Algarve Trails riding holiday in Portugal - Far and Ride
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Algarve Trails, Portugal




Programmes


• Week Stay

• Four Day West Coast Ride

 

Reviews



The horses were well looked after and there was plenty of choice. The rides and scenery were magnificent and plentiful. There were many memories especially of the homely and entertaining staff.

Mark and Lydia R.
A brilliant way to get immersed in the world of horses with very friendly people and stunning scenery. Everyone at the stables was very friendly and seemed to be happy to answer my million questions about horse care and riding. This was a really important part of making my holiday enjoyable and was especially appreciated as I was by myself. I really enjoyed it and it was exactly what I wanted from my first riding holiday.

Heather R.
This trail is a fantastic trip for those wanting to do a slightly shorter trek, enjoying stunning scenery, great food, lovely horses and generally speaking, plenty of sunshine! It really was a fantastic five days, with great company and lots of fun.

Sarah Ritchie, Far and Ride, Read review
The holiday was so good I bought my horse! It was relaxed, informative, not challenging. Jinny and all the girls were so incredibly helpful at all times, nothing was too much trouble.

Fuff A.
We had a fabulous time, the ride is really great. Jinny is lovely, a proper horsewoman, and all of the girls working for her are really friendly. They have a lovely atmosphere at her stables and all seem like a little community. Everyone came out with us for meals and we were introduced to the green wine which we all loved. Deborah and Enriques place is beautiful in such a gorgeous location. They introduced us to the Medronia - not to be repeated - with kareoke as a result!! They are a lovely couple and very welcoming with amazing food. The horses are so well cared for in a very English way with carrots and feed provided for them at lunchtime. I rode Ruby who was brilliant every day. The beach ride was great and the mountain tracks spectacular. It was so relaxing, they had it so well organised that we did not have to think. It felt like anything could be arranged - my horse lost a shoe and the blacksmith came to the lunch-stop! I came back completely refreshed and de-stressed. Thanks for organising our trip and making it all run so smoothly.

Judith G.
Lovely riding and countryside. Great hospitality and I loved the variety of accommodation and food. The riding guide was very friendly. The entire holiday is a lovely memory.

Jane K.
My holiday was amazing and I am praying that I will be able to return for the Four Day West Coast Ride. Jinny and her staff are amazing people and really make memories and a holiday special! All the horses on the yard are fantastic with all their little or big characteristics and Milly...... Well she is just a gem!!! This holiday had been an amazing experience for me and the riding in the beautiful countryside was just brilliant!! I also walked away achieving my goal, which was more confidence in my riding. Jinny's hospitality was fantastic as was the food and accomodation. She really is one amazing women. A MASSIVE thank you to everyone!!!

Leah W.
Beautiful place, lovely time of the year to go and see the wild flowers. I loved the food and fish dishes, cooked to perfection. My favourite memory has to be the gallop on the beach. I have never galloped before. I absolutely loved it. Awesome experience. The accommodation was perfect, everything needed was there. I was more than happy with my horse Maggie, apart from when she bit me on my arm. No harm done. The guides were lovely and easy to talk to. I used the green shuttle bus and it was very well organised.

Julie H (May 2014)
An extremely well organised riding holiday with well behaved, forward going and responsive horses. Spectacular scenery, and Ginny + her team were extremely helpful, making us feel truly at home!

Julia W.
Jinny was a good hostess and the horses were well looked after. We enjoyed being able to brush horses before and wash down after. I rode Luna the Ruby - both were forward going but safe. Tack was comfortable. (Favourite memory?) Galloping (with a bit of a race!) on a huge unspoilt beach. Cooling down in Jinny's newly renovated pool. A great steak dinner!

Karen M. (West Coast Trail)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

A variety of breeds including Lusitano Crosses, Irish breeds and ponies.

Nature of horses:

Calm but forward going

Height of horses:

12hh - 16hh

Weight limit:

90kg

Tack type:

English saddles and bridles

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This fantastic, English-owned riding centre is set in the warmth and beauty of the Algarve in southern Portugal and is approved by the ABRS and the Portuguese Equestrian Federation. All levels of rider are catered for (including disabled riders) from beginners wishing to learn basic riding and horse care to the more experienced riders who want to appreciate and explore the area outside of the centre or take their riding to a new level. There is a range of trails available allowing you to witness unspoilt landscapes and breathtaking mountain views, whilst those wanting an intensive tuition programme will come away feeling they have made great progress. Whatever your preferences and experience, we can work with the centre staff to create a programme combining lessons and rides out to suit your needs. There is also the fabulous 'Four Day West Coast Ride' which is an exciting trail ride including cantering on 2km of beautiful beach!

