Land of the Greek Gods I’ve been back from horseback riding in Crete for over a week and am almost out of the woods with bookings and inquiries. Being hit by the real world... Read more
Horseback Riding in Greece
Horseback riding in Greece offers one of the most attractive bargains in Europe. The best place to go in the Greek Archipelago is the island of Crete. It is the largest of the Greek islands and lies between Europe and North Africa which gives it an agreeable, temperate climate, attracting tourists year around. The interior of the island is made up of fertile valleys with olive groves, vineyards, vegetables and fruit surrounded by rugged mountains going up to 7,000 ft. offering interesting, varied terrain for riders which your sure-footed horses handle with ease. You will pass through remote hillside villages where peasants still use donkeys to help them farm. Riders can enjoy the adventure of steep trails and fast canters in the valleys. The wild scenery is magnificent and the island is surrounded by the clear blue of the Mediterranean Sea. There are fine beaches to ride on and chances to swim with your horse when weather permits.
You will ride across the Lasithi Plateau which is one of the most productive agricultural areas in Crete. In the old days it was covered with the white sails of wind mills which provided the power for milling grain and pumping up water for irrigation. Wind mills are no longer used, but many of the old buildings have been transformed into charming private houses. This island was the first part of Europe to develop a civilization and the island is dotted with archeological sites dating back four thousand years from ancient Minoan, Greek, Roman and Turkish times.
The local food and drink are varied and delicious. The diet is traditionally Mediterranean, depending heavily on fresh vegetables, fruits and fish. Nearly every family in the country has several olive trees and each village has its own press to make oil. Bee hives are common too and honey is often used in preparing dishes like yogurt. Other famous specialties are stuffed grape leaves known as dolmades and fish mousaka casseroles with eggplant. Vineyards are common too and many delicious local wines are produced much as they have been for millennia. You can also try the stronger raki or ouzo made from distilled wine.
The Greeks love horses and equestrian related activities are deeply woven into their culture. The first known treatise on horsemanship was written by Xenophon long before Christ and is still relevant today. It is the Greeks who gave us the stories of centaurs and Pegasus. Alexander the Great’s horse, Bucephalus, is one of the most famous warhorses in history. You have the choice of taking a guided ride staying in various charming inns including one on the beach, doing this same ride unguided following well marked trails or branching out each day in different directions from your comfortable riding center with its swimming pool and superb views. It would be difficult to find a more interesting and attractive adventure at a reasonable price than horseback riding in Greece.