Catalan Pyrenees riding holiday in Spain - Far and Ride
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Catalan Pyrenees, Spain





Reviews



This holiday was the most wonderful I've ever experienced! Beautiful, relaxing, exciting and invigorating. I lead a very challenging life bringing up a disabled son and this is the first time in 11 years that I have totally switched off. I've returned a different person! All the accommodation was fantastic, clean and comfortable. The food was amazing and plentiful. Horses were very well suited to all our needs, fit and well-cared for. All tack was great, saddles comfy, we didn't ache at all. Our guides/hosts made this holiday! Very relaxed and warm and friendly. Wonderful people! It was perfect! We just wish we could of stayed for longer!

Lisa M.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Spanish, Hispano-Arab, Arabs, Quarter Horse/ Criollo crosses.

Nature of horses:

Calm but forward going, experienced over difficult terrain.

Height of horses:

15-16.2hh on average.

Weight limit:

95kg / 210lbs / 15 stone.

Tack type:

English or trekking saddles with snaffle bridles. Saddlebags provided.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

These trails through the Pyrenees mountains of Catalonia are run from an equestrian centre established in 1989. The owner, Xavier, has been guiding trails for more than thirty years and is an expert when it comes to the Catalan Pyrenees, the Alta Garrotxa and Emporda regions. Teaching and guiding are his great passions and he is also involved with equestrian competitions such as horse ball and racing, as well as being an examiner. Whilst Xavier speaks both French, Spanish and English he is also joined by back-up guide Paula, fluent in Portuguese, who is an experienced instructor and trainer of endurance horses.

There are two trails on offer here - the High Pyrenees Trail and the Pyrenees to Sea Trail. These rides are suitable for fit riders able to ride at all paces and with experience of rough terrain and long hours in the saddle. When tackling the diverse terrain and mountain paths you may need to dismount and lead your horse for short stretches. The High Pyrenees trails takes you over high peaks into the mountains and over the French border before looping back... the scenery is spectacular! The Pyrenees to Sea Trail starts in the mountains and finishes on the coastline at its beautiful beaches. Provided that the weather is warm enough, you will have the opportunity to swim in a lake and the sea with the horse, a special experience.

Xavier and his team offer a selection of horses who are experienced with mountain terrain and work well as a team. They have been trained using natural horsemanship techniques and you are sure to find a horse to suit your build and experience.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

During these trails you are accommodated in rural guesthouses and hotels along the way, sharing twin or double rooms unless otherwise requested. They have been selected for their comfort and location.

This is also a gastronomic experience as the food is of a high standard and gives you the opportunity to taste delicious Catalan dishes.

 

Activities

 

Further Details

Languages: English, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.

Health requirements: Good health recommended - you must be fit and able to walk and lead your horse over difficult mountain paths.

Age limit: 12+ for trails.

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation, meals, drinks with meals and guided riding as per itinerary, retunr set-time airport transfers.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, tips or extra drinks.

 

Travel Information

Set group transfers are arranged from Barcelona airport. Transfer costs from Barcelona are included in the trail prices. It may be possible to transfer from Girona airport too - please check with us.

Arrival Day

Barcelona airport: pick-up at Café Jamaica Terminal 1 on Sunday at 18:00

Departure Day

Pick-up at the hotel at 09:30 with drop-off to Barcelona airport terminal 1 at 12:00. Please don't book flights before 13:00!

Airport: Barcelona

Alternative Airport: Girona

 

Programmes


High Pyrenees Trail



This is a trail for experienced fit riders who would love the challenge of riding through the diverse Pyrenean scenery with its spectacular views. The trail will take you to peaks up to 2800m. The views from the mountains are indescribable. This route requires a reasonable level of fitness. You should be able to cope with long hours in the saddle and be fit enough to walk along side your horse when necessary on some mountain trails.

Itinerary 

Day 1. Arrival

You will arrive at L’Abella on the Pyrenees, a small Catalan village in the middle of the mountains with traditional old stone houses. Before dinner, you will go over the week's programme. You will be told about the special characteristics of the trail horses. You will be given an introduction to the programme with an opportunity for a one-to-one conversation to make sure that the right horse has been chosen for you. Then, you can enjoy a fantastic dinner!

