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    Wild and Exotic Sierra of Gredos rides

    Sierra of Gredos rides summary

    We offer three exciting riding itineraries in the Sierra of Gredos in Spain: The Valley de Gredos ride, the Spring and Summer Special in the mountains of the Sierra de Gredos and Autumn Special Across the Gredos mountains.

    The Sierra of Gredos is one of the most characteristic regions of the Iberian Peninsula situated between the provinces of Avila, Caceres and Salamanca, and crossed by the Duero and Tajo rivers. The Valleys of Gredos trail travels through a very representative part of this region in the province of Avila, truly rural Spain. It is an excellent terrain for riding, mostly open fields with magnificent views and paths that follow the course of rivers.

    The landscapes are full of light and colour, where wild nature shows its splendour. Riders will be inspired by this National Park’s diverse display of flora and fauna through the Tormes, Corneja, Alberche and Tietar river valleys.  Ride up slopes of oak, pine and chestnut trees; cross rivers of pristine waters; discover wildlife from rocky overlooks, and gallop across pastures and open fields.  The small villages along the trail display their architecture, their traditions, and the way of life of their people, isolated in this inaccessible nature that shapes their unique character.

    Valley de Gredos itinerary

    The Sierra of Gredos is one of the most delightful regions of the Iberian Peninsula situated between the provinces of Avila, Caceres and Salamanca, and crossed by the Duero and Tajo rivers. The Valleys of Gredos trail explores a truly rural region of Avila Province and is an excellent terrain for riding, with endless magnificent views. Guests will be inspired by the National Park’s diverse display of flora and fauna throughout the Tormes, Corneja, Alberche and Tietar river valleys as they ride up slopes of oak, pine and chestnut, ford pristine clear rivers, and canter across green pastures full of glorious flowers. Small villages along the trail represent classic Spanish architecture, long standing traditions, and a unique way of life.

    Day 1: You will be met on arrival into Madrid and transferred to the small village of Navarredonda de Gredos (approx. 2 hour drive) in the heart of Castile, with splendid views of the Sierra de Gredos. This is a region steeped in history, where the Moors and Christians fought and where Romans built roads that have lasted for centuries. Riders will enjoy a welcome dinner and night at the luxurious National Parador of Gredos (the first Parador opened in Spain).

    Day 2: Today guests ride out form Navarredonda towards the mountains with great views of the Sierra de Gredos through pine woods and open fields, breaking for a picnic lunch in the countryside. In the afternoon we ride back to the stables in Navarredonda before returning to the Parador for dinner and a second overnight stay. Riders and horses get used to each other on this short ride, and if any change of horse is necessary it can be organised before leaving the next day.

    Day 3: Morning ride through woods and beautiful meadows in the Tormes river valley. We will follow the course of the Tormes River. Lunch at the Pozo de las Paredes, a magical location where the gorge of Barbellido joins the Tormes River. This spot is ideal for a swim in summer. In the afternoon riders will follow the cattle path to Navalperal the Tormes. This evening we stay at Hotel Rural Cruz del Gallo near the Tormes River.

    Day 4: This morning a long half day ride to El Barco following cattle trails besides the Tormes River and passing through the village of Aliseda de Tormes. This afternoon an opportunity visit El Barco; a 15th century walled village with a medieval bridge stretching over the Tormes, alternatively relax at the hotel. Barco de Avila is a luxurious country hotel on the site of an ancient country estate complete with spa and indoor heated pool.

    Day 5: Today’s ride passes through holm oaks woods and pastures, following the cattle track between Barco and Hoyorredondo before arriving for lunch in Puente del Congosto, complete with a XVth century bridge and castle. We picnic near the river, which is a beautiful place for a swim in the summer. In the afternoon there will be a short ride to Hoyorredondo. Overnight at a comfortable rural hotel.

    Day 6: A day with many contrasts in the landscape. The ride starts in the wide open valley of the Corneja River, which we follow to its source, breaking for lunch near one of the water mills along the river. In the afternoon we follow a Roman road up to the Puerto de Chia (5,686 feet) for a panoramic view of the Corneja Valley on one side, and the Alberche River on the other. Descend to San Martin de la Vega for the night.

    Day 7: Last day’s riding back to the Sierra de Gredos, and descent into the Tormes valley where the ride began. Picnic lunch with panoramic views of the Sierra de Gredos. Short afternoon back to the stables. Night and farewell dinner at the Parador.

    Day 8: After breakfast transfer to Madrid for flight home or onward travel arrangement. All riders will be transferred at the same time, however transfers at alternative times can be arranged at extra cost.

    Sierra de Gredos summer ride itinerary

    The Sierra of Gredos is one of the most characteristic regions of the Iberian Peninsula situatedbetween the provinces of Avila, Cáceres and Salamanca, and crossed by the Duero and Tajo rivers. The landscapes are full of light and colour and natures splendour. Ride up slopes of oak and pine trees; cross rivers of pristine waters; discover wildlife from rocky overlooks, and gallop across pastures and open fields. The small villages display their architecture, their traditions, and the way of life of their people, isolated in this inaccessible nature that shapes their unique character.

    This summer itinerary is designed to enjoy the best riding in Spain in the spring and summer: Riding in the Gredos Mountains, in the Sierra de Gredos. The days riding combine, on one side, the altitude of the mountains and the alpine valleys – all above 1500 m; and, on the other side, the swims in the rivers and in the mountain gorges. This week ride is an ideal proposal for the summer with very pleasant full day rides, very diverse landscapes, with great mountain views and pristine mountains rivers. It is really a summer holiday, with fun day rides, long picnic lunches and beautiful pools to swim – some are great Jacuzzis, followed by sunbathing siestas.

    Day 1: You will be met on arrival into Madrid international airport and transferred to the small village of Navarredonda de Gredos (approx. 2 hour drive) in the heart of Castile, with splendid views of the Siera de Gredos. This is a region steeped in history, where the Moors and Christians fought, where Romans built roads that have lasted for centuries.  You will enjoy a welcome dinner and night at  the luxurious National Prador of Gredos.

    Day 2: This morning we will begin a full day circle ride from Navarredonda de Gredos, with a picnic lunch in the countryside en route. We will ride towards the source of the Tormes River through pine woods, open fields and trails, towards the mountains with great views of the Sierra de Gredos. In the afternoon, ride back to the stables in Navarredonda, returning for dinner and over night at the National Parador of Gredos (or country hotel).

    Day 3: This morning we will ride along the river to Hoyos del Espino, and climb up to Hoyos del Collado. Riding along an ancient cattle path we will get to Navacepeda de Tormes. Descent towards the Tormes river and theGorge of Barbellido. Lunch will be at the beautiful Pozo de las Paredes, with a 14th century bride. Ideal for a swim! This afternoon will be short with magnificent views to the village of Navalperal de Tormes. Dinner and night at a country hotel in the village, Hotel Rural Cruz del Gallo.

    Day 4: Today we will ride from Navalperal following the cattle path to Navacepeda de Tormes. We will join the course of the Tormes and have lunch at a fishermands hut, at Hoyos de Collado. This is an ideal place for a swim in the river. This afternoon we will ride back to Navarredonda through the pinewoods. Dinner and overnight at the very comfortable village hotel, with excellent cuisine, Hotel Rural La Dehesilla.

