Horse riding in the area of Avdou village
An ideal family holiday

Do you want to be a little bit more active on your beach holiday? Or do you have a partner who doesn't ride horses? Children? Then the Sun & Riding holiday in Crete is something for you.

Enjoy the Greek life, relax on the beach or explore the island visiting ancient sites during the day and in the cooler evening hours go on a 2 hour trail through the beautiful area of Langada. This is full week holiday, 6 riding days, with 2 hours in the saddle each day. Accommodation is in a lovely four star boutique hotel next to the stables with a swimming pool and stunning views. Children aged 8-12 can enjoy a separate children's programme and make great horsey friends on this fun holiday.

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 of on 21/09/2014

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     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Mollie our guide was excellent and accommodated riders ability with the right horses. I found Mollie to be very approachable and understanding particularly to my own riding ability, which made my riding experience everything I had hoped it would be.
Thank you Mollie!
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments

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     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) 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     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:

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?
I would suggest stating this ride is for strong novice riders to experienced riders rather than just novice, as some of the terrain does include steep inclines and declines. Some canters were almost gallops.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
4
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I think my score reflects the comments made above in how the ride could be improved, purely with my own observations if a novice rider were to book this particular ride.
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:
This was my first riding holiday and it surpassed my expectations. Everything from start to finish particularly from the staff at Unicorn Trails (Danni and Jenny) was second to none and I would like to say a huge thank you for your wonderful customer service and advice. Danni, you definitely helped me make the right choice for my very first riding holiday, so my expectations were high - and they were met so thank you! I look forward to booking my next riding holiday with you!
Unicorn comments: Thank you Anj, we look forward to helping you pick your next holiday!

In the area around Avdou there is still unlimited space for horse riding, in the quietness of nature and the mountains. Each time we set out on a new track, with our four-legged friend and an experienced guide.

During the week we ride out for beautiful two hour trips in the cooler hours of the day through the valley of Langada and cross the traditional Greek village of Avdou with its Byzantine church. We climb the mountains giving 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 and then enjoy a fast canter over the plateau of Mochos. 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.

This program is ideal for families, for riders travelling with non-riders or whose partner would like to participate in one of the other sport activities near the hotel like golf, mountain climbing, caving or paragliding. Short rides on Welsh ponies can be booked locally for children 8-11 years, children under 8 cannot ride.

The Children's Fun Week
This programme is only for children from 8 – 12 years old. Children can join this riding programme while their parents relax or take part in another activity.

 The programme includes 6 days riding and runs in the cool early morning hours. Each day has a half hour private lesson on the lunge or an hour in a group. We do a group lesson or a lunging lesson depending on the experience and ability of the children. Other activities include: mounted games, vaulting, riding to music, grooming, riding bareback and water games. Children can also help with brushing and feeding of the horses.

Children older than 12 years can book the normal riding program.

ACCOMMODATION

The accommodation is in a small hotel with

• 12 large and comfortable rooms
• a restaurant with panoramic view
• a bar with Mediterranean terrace & free wifi
• a large swimming pool, unheated, open all year
• its own equestrian centre

The estate is 3,5 hectare and located in the country side of the village Avdou, in the province of Heraklion, on the island of Crete in Greece. 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 is reachable by bike, scooter or car. The beaches are child friendly and some have coast guards.

 

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Set in unspoilt countryside, surrounded by woodland, overlooking mountains and valleys on all sides. This ride caters for everyone. The summer itinerary involves an optional nights camping by Roman Ruins.


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. For the children there is a Welsh pony (section B). The warmbloods and thoroughbreds have good breath and rarely tire so are therefore suitable for long distance riding. They are cool headed, courageous and strong and in excellent condition having been trained in the mountains. Their sizes vary from 14hh to 16hh. The riding style is English and the horses are generally ridden with a relaxed, long rein. The pace of the riding is dictated by the terrain, steady on steep mountainous areas, faster on the flat. Due to the small character of the stables, with a maximum of 10 riders a week, your hosts are able to maintain a close and personal contact with their guests. The stables are built with natural stone like the hotel but above all they are designed to be horse friendly to be as close as possible to the physical needs of 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 that is what gives our horses’ joy, health and peace! That is why not only do the horses enjoy a large stable with an open turnout paddock but they also have the possibility for social contact. 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

