Greece - Dikti Mountains to Sea Trail, Crete
A gorgeous adventurous ride through the remote and beautiful Cretan countryside on fabulous horses...


We GUARANTEE you won't find the same horse riding holiday at a lower price through any other source... and if you do, we promise to refund the difference!

from £1,455 or €1,700

Horse Riding Holidays Greece – Dikti Mountains & Coast Trail, Crete


Dikti Mountains & Coast Trail: Prices 2024

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High Season: 17 March – 3 November & 14 December – 11 January
Low Season: 12 January – 16 March & 4 November – 13 December

7 Nights:

  • Low season $1,857
    • GBP: 1,455
    • EUR: 1,709
    per person sharing
  • High season $1,934
    • GBP: 1,515
    • EUR: 1,780
    per person sharing
  • Single Supplement $274
    • GBP: 215
    • EUR: 252
    per person

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our ‘Terms & Conditions’ for full details.

Included – All riding, your guide, full board accommodation & luggage transport

Excluded – International flights, drinks, transfers, tips & drinks outside meals.

EXCLUSIVE: This ride can also be offered as a self-guided ride, if you are an advanced rider and have first-hand experience of looking after horses – please enquire for full details.

Dikti Mountains & Coast Trail: Dates 2024

24 – 31 March
14 – 21 April
12 – 19 May
26 May – 2 June
9 – 16 June
8 – 15 September
22 – 29 September
6 – 13 October
3 – 10 November

Getting There
Heraklion is the closest airport, 40km away from the hotel. You can also fly to Chania which is a 3-hour drive.

From the airports you can either rent a car or use transfers and/or public transport.

From Heraklion we can organise transfers for €55 each way per vehicle.

From Chania you can take a bus to Hersonissos and from here a transfer cost €30 each way.

Remember our Horse Riding Holidays GUARANTEE. You won’t find these Horse Riding Holidays (or any of our Horse Riding Holidays) at a lower price through any other source… and if you do we will refund the difference.


A wonderful escape riding through the rural Cretan countryside where you will follow an interesting trail which takes you from the Dikti mountains down to the Mediterranean Sea, staying most nights at the boutique Velani hotel with 2 nights at more remote accommodation dictated by the route.

This ride combines fabulous accommodation, lovely horses, beautiful countryside, real Greek hospitality with your fabulous hosts Sabine & Manolis, a sense of the old rural lifestyle and amazing Greek cuisine and drinks! Blissful!

You’ll spend time climbing up to 1,800 metres and be amazed at how the horses cope with such rocky terrain. Once high up in the Dikti mountains you might be lucky enough to spot some Griffon vultures, an awesome sight. After you reach the plateau there are some chances for fast canters – in general this is not a fast-paced ride due to the terrain, but where allowed you will let loose!

The latter part of the week you are heading towards the beach and sea, where you can realise that dream of swimming with your horse.

This is a great trip for anyone seeking some great trail riding in Crete off the beaten track and wants to enjoy a high standard of accommodation, wonderful local food and well looked after horses.

Trip Highlights

  • Trail-ride of 200 km through rural Crete
  • Reliable, sure-footed horses
  • Experienced, English-speaking guide
  • Delicious local food
  • 5 overnight stays in the gorgeous Velani hotel
  • 2 overnight stays in a comfortable local guesthouse
  • Swimming with your horse in the sea
  • Infinity pool at hotel
  • Local massage and local organic beauty treatments can be booked at hotel


Horses – There are 20 horses, a mix of Arabs, Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods, plus a Section B pony for the kids. They mostly range from 14.2hh to 16.2hh.

Level of Riding & Pace – Intermediate plus riders only. You will be riding for 4 – 6 hours a day, therefore you do need a good level of fitness and you should be able to canter under control in open countryside.

Tack – English style

Weight Restriction – 90 kg / 14st / 200 lbs.

Group Size – Maximum 12.


Velani Hotel
The country hotel Velani run by your hosts is perched high on a hillside overlooking the Lake Aposelemis in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains. It is a secret haven hidden in a rocky wilderness of ancient stone and protected Kermes oak forest. It is these oak trees with their evergreen leaves and ‘Velani’ fruits that gave the hotel its name.