    Day 5: This morning we will climb to the heights of Canada del Horno, through open fields and dense broom areas, with beautiful views of the Alberche river valley. We will have lunch at a bar in the local village before descending back towards Barajas de Gredos the stables in Navarredonda. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Rural La Dehesilla.

    Day 6: Today we will ride towards the heights of the Sierra de Gredos with magnificent views. We will climb to the Covacha gorge and descent towards the gorge of Barbellido. We will have lunch by the river, which is an excellent place for a swim. This afternoon we will climb to the heights of Siete Fuentes and descent to the pinewoods of Hoyos de Espino and return to the stables in Navarredonda de Gredos. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Rural La Dehesilla.

    Day 7: After breakfast you will be transferred from Navarrendonda to the National Parador of Avila (4* Parador, approx. 1 hour drive). This Parador is a 16th century Palace in the historical centre of monumental Ávila, backing onto the majestic city walls. Dinner, night and Sunday breakfast at this luxurious Parador are included in the programme (or transfer to a comfortable and charming very well located 2*hotel in Avila).

    Avila is a medieval town, surrounded by walls constructed in the 11th and 12th century (2500m, 88 towers, 9 gates) to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors. The walls are still complete nowadays. Avila is the “City of Saints and Stones”. The birthplace of St Theresa and the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada. Avila has kept its medieval austerity. This purity of form can still be seen in the Gothic cathedral and the fortifications which are the most complete in Spain. Enjoy a walk around the charming squares and beautiful quiet pedestrian streets of this historic town.

    Avila is one of the World Heritage Cities of Spain, one of the 660 cultural sites in the world that the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. Day in Avila to visit this historic walled town from the 11th century.  Recommendations for visits, tours and restaurants in Avila will be provided to guests.

    Day 8: Today you will be transferred from Avila to the Madrid airport (in time for flights after 2pm).

    Long weekend rides in the Valley de Gredos itinerary

    The Valleys of Gredos is excellent terrain for riding, mostly open fields with magnificent views and paths that follow the course of rivers. The landscapes are full of light and colour, where wild nature shows its splendour.  Ride up slopes of oak, pine and chestnut trees; cross rivers of pristine waters; discover wildlife from rocky overlooks, and gallop across pastures and open fields.

    Day 1: You will be met on arrival into Madrid and transferred to the small village of Navarredonda de Gredos (approx. 2 hour drive) in the heart of Castile, with splendid views of the Sierra de Gredos. This is a region steeped in history, where the Moors and Christians fought, where Romans built roads that have lasted for centuries. Riders will enjoy a welcome dinner and night at the luxurious National Parador of Gredos (the first Parador opened in Spain).

    Days 2 – 4: You will spend the next 3 days riding from Navarredonda. You will ride through pine woods, open fields and trails, towards the mountains with great views of the Sierra de Gredos. You will have beautiful and varies days riding in the Valleys of the Gredos before returning to the National Parador of Gredos for the night.

    Day 5: After breakfast transfer to Madrid, arriving there about 12 noon. All riders will be transferred at the same time, so if any rider needs to arrive in Madrid prior to noon, all riders will depart earlier – or we will arrange an alternative transfer (at an extra cost).

    Notes:

    The Sierra de Gredos itinerary can be adapted for special interest for a small group of 4-8 riders. We propose 3 different programmes that can be tailored for small groups in any of the Sierra de Gredos dates: Riding and cooking: Special gastro-riding tour, learning how to cook Spanish Tapas; Riding and Spanish:  riding and learning Spanish (Spanish lessons with a qualified teacher; Special family rides: including extra activities for children (adventure rope park, bird watching, star-gazing). All of these programmes would be ideal for non-riders also.

    The price includes transfers from/to Madrid; accommodation in comfortable and charming hotels including the luxurious Parador of Gredos; days riding with 2 guides; excellent leather English GP saddles (small saddle bags and seat savers are provided; all the meals: excellent gourmet picnic lunches; aperitifs and tapas; dinners in the hotel; all the drinks are included during the meals (white and red wine, sherry a the aperitifs; beer, soft drinks…)

    The price does not include international flights, items of a personal nature.

    Not included are additional beverages, special transfers at times other than scheduled times, and gratuities. Drinks at ‘bars’ or hotels outside the meals are extras not included in the cost.  Please note tips should be given to Maria Elena or Emilio, the leaders of the ride, and not to the staff directly.

    A single supplement charge is payable if guests require separate accommodation.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Riding in Spain fact sheet

    Accommodation: Nights are spent in hotels in villages along the route. On the Gredos ride, the first and last nights are spent at the Parador of Gredos, a hotel belonging to Spain’s national chain of Parador hotels chosen for their special building or setting. The Parador of Gredos was built in 1926 as a hunting lodge for Alfonso XIII and was the first establishment in Spain to be converted to a Parador. Other nights are spent in small, comfortable village hotels which are varied in style and character. Some are quite newly built and fairly modern in character whilst others are older, sympathetically converted from some of the area’s traditional stone built country houses. In the Extremadura, comfortable, good quality rural hotels are used each night, most of which have lovely gardens and a swimming pool (generally open March to November but early and late in the season this may depend on the weather). Two nights are again spent in a ‘Parador’, the 14th century castle at Oropresa with swimming pool and wonderful views of the Gredos mountains. The standard of hotel accommodation varies a little over the course of both rides as there is limited choice in some of the smaller villages but the hotels are all comfortable and of a 2* to good 3* standard. Hotel rooms are twin bedded with private en suite shower and toilet, although single rooms can usually be arranged at a supplement.

    Additional information on the area: Non riders can follow the ride if they rent or bring their own vehicle, meeting up with riders in the evenings for dinner and spending nights at the same hotels and lodges. Sometimes it may be possible to also meet up at midday for lunch, but this depends on accessibility of the lunch spot. The cost for a non rider would basically be for accommodation and meals only. This is a tailor-made option so please contact Wild and Exotic for rates. The area of the Gredos is a Natural Park and there is some wonderful walking and hiking. The Tormes river also has good trout fishing from April to August – if you are interested in this please contact us as a permit is required. There is also some excellent birdwatching which is best in May. The region is in the heart of Castille where some of Spain’s most historical towns are found. Avila, Segovia, Salamanca and Toledo have all been declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Avila is a medieval town surrounded by walls dating from the 12th Centuries that are still complete. The city is at about 8,125 feet, with 88 towers and 9 entrances. Segovia has many magnificent monuments including a Roman Aqueduct built in the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD and a castle – Alcazar – dating back to the 12th Century where Isabella la Catolica was proclaimed Queen of Castile. Salamanca and crossed by the Tormes river, was conquered by Hannibal in the 3rd Century AD. The university of Salamanca, which was founded in the 12th Century, is the oldest in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. There are many fascinating monuments to explore. Toledo, the medieval capital of Spain, is one of the most impressive historical – artistic complexes anywhere in the world. The town, perched on a hill and skirted by a sharp bend in the river Tagus has remained largely unaltered since the end of the Middle Ages. Romans, Visigoths and Moors lived there in successive centuries, each leaving a mark in the development of the city. Alfonso VI, king of Castile, conquered the city in 1085 and thenceforth three ethnically distinct communities grew up- Christians, Jews and Moslems all leaving a profound mark on its architecture and culture. Of all cities in the area, Toledo is impregnated with a fascinating history. A few days exploring on foot, with a night or two in the Parador, a 4 * hotel, is a wonderful addition to the ride.

