Sierra Nevada Trails riding holiday in Spain - Far and Ride
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Sierra Nevada Trails, Spain





Reviews



To be able to personally develop within a week from a trot, to hold my own while galloping alongside seasoned Spanish riders was a feat only made achievable thanks to the joyful & resolute nature of trainer/owner Manolo Ruiz and his delightful family.

James H.
We had an enjoyable week with charming hosts and an interesting group of international co-riders. (Favourite memory?) Visiting the valley known as "the End of the World". The scenery is amazing.

Madeleine A.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Andalucian and Arab crosses.

Nature of horses:

Well trained and surefooted, with great stamina for these challenging trails.

Height of horses:

15-16.2hh

Weight limit:

90 kg/198lbs

Tack type:

trekking and English saddles, with saddles bags provided.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Fantastic trail rides led by Manolo Ruiz from our Almeria horse riding destination on the southern coast of Spain. These rides are based in the Sierra Nevada national park, which is home to some of the most impressive terrain in Andalucia. With landscapes ranging from high mountains to deep river valleys and gorges and out to the stark wilderness of desert and farmland beyond, you will experience a land almost designed for discovery and adventure. These impenetrable mountainous barriers have for centuries played major roles in the historic battles and conquests of these lands; abetting and impeding military advances in equal measure

Offering absolutely unique riding opportunities which have been researched and designed by Manolo in conjunction with local riding centres and tourism initiatives, in order to offer his guests an exciting, diverse and unforgettable experience. Your host Manolo is a skilled horseman whilst remaining a kind, caring and attentive host. He is regularly involved in all aspects of the equestrian industry, including teaching children and adults how to ride and giving classes as part of the Equestrian tourist guide scheme for the Spanish government. His love of people, horses and nature is evident in his holidays and he describes horses as "our companions through life". He can offer you a wonderful holiday where you can immerse yourself in Spanish culture, ride a beautiful Andalusian horse and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

The Sierra mountain ranges of Andalucia are of volcanic origin and offer some wonderful climates for riding in, with dry, arid summers turning into cold snowy winters. The extremes of weather and temperature have really helped to shape this region, including its cuisine. For example, the Jáen region surrounding the Sierra Cazorla is well known as one of the best olive growing areas in Southern Spain, producing fruit for the vast majority of Spanish olive oil.

New trail options have been added which give guests the opportunity to combine riding in the beautiful Sierra Nevada national park and visiting the historic town of El Rocio or Jerez. The trails offer guests the chance to witness "La Sacca de las Yeguas" - the annual gathering of Andalucian mares in the streets of El Rocio - and the famous Jerez Andalucian horse fair too.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodations for these trails will be in a range of traditional Moorish and Andalucian hotels and guesthouses. All have been selected for their character, comfort and suitability in regards to the trail. These can range from charming rural guesthouses to 4* hotels and luxurious Parador.

All food along this trail will be influenced by the fabulous region you are riding in. Even lunches will be cooked in the traditional Andalucian style - no packed lunch sandwiches here! - with dishes centred around pork, fish and vegetables. You will be able to sample the flavours and delicacies of Andalucia, with warming, hearty meals designed to tantalise your interests and satisfy your hunger. The wines of this Spanish region are also fantastic and those who wish will be able to sample and enjoy the local offerings.

Vegetarian and speciality diets can certainly be catered for with prior warning.

 

Activities

The natural parks of Andalucia are the perfect location for any adventure holiday, with trails suited to mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and all manner of thrill seeking activities. A great way to discover the beautiful and dramatic outdoors!

For those wishing to take things a little slower, these reserves are also wonderful places to spot a great number of diverse and interesting wildlife, including 36 species of mammal, 125 separate bird species, as well as many amphibians, reptiles and fish! Really, there is something here for everyone.

Andalucia is also a great food region of Spain, with influences from Mediterranean as well as middle eastern dishes. The ancient regional capital of Granada is also worth taking some time to visit, with its ancient hilltop fortifications and stunning views to the snow topped mountains beyond.

 

Further Details

Languages: Spanish, Catalan and English.

Health requirements: Riders should be comfortable at walk, trot and canter and able to ride for long hours each day.

Age limit: 14+ years for the trails.

Tuition: No

Included: Airport or bus station transfers at set times, accommodation, all meals and drinks, as well as horse riding as per the itinerary with an experienced and knowledgeable guide, all luggage transport along the trail route and a support vehicle.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, personal expenses not mentioned above and transfers outside of the set times.