Please note: during this night in Abella, guests are accommodated in apartments which have two or three rooms each. This means that whilst single rooms are possible (on paying the single supplement), guests still need to share a bathroom on this one night. If you prefer not to share a bathroom then it's possible to accommodate you in another accommodation 3km away. 

Day 2. The journey begins

After an early start from Abella, you will begin to climb up to Costa Bona, at 2500m. Soon you will leave the track as up at this height there are only rolling mountain meadows, so you can enjoy some very nice canters and gallops. Once you arrive at the peak of Costa Bona, you enter into the French territory passing the source of the river Ter. The views over the Pyrenees are breathtaking. It is very common to see eagles, vultures and herds of wild goats and deer. You will continue your trail, crossing the landscapes of Can Magre, and Portella de Mantet to reach the slope of Vallter 2000. Here you will leave your horses and the van will take you to the first hotel in Suitcases,  situated in an area known for excellent Catalan gastronomy.

4-6 hours in the saddle

Day 3. Up to the highest peaks

Today you will meet for an early breakfast  -  an early start today to prepare the horses for the long trail. You are going to ride through a spectacular landscape of high mountains, with peaks of between 2600m and 2800m.  From Vallter 2000, you will ride to Coll de la Marrana, crossing the top of the river Freser where you will have a picnic that is packed in the saddlebags. After lunch you climb up to the Pic de l’Infern from where you can admire the beautiful lakes of Carança and the valley of Coma de Vaca. The next step is Nou Creus peak, located at an altitude of 2800m, your highest peak in this trail. During the descent, you will enjoy long canters until you reach Vall de Núria and Queralbs where your stop for the day. Accommodation is in a lovelyhotel and you can enjoy some relaxation and free time until dinner.

4-6 hours in the saddle

Day 4. Riding across the French border

You will begin this day passing by some interesting ski stations with an exciting ascent up to Coll de Finestrellas mountain, crossing several times from Spain to France. Now you start a calm descent down the hillside of Puigmal, where you will enjoy a delicious picnic. After lunch you ride through Vilallobent, re-entering Spain, and arriving at Pugicerdà where your Hotel is for the night. You have the possibility to enjoy visiting the spa or exploring the centre of Puigcerdà.

7+  hours in the saddle

Day 5. The Great Valley of the Pyrenees  

Today you are going to have a more relaxing day. You will ride across Cerdanya, one of Europe’s widest valleys, with a minimum altitude of about 1000 metres, with East to West orientation meaning it enjoys about 3000 hours of sun exposure a year. From Puigcerdá, the main village of the valley, you will move towards Queixans where you will ascend to sub alpine mountains and the alpine hut of Pla les Forques, where you will stop for the picnic. The diversity and beautiful landscape is clearly evident: from alpine meadows, sub-Mediterranean woods, beech forests, boreal woodlands of red pine trees and sub-alpine conifer woods with black pine trees and fir trees. The park’s vegetation is considered of special interest because of its cool temperatures, the high degree of humidity in the area, and altitude, which have all contributed to the existence of species which are not characteristic of the Mediterranean region but of northern Europe and the high alpine European mountains.

After lunch you descend until you reach La Molina. Accommodation in La Molina (a ski station during the winter).

3-5 hours in the saddle

Day 6. Natural Park Cadí-Moixeró

To day you will enjoy a star ride - returning to the same hotel. Two great mountain ridges, El Cadí and El Moixeró, meet at Coll de Tancalaporta and form an impressive mountain barrier where the main Pyrenean ridge meets the pre-Pyrenees. This is where El Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park protects not just wonderful biodiversity but also numerous sites of outstanding natural beauty. As the day begins you saddle up and ride across the plains through fields of wheat and sunflowers. You will ride up the mountain meadows where cattle and horses graze in the summer time. Here you are aware of the strength, sure footedness and stamina of the horses as they power their way up the peak. You will ascend above an altitude of 1500m until you arrive at las Barracas del Rus, where you will have your picnic.