    Clothing: Wild and Exotic will send a clothing list with suggestions of what to bring when you book.

    Flights: You need to fly to Madrid for these rides and the meeting point is Madrid-Barajas International Airport. Terminal 4, arrivals gate 10, at the cafeteria Medas (by gate 10) There are several flights a day to Madrid from London. You need to arrive in Madrid by about 2.30 pm (3 pm latest) on the first Sunday and should book a return flight which leaves after 2pm on the final Sunday to allow time for transfers. Fares to Madrid vary between £150 – £220 return, Wild & Exotic can assist if instructed.

    Horses: The horses used on these rides are locally bred and most are Arab and / or Andalucian crosses. They average between 15hh and 16hh and are a very enjoyable, responsive and well schooled ride. They are also good natured, nimble but extremely sure footed and well adapted to the going making them a real pleasure to ride. Many of the horses have been bought by Maria Elena and Emilio as youngsters and carefully brought on and schooled by them. They know them very well and are expert at matching horse and rider. Tack is English style with sheepskin saddle covers and saddle bags provided. There is a weight limit of 90kg (14 stone) on these rides.

    Itineraries: The daily routine on both rides is generally to set off at about 10am each day riding for a couple of hours before stopping for a rest and drink, and, on days when the mornings ride is quite long, light tapas to keep you going until lunch. You then ride on for about 2 hours before lunch, usually at about 2pm. After lunch and a siesta until about 4pm, you will ride until early evening, stopping at about 6 or 7 pm or sometimes a little later. Examples of the itineraries planned are set out below – but please note that they are only examples of what is planned and your guides may change the day by day route if the weather or other local conditions require – for example during August when it can be quite hot, there may be an evening moonlit ride one day.  Week long rides are scheduled to start on Sundays but if you can fly to Spain earlier, we recommend spending a night beforehand in the historic walled town of Avila, en route from Madrid to the Gredos or in Toledo, close to the start of the Extremadura ride. There are Paradors in both Avila and Toledo and nights here are a lovely way to enjoy a first taste of Spanish lifestyle and culture! We can help book hotels.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day whilst on the ride (dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last) are included. The local cuisine is simple but good and menus are planned with care to ensure you have the chance to sample different specialities of the area you are visiting (eg. the delicious Avilan beef in the Gredos and lamb stews, roasted suckling pig and “migas” – a typical shepherds dish, in the Extremadura). Breakfast is served at your hotel and is simple – bread or toast, butter, jam and tea or coffee. On some days you will then stop for an ‘aperitif’ mid morning, with a selection of drinks offered as well as light tapas. Lunch will normally be a substantial picnic eaten in the countryside when you are out riding. It is set out on a table, with chairs provided to sit on, and will often include a selection of salads and a main course such as Spanish omelette, barbecued steak or fish or a delicious Paella prepared for you in the middle of nowhere! Dinner is three courses eaten at your hotel or at a typical local restaurant. A selection of soft drinks, beer, good local wines and tea and coffee are all included with lunch and dinner. Vegetarians can be catered for with prior notice – please tell us of any special diet when you book.

    Pace: The pace of the rides will according to the terrain although overall is moderate. Some days on the Gredos ride are quite slow when you ride high up into the mountains and others are quite fast, with long canters on open grassland. The Gredos area is used for endurance riding competitions and there are plenty of open grassy valleys (rather like moorland) where you can canter off-track, as well as wide woodland paths that provide ideal going for fun, fast riding. The going in the Extremadura is good and open, and the riding most days will be at a good, moderate pace with many wide, sandy tracks, the old cattle drover roads, where you can canter. On two days you will ride in the Gredos foothills, where the pace is slower.

    Riding: There is usually 5 to 7 hours riding a day, broken up with rests to stretch your legs, for drinks and lunch. Much of the going on both routes is good although there are some steep mountain passes where you may need to dismount to lead your horse, and there will also be some road work each day riding through small villages, where you will be watched by locals who love to see riders on a beautiful horse. The rides are run for a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 (occasionally 11) guests. Maria Elena and / or Emilio will ride with you, with another helper on hand at lunch breaks and to look after the horses in the evenings. Maria Elena speaks fluent English and has spent a lot of time working, travelling and riding in the UK and USA amongst other places. She is well used to English standards of horse care and both she and Emilio are great fun, enthusiastic, easy going and excellent company. They will look after you very well. Luggage is moved for you between accommodation by back up vehicle and a vehicle will also meet you at lunch times.

    Riding Experience: These rides are aimed at reasonably experienced riders and to participate you are expected to be a reasonably competent rider, who is comfortable and secure in the saddle and able to control a well schooled horse in open country at all paces. Although you don’t need to be an expert rider, you should be used to riding over varied terrain at a varied pace with a group of horses. You should also be quite riding fit as hours can be fairly long and there are plenty of places for long energetic trots and canters.

    Terrain: The Gredos rides take you through the four valleys of the Tormes, Corneja, Alberche and Tietar Rivers and along forested slopes of oak, pine and chestnut. Although this is a region of high mountains, there are vast open moorland pastures nestled in the valleys and this rough grassland, which is scattered with craggy rocks and grazed by wild goats, provides wonderful opportunities for long canters. In spring and summer the grasslands are covered in an array of wild flowers and you will ride through a sea of yellow broom catching the scent of wild thyme and lavender on the air as your horse brushes past. On some days you will climb steep mountain paths and on others you ride will along forested river valleys and narrow paths past small isolated villages with age old traditions, architecture and a unique character. There are red-soil plains studded with holm oaks, grassy pastures where black long-horn cows graze and the fertile Tietar river valley in the southern foothills of the Gredos, where there are orchards of cherry trees, olive plantations and chestnut woods that are home to wildlife such as deer, fox and wild boar. The historic towns of Toledo, Oropesa and Talavera make this area of particular cultural interest.

    Transfers: Please note when organising flights that there is one set transfer for the group on the first / last day of the rides. If you cannot get to Madrid in time for the pick up or need to arrive in Madrid earlier than noon on the last day, it might be possible for the group to wait a short time / leave a little earlier but you will probably have to pay extra for a private transfer / taxi (we can help arrange this).

    Visas: British passport holders do not need a visa for visits to Spain whatever the length of stay, although for visits of over 90 days residence permits are required. Please check up to date requirements with the Spanish consulate.

    Weather: The climate in both areas in summer is usually dry, but as you are close to the mountains the weather can be unstable with rain possible! In the Gredos temperatures are strongly influenced by the altitude which is between 2,275 and 5,525 feet. Day time temperatures in spring are usually around 15 – 20 degrees C; in summer temperatures rise as high as 28 degrees C and in autumn, they average 12 to 18 degrees C. Days are normally sunny with clear blue skies – the sun can be very intense because of the altitude. Evenings are cool and in April, early May and October a warm sweater and warm coat are necessary. The Extremadura is further south and altitudes lower so temperatures are milder – day time temperatures between March and May are around 18 – 23 degrees C and in autumn, 15 to 20 degrees C.

