Adventure vacations in Greece

Crete Trail of the Gods


The Trail of the Gods ride on the island of Crete in Greece will take to fascinating archaeological sites and allow you to see much of the beautiful interior.

This is the largest island in the Greek archipelago and is surrounded by the clear blue of the Mediterranean Sea.  Riders will stay in different inns one of which is on the seashore.  The interior is made up of mountains going as high as 7,000 ft. and fertile valleys where there are groves of olive and fruit trees as well as other crops.  Local farmers still use donkeys and horses to cultivate their land and agriculture is possible all year in the southern part of the island.

Horseback riding in Crete allows you to have a personal experience in all that the area has to offer.

This moving journey allows you to go right across the island and to ride on the beach where you can swim with your horses when the weather permits.  Everywhere you will find fresh local food specialties beautifully prepared and served with delicious local wine.  You will ride in comfortable saddles on forward going Thoroughbred and Arabian horses with plenty of endurance to do long canters and climb the mountains.  In the back country you may encounter shepherds tending their flocks of sheep and goats in the wild, rugged highlands where it is not suitable for farming.   Here in the back country, life must be much the same as it was when Theseus killed the Minotaur.  You will have a chance to experience something of the Greek spirit of celebrating life as portrayed in “Zorba the Greek”.  Your competent guides can give you a wealth of information about the area.

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.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Thoroughbred and Thoroughbred crosses, warm bloods and a local breed
  • Trip Pace:
  • Tack:
    All purpose English saddles
  • Weight limit:
    200 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 guides' discretion due to weather or other unforeseeable circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

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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Preferred Trip Dates

Crete Trail of the Gods
June 22, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

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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... Read more  

Fran & Craig Gander, Oct 2008