After lunch you will ride long gallops across the meadows of Pla d’Anella, where more than 2000 sheep live in summer.  Arrival at the hotel in La Molina.

5-6 hours in the saddle

Day 7.

Breakfast and departure



Accommodation: L'Abella
Apartamentos L'Abella
www.hipicvalldecamprodon.com
(shared bathrooms)

Hotel La Cabanya
c/del rec, s/n
17869 Suitcases
www.lacabanya.net

Hostal Roquetes
Ctra.Ribes,5
17534 Queralbs
www.hostalroquetes.com

Hotel Puigcerda
Av.Catlunya, 42
17520 Puigcerdà
www.hotelpuigcerda.cat

Solineu (2 nights)
Avinguda Supermolina, 7
17537 Alp
www.hotel-solineu-la-molina.com
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Experienced fit riders, capable and confident at all paces.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 3-7 hours a day
Departure dates: 2018: 15-21 April, 29 Apr-5 May, 13-19 May, 27 May-2 June, 10-16 June, 24-30 June, 29 July-4 Aug, 16-22 Sept, 30 Sep-6 Oct, 14-20 October.
 
Pricing: 2018:
Price per person : £1283 (Double room)
Low season discount (April/May): - £163

Single Room: £190 (single person willing to share no supplement)



Pyrenees to Sea Trail



A fantastic trail for fit experienced riders, riding fit trail horses from the mountains to the Mediterranean Sea. You will start the trail in the Pyrenees and enjoy the mountain landscapes through the leafy forests of Garroxta passing wine and olive groves until you arrive at the beach. You will be able to swim with the horses!

The climate is mild and your ride takes you past the landscapes of Empurda, covered with vineyards and olive groves. This fabulous trail will take you to the beach where you can really enjoy the beauty of the coast, soaking in the Mediterranean ambience.

The gastronomy in this area of the country is absolutely fantastic with plenty of variety and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. Meals will often include fresh fish and delicious seafood, typical of this region, all accompanied by some great wines.

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival.

Welcome to L’Abella

You will arrive at L’Abella in the Pyrenees, a traditional Catalan village in the middle of the mountains with stone houses. Before dinner you will be told about the special characteristics of the trail horses. You will be given an introduction to the programme with an opportunity for a one-to-one conversation designed to find every rider their perfect horse. Then you can enjoy a fantastic dinner!

Please note: during this night in Abella, guests are accommodated in apartments which have two or three rooms each. This means that whilst single rooms are possible (on paying the single supplement), guests still need to share a bathroom on this one night. If you prefer not to share a bathroom then it's possible to accommodate you in another accommodation 3km away. 

Day 2.  From the Pyrenees

The group will meet at 8 am for breakfast to prepare for the trail. The trail will start from Abella and head towards the scenic Salarsa valley characterised with large landscapes and many centenarian oaks. You will descend to Sant Vanenti de Salarsa church of Romanesque design and continue downhill to a valley down to the road between Beget and Oix, here you will find Pont de Bolassell, a Romanesque cottage. In this picturesque and tranquil spot you will have a picnic. You will continue on horseback on a narrow but comfortable path in a dense forest until Coll de Salomo where you will reach the highest peak of the day (850m). You will continue on the hill for six or seven kilometres to Sant Andreu de Bestacra, and  onto a descent where you will be able to see a hundred year old holm oak wedged between rocks. You will continue downhill to Oix, an area full of natural incredible beauty. Accommodation in a rural house.

6-8 hours riding in the saddle

Day 3. Trail to the highest Peaks

Today you saddle up and ride out through the mountains. During the morning you pass through the scented oak forests above beautiful ravines that so characterise this mountainous region known as the Alt Garrotxa. You will ride towards Vall d'Hortmoier passing some gorges that will allow the riders to have a bath. You will cross the Llerca Riover and continue up to the Talaxa peak, a picturesque place with an old quarter from where you will be able to see the route of the day before and to enjoy a snack. From this point, you will start the descent to Vall de Sadernes, where you will have  to walk for one kilometre. You will arrive at the Sant Aniol River where you will be able to enjoy a bath (without the horses). You will go back up to Coll de Bassegoda. After half an hour, you will enjoy your picnic on a plain at 1200m. You will continue on the top of a mountain range and will descend to Albanya, a land of orchards, forest and hunting.