    Wild and Exotic riding in Andalusia

    Riding in Andalusia Summary

    In Andalusia it is still possible to ride through the most unimaginable landscapes for several days, combining nature with the most ancient traditions. To the Southwest of Sevilla, you will ride on the pilgrimage roads to El Rocío. Leaving from the south of Sevilla, you will stay at some beautiful and traditional country houses, with all the charm of the old times. You will ride by the environs of the Doñana National Park. The landscape of this area is of great diversity: forests of pine and savin, eucalyptus and cork oaks, dunes, marshlands and preserves. Thousands of birds come to spend the winter here. You will ride on sand tracks, ancient bridle paths, and get to El Rocío, named the International village of the horse. All the houses have stables and all the streets are sand tracks. In the times of the pilgrimage, this village hosts thousands of horses – many of them Andalusian stallions. A unique natural area, full of the most authentic traditions, the kingdom of the Andalusian horse.

    The Andalusian horse is spirited, strong, temperamental and of unquestionable courage. The counterpoint of these qualities is its docility, being a very sensitive horse, obedient and easy to handle. The Andalusian horse possesses, through inheritance, a measured and balanced command of its movements and it is a delight to ride. During this ride a visit to the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre en Jerez (the Royal Spanish School of Equestrian art) can be organised.

    Riding in Andalusia itinerary

    Day 1: On arrival into Sevilla airport you will be met and transferred to the equestrian centre La Corbera, south of Sevilla, near Utrera, about a 20-30minute drive from Sevilla, where you will be introduced to the horses and the stables. The Cortijo de La Corbera is a beautiful and traditional Andalusian country estate. You will receive a welcome drink and will be shown to your rooms; the accommodation is at the finca, with 8 charming bedrooms overlooking the fields and the horses. Welcome dinner and night at La Corbera.

    Day 2: This day will be a short ride for the riders and the horses to settle in. You will ride through agricultural land and pine woods. You will stop for an aperitif in the countryside near the pine woods. There will be some trots and canters to the beautiful Hacienda La Indiana. You will have a picnic lunch near the Hacienda Don Rodrigo before riding back to La Corbera. Dinner and night at la Corbera.

    Day 3: This morning’s ride will start at Torrequemada, a XVI c. Hacienda of Andalusia. After a brief visit of Torrequemada, a traditional stop of the pilgrims on their way to El Rocio, the Camino de Triana, from where you will start the ride. Through farming land of olive trees you will get to the pine forest for the aperitif stop. You will follow the Camino de Triana, and stop for a picnic lunch at the Dehesa de Torneros. In the afternoon you will cross the river Quema, where the pilgrims heading towards El Rocio, traditionally are baptised. You will ride on to Villamanrique de la Condesa, to the beautiful Cortijo Area Pursuer. Dinner and night at this charming place dedicated to the Purple Heron, due to its great location for bird watching in the boundaries of Doñana.

    Day 4: Today you will ride through pine woods and the Dehesa de Boyal, a forest of holm and cork oaks. You will follow the Camino de Pilas and later the Camino de Hinojos, where you will stop for an aperitif. You will then join the Raya Reall, an impressive wide sand avenue surrounded by forests of pines, cork oaks, and eucalyptus, where many trails meet for the last part of the pilgrimage. You will have lunch near the beautiful Palacio del Rey, a royal hunting lodge built for Alfonso XIII. In the afternoon you will reach the destination of your pilgrimage by horses: El Rocío, the international village of the Horse, with the church Ermita de la Virgen del Rocío. It is a unique village: all the houses have stables and all the streets are sand tracks. In the times of the pilgrimage this village hosts a million people and thousands of horses! You will stay at a traditional house of El Rocío, which has been restored with all the comfort. Dinner at a local restaurant with a beautiful view of the marshlands.

    Day 5: Today you will ride to El Rocio, the international village of the Horse, and visit the church Ermita de la Virgen del Rocio.  It is a unique village where all the houses have stables, and the streets are sand tracks where it is possible to canter from the church to the bar!  In times of the pilgrimage, this village hosts a million people and thousands of horses. You will enjoy lunch a the fabulous El Rocio restaurant, and overningt at the Hotel Pao Malvasia.

    Day 6: Today you will ride following the ‘Camino de Moguer’.  This Camino follows the stream of La Rocina, which runs for 40 km, and is called ‘la Madre’. Its waters are the source of the marisma – the marshlands which are the heart of the Donana. Along its banks, one can often see many different species of birds and at times, deer and wild boars, as well as a variety of plant species.  You will enjoy an aperitif stop in the countryside, surrounded by pine trees where the pilgrims from Huelva rest when making the Rocio pilgrimage.  You will ride through the forest to the lagoon of Rivatehilos, and have a picnic near the lagoon.  In the afternoon you will ride to the abandoned village of Cabezudos, where the horses will stay. You will be transferred to the Parador of Mazagon where you will overnight.

    Day 7: Today you will ride in the most western part of Donana. This area is not well known, and is uniquely beautiful – combining lagoons with forests of great diversity:  wild shrub, rock rose, rosemary and thyme , and some spectacular wild flowers in the early spring. Towards the end of the morning you will leave the forest behind you as you reach the dunes, where you will have lunch, gazing over the Atlantic Ocean.  After lunch you will descend onto the beach, and ride along the coast for approximately 7kms, ending this beautiful ride with some exhilarating canters along the beach.  Farewell dinner and overnight at the Parador of Mazagon.

    Day 8: After breakfast you will be transferred to Sevilla, to the airport or the train station in time for your onward journey.

    Notes:

    The pace of this ride will vary, but the ride includes walks, trots, canters and gallops depending on the terrain, so riders must be competent at all four paces. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours in the saddle.

    The price of this ride is inclusive of transfers from/to Seville, accommodation  in comfortable and charming hotels including the luxurious Parador of Gredos, days riding with Maria Elena accompanying the rides, excellent leather English GP saddles (small saddle bags and seat savers are provided, all the meals, excellent gourmet picnic lunches, aperitifs and tapas, dinners in the hotels, all the drinks are included during the meals (white and red wine, sherry a the aperitifs; beer, soft drinks…) A support vehicle and 1 or 2 helpers – to transport the luggage and prepare the lunches (with set tables, chairs, etc).

    The price does not include international flights, special transfers at times other than scheduled times, additional beverages, items of personal nature and gratuities. Drinks at ‘bars’ or hotels outside the meals are extras and not included in the cost, please note tips should be given to Maria Elena, the leader of the ride, and not to the staff directly.

    A single supplement charge is payable if guests require separate accommodation.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Riding in Andalusia fact sheet

    Accommodation: You will stay at traditional Andalusian country estates and cortijos (the Andalusian country houses). The Cortijo de La Corbera, where the ride starts and ends, has accommodation in the finca, eight beautiful charming bedrooms all with facilities. The Cortijo Ardea Purpurea (Purple Heron), in the boundaries of the Doñana nature reserve, has been built in the traditional country style, with thatched roofs and wooden beams. In the magic village of El

    Rocio, you will stay at one of the traditional houses of this horse village. The whole village has sand streets and the houses have an inner courtyard and stables at the back. The private Cortijo de Gelo, in the Hacienda de Gelo estate, is the home of a great horseman, breeder of Anglo-Arab horses and expert in marathon carriage driving.