As well as offering great views from the mountains down to the coastline, the rides take you through valleys surrounded by an impressive variety of wild vegetation typical of southern Europe. These include eucalyptus, orange, fig, cork and almond trees. Wildlife is abundant and at various times you may see hoopoes or griffon vultures and sometimes eagles soaring overhead. There are partridge strutting around and sometimes a mongoose or wild boar crosses the track. Swallows nest in the stables rafters and in the summer, they can be seen swooping across the fields or amongst the horses and riders. Novice riders or those with less confidence can head out on a quiet hack through valleys and along rivers. The more seasoned horseback enthusiasts may even want to enjoy the thrill of good gallop up quiet hillside tracks. There are horses here to suit all levels and tuition is offered in flatwork, or over fences. The friendly team of experienced staff will take great care of everyone from single travellers to couples, families and groups.

With excellent weather all year round this destination is a great choice for trips outside of the peak summer season. The centre lies in a region where the winter temperatures are some of the mildest in Europe and still suitable for horse riding. The spring is particularly beautiful as the landscape is covered with an abundance of wildflowers, blanketing the area in an amazing variety of colour. In contrast, the autumn brings mild temperatures and pleasant weather, perfect for enjoying the magnificent sunsets. Summer can be very hot but there is always the chance to cool off in the pool… or maybe you can head on an infamous picnic or restaurant ride or swim with the horses in the lake; a truly magical experience!

Natalie from Far and Ride visited this destination in November 2014 and would be delighted to share her experiences with you. She thought it was wonderful and was particularly impressed by the delicious food and fantastic scenery.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

There is one self-contained suite, as well as further double and twin bedrooms both with bathrooms. All have private terraces and stunning views of the sun rising over the hills. There is satellite TV and a lovely large swimming pool. There are also apartments available locally or if you want something really luxurious we can arrange accommodation at a local Quinta.

You will be served a typical breakfast and a light lunch. Evening meals can be arranged for you with advanced notice, or we would highly recommend trying some of the fantastic local restaurants for the evenings. There are two restaurants in the local village, one run by a local couple who spent many years in Australia so you can expect a very varied menu. The other restaurant is all Portuguese offering an array of local dishes. The village also has a minimarket.

The town of Lagos is only 7km and well worth a visit with many excellent places to try out those delicious Portuguese specialities; freshly caught fish, as well as the famous salted cod, dishes containing wild boar, local cheeses (cow, goat and sheep) and fresh seasonal vegetables. For those with a sweet tooth, you will also find a huge selection of Portuguese pastries and sweets including delicious "Pastél de Nata" (meaning "cream tart"). All the food on offer here is fantastic and certainly delicious.

 

Activities

With their own large swimming pool and sun-bathing patio, as well as fabulous views and magnificent walks on your doorstep, this is a great place to bring a non-riding partner or other non-riding family members who would like a relaxing holiday in beautiful hills. It is the ideal location to explore the surrounding countryside, beaches, towns and fishing villages. For those that want a little more activity, then there are excellent golf courses, tennis facilities, gym and spa, within easy reach by car at Parque da Floresta.

Jinny's son runs a surf school on the western coast of the Algarve; please ask us if you would be interested in trying some surf lessons!

 

Further Details

Languages: English and Portuguese

Health requirements: No specific health requirements

Age limit: None

Tuition: Yes

Included: Riding and accommodation as detailed by the programmes

Not included: Drinks, flights, transfers and travel insurance.

 

Travel Information

The resort is only 7 km North of Lagos making this destination very easy to access from Faro airport. Lowcost flights are available with several airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2.

There are flights available from the following airports: Belfast, Birmingham, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Doncaster, Southampton, Blackpool, Jersey, Guernsey, as well as London Stansted, Gatwick, Luton and Southend.

Having access to a hire car will offer you great independence, allowing you to explore this fantastic area. Trains from Faro to Lagos are very reliable and incredibly good value, with many discounts offered for families, young people and groups. Tickets can cost from as little as 5€ each way.

We can also arrange shuttle bus transfers to and from Faro airport for an additional cost usually around 27€ each way.

Airport: Faro

Alternative Airport: Lisbon

 

Programmes


Week Stay



The majority of the riding tracks are through beautiful countryside, where the only time you will need to be on a tarmac road is when you are crossing it to get to yet more stunning countryside! There is an abundance of animal and birdlife in this region, as well as an array of both Mediterranean and exotic flora to discover. Depending on the time of year, you may see hoopoes, griffon vultures and sometimes even eagles soaring overhead. In the spring and autumn, you'll spot partridge strutting their stuff amongst the gorse, defending their territory and attracting a lovely mate. On occasion, you may even be lucky enough to spot a mongoose or wild boar as it crosses the track ahead of the horses. During the summer months resident swallows will nest in the stables and at certain times they love to skim over the heads of horses and riders!