6-8 hours riding in the saddle

Day 4. Swimming with the horses

A day of lively riding and excitement because you are going to swim with the horses! You will meet for breakfast and prepare your horses as usual. You will leave Albana and ride down along the Muga river. You will stop at Boadella lake, surrounded by a breathtaking mountainous scenery, for a refreshing swim with the horses. Always a pleasure for both the riders and horses!

Afterwards you get back onto the trail, this time you cross the GR2 and a landscape full of vineyards and olive groves. You will ride to the Albera Natural Park, a perfect area to observe the impressive rock formations and unspoilt flora and fauna of the Mediterranean.

You will arrive in Perelada, a charming medieval village, famous because of its "cava" (sparkling wine). You will be able to stroll around Perelada and even try your luck at the village Casino.

6-7 hours riding in the saddle

Day 5. L’Albera and coastal vineyards

Today you will leave the mountains and ride through the Albera wine growing region and the coastal area of Costa Brava towards the sea. From Perelada you will head to Llanca, a nice little historical village built close to the sea but quite hidden inland so it was easier for the inhabitants to protect themselves back in the 9th century! The medieval church and tower are the two characteristic monuments which can be seen from anywhere in the village.

Your hotel is in the old city centre and only a 20min stroll from the beach. Llanca has 23 beaches so you're sure to find one you love! Dinner and overnight in Llanca.

6-8 hours riding in the saddle

Day 6. To the sea!

Today you will ride out of Llanca to a cute little bay where you can enjoy swimming with the horses in the amazing landscape. You ride to the Natural Park of Albera and then back to Llanca for a farewell dinner and to overnight.

6-7 hours riding in the saddle

Day 7. Departure

Breakfast and transfer to Girona or Barcelona.

Please note the itinerary may change occasionally due to local circumstances



Accommodation: Appartments L’Abella
L’Abella
www.hipicvalldecamprodon.com
(shared bathrooms)

Beget
Hostal el Forn de Beget
www.elforndebeget.com

Albanyà
Camping Bassegoda
www.bassegodapark.com/es/camping_bassegoda_park_home.aspx

Peralada
Can Genís
www.can-genis.com

Hotel Beri (2 nights)
Llanca
www.hotel-beri.com
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Experienced fit riders able to gallop, canter and trot for long distances
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6-8 hours a day
Departure dates: 2018: 8-14 April, 22-28 April, 6-12 May, 20-26 May, 3-9 June, 17-23 June, 9-15 September, 23-29 September, 7-13 October, 21-27 October, 4-10 November.
 
Pricing: 2018:
Price per person £1314 (double room)
Low season discount (April/May/November): - £163

Single Room: £190 per person (single person willing to share no supplement)

Barcelona airport transfers are included in the above prices.



Pyrenees Summer Ride 2018



This is a fantastic ride in the Pyrenees which you can enjoy during the summer months. You will be based at Abella and ride out from there every day.

The horses here are Spanish, Hispano-Arabs, Arabs, Anglo Arabs and Quarter Horses. 

Day One: Welcome to Abella (Sunday)

You will arrive at the rural village of Abella in the afternoon. It is located in the heart of the Catalan Pyrenees, surrounded by the beautiful nature of this part of the world and in a secluded situation. During your first dinner, you will be able to learn of the special characteristics of the horses and you can talk about the week's programme ahead of you. You will be able to ask  your knowledgeable guide questions and hopefully you will find the perfect horse to suit you.