    Additional information on the area: Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of 7 metres (23 ft) above sea level. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos or hispalenses, following the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. Sevilla is without a doubt one of Spain’s most beautiful cities. The Sevillanos are an extremely proud and passionate people. To many Sevilla is not just a place, it is a way of life. The Guadalquivir, Semana Santa, the April Feria, Velazquez, Don Juan Tenorio, orange blossom, the dancing of Sevillanas and bullfights….. Sevilla is bright, beautiful and a city that must be seen and must be experienced. Following the Moorish conquest in 712, Seville came under a long period of Moorish rule. It was during this period that both the Giralda and the Mosque (Mezquita) were built, on the site where the Cathedral now stands. With the discovery of America in 1492, Sevilla developed a monopoly on trade with the New World. It became the arrival and departure point for every expedition to the newly discovered continent. Sevilla began to amass a great wealth, palaces were built, new industries were created and the whole city was a hive of activity. All financed by American gold. In 1929 Sevilla hosted the Ibero-American Exhibition and in 1992, the Expo. Both of these events had a significant impact on Sevilla to become the beautiful city you can discover nowadays.

    Flights: You need to fly to Sevilla for these rides and you will be met on arrival at approximately 16:30hrs – 17:00hrs on the first Sunday of the ride.

    Health:  No vaccinations are required by EEC residents to enter Spain (according to the Spanish and World Health Organisations). If you have a particular condition requiring special medical treatment, in case of emergencies you should carry a letter from your own doctor translated into Spanish describing your condition and the medicine / treatment required.

    Horses: The horses are Hispano-Arab, Anglo-Hispano Arab and Andalusian breed ranging in height from 15 – 16 hh, and selected for their good nature and endurance. The horses have been carefully bred and trained by Alfonso Gonzalo de Bustos, a great horseman, who is an expert in Andalusian dressage or Doma Vaquera, and passionate about all the Andalusian traditions. At present, he is competing in TREC. The horses are excellent, fun –to –ride, very well-trained and very fit.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included whilst on the ride. The local cuisine and wines are excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different specialties produced in the area. Lunch is a “picnic” (a starter and a main dish) – Andalusians are experts with the aperitifs and picnics in the countryside. Every meal is cooked at local restaurants and served in the countryside. Dinner is at the cortijos or at restaurants. Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notification. All drinks are included: fino – “manzanilla” -, beer, wine, and spirits. The usual schedule for meals is: Breakfast at 9.00 – 9.30 a.m. /Aperitif at 1.00 – 1.30 a.m. /Lunch at 2.30 – 3.00 p.m. /Siesta/ Dinner at 9.30 p.m.

    A support vehicle will follow the riders during the entire trip, meeting for aperitifs, meals and at night.

    Pace: The pace of the ride is moderate to fast, with many opportunities for good trots and canters. The terrain is excellent, with predominantly sandy tracks in the pine forests and good terrain when riding though the “dehesas” (oaks land and pastures) and the private estates. The ride will be led by Alfonso and Maria Elena.

    Riding: It is not necessary to be an expert rider but it is essential that riders have trail riding experience, can easily manage a horse at all paces and be familiar and comfortable handling a horse on the ground. The pace of the ride will vary, but the ride includes walks, trots, canters and gallops depending on the terrain. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours. Riders can assist in taking care of their horses if they wish – but it is not necessary. Horses will be ready for the riders to get on every morning.

    Visas: British passport holders do not need a visa for visits to Spain whatever the length of stay, although for visits of over 90 days residence permits are required. Please check up to date requirements with the Spanish consulate.

    Weather: The climate in this are of Spain is nearly tropical. Winter months are strongly recommended – with gentle temperatures, maximum 18 – 22ºC and minimum temperatures at 8-10ºC. Average days of rain in the February – March – November months is 5 days per month.

    Weight limit:  90kgs / 198 pounds (with riding equipment on).


    Wild and Exotic Segovia: History at a canter ride

    Segovia: History at a canter summary

    The province of Segovia is in Central Spain, in the Meseta, the great high plateau of the Iberian Peninsula. It is situated between the provinces of Madrid, Guadalajara, Soria, Burgos, Valladolid and Avila, in the region of Castilla y Leon. The Segovia ride is a journey back in history, through open landscapes, ancient woods, and river valleys. What makes this ride unique is the exceptional combination of historic sites accessible on horseback with the open and unspoilt Castilian countryside ideal for riding…. It really is history at a canter.

    You will explore on horses some jewels of the Spanish history, the castles of Pedraza and Castilnovo, the romanesque churches of Sotosalbos and Sepulveda, the royal site of La Granja de San Ildefonso, with its grand baroque palace and its beautiful gardens. This ride will take you through very diverse natural landscapes, from the alpine views of the Sierra de Guadarrama, to the old transhumance trails and the open grazing fields, the ancient Valsain forests of pines, oaks, holm oaks and holly bush, where the Spanish kings used to hunt bears and wild boars, and through the vast grain fields, the Eresma river valley and the gorges of the Duraton river nature reserve.

    The terrain is excellent for riding and the horses are very fit. There are plenty of opportunities for long trots and canters, so this can be quite a active ride, if the riders wish to go for it!

    The quality of the accommodation is outstanding, with hotels in great locations and full of character. A 4* hotel built in an ancient convent in the heart of the city, a 4* National Parador in La Granja, a grand medieval castle Castilnovo, and charming and exquisite country hotels in the villages. The ride starts and ends in the medieval city of Segovia, World Heritage Town by the UNESCO, which boasts a magnificent cultural heritage including the colossal Roman Aqueduct from the 1st century AD, one of the greatest in Europe, with 163 arches and 29m at its highest point, and the Alcazar Fortress with its stunning views of the city, among other great attractions. Maria Elena will ride with you in this new adventure that she organises with some excellent stables from Segovia.

    Segovia: History at a canter itinerary

    Day 1: On arrival into Madrid airport at approximately 15:00hrs you will be met and transferred to Segovia, about 1 and a half hour drive to the luxurious and charming Hotel San Antonio El Real (4*) for an overnight stay. The Hotel San Antonio El Real was built in the cloisters of an ancient monastery from the 15th century, in the heart of the city of Segovia, a 5 min walk from the Roman Aqueduct. After settling into your room you will be transferred to the stables to see the horses. After meeting the horses, you will be transferred on a panoramic visit of the city of Segovia by car and you will enjoy a welcome drink in the Segovia main square before you enjoy a welcome dinner back at the Hotel San Antonio el Real, which has an exquisite cuisine.

    Day 2: This morning you will ride from Segovia to the forest of Valsain. You will follow transhumance trails, such as Cordel de Santillana and the Canada Real Soriana to get to the source of water of the Roman aqueduct, following the reservoir waters and the Acebeda stream. You will then follow the Eresma river valleys, stopping for a picnic lunch at the forest of Valsain. These forests were traditionally hunting reserves for the kings of Castile and these days they are protected nature parks. This afternoon you will ride to La Granja de San Ildefonso, where you will stay at the luxurious National Parador of La Granja 4*. This evening you will visit the baroque palace and the gardens of this royak site, built in the times of Felipe V. You will have dinner at a local restaurant before returning to the Parador for the night.

    Day 3: Leaving La Granja you will rejoin the Canada Real, at the Caserio de Gamones. You will ride on the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama until you reach Sotosalbos. Here you will stop for an aperitif and visit the Romanseque church from the 13th century. You will continue riding through countryside of holm oaks, through the small village of Requijada until you reach your picnic destination, near the river Cega. In the afternoon, you will ride by the Ermita de Las Vegas and follow the Cega river to Pedraza. This is a beautiful medieval village, with an imposing castle, charming cobbled streets and a charming main square. This evening will be spent at the Hotel de La Villa (3*) in the heart of the village.

