Most people come to the beautiful island of Corfu in Greece to enjoy the sunshine, the beaches and of course the food and wine. But there is so much more to do here, with our splendid World Heritage ‘Old Town’, incredible, dramatic scenery and a rich culture and history to explore.
A fantastic way to experience some of the best countryside is by horseback riding while on vacation here. Dimitri’s Horse Riding is situated in Avlaki on the North East Coast, on the edge of Erimitis wildlife reserve, an area famous for its natural beauty.
His love of animals and horses in particular prompted Dimitris Katsaros to start his riding centre in 2003. One of the things that attracted me to this particular centre is the fact that most of the horses were actually rescued from uncaring owners and difficult situations. The love, care and training that they have received since being bought by Dimitris is evident in the beautiful, contented horses that you see there today.
Although they have 19 horses at the moment, Alison Green (who joined in 2007) tells me that they keep the rides to six or seven people maximum. She explains this is for several reasons, firstly by keeping the groups small she can communicate and interact with everyone on the ride which makes it more personal. Also they get quite a lot of novice riders and she likes to make sure that their first experience on horseback is a fun, enjoyable one and that nobody feels uncomfortable at any point on the trek. She is quite happy to walk alongside anybody who isn’t 100% at ease.
You can read all about the horses and a little of their history on the website but I love the fact that Alison also gives you a rundown on their characters as everyone is mounting or waiting their turn to do so. They all have such distinct personalities, their own little habits and foibles and I’m sure it makes people feel more connected to their horses before they set out on a trail ride.
The main attraction for most people who visit Dimitris Riding Centre is the fact that not only do you get to trek through the wildlife reserve, you also get to go along the beaches hidden away on this peninsular. It truly is a remarkable area and a perfect place for horseback riding.
Despite the bulk of their rides being for novice or ‘holiday’ riders they also cater for more experienced people who want to go out for longer and stretch themselves a bit further with a faster ride over slightly trickier terrain. Alison tells me that she has quite a few regular guests who not only come to Corfu every year for their holidays but always include a ride out with her as part of their vacation.
They also get frequent groups from the many cruise ships that stop off in Corfu throughout the summer. These people are brought up by coach and get to spend the day enjoying the beach at Avlaki, having lunch at the taverna there, as well as going out on the horseback trek in small groups. This is a great way for tourists with very little time here to really experience some of the best bits of Corfu.
The centre is open throughout the summer season from May to October and they have rides at 9am, 11am and 5pm, to avoid the intense midday heat. They also have the added bonus of the lovely George in his little green people carrier who provides transfers for those within a reasonable range of the stables. Alison and Dimitris are also currently working on building an arena so they can provide horse riding lessons throughout the winter.
Everybody is advised to wear long pants and sensible, close-toed shoes and, of course, they must wear a riding helmet which the stables provide.
It costs just €25 for the basic horseback ride which last just under an hour. The more experienced, longer rides start from €45.As always, check the website for current pricing.
If you go:
Dimitris Horse Riding
Avlaki, Corfu, Greece, 49080
Contact Telephone: 0030 697 332 8513/ 0030 697 739 9481
All photos courtesy of Dimitris Horse Riding
This is a guest post written by Giannina Guy of Bijoucorfu.com, specialists in Corfu Vacations.