borders to the east with Turkey and to the north with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria and Albania. The climate is temperate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

Modern Greece, as an independent national entity, came into being in 1829 after a protracted independence struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Greece has been fighting for territory with Turkey ever since, continuing in their battle over the split island of Cyprus.

Ancient Greece has given the world democracy, the Olympic Games, theatre and a high literary culture through great works by Homer and some of the greatest philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato. However this was not just a world of sobriety and high academia. The Greek god of wine for example, Dionysus, was a hell raiser who encouraged the local townswomen to dance naked through the street in his honour. Hugely debauched festivals were held in his honour and some of that spirit has definitely been passed down through the generations and has found itself still celebrated in the tavernas across the country.

Greece is two hours ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for Greece is +30.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
The stables at Molyvos at 18:00 on arrival day
Transfer:
2017: From the airport of Miyitini you can choose a taxi for €90 or the private transfer for €70 for a 1 hour drive to get to Molyvos.
Flight Guide:
London - Mytilene (MJT) return from £250 with Thomas Cook.
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