    Day 4: Today is a half day ride and you will leave Pedraza along ancient bridle paths, through rural villages, which are nearly abandoned, with a typical architecture in stone and timber. You will stop for an aperitif in the country before riding through open farming land and onto the plains where the fortress of the Castle of Catilnovo stands where you will finish today’s ride and have lunch. This afternoon you will visit the castle and be transferred by vehicle to the Duraton river gorges and the jewel Ermita de San Frutos. This evening will be spent at the grand castle of Castilnovo, which has restored 10 bedrooms with all the comfort and atmosphere of medieval times.

    Day 5: Today you will follow the Duraron river, riding in the valley and the hills of Los Cortos. You will stop for an aperitif at Duraton village. You will ascend towards the Sierra to join the Canada Real (wide and open transhumance trail) and you will have a picnic lunch near Enebralejo. This afternoon you will pass Enebralejo, where you can stop to visit the prehistoric caves, before you ride onto Pradena a typical mountain village. This evening will be spent at the Posada del Acebo (“The Holly Bush Inn”, a typical house from the 18th century.)

    Day 6: Today you will ride in the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama, in the Canada Real, and through the oak forest of Pradena. You will stop for an aperitif in the Canada, which you will follow until you reach Navafria, a mountain village with a timber production tradition. In the afternoon you will ride to Collado Hermoso. This evening will be spent at the Posada Molino del Rio Viejo.

    Day 7: This morning you ride through Santo Domingo de Piron and Torrecaballeros, you will have an early picnic lunch at the well preserved remains of an old ranch, where shepherds sheer their sheep, during the long transhumant journeys. This afternoon will be a short ride back to the stables in Segovia before spending the of the afternoon at leisure in Segovia. This evening will be spent at the Hotel San Antonio el Real (4*).

    Day 8: After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in Madrid, arriving there at approximately 12:00hrs. All guests will be transferred at the same time, so if anyone needs to arrive in Madrid prior to noon, all guests will depart earlier – or we will arrange an alternative transfer (at an extra cost).

    Notes:

    The pace of the ride varies with the terrain. Overall this can be quite an active ride, with long trots and canters, and even some small cross-country jumps if the riders want to. The pace will be adapted to the riders’ abilities and desire. The average riding time is five to six hours per day. The total distance of the trip is about 115 miles.

    The price of this ride is inclusive of seven nights accommodation, meals whilst on the ride (including night of arrival, farewell dinner and breakfast on the day of departure as well as beer and wine during meals only), horses, tack, guide, interpreter, support vehicle and transfers to and from Madrid.

    The price does not include international flights, special transfers at times other than scheduled times, additional beverages, items of personal nature and gratuities. Drinks at ‘bars’ or hotels outside the meals are extras and not included in the cost, please note tips should be given to Maria Elena, the leader of the ride, and not to the staff directly.

    A single supplement charge is payable if guests require separate accommodation.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Segovia: History at a Canter ride fact sheet

    Accommodation: The accommodation chosen for this ride is excellent and of special interest in this ride, including some historic sites which are very unique hotels nowadays. Therefore riders will be staying at some luxurious places, with character, and some small and charming country hotels, providing double or twin-bedded rooms and en-suite baths. First and last night will be spent at the Hotel Convento de San Antonio el Real, a luxurious and charming 4* hotel. It was built in the cloisters of an ancient monastery from the 15th century, in the heart of the city of Segovia, a 5 min walk from the Roman Aqueduct. One night will be spent at the National Parador of La Granja 4*, ancient residence of the King’s infants, in a great location near the Royal Palace of La Granja. Another highlight of this ride is one night spent at the castle of Castilnovo (new accommodation for this 2012 ride). This castle is a historic site, a medieval castle, built on some Arab remains, which contains some very interesting collections of armours and a very rich library. Nowadays it hosts a Hispano- Mexican foundation. He rooms are magnificent, with al the modern comfort but with the atmosphere of medieval suites. Other accommodations will be comfortable and charming rural hotels, like the Hotel de la Villa 3*, in Pedraza, built in an ancient noble house; the Posada del Acebo, in Pradena, a typical country style house from 1752; or the Posada Molino del ¨Rio Viejo, an ancient water mill converted into a charming small hotel.  Single accommodations can be arranged at an additional charge.

    Additional information on the area: Towers, Romanesque churches, squares, steps, mansions and Renaissance palaces, synagogues, porticoes, convents, gardens… Segovia boasts a whole host of monuments and an almost endless list of places of interest. You will see one monument that predominates over everything else: the spectacular Roman Aqueduct, an engineering achievement dating back almost 2,000 years and whose colossal appearance is still intact today. The best view of it can be obtained from the popular Plaza Azoguejo square: the huge blocks of granite stand 29 metres tall, seeming to dwarf everything in the vicinity. A stroll through the streets of Segovia is a pleasant and very interesting way of gaining an insight into the history of Spain. Over the centuries, various civilisations (Romans, Arabs, Jews and Christians) have left an artistic heritage that is difficult to match elsewhere. This will become obvious as you stroll through its old town, whose streets still boast the medieval structure and civic and religious buildings of various architectural styles. Many of them were built during the Middle Ages, the heyday of this city. One example from this period is the Cathedral, the last Gothic building constructed in Spain; another is the Alcázar, the impressive fortress with its stunning views of the city. And then there is the unique Casa de los Picos House, the Alhóndiga corn exchange market, with a façade that leaves no-one unmoved, and the tower Torreon de los Lozoya, originally a 14th century defensive structure, which are now used to hold cultural exhibitions.

    Flights: You need to fly to Madrid for these rides and the meeting point is Madrid-Barajas International Airport. Terminal 4, arrivals gate 10, at the cafeteria Medas (by gate 10) There are several flights a day to Madrid from London. You need to arrive in Madrid by about 2.30 pm (3 pm latest) on the first Sunday and should book a return flight which leaves after 1pm on the final Sunday to allow time for transfers.

    Health: No vaccinations are required by EEC residents to enter Spain (according to the Spanish and World Health Organisations). If you have a particular condition requiring special medical treatment, in case of emergencies you should carry a letter from your own doctor translated into Spanish describing your condition and the medicine / treatment required.

    Horses: Maria Elena organises this ride with some excellent stables from Segovia. The horses are Andalusian crosses, mainly Anglo-Hispanos (Andalusian & Thoroughbred cross), ranging in height from 15- 16 hh, and selected for their good nature and endurance. They are very well trained for the rides and for school work, dressage and jumping. They are very fit, very willing and they are fun to ride. The tack used is English, general purpose leather saddles with deep knee rolls – no western saddles. Seat savers and saddle bags are provided. Maria Elena will accompany every ride and she guarantees than the standards of this ride are similar to those of her previous rides.

    Meals: Breakfast, aperitifs, lunches and dinners are included whilst on the ride. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different dishes produced in the area. Lunches are exquisite picnics in the countryside with set tables, chairs… a small feast everyday! Dinners at the hotels will feature a varied selection of the typical cuisine. Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice. Drinks outside meals – at the hotel bars – are not included. Riders will just pay for these drinks as they consume them. The usual schedule for meals: Breakfast 8.30. Aperitif at 12.30pm. Lunch at around 2.00pm, followed by a siesta. Dinner is usually served at 9.00pm. A support vehicle will follow the riders during the trip, meeting for aperitifs, meals and at night.

