Cretan ecotourism at its best : a small charming and eco-friendly, family-run hotel with beautiful interiors, secluded location, nature, delicious "slow food", space, tranquility, stunning panoramic views : an amazing place to unwind and relax and enjoy the "other Crete" maybe the Crete you are looking for.

Country Hotel Velani lying serenely next to the village of Avdou, in a rural area in hidden valleys of Crete just beside the Kermes protected oak forest. It is these amazing oak trees with their evergreen leaves and ‘Velani’ fruits that gave hotel its name.

Eco-friendly, rural, remote, rustic, idyllic, romantic, serene, peaceful – there are so many ways someone to describe Velani, a little hide-away in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains that overlooks the Langada Valley. The estate is spread over 4 hectares, representing a veritable botanical garden with many protected trees and flowers, including a number of orchids.

Velani has 12 spacious and comfortable rooms with private garden or veranda, a large infinity pool as well as a separately located children’s pool, a restaurant serving delicious home cooking food with fresh, local products, an equestrian centre, various gardens for fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers as well as an olive grove for the production of healthy olive oil.

With respect to the nature, this charming hotel, built with local stone collected from the land it stands on, giving it a robust and natural look with a neo-classic style. It has just 12 rooms which are grouped into 2 bungalows each housing 6 hotel rooms, situated a little distance away from the main activities to ensure peace and quiet for all guests. Lovely rooms are spacious and comfortable and all have a tremendous view over the valley.

The Velani restaurant, is absolutely fabulous with a large terrace overlooking the riding school and the valley, uses its own fruit and vegetables to prepare the famous healthy Cretan diet; kitchen utilizes its 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 neighbors, or honey from the local beekeeper.

Gracious owners, Manolis and Sabine organize some great activities to make your holiday just fabulous. You could explore the area by yourself; this is the perfect place for walking and biking enthusiasts with some great paths around. Hike uphill on the E4 footpath from the hotel straight to the Lassithi plateau. You'll come across historic churches, gorgeous villages, refreshing rivers, majestic gorges and sublime sea views that will dazzle every adventurer. Relax with a Swedish massage or an aroma therapy. For experienced paragliders there is a take-off located right behind the hotel and a landing field down in the valley, both visible from Velani's terrace. Last but not least, Country Hotel Velani, has its own equestrian centre "The Odysseia Stables" providing professional lessons, hacking, daytrips and trekking for all levels and ages. 

Avdou is a rural village, a place to seek peace, quiet, healthy food, hospitable locals. A very fertile region with a lot of fruit trees such as apricots, oranges and tangerines, and the silver-grey of olive groves. Even more exotic fruit such as kiwis grow here, and organic vegetable gardens thrive. The village is also named Capetanochori or Captain's village in respect of the many leaders and revolutionaries who fought against the Ottoman rule until late in the nineteenth century, and for their bravery during the Second World War.

The hotel is open all year round and Easter is a great time to visit it too.

  • Hotel Name: Country Hotel Velani
  • Area: Heraklion, Avdou Village
  • Why Go: Countryside,Friendly Environment,Food & Wine,Family-Friendly,Lovely Views,Quiet Location,Relaxed,Restaurant,Romantic

Why we like it

  • Beautiful retreat in outstanding location. Food, room, location rustic and fabulous. Service warm and accommodating. Lovely range of onsite activities and excursions further afield. Five out out of five for location and environment.
  • We loved the total seclusion, high in a wooded valley, and a world away from the crowds on the coast
  • There's great flora and fauna, including vultures, orchids and dozens more endemic flowers
  • The delicious, organic, home-grown food typefies that famously healthy Cretan diet

What to know

  • It's best in summer, as an escape from the heat and crowds;
  • Don't miss one of Manolis mouthwatering cooking lessons and show you the best of Cretan cuisine. Before or after lunch you can walk up the hill to the small cave with the church of Agia Fotini some 20 meters deep inside.
  • We recommend that you rent a car, other means of transport are limited and/or infrequent (you cannot reach Country Hotel Velani) by public transport).
Hotel Information Recommended For
Type: Small Hotels & Inns Nice atmosphere :
Rooms: 12 Eco :
Pool: Yes Family hospitality :
Dining: Yes Food :
Children: Welcome Marvelous view :
Closed: Never Quality of Service :

Our Sites