 

Travel Information

A group transfer is arranged from Granada airport at 18h00 on the day of arrival. This set-time transfer is included in the cost of your holiday. It is also possible to arrange transfers at different times and from a different local airport, but these will need to be charged at an additional cost.

It is now possible for us to arrange Malaga airport transfers for the following cost: Malaga - Sierra Nevada (round trip) €320 for a bus of up to 8 people.

Please note that the specialist itineraries with visits to El Rocio and Jerez will require guests to book return flights from alternate airports at the end of their trip. This is explained within the individual itineraries, but please do contact us if you are unsure.

Airport: Granada

 

Programmes


Sierra Nevada Trail



This is a 7 night trail along the northern side of the Sierra Nevada national park, far from the ski resorts and tourists. You will explore small white villages with moorish architecture, valleys filled with melt-snow fed rivers originating in the high mountains, red clay canyons and the ever changing landscape of a varied terrain. Here you will discover the real "dark side" of the Sierra Nevada.

Day 1: 

You will be transferred to the riding centre near Granada in order to meet your guides, horses and fellow guests. A chance to enjoy an aperitif followed by dinner and the chance to discuss and learn more about the trail ahead.

Overnight accommodation at the hotel Hospedería of Zenete 4* (or similar), a replica of the medieval castle above the town of La Calahorra.

Day 2: 

In the morning, following a tasty breakfast, you will meet the horses and begin your first day of riding. You will head toward La Calahorra, a former muslim fortress with great history and a stunning example of some of the first renaissance architecture to reach this part of Spain. The trail leads you across fertile land with irrigated fields of almond trees, fig trees, olives and a host of other crops. Then you will climb up to 1500 - 2000m following "the trails of the glaciers" (sendero de los neveros), paths used in ancient times by horsemen who came to cut out blocks of ice in order to preserve their food. Following your morning of challenging riding you will enjoy a picnic lunch near the Rosandra river before heading back to La Calahorra crossing the ancient village of Aldeire and its network of irrigation channels, legacy of the Moorish occupation.

There will be time to visit Calahorra Castle, a XIV century medieval castle and the first Renaissance palace in Spain. 

Back at the hotel Hospedería del Zenete 4* you will have a well-earned dinner and overnight.

Approximately 5 hours of riding in total.

Day 3: 

This morning, you will head towards the Zalabi valley, the "Wild West" of Andalucia. You will ride across a large flat plain of red clay that will take you to amazing canyons, reminiscent of the great American canyons of Colorado. There will be a picnic lunch waiting for you next to Lake Cogollos, fed by melting snow from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada - there may be time for a cooling dip too. After lunch you follow the old mining paths to arrive in the small and ancient Moorish village of Cogollos. 

Dinner and overnight in Casa Rural of Cogollos El Tesorillo (2018).

Approximately 5.5 hours on horseback today.

Day 4: 

This morning you will climb up to the Postero Alto summit, riding through Mediterranean pine forests and up crystal clear streams. You will eventually reach the summit at 1850 m. The trail is often used by farmers in the region to monitor their herds of over 4000 cattle that graze freely in the mountains. At the top the landscape is somewhat like Canada, featuring high mountain streams and century-old chestnut trees. Lunch will be a picnic next to the Alhori river and you will then ride back down along cowboy tracks to the village of Jerez del Marquesado.

Tonight there is a special dinner of grilled meats and vegetables at a local restaurant. The night is again spent at the Hotel Casa Rural of Cogollos El Tesorillo.

Approximately 5.5 hours in the saddle today.

Day 5: 

Today you descend to the valley of Zalabi, though a landscape of red clay canyons, to a fertile valley where the ancient Arab inhabitants of Andalucia (Moriscos) cultivated mulberry trees with which to feed silkworms. Your picnic lunch is taken by a water fountain which originates from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada (the tejea). Dinner and overnight at Hotel Cuevas de Abuelo Ventura.

Approximately 6 hours of riding today.

Day 6: 

This morning you will head toward the Alhama river and the easternmost side of the Sierra Nevada Natural Park. You will find the region to be reminiscent of the scenery from the Spaghetti westerns - similar to the deserts of Arizona from the 70s. You will take a rest with a picnic lunch under the shade of pine trees, on the side of the river. In the afternoon you will reach Guadix, a troglodyte city where even today close to 4000 people live in cave homes hewn from the rock face.

Dinner at the a restaurant in the caves, 'la tinaja'. Overnight at Hotel Cuevas de Abuelo Ventura.

Approximate riding time of 5-5.5 hours today.

Day 7: 

You will leave Guadix and follow winding pack trails which will lead you directly to the highlands of Albuñán and the spectacular views beyond. Leaving the horses, you will enjoy a delicious Andalucian lunch at a local restaurant in Cogollos.