    Pace: This ride will be guided by Enrique, owner and trainer of the horses, an excellent horseman, with a show-jumping and cross-country background. He is passionate about Segovia, the nature and the history of the region. The pace of the ride varies with the terrain. Overall this can be quite an sportive ride, with long trots and canters, and even some small cross-country jumps if the riders want to go for it. The pace will be adapted to the riders’ abilities and desire. The average riding time is five to six hours per day. The total distance of the trip is about 115 miles.

    Riding and Riding Experience: It is not necessary to be an expert rider but it is essential that riders have riding experience in the outdoors and countryside, can easily manage a horse at all paces and be familiar and comfortable handling a horse on the ground. The pace of the ride will vary, but the ride includes walks, trots, canters and gallops depending on the terrain. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours. Riders can assist in taking care of their horses if they wish – but it is not necessary. Horses will be ready for the riders to get on every morning. The pace of course will be adapted to the ability of the riders, but in this programme riders can enjoy some exciting rides and the Segovia ride can be quite a sportive week..

    Transfers: Please note when organising flights that there is one set transfer for the group on the first / last day of the rides. If you cannot get to Madrid in time for the pick up or need to arrive in Madrid earlier than noon on the last day, it might be possible for the group to wait a short time / leave a little earlier but you will probably have to pay extra for a private transfer / taxi (we can help arrange this).

    Visas: British passport holders do not need a visa for visits to Spain whatever the length of stay, although for visits of over 90 days residence permits are required. Please check up to date requirements with the Spanish consulate.

    Weather: The climate in both areas in summer is usually dry, but as you are close to the mountains the weather can be unstable with rain possible! In the Gredos temperatures are strongly influenced by the altitude which is between 2,275 and 5,525 feet. Day time temperatures in spring are usually around 15 – 20 degrees C; in summer temperatures rise as high as 28 degrees C and in autumn, they average 12 to 18 degrees C. Days are normally sunny with clear blue skies – the sun can be very intense because of the altitude. Evenings are cool and in April, early May and October a warm sweater and warm coat are necessary. The Extremadura is further south and altitudes lower so temperatures are milder – day time temperatures between March and May are around 18 – 23 degrees C and in autumn, 15 to 20 degrees C. For the special summer ride average temperature in Navarredonda de Gredos: July-August 25ºC Maximum during the day – Minimum during the night 12ºC).

    Weight limit: 90kgs / 198 pounds (with riding equipment on).


    Unknown Views of Menorca ride

    Unknown views of Menorca ride summary

    The Unknown Views of Menorca ride takes you along this Camí de Cavalls, and it allows a really unique access to the unspoilt Menorcan coast, rather inaccessible from inland. The views of the Mediterrannean turquoise waters are breathtaking. When you ride “round the corner” on the Camí de Cavalls and the sea appears in front of you… literally, it does take your breath away! Riding along this route is also a privileged way of diving into the history of Menorca: remains of Megalithic, Roman, Vandal, Byzantine and Moslem civilisations, the medieval Christian conquest of 1287, British and French have all left their mark. It is a slow ride and the terrain is difficult and some passages can be complicated. This slow pace allows you a further insight into Menorca’s diversity, embody all the scents that the breeze carries and feel immersed in the intense colours of its skies and beaches.

    The ride is a 5 day ride, following the “Camí de Cavalls”. The first three days you will ride on the Northern coast, wild and inaccessible, from West to East, and the following two days, you will ride on the Southern coast, from East to West, which is a more sheltered coast, with more human presence, but where you will find some unspoilt beaches and very attractive inland landscapes.

    Unknown views of Menorca itinerary

    Day 1: On arrival into Mahon international airport in Menorca, you will be met and transferred to the to the country hotel Sant Ignasi. Depending on the arrival time of the group, this afternoon you will see the horses and have a short ride, to match horse & rider and adjust the tack. Horses will be transferred from their stables to the point of departure of the ride. Dinner this evening is in the country hotel or at a restaurant in the beautiful town of Ciutadella.

    Day 2: Today you will be transferred to Eugues de Flo, near Torre del Ram. You will discover the arid and dry Menorca, one of the wildest parts of the island, with a very unique landscape. The only traces of human presence you will see are the light houses, remains of shepherds huts and corrals and some archaeological sites. Riding inland and along the cost you will arrive at Cala Morell. You will have a picnic lunch at the Caves of Cala Morrell, and archaeological site with a necropolis (from 1500- 300 b.C.). This afternoon you will have a short ride, along the coast and then heading South to the Son Angel, home to the horses and our guide, Toni. On arrival at Son Angel you will be transferred to the country hotel Biniatram. Dinner and night at the hotel.

    Day 3: After breakfast you will be transferred back to Son Angel. You will begin your morning ride in and out the Mediterranean sea, in the part of Menorca called Tramuntana. This territory holds an extraordinarily rich variety of endemic wild plants in the island. Riding along the coast and through beautiful beaches, all of them different: Algaraiens, Plà de Mar, El Pilar, you will arrive to Els Alocs, for a picnic lunch at the Ermita. Some parts of this ride are quite rough and riders may need to dismount, or you may ride on some alternative inland paths, to avoid the difficult passages. After lunch, the succession of the most attractive beaches and views of the deep turquoise sea continues: Cala’n Calderer, Cala Barril, Cala Pregonda. You will head inland to the finca Sant Vicent, where you will finish the ride, and where the horses will spend the night. You will be transferred to Es Mercadal for dinner and an overnight stay.

    Day 4: This morning you will be transferred to Sant Vicent. Today you will ride through some dunar formations, in a area rich in birdlife, with a great biodiversity and geological interest. You will ride to Binimel là, Cala Mica, and the beach of Cavaleria. Climbing the cliff to Cap Cavaleria, with spectacular views, you will arrive at the Eco-museum of the Cap, where you will stop for lunch. In the afternoon, you will ride to Cala Tirant, you will ride on a small road at the end of the day to get to Ses Salines. Dinner and night at the Hostal Port Fornells, with a field for the horses, which has great views of the sea and the village of Fornells.

    Day 5: This morning you and the horses will be transferred to Torre d’en Galmes, on the Southwestern part of Menorca, from where you will start your Southern ride. At Torre d’en Galmes you will visit the largest “Talayotico” site of the island. The Talayots were watch towers built by pre Roman settlers from the 1000 – 123 b.C. From this site, you will ride South to reach the Camí de Cavalls at Llucalari. From Llucalari you will ride around Son Bou, through some cultivated land and discovering different vegetation characteristic of the wet lands. You will continue until Sant Tomas, and you will stop at the restaurant Es Bruc for lunch. In the afternoon, you will head inland, visiting the spectacular cave Cova des Coloms, also called the Cathedral, given its dimensions before riding to the stables of the country hotel Binigaus Vell. Dinner and overnight at Binigaus Vell.

    Day 6: From Binigaus, you will start the morning riding South, back to the Camí de Cavalls. You will ride inland around and along deep gorges, called Barrancos, like the barranco de Trebalúger. After riding through Cala Mitjana, and Cala Galdana, one of the few beaches in the island where you will see a big hotel, you will ride to the unspoilt Cala Macaralleta. You will have lunch near Macaralleta, at Torralbet, where you will taste a selection of the Menorquín pork products (sobrassada, carn I xua, cuixot) and cheeses. This afternoon you will ride through the unspoilt beach of Cala en Turqueta and then inland to reach Morvedra Nou, where you will end the ride. This evening you will have a farewell dinner and overnight at the country hotel Morvedra Nou.