Day Two: Abella to Pardines (Monday)

This trail is well known because of the diverse terrain you will ride through. The first ride takes you over vast open plains where animals graze and you ride deep into the forest. You will enjoy some wonderful canters. The day starts riding at1240m high and onto  Bac d'Abella through the foot of Serra Cavallera, reaching the end of the Camprodon Valley and into the Vall de Ribes in the Coll el Pal.  From here you will be able to see the peaks of Puigmal, La Molina, Collada de Tosses and Taga. You will now be riding at 1500m. From this high point you will descend and arrive at Pardinas 1300m high at around 2.30 pm. Lunch will be in a family restaurant.  You can take a dip in the pool if you wish.  At around 4pm you will remount your horse and continue the ride towards Collada Verda where you will ride through the Camprodon Vally once again. You will go through Roques Blanques (from where you will have great views over Abella, La Roca, Llanars or Camprodon). From here is a steep descent back to the riding centre.

6 hours in the saddle - 30 km

Day Three: Abella to Tregura (Tuesday)

Today's ride takes you over lovely rolling countryside where you will be able to enjoy a trot and canter. You will ride up the Solana de Abella towards Roques Blanques. From here you will leave the path and ascend to the pines until you reach 1950m  At the top of the hill you will reach a wide path through the forest perfect for a long canter. You will reach Pel de Ca from where you can even see the Montserrat Mountain on a clear day. You continue the ride through a flat path and cross the track from Tregura to Pardines. You ride up the mountain range of Canya from where you will Queralbs, Vall de Nuria, Ribes de Freser, Tregura, Llanars and Camprodon.  You will enjoy some amazing views of the Pyrenees from this view point. You will continue the ride towards Balandraua. On the descent you will reach the Moor Castle from where you can see the little village of Setcases (which literally means "seven houses"). You continue on your ride down the slope and stop in Tregura to enjoy a nice meal in the family owned restaurant El Serrat.  After lunch the ride continues towards Vilallonga de Ter and from there you ride back to the stables.

6 hours in the saddle - 30 km

Day Four: Around Serra Cavallera (Wednesday)

Your ride from Abella takes you north and you will see the wild horses and cattle. Your ride will take you through Coll de Pal and to Ogassa. From this viewpoint you will see the lovely villages of the Camprodon Valley. You will arrive at the centre at around 3pm and enjoy a barbecue accompanied by delicious local wine.

4 hours in the saddle - 20km

Day Five: Abella to Espinavell 

Today's ride will follow the traditional trail of one of the most important cattle fairs in the area. It is a circular ride and you will enjoy fast trots and several canters. You will leave Abella and ride down to Vilallonga de Ter crossing the village and you ride up to the Llebro mountain where you reach a height of 1900 metres. You will ride along the hills towards France. At the foot of Costabona you will start to descend and the trail takes you to Espinavell, the village where the cattle fair tradition is still strong. You will stop here in this beautiful village to eat a delicious picnic lunch.  On your way back to Abella the ride will take you through lovely stone villages such as Mollo or Camprodon and you will enjoy some canters.

7+ hours in the saddle - 35km

Day Six: The Valley (Friday)

The trail is well known for the diverse  terrain enabling you to enjoy all paces including a gallop. You will leave Abella and ride towards Vilallonga de Ter and you cross the little village and continue through the valley.  You will enjoy the beautiful unspoilt countryside and the rich flora and fauna in this area. You will find majestic farmhouses and and head to Creueta de Llanars. You will ride through la Roca where houses are built on side of the rocky mountain and are considered of cultural interest. From Llanars you will ride down the hillside of Serra Cavallera to the boundaries of Pardines. Your lunch will be enjoyed at Collada Verda in a stone built shelter not far from Abella.

5+hours in the saddle

Day Seven: Goodbye (Saturday)

You will enjoy a last breakfast and your onward journey - perhaps another trail!

The itinerary may vary due to local circumstances.



Accommodation: L'Abella Apartments
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Riders should be confident in all paces and fit for long hours in the saddle
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4-7 hours day
Departure dates: Sunday to Saturday
5-11 August, 12-18 August, 19-25 August 2018
 
Pricing: Price per person £1081 in shared room
£190 single supplement

Transfers Included from Barcelona (enquire for prices from Girona)