All levels of rider can be accommodated. Children under 8 years old are not able to ride and there is a separate children's programme for 8-12 year olds. Children older than 12 can join the adult programme.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The base hotel is well suited to its surrounding as it is built with real natural stone collected from the land it stands on, giving it a robust and natural look. The hotel has a neo-classic style creating a romantic atmosphere for long summer nights. The main building houses the reception and a cafe with a large balcony where you can enjoy your Greek coffee or Rakí. In the main building you also find the restaurant with its large terrace overlooking the outside menage and the valley. The restaurant serves Cretan cuisine which is famous for being healthy with its use of olive oil. The olive oil is made from olives from the estate. The restaurant serves fresh home cooked food with organically grown vegetables and fruit from its own gardens and makes use of local products from nearby farmers. The 12 hotel rooms are grouped into 2 bungalows each housing 6 rooms. The bungalows lay quietly, separate from the main activities. The rooms are large and comfortable and all have 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). Next to the main building lies the naturally formed large swimming pool (unheated and open all year) of 100 m2 (130 – 160 m. deep) with a separate, lower situated, 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 your room will be ready from 14:00. On departure day, guests are required to vacate their room by 10:30, however they are welcome to spend the day at the hotel until their 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. You can expect a continental breakfast with coffee, tea or hot chocolate, fresh bread, butter, jams, cheese, ham and orange juice. Picnic lunches are prepared by your hosts for you to take along in your saddle bags each day. It is recommended you bring a water bottle to take with you. 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. 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.

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

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year 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 on request.

General information:

Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.

The British Embassy is at 1 Ploutarchou Street, 106 75 Athens. Tel: (30) 210 727 2600 Email: information.athens@fco.gov.uk.

The Greek Embassy in the U.K is at 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP. Telephone: (020) 7229 3850. Email: consulategeneral@greekembassy.org.uk.

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

No special health precautions are required for visits to Greece, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org

Health (ride specific)

No specific health requirements - just bring plenty of suncream!

Electricity

Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

Film and Camera Equipment

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 waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset 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

The hotel rooms are cleaned daily and towels and sheets are changed once a week. The sun beds around the pool are free to use.

Programmes

This ride takes place weekly from June to the end of August. Programme length is 8 days / 7 nights / 6 days riding.

Departure Dates

2018: Available throughout the year except when Guided Lasithi Trail is running (High Season: 18 Mar - 4 Nov and 16 Dec - 9 Jan).

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2018 Low Season8d/7n6double pp659
2018 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement159
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)185
2018 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing449
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11315
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)149
2018 Low Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade159
2018 High Season8d/7n6double pp725
2018 High Season8d/7n6single supplement159
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)249
2018 High Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing515
2018 High Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11379
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)215
2018 High Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade159
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018 Low Season8d/7n6double pp719
2018 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement175
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)199
2018 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing489
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11345
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)165
2018 Low Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade175
2018 High Season8d/7n6double pp789
2018 High Season8d/7n6single supplement175
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)269
2018 High Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing559
2018 High Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11415
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)235
2018 High Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade175
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018 Low Season8d/7n6double pp879
2018 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement215
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)245
2018 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing599
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11419
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)205
2018 Low Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade215
2018 High Season8d/7n6double pp965
2018 High Season8d/7n6single supplement215
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)329
2018 High Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing685
2018 High Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-11505
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)289
2018 High Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade215
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018 Low Season8d/7n6double pp7,819
2018 Low Season8d/7n6single supplement1,899
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)2,175
2018 Low Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing5,319
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-113,745
2018 Low Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)1,795
2018 Low Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade1,899
2018 High Season8d/7n6double pp8,579
2018 High Season8d/7n6single supplement1,899
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 8-11 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)2,935
2018 High Season8d/7n6non-rider sharing6,079
2018 High Season8d/7n6Fun week child 8-114,505
2018 High Season8d/7n6Child 4-7 non-riding (sharing with 2 adults)2,555
2018 High Season8d/7n6luxury room upgrade1,899
Wildlife

The moment you arrive on the hillside of the country hotel you immediately experience the serene quietness and the tremendous panoramic view. Under you stretches the Lagada Valley with the Apposelemis River crossing through, and above you the red coloured peaks rise out 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 olive groves stretching down to the valley. Various wild life and many birds can be found on the estate along with protected trees, mushrooms and flowers such as the different types of beautiful orchids.

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.

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:
Transfer is €50 each way per car (1-4pax), payable on site. Transfer time is approximately 45 minutes, available any time.
Flight Guide:
London - Heraklion return from £175
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