The Langada area of Crete offers unlimited space for horse riding. Rides set out daily on a different track, through beautiful landscapes, meeting no traffic. Enjoy picnic lunches in quiet scenic spots along the way.

Accommodation is in a lovely hotel next to the stables with an infinity swimming pool and stunning views over the Lagada Valley. This active holiday combines all the good things of Cretan life; relax on the beach or swim in the pool, visit an ancient site, meet the friendly locals and enjoy the Greek food. Ride through a land dotted with olive groves and ancient sites that hold timeless myths.Follow amazing paths way up into the rough mountain terrain to enjoy breath-taking views.

During the summer months of July and August, the 'Sun and Riding' itinerary is available as it is too hot for the Village Rides itinerary.  Beginners can also enjoy the Sun and Riding programme separate from the more experienced riders.

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 CE of Whalley on 02/11/2023

Ride Summary
Very relaxed and enjoyable ride on well trained horses
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Very acurately described
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Quite an easy going ride, very enjoyable but not challenging
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Very helpful & knowledgeable
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

This riding holiday covers 6 different riding trails over a total of 23 riding hours. As there is not a standard arrival day for this holiday, the riding days below will be offered in a random order and not necessarily in the order set out below.

Day 1
Arrival, a welcome tour through the stables and evening dinner.

Day 2 
Ancient Lyttos Ride - 4 hours riding
Ride up to visit the archeological site of the ancient city of Lyttos with an excellent view over the valley of Kastelli. The city of Lyttos (meaning high, tall), was a powerful town and a rival of Knossos, and was mentioned by Homer in the tales of the Trojan war. It had an aqueduct, theatre and acropolis, but little can be seen of this, as archeological excavations are still underway. The site has 2 churches. After the visit the group will ride along the remains of this roman aqueduct.

Day 3
Olive Ride - 4 hours riding
An active day in the saddle heading north, into the hills of Sfendili. Pass the Byzantine church of Avdou for a fast ride on the plateau of Mochos, offering an excellent view to the Psiloritis Mountains, the highest peaks of the island (2.4 km).

Day 4
Lake Aposelemis Ride - 4 hours riding

In the winter of 2015 the Langada Valley was closed by a manmade dam and filled with water to create a 3km long lake. The lake now attracts a wide variety of birds and animals creating a very special biotope. Follow the edge of the lake and ride along the abandoned and half-submerged village of Sfendily. 

Day 5
Red rock ride - 2.5 hours riding
A spectacular climb up the mountain giving an excellent view over the stables and the Langada valley. Ride through Kerm Oak forest to visit the mysterious Church of the Saint Fotini which is hidden deep in a cave.

Day 6
Vulture gorge ride - 5 hours riding
Ride through the gorge of Gonies to start a spectacular climb to the Greek village of Kera at 800m for a lunch break at Restaurant Niki, before starting the descent along the springs of Kera.

Day 7
Cypress Ride - 3 hours riding
Ride out through a valley full of olive groves and along a small cypress forest. There are some steep descents, but by now the riders will have full trust in their horse's abilities in this terrain.

Day 8
Breakfast and departure.

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 stable has two Arabs, one Berber, two Thoroughbreds, four Dutch warm bloods, four Greek warm bloods, and one Hanoverian for the guide. Their sizes vary from 14hh to 16hh. The riding style is English and the horses are generally ridden with a relaxed, long rein. For the children there is a Welsh pony (section B). The warmbloods and thoroughbreds are ideal for long distance riding. All horses are well tempered, strong and in excellent conditions making them ideal for the mountains.



The pace of the riding is dictated by the terrain, steady on steep mountainous areas, faster on the flat. Due to the size of the stables,the ride can only accept a maximum of 10 riders a week. This means that the hosts are able to maintain close and personal contact with the guests.



The stables are built with natural stone, like the hotel, and are designed to cater to all the physical needs of the horses. The facilities include: - 14 stables with connected behind turnout paddocks giving the horses themselves the choice to go inside or outside. - Outdoor arena, 42 x 20m with an all-weather proof floor and a small tribune. - Outdoor arena, 15 x 12m, for lunging. - Tack room - A horse shower - Bathroom/changing-room and toilets for the guests. Space, outside air and contact with other horses helps to keep our horses happy. Most of the horses are stabled in pairs in 1 large stable of 6, 20 x 3, 20 m. The roof all around is open giving the horses a constant flow of fresh air.


Rider requirements

Riders should be comfortable at walk, trot, canter and have some experience in rough terrain. This ride is ideally suited to intermediate or experienced riders. The minimum riding age for this holiday is 12 years. There is a 'Children's Fun Week' available for children 8-11 years, please enquire for more details.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The 3.5ha estate is located in the countryside of Avdou, in the province of Heraklion.  Avdou is situated 9 miles from the sea and the lively holiday centre of Chersonissos. Here guests will find all the modern facilities  needed e.g. banks, a private medical centre, water sports and souvenir shops. The Bay of Chersonissos has several small sandy beaches. accessible by bike, scooter or car. The beaches are child friendly and some have coast guards.



The base hotel is well suited to its surroundings as it is built in neo-classic style from the area's natural stone. The main building houses the reception and a cafe with a large balcony where you can enjoy a Greek coffee or Rakí. In the main building is the restaurant with its large terrace overlooking the valley. The restaurant serves fresh home cooked food with organically grown vegetables and fruit from its own gardens, including olive oil pressed from the farm's own olives. Local products from nearby farms is regularly used.