The following is an example of the kind of itinerary you may follow on a week's holiday. Please note that it is subject to change depending on individual riding ability, weather conditions and circumstances beyond your host's control.

Day One – Arrive at Faro airport.

Shuttle bus transfers are available to riding centre at additional cost, but it's recommended to have a car hire, which is inexpensive and allows you time to look around when not riding. Depending on your arrival time, you may be able to fit in a one-hour welcome hack in the afternoon.

Day Two:  

In the morning you will ride up into the hills and through the wonderfully scented eucalyptus woods. Emerging at the top of the hill, close to the old derelict windmill, you will experience a stunning 360º view of the area; looking south over Lagos to the sea; westwards, toward the village of Bensafrim and north-east over endless rolling hills. Continuing up and down through the hills you will eventually descend to the valley below, riding through the grounds of an old tumbledown farmhouse (only vacated after the area was devastated by great fires in 2003).

A light lunch will be served at the farmhouse on your return. In the afternoon you might like to choose between a lesson in the ‘picadeiro’ to brush up on your riding skills or a ride down the famed "Mad Valley". This is a long winding roller coaster of a track where the horses and riders enjoy a good speedy canter!

Day Three:

Enjoying a leisurely 2-hour ride through a quite different countryside today - a faster paced ride with plenty of tracks for trotting and generous 'blasts’ up the hills. Passing through deserted farms, studded by Palms and surrounded by almond trees (see the confetti-like blossom in spring!) and fig trees (with the chance to pick your own tree ripened fruit!).

Day Four:

Restaurant Ride day.  

Today you will take the stunning ride up to the local restaurant called “Solar do Pincho” where cook Sandra will serve us some traditional Portuguese dishes such as duck rice, fish pie or even wild boar! The ride to the restaurant takes about 2 hours along hilly tracks with amazing views. The horses have their own spot by the restaurant and will enjoy some lunch at the same time you do. The ride back home follows the base of the valley with a number of river crossings and passing sprawling grape vines. The route back is nice and easy – ensuring you can enjoy lunch and have a drink or two without worry!

Day Five:

Rest day.  

Today is free for you to discover the many delights of Lagos, or perhaps take a trip to the hills of Monchique or even to the ‘world's end’ at Cape St Vincent.

Days Six and Seven:

For the next two days, you can enjoy relaxed riding on the quiet trails around the farm, or faster rides through the eucalyptus forests, as well as a longer trip out to the Barragem (reservoir) where it's often possible to swim the horses if the weather permits.

If you have chosen to upgrade your stay to include the West Coast overnight stopover ride, then this will take place over these two days.

Day Eight:

This morning its time to say farewell to your hosts and horses and return home. 

+ West Coast Overnight Trail Option + - Only available for 2 or more pax.

This part of the programme can be added to your standard "Week Stay" if you would like to opportunity to enjoy riding on the beautiful Atlantic beaches of the Portuguese west coast. A one night trail including overnight accommodation at a local guesthouse for both you and your horse.

Please note that the beach ride is only available at certain times of the year due to high visitor numbers at the beaches. Please contact us if you are interested in discussing dates. We ask that all riders are of at least a strong intermediate riding level in order to take part in this trip extension.

Example itinerary:

Day Six: ‘Westward Ho!’.

Today you will ride c. 4 hours through the National Forest to the dramatic West Coast. Apart from crossing the main road in the village of Bensafrim, you are unlikely to see or be seen by anyone until you emerge at the coast – don’t worry your guides do know the way! A light lunch will be served, followed by plenty of time to ride on the beach. Horses and riders stay in a guesthouse in Carrapateira for the night. Although out of the way there are several good restaurants worth visiting with the freshest of fish on the menu.

Day Seven:

If you have taken part in the overnight ride, then today you will have to make your way back to the farmhouse on the last day of your riding trip. The countryside is different yet again, this time mostly giant cork oaks shading the tracks. The horses are always in a hurry to get home but are quite used to stopping for a refreshing drink on the way back through the village.

Day Eight:

This morning its time to say farewell to your hosts and horses and return home. 



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Novice to advanced (Intermediate+ for trail)
Type of ride: Based (optional overnight trail)
Total riding time: c.15 hours over the week.
Departure dates: 2018: Dates can be arranged to suit. Beach riding is generally available March-May and September - November.
 