A charming hotel in a serene quietness, with spacious and comfortable rooms. All rooms have a breath-taking view and give you a feeling of relaxing with nature on your doorstep.

With a 4-hectare estate, there is onsite pasture for the horses to roam and also various gardens for fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers as well as an olive grove for the production of their own olive oil.

The rooms are gorgeous with 3 different room types and options to upgrade at an extra cost just ask. With a fantastic infinity pool, a jacuzzi (extra charge) and a yoga area with mats available for hire there is always some relaxing to be done.

Local Guesthouse Accommodation
You will stay in local guest house accommodation for two nights of your itinerary. The guest houses are chosen for their location and are local, rustic, cosy and clean.

Meals are taken en-group at the hotel and the food is delicious.

The Velani restaurant uses its own fruit and vegetables to prepare the famous healthy Cretan diet; their kitchen utilizes their home-grown produce as well as that of the local farms and surrounding villages. Try typically Greek dishes with extra virgin olive oil, Cretan wine made from ancient grape species, meat and cheese from the free-ranging sheep and goats of the neighbours, honey from the local beekeeper and eggs from the hotels own free ranging chickens.

Most dietary requests are accommodated, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Intolerant etc, please just ask.

Please Ask About

  • Centre based riding for novices
  • Hiking trails
  • Mountain biking
  • Paragliding
  • Golf (7km from hotel)


Day 1-Arrival, a welcome at Country Hotel Velani, a dive in the pool and evening diner in the Restaurant Velani. A briefing about the trail route.

Day 2-(3 hours in the saddle)
We make an active trip in north direction; we ride up the hills of Sfendili. We cross the Byzantine church of Avdou, we ride quick over the plateau of Mochos and have an excellent view to the Psiloritis Mountains, highest peaks of the island (2, 5 km). Overnight in Country Hotel Veláni.

Day 3-(6 hours in the saddle)
The trail starts with a spectacular climb. After riding through the gorge of Gonies we climb up from sea level to 1100-meter-high, over the small old donkey route. In the past the only possible path to the Lassithi Plateau. We enjoy the breath-taking views and eat a lunch cooked in a traditional oven.

In the end of the day we ride over the Lassithi Plateau. This fertile Plateau between the tops of the Dikti Mountains is known for its white windmills irrigating the land. Meet the locals still working with their donkeys on the land. Here we make a quick canter over the flat plateau. Overnight in Magoulas, Hotel Dionissos or in Dzermiado Hotel Kourites.

Day 4-(5 hours in the saddle)
Today we cross through the Dikti mountain range in south direction. Nothing but loneliness, experiences the special feeling of being alone with the horses, the mountains, the nature and some rough but friendly shepherds.

Overnight Transport to Country Hotel Velani, the horses stay in the mountains

Day 5- (6 hours in the saddle and swimming with the horses)
We ride downhill through a desert land dried by the south winds out of the so close Africa. Until we meet the clear blue water of the Libyan Sea for a refreshing dive. We go for swimming with the horses. (We decide if the sea conditions are safe to do so)
We sleep next to the sea and of course here we eat fresh fish from the wood-fire. Overnight in Keratokambos, Finikas Rooms.

Day 6-(6 hours in the saddle)
First, we ride along the see and then we turn inland again. We follow the Anapodaris River which cut out a 5-km long gorge. Still now the water is cutting the gorge deeper; we grow dizzy from the depth. Suddenly the land becomes more friendly, hilly with many olive and wine yards. We cross through villages and let the horses drink in lake Ini. Overnight transport to Country Hotel Veláni.

Day 7-(5 hours in the saddle)
We ride back to Avdou through typical Greek countryside. We pass Greek villages where time has stand still. Feel welcome to stop and drink an Ouzo with the Cretans at one of the village squares.
Next to our path rise the Dikti Mountains, which we will not quickly forget.
Overnight in Equestrian Country Hotel Veláni.

Day 8-Breakfast and departure.


Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.


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