    Day 7: After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport. If you would like to prolong your stay, we can help with recommendations.

    Unknown Views of Menorca fact sheet

    Menorca surface is 701,84 km² with a length of 53kms and the population of the island is 75 000 inhabitants. In 1993, Menorca was given by the UNESCO the distinction of Reserve of Biosphere, in fact Menorca is a wonderful island, with emerald beaches, and an always blue sky (more than 300 days of sunshine per year).

    El Camí de Cavalls is an alternative way to contemplate Menorca’s natural charms. This ancient coastal trail offers the chance to come into contact with one of the island’s most important attractions: its nature. This 179-km trail, which completely encircles the island of Menorca, was built to defend the island. It is not known exactly when the road was created and the oldest written documentation found until now dates from 1682, although the origins of some stretches appear to go back to the fourteenth century. This trail was used to safeguard the coast and communicate with battlements, watchtowers and other fortifications. A long recovery process that began in 2000 with the Balearic Parliament’s passage of Act 13/2000 culminated on May 12, 2008 with the latest bureaucratic procedures to re-establish the free public use of El Camí de Cavalls.

    The Unknown Views of Menorca ride takes you along this Camí de Cavalls, and it allows a really unique access to the unspoilt Menorcan coast, rather inaccessible from inland. The views of the Mediterrannean turquoise waters are breathtaking. When you ride round the corner on the Camí de Cavalls and the sea appears in front of you… literally, it does take your breath away!

    It is a slow ride. The terrain is difficult and some passages can be complicated. This slow pace allows you to dive into Menorca’s diversity, embody all the scents that the breeze carries and feel immersed in the intense colours of its skies and beaches. Maria Elena will ride with you in this new adventure that she organises with some excellent stables from Menorca.

    Accommodation: Menorca’s country hotels are excellent, with lots of charm, portraying the characteristics of the local architecture. They are very comfortable, some luxurious 4* country hotels and nearly all of them have swimming pools.

    Flights: You need to fly to Mahón (or Maó), which is Menorca’s main airport. There are some direct flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet and the pick-up time will be tailor-made to your group arrival times.

    Health: No vaccinations are required by EEC residents to enter Spain (according to the Spanish and World Health Organisations). If you have a particular condition requiring special medical treatment, in case of emergencies you should carry a letter from your own doctor translated into Spanish describing your condition and the medicine / treatment required.

    Horses and Tack: This ride is organised by María Elena in collaboration with a local guide, horseman and horse owner, Toni. He breeds his own horses and is an expert horseman who has ridden and explored many paths in Menorca. He is Menorquín, from a Menorquín family and he is deeply rooted and deeply in love with the island. The horses chosen for the ride are Menorquín crosses and Andalusians. Toni is breeding a cross between the Menorquín horse and the Menorquín trotters, both pitch back horses, to create a lighter and more athletic horse, ideal for the rides. The Pura Raza Menorquín horses are stallions that are not ideal for the trail rides, whereas the Menorquín crosses have the right size, character and endurance for the rides. The tack used is English, general purpose leather saddles. Seat savers and saddle bags are provided.

    Meals: A support vehicle will accompany the ride but when the Camí de Cavalls is practically inaccessible the car will only meet the rides at lunch time for the picnic. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included during the ride. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different dishes produced in the area. Picnic lunches will consist of a sample of the local dishes cooked at the local restaurants. Dinner will be at the country hotels where you will be staying. Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice. The usual schedule for meals: Breakfast 8.30. Lunch at around 2.00pm, followed by a siesta. Dinner is usually served at 9.00pm. Please note drinks outside meals, at the hotel bars are not included in the price and guests will have to pay for these directly.

    Riding and Riding Experience: It is not necessary to be an expert rider but it is essential that riders have riding experience, can easily manage a horse at all paces and be familiar and comfortable handling a horse on the ground. There some difficult passages at very steep rocky places, the horses are extremely sure footed and know the terrain, but riders should be able to keep calm, trust the horses and ride properly over the difficult passages. Riders scared of heights should enquiry more specific information about the challenge of this ride. The pace of the ride is slow, very slow at times, but there will be chances for some trots and canters on some of the
    beaches. A level of fitness is required, as the days are 4-6 hours in the saddle. Horses will be ready for the riders to get on every morning and will be taken care of during the ride.

    Visas: British passport holders do not need a visa for visits to Spain whatever the length of stay, although for visits of over 90 days residence permits are required. Please check up to date requirements with the Spanish consulate.

    Weight limit: 90kgs / 198 pounds (with riding equipment on).


    Spain general information and map

    Capital: Madrid

    Getting there: There are several flights a day to Madrid from London with major European airlines. Flying time from London to Madrid is 1 hr 30 minutes.

    Time: GMT plus 1 hour.

    Try not to miss: Riding in the Sierra de Gredos (Gredos Mountains) to the west of Madrid during the summer months, and our partridge shooting itineraries in the province of Salamanca from September to April. Wild and Exotic currently offer no others destinations or activities within Spain.

    Visas: Visitors from the UK do not require a visa in order to enter Spain.

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    “All seven of the “chicas” arrived home with wonderful memories and stories to tell. I thank you, Maria Elena and Enrique for a great week. We fell under the spell of the Spanish countryside, wonderful horses and delicious food. Enrique and Maria Elena impressed us with their love for their horses as well as their country. The beauty of this trip was to arrive each night at yet another charming hotel.  We all felt we had made friends and memories for a life time.”
    Ellen Chapman, Riding in Spain, June 2013

     

    SIERRA DE GREDOS RIDE

      Name Date Description Price Capacity Numbers required
      Sierra de Gredos October 9, 2016 - October 16, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride May 29, 2016 - June 5, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride June 12, 2016 - June 19, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      Gredos and Transhumance cattle ride June 19, 2016 - June 26, 2016 Single supplement 200 Euros 2500 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride September 4, 2016 - September 11, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride September 11, 2016 - September 18, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride October 2, 2016 - October 9, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      The Valleys of Gredos ride October 16, 2016 - October 23, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 2000 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos May 22, 2016 - May 29, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Gredos: riding and spanish July 3, 2016 - July 10, 2016 Single supplement 200 Euros 2100 Euros 12
      Gredos: riding and spanish July 10, 2016 - July 17, 2016 Single supplement 200 Euros 2100 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos July 17, 2016 - July 24, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos July 24, 2016 - July 31, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos July 31, 2016 - August 7, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos August 7, 2016 - August 14, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos August 28, 2016 - September 4, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos September 11, 2016 - September 18, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos October 9, 2016 - October 16, 2016 Single supplement 150 Euros 1850 Euros 12
      Sierra de Gredos - riding and cooking October 16, 2016 - October 23, 2016 Single supplement 200 Euros 2100 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends July 27, 2016 - July 31, 2016 Single supplement from 60 Euros From 900 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends July 27, 2016 - July 31, 2016 Special Family week end ride. From 900 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends November 2, 2016 - November 6, 2016 Single supplement from 60 Euros From 900 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends November 9, 2016 - November 13, 2016 Single supplement from 60 Euros From 900 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends November 16, 2016 - November 20, 2016 Single supplement from 60 Euros From 900 Euros 12
      Gredos Escapes long week ends November 23, 2016 - November 27, 2015 Single supplement from 60 Euros From 900 Euros 12

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