Pricing: 2018:

Week (7 nights): £967 per person.
Non-riders are very welcome - please enquire about prices and details.

Price includes half board accommodation (breakfast and light lunch) and approximately 15 hours of riding over the week. You will also have access to the pool at the farmhouse and Satellite television.

Price does not include flights, airport transfers or travel insurance.



Four Day West Coast Ride



Riding is in the carefully protected National Park of Costa Vincentina, a wonderfully natural and unspoilt park brimming with wildlife. The Park extends along the Algarvian and Alentejanian coast for 150 km between the Counties of Vila do Bispo and Sines. This area of protected landscape is characterized by its unexplored countryside, where the sea and the mountains combine to an unusual natural monument.

The natural beauty of its beaches, many of them almost deserted, and the high cliffs in direct contact with the sea, constitute the main attraction of this area. The resident population still devotes itself to the traditional activities like fishing and agriculture, that amounts to the wealth of this area. Here, one can still find the traditional fishermen villages.

Day One: 

Today is your arrival day. We will arrange your collection from the airport and transport to the Quinta where you will stay for the night after enjoying a barbeque around the swimming pool. If you arrive in time, you can check out the horses and discuss which will be the most suited to you.

Day Two: 

After a leisurely breakfast, you will tack up your chosen horse and set off for the two-hour ride to the Restaurant Solar do Vale which is situated in the back of beyond in the most amazing location with the Portuguese food at its very best. It could be wild boar stew or one of the many variations of 'Bacalhão' (Portuguese cod fish pie). Remember to leave room for some of Sandra’s amazing desserts. All washed down with a glass of refreshing 'Vinho Verde' and maybe to finish a glass of Medronha – the local fire water! You may walk for a bit with your horse down the hill before getting back on and wending your way back to the stables.

 Approx. 3 hours riding

Day Three:

You will set off by 10:30 straight into the hills behind the village of Bensafrim before dropping back down to cross the main road at the edge of the village. This is the only main road to cross until the last day on the way home. Now you will truly set off westwards in the hills. Lunch will be at "chicken crossing" before starting the descent and through the sixteen river crossings to Herdade de Beicudo, the home of Henrique and Deborah Ferro. The horses will be staying here for two nights on their lovely Quinta and your luggage will be there waiting for you at a Pensao das Dunas in Carrapateira. You will be driven the 3km down the track and will be head into the town for dinner at the lovely restaurant 'Sitio do Dio'. Time allowing, you will be taken for a pre-dinner drive along the stunning coastline or before returning to your accommodation for the night.

Approx. 3 hours riding.

Day Four:

After a tasty breakfast, you will tack up and set off for the coastline.

You will ride back through a few river crossings before heading south, carrying on through the quaint village of Pedralva and then along the coastline to the village of Vila do Bispo. Here you will tie up the horses in the village square and eat in a local cafe. Those still hungry can drop into the homemade ice cream shop across the square! The return trip will be along a similar route. The horses will be happy to return for their dinner and you will be fed and entertained in Carrapateira again this evening.

Approx. 3 hours riding.

Day Five: 

Depending on the tides, you may have to make a really early start to catch the beach with the tide out. From the Quinta, it is a 3kms ride down to the sea, across the river and onto the amazing Carrapateira beach. The horses know the deal once they get there!

After the adrenaline calms down and you have walked on through the dunes you will arrive at the delightful village of Bordeira.  Here you will tie up the horses, there will water and food for them, and depending on the time of day you can relax for a bit with a snack or lunch. You will then start the trek back home through the pine and eucalyptus woods till you cross the road and ride through the village of Bensafrim and finally make it back to the stables.

 Approx 5 hours riding  

* Depending on your onward travel plans you may wish to spend an extra night at the home Quinta before travelling the following day. It is hard to predict what time you will return to the home Quinta, so if you plan to catch a flight, then this is a good option. Please ask about additional costs.



Accommodation: Accommodation on the trail is at the home Quinta and in the coastal town of Carrapateira.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 5
Ability description: Intermediate and above, you need to be comfortable riding at all paces.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 16 hours over 4 days.
Departure dates: Dates available to suit from March - May and September - November for 2 or more riders.

If you are travelling alone, then please contact us and we will try to match you with a group.
 
Pricing: 2018: £703 per person

Price includes shared room accommodation, breakfasts and lunches on the trail, as well as riding as per the itinerary.

Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers and evening meals on the ride are not included.

Extra nights can be arranged at the Quinta, please contact the office for prices.