In the afternoon you will head by road back to Guadix where you will have a carriage ride to see the neighbourhood caves. Overnight at the Hotel Palacio de Onate (or similar).

 Dinner will be a tapas tour in the old quarter of Guadix.

Approximately 3.5-4 hours of riding today.

Day 8: 

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure.



Accommodation: Accommodation will be provided in a range of traditional Moorish and Andalucian hotels and guesthouses
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate and above. All riders must be physically fit and happy at walk, trot and canter.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 6 days riding, 3-6 hours per day
Departure dates: 2018: 22-29 April, 27 May-3 June, 16-23 September.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1099 per person based on full board accommodation.
Single supplement £158 per person.
Small group supplement: £229 per person (payable in case of less than 4 confirmed riders).

Price includes 7 nights full board accommodation in shared twin or double bedrooms, all meals are traditional Andalucian, served with water and one drink (beer or wine). 6 days riding as per itinerary, luggage transport, transfers from/to Granada airport, bus terminal or train station at set times are also included.

Price does not include extra drinks, flights and travel insurance.



Sierra Nevada Trail and El Rocio



Join the centuries old tradition of "Saca de las Yeguas" in Almonte before exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains on horseback. In the days preceeding San Pedro Fair, the Almontenos ride out to the marshes to gather the mares and foals which graze there. The next day, the entire herd are paraded through the streets of El Rocio until reaching the Ermita where they are blessed by the parish priest. The Association of Cattle Marismeno gives a foal to the Virgin of the Rocio and the rest of the herd continue out of the village to Almonte. Here they are corralled and prepared for sale the next day.

Day One: Arrival

You will be collected from Seville airport at 6pm at the latest and transferred to your hotel Aldea del Rocio where you have dinner as a group and meet your guide.

Day Two: El Rocio

Ride from El Rocio to Los Taranjales, a region where numerous prestigious breeders of PRE and Anglo Arab horses are concentrated. You follow the ancient path of "los Yeguerizos" which has been used for centuries by the mares. Dinner and overnight again at Aldea del Rocio.

Day Three: Saca de las Yeguas

Today you accompany, on horseback, the herd of mares and foals from El Rocio to Almonte. This is a fantastic chance to experience a truly authentic festival. You have a "campero" lunch under the shade of pine trees whilst the mares rest partway through your journey. On arrival at Almonte, you are transferred back to El Rocio and your hotel Aldea del Rocio for dinner and to overnight.

Day Four: El Rocio - Villarmanrique

Continue riding along the El Rocio to Seville road on the cattle route of La Raya Real - a path which has been followed by many pilgrims on their way to El Rocio. You pass the Palacio del Rey, an old farm where the ancient courts of the king would lodge for the great hunts which were organised in these reserves. This area is now a breeding ground for cattle and horses. Continue riding deeper into the Mures, which is closely linked to the world of cattle. Dinner and overnight at Ardea Purpurea.

Day Five: Villamanrique - Almonte

Today you ride along the border between the salt marshes and the countryside, with vineyards, sunflowers, olives and cereals being cultivated. Here the horse played an important role in agriculture and you will see the effect of horses on the landscape. You end in the heart of Donana at Almonte, where you dine in an old winery where some of the best cognacs and wines were produced. Overnight in Aparta hotel camino del mar or similar.

Approximately 5.5 hours of riding in total.

Day Six: Almonte - Cabezudos - Mazagon

Today you ride through the wild environment of the Donana natural reserve. Pass through areas where the Marismeno horse and Mostrenca cows still reproduce. Halfway down you pass through the old forest village of Cabezudos and then continue riding until you reach the Atlantic coast, marked by the old Torre Vigia del Loro which surveys the area and keeps an eye out for pirates!

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Mazagonia or similar.

Approximately 5.5 hours on horseback today.

Day Seven: Matalascanas - El Rocio

A half day ride today as you ride along firebreaks and cross the Donana reserve until returning by road to the magical village of El Rocio.

Dinner and overnight back at the hotel Toruno.

Approximately 3.5 hours in the saddle today.

Day Eight: Departure

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home - Seville, Malaga or Granada airports are both fine. The transfer to Malaga is by bus. The group transfer departs for the earliest flight and all transfer together (but not before 7am).



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Intermediate and above. All riders must be physically fit and happy at walk, trot and canter.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 days riding (5-6 hours each day)
Departure dates: 2018: 24 June - 1 July
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1187 per person sharing
Single supplement: £158