Horseback Riding in Greece

The Lassithi Trails of Crete – Unguided

Overview

The Lassithi Trails Ride traverses the same enticing route as the Trail of the Gods, but there is one very important difference.  It is unguided horseback riding in Greece for people who are adventurous and confident enough of their own resourcefulness and horsemanship to handle the trip without a guide.

The way is well marked and the friendly local people are happy to give directions, but you are entirely independent on a journey of discovery which has its own strong appeal.  You must depend on your guide books and information from local people you meet along the path for a better understanding of what you are seeing.  Your gracious hosts are happy to answer questions you might have.

Though the Cretan terrain is rugged it has olive orchards and vineyards, with great local pride in the quality of its olive oil. What it lacks in soil, it more than compensates for with coastline. No town in Greece is more than 75 miles from the water, with hundreds of coves and inlets, bays and gulfs. In mythology, Zeus, the god of Greek gods was born in a cave in the Lassithi plateau, which you ride over on the trail. Many of the Greek heroes and gods had a real or mythological relationship with this wild and beautiful part of Greece.

For the experienced rider this is an adventurous trail of 160 km using maps, trail markers and written directions. You are responsible for care and feeding of your horse during the week. Upon reaching the sea there may be time to swim with the horses, and later sleep with the sound of the sea lapping at the shore.

A minimum of two riders traveling together is required.

The base for this ride is the hillside equestrian hotel situated above the Langada valley with the red peaks of the Dikti Mountains rising up behind. On nights 3 and 5 you stay at different accommodations closer to the coast, which allows you to see more of the country.

Meals are included from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the last day. Local ingredients create the delicious and healthy meals Crete is known for. Special dietary needs can usually be arranged with advance notice.

  • Overview:
    The horses are Arabs, Thoroughbred and Thoroughbred crosses and Dutch and Greek warm bloods. They are fit and well suited to the countryside and long trots, canters, and some gallops when permitted by the occasional steep and rocky terrain. All purpose English saddles are used
  • Horse Breeds:
    Arab, thoroughbred crosses, Dutch warmbloods
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate
  • Tack:
    English
  • Weight limit:
    190 lbs

While riders are on horseback, there are no separate activities planned for non-riders, who can enjoy the accommodations and region independently. From the hotel, non-riders can enjoy routes for walking and biking and for extra cost cycling, bird-watching with guide, paragliding, massages and wellness treatments.
For groups your hosts can also organize speleology (caving), as well as mountain climbing.
Beyond the hotel, a 18 hole golf course only 7 km away, and different water sports can be found along the coast. The hotel can also assist with rental car arrangements.

Heraklion airport or ferry port.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive and take arranged taxi (out of pocket expense) to the stables in Avdou where you will have time for a swim before orientation and description of the ride. Dinner and overnight at the equestrian hotel with swimming pool and restaurant which will be home base for the week.

Day 2

Ride up the hills of Sfendili. Crossing by the Byzantine church of Avdou, ride over the plateau of Mochos with wonderful views to the Psiloritis Mountains, the highest peaks of the island. (3 hours riding)

Day 3

Begin riding today with a spectacular climb. After riding through the gorge of Gonies, climb from sea level to 1100 meters, following mostly old donkey routes. In the past this was the only possible path onto the Lassithi Plateau. Enjoy the breathtaking views and have lunch that is cooked in a traditional oven. Late in the day ride over the Lassithi Plateau. This fertile plateau between the peaks of the Dikti Mountains is known for its white windmills used to irrigate the land. Meet the locals still working their farms with donkeys, and canter over the plateau. Overnight in Dzermiado at Hotel Kourites, or in Magoulas at Hotel Dionissos. (6 hours riding)

Day 4

Ride through the empty vastness of the Dikti Mountain range in a southerly direction. Experience the special feeling of being in the quiet of nature with the horses, encountering only an occasional friendly shepherd living off the land. Return to the base hotel for the night while the horses stay in the mountains. (5 hours riding)

Day 5

Today’s ride goes down through a desert land dried by winds from Africa, which is not far to the south from here. Soon you will meet the clear blue water of the Libyan Sea for a refreshing swim.

Unfortunately cantering is not permitted on the beach, which is slowly vanishing into the sea, but if the weather is warm and the sea conditions are safe, you may be able to swim with the horses. Overnight in Keratokambos at Finikas Rooms, next to the sea. (6 hours riding)

Day 6

Ride along the sea before turning inland again to follow the Anapodaris River which has cut out a 5 km. long gorge of such depth it is almost dizzying. Soon the land will become more friendly and hilly with many olive groves and vineyards. Ride through villages and let the horses drink in Lake Ini. Transfer back to the base hotel for the night. (6 hours riding)

Day 7

Return to Avdou through typical Greek countryside, past villages where time seems to have stood still. Feel welcome to stop and drink an Ouzo with the locals at one of the village squares. The Dikti Mountains rise up next to the trail; a sight you will not quickly forget. Complete the ride in Avdou where you began. Enjoy your farewell dinner and a final overnight at the base hotel (5 hours riding)

Day 8

Enjoy breakfast before departing by taxi (at your expense) to the airport in time for your departing flight.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may be changed at the hosts' discretion due to weather or other unforeseeable circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

This ride is available March through early June and September through December. It is not available to begin in January, February, June, July or August. A minimum of two riders traveling together is required.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,655High Season from March 14  to November 7 and December 15-January 9, 2022
  • Pricing Variation
  • $1,525Low Season from November 8-December 14
  • Single Supplement
  • $270
Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.  


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Contact Megan Barrett

The facilities during the Crete Star Trail are some of the nicest I’ve stayed at.  Important things like the bathroom having both a tub and a shower, and good water pressure made it really comfortable.  And that had to be the cleanest, best lit and most organized tack room I think I have EVER seen anywhere!!! Of course, the hosts were perfect at what they do.  I really need to stress how good the food was.  It was probably the best food we had in Greece.

Fran & Craig Gander, Oct 2008