The Plakias Horse Riding Center

Plakias Horse Riding Center is a family-run company founded by Nikos Vardakis, who'd liked to combine his love for horses with his business, tourism. The stables started in 2004, and gradually grew bigger to what is now known as "the place to ride" in Plakias and surroundings. Since 2013, it works as a Horse Riding Center by organizing riding courses and participating in athletic races.


The stables are located in Damnoni, Plakias in a six-hectare area, just 30 Km (25 min driving time) away from the city of Rethimnon, Crete.

In the stables, there are 2 large olive grove/meadows for the horses to graze and roam around in, enjoying the amazing natural environment of Crete. Each horse has it's own roomy stable in case the weather conditions are not so favourable (only about 10% of the year if not less).

Furthermore there are 3 semisized paddocks, a small arena for lessons and training, lots of space for grooming and tacking up, and a little office/tackroom.

Our menagerie consists of more than 30 horses of various breeds like mini Shetlandponies, Jorgalidiko's, Merens and Shire-mix, as well as many athletic horses that have participated in races.

We also have 20 gentle donkeys, that are very friendly to children.

Our staff is competent and multilingual. They have lots of experience in guiding trails and teaching, and will provide you with an enjoyable and safe ride/lesson. Besides this they take care of the animals, their training and their accomodation.

  • Languages spoken: english, german, dutch, greek, french.
  • Opening hours: 08.00-14.00 and 16.00-20.00. During the summer, opening programme may change somewhat due to the heat.

High-Quality Services

Plakias Horse Riding Center is managed according to north-european high quality standards. All the horses and donkeys are vaccinated and dewormed on a regular basis. Also the vet makes regular visits.

Every 6 weeks the farrier comes to shoe our horses. Since the horses live in a herd they only have frontshoes, as not to do each other severe damage when there are shifts in the hierarchy. This is not a problem for the work they do, due to the climate here they tend to have very strong, hard hooves.

The horses or donkeys we use for rides we selected on having the right temperament for the work they're doing. We try to divide their workload fairly so they all go out regularly but not so much that they become automatons that perform a boring routine.

They are easygoing, and used to everything they can encounter in these surroundings, so they don't spook easily. Most of them are about E-pony size, through experience we found that these adapt better to the terrain.

We are animal friends

Our personnel is very sensitive to improve the welfare of all our animals in Plakias Horse Riding Center. Our horses live free in a large olive grove/meadows, grazing and roaming around in, and enjoy the amazing natural environment of Crete.

Only in case the weather conditions are not so favourable does each horse use it's own roomy private stable.

Special attention is also given to our donkeys, a species on the brink of extinction.

In co-operation with G.A.W.F. (operating as Animal Action in Greece), Plakias Horse Riding Center hosts and takes care of many other horses of the area that are very old or impotent. Some of them have completely recovered and they escort our guests in their horseback riding trips.