Ask a Question

Check Availability

Benasque Valley

Overview

The Benasque Valley is a valley in the middle of the highest mountains of the Pyrenees, in the region of Aragon which borders France. The landscape is spectacular and varied, including riverside vegetation, mixed forest, black pine forest, alpine meadows and the high mountains with their summits, g…

Highlights

  • Stunning landscapes of the high Pyrenees
  • Circular trail but you return to a hotel each night
  • Reach the border between Spain and France
  • Appreciate the clear, star-filled night skies
  • Learn about the landscapes and nature as you ride

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 210 lbs / 95 kg / 14 stone 12 lbs

Description

The Benasque Valley is a valley in the middle of the highest mountains of the Pyrenees, in the region of Aragon which borders France. The landscape is spectacular and varied, including riverside vegetation, mixed forest, black pine forest, alpine meadows and the high mountains with their summits, glaciers and perpetual snow. These wild habitats are also home to protected species such as capercaillie, bearded vulture and brown bear.

The ride takes you over the natural park of Posets-Maladeta where there are three massifs which have been declared as Natural Monuments of the Pyrenean Glaciers. Those glaciers modelled the valley over 40 million years ago and you will witness and ride through the landscape they created. The massif of Maladeta is crowned by the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, Aneto (3404m), as well as Posets (3371m) and Perdiguero (3222m). You will also see the massif of Turbon (2492m) and several other high mountains and lakes.

During the ride you pass through some interesting medieval villages such as Ansils, Cerler, Sahun and Solano where you can learn about the history, architecture and way of life in the mountains.

Your host is a qualified 'Accompagnateur du Tourisme Equestre' and has spent many years working as a guide in France and Iceland as well as Spain. He has a PHD in Art, Nature and Landscape so loves to share his passion and explain about the landscapes as you cross the mountains. He is ably accompanied by another guide who spends his time instructing in Barcelona when he isn't in the mountains.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Saddles are English endurance style and saddle bags are provided. Bridles are either hackamores (bitless) or simple snaffle bridles.

Horses

Andalusian and Andalusian crosses of around 15.2hh. They are sure-footed with a natural drive. They have great characters and love people. The horses live out and rotate through different meadows to graze freely, unless weather conditions are severe - in winter they have an open stable they can enter and leave at will, plus additional food.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Discover the Benasque Valley is a based ride

Ages

Competent children are welcome.

Health

Good physical fitