Velani is a family-run business, not far from Kasteli airport, belonging to Sabine and Manolis, who together with their daughters Maria and Helena strive to provide guests a warm family atmosphere. It is situated at an altitude of 365 meters, overlooking the Lagada valley and the artificial lake of the Aposelemi River, with a panoramic view of the north side of the Mt. Dikti range and is surrounded by perennial oak trees. A retreat just 35 minutes from Heraklion and positioned at the center of Crete, it makes for easy exploration of much of the island.
Crete is a great place for bird watching. This is due not only to its special bird of prey, the griffon vulture and other vulture varieties, but also to its importance as a staging-post for migrating birds that pass through the island. The hotel offers a breathtaking view of Aposelemis Lake and the Langada valley. Through the valley runs the Aposelemis River ending in a large man-made lake. Birds that visit our hotel grounds are the hoopoe, wagtails, wood pigeons, crows, swallows and many more. Just behind the hotel lies a Natura 2000 – protected area for birds and wildlife. Walking there at sunset enables you to spot many different kinds of owls which, amazingly, make no sound while in flight, but at night begin making their characteristic cry that echoes over the whole valley. Country Hotel Velani organizes bird watching day tours with the Greek guide Haris. Traveling with a local guide enriches your experience, as he introduces you to the art of bird watching. An expert on the area and the island, he knows where to find different birds according to the season.