The 12 hotel rooms are grouped into 2 bungalows each housing 6 rooms. The bungalows are separate from the main building and the rooms are large and comfortable, with a tremendous view over the valley. Each room has a large bathroom with bathtub. The rooms have central heating and air conditioning (both included in the price), a fridge, a flat screen tv with international channels, a hairdryer, a large glass door of 2m and a private balcony or terrace. Most rooms are equipped with a wood stove (the wood is not included in the price). The large natural 100 m2 swimming pool is situated next to the main building (unheated and open all year), and also a separate children’s pool of 11m2 (40 cm deep). The sun beds are free to use. There is a free WIFI internet connection in the main building and on the terrace.



Check-in at the hotel is all day but please be aware that rooms will only be ready from 14h00. Guests are required to vacate their room by 10h30 on the last day, but are welcome to spend the day at the hotel until the transfer flight home. 



The price of the holiday includes all meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8, however meals outside of this time can be purchased on-site from the restaurant.



Expect a continental breakfast with coffee, tea or hot chocolate, fresh bread, butter, jams, cheese, ham and orange juice. Picnic lunches are prepared by the hosts to take along in the saddle bags each day. It is recommended to bring a water bottle. Dinner includes a starter, main dish and a salad. Vegetarians can be catered for with advance notice, any other dietary requirements need to be checked before booking.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling. There are rules about taking food and drink into the EU. See Taking food and drink into the EU for further information. Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Greece.html In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/greece


Climate Summary

Crete has 300 days of sunshine a year and very mild winters and hot summers. Be prepared for cold and snow in the mountains in the winter time although this is unlikely.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

There are rules about taking food and drink into the EU. See Taking food and drink into the EU for further information.

There is a risk of West Nile virus in some parts of Greece. You should consider preventative measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Greece and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

While pharmacies across the country stock a good supply of medicines, you should make sure you have sufficient medical supplies (including prescription medicines) for the duration of your stay and any unforeseen delays, adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 or 166 and ask for an ambulance

Health (ride specific)

No specific health requirements - just bring plenty of suncream!

Electricity

In Greece the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Good quality film is widely available for purchase as well as batteries (normal, alkaline and lithium). There is free WiFi throughout the building and a computer and printer available to use.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your programme and preferences.

• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a light waterproof/ windproof jacket and also light waterproof trousers in the winter!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport
• Swimwear

Programmes

The itinerary can start on any day of the week and runs throughout the year apart from July and August and when a guided Lasithi Trail is running. Programme runs for 8 days / 7 nights / 6 riding days.

Departure Dates

2024: Available 17 Mar - 30 June; 1 Sept to 3 Nov (High Season)
4-25 Nov (Low Season)
2024: Hotel and Stables closed 8 Jan - 14 Mar and 25 Nov - 21 Dec

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 High Season8d/7n6double pp1,279
2024 High Season8d/7n6single supplement219
2024 High Season8d/7n6non-rider745
2024 High Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)219
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old405
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old465
2024 Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,215
2024 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement219
2024 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider685
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)219
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old345
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old405
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 High Season8d/7n6double pp1,439
2024 High Season8d/7n6single supplement245
2024 High Season8d/7n6non-rider839
2024 High Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)245
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old455
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old525
2024 Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,369
2024 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement245
2024 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider769
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)245
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old385
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old455
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 High Season8d/7n6double pp1,659
2024 High Season8d/7n6single supplement285
2024 High Season8d/7n6non-rider969
2024 High Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)285
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old525
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old605
2024 Low Season8d/7n6double pp1,579
2024 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement285
2024 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider889
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)285
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old445
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old525
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 High Season8d/7n6double pp17,589
2024 High Season8d/7n6single supplement2,995
2024 High Season8d/7n6non-rider10,259
2024 High Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)2,995
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old5,559
2024 High Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old6,415
2024 Low Season8d/7n6double pp16,735
2024 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement2,995
2024 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider9,405
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Upgrade to a larger room (extra single sup)2,995
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4 - 7 years-old4,705
2024 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8 - 11 years old5,559
Recommended Reading

‘Winds of Crete’ by David MacNeill Doren ,Douglas Bullis' The Chania Town News’ , Nikos Kazantzakis, ‘The Last Temptation’ and ‘Zorba the Greek’ and Mary Renault's ‘The King Must Die’ and ‘The Bull from the Sea’. For a broad selection of equestrian travel books, many previously unavailable visit www.HorseTravelBooks.com - inspiring adventure!


Other Activities

In the area are sandy beaches, water sports, an 18 hole golf course, para-gliding, shops and caving; all within 10 miles. From the hotel and stables, there is mountain biking and hiking.

Avdou is situated 9 miles from the sea and the lively holiday centre Chersonissos. Here you can find all the modern facilities you might need e.g. banks; a private medical centre, water sports and souvenir shops. In the Bay of Chersonissos there are several small sandy beaches. The wide sandy beach lies on the west side of Chersonissos reachable by bike, scooter or car. The beaches are child friendly and some have coast guards.

Wildlife

The moment you arrive on the hillside you experience the serene quietness and the tremendous panoramic view. Beneath you stretches the Langada Valley with the Apposelemis River crossing through and above are the red coloured peaks of the Dikti Mountains. Birds of prey, like the Griffon Vulture, glide along these peaks. 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, such as different types of beautiful orchids.

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):
Heraklion (HER)
Transfer:
2024: Payable on site, available any time. €55 from Heraklion Airport or €60 from Heraklion Centre each way per car (1-4pax), takes approximately 45min.
Flight Guide:
London - Heraklion return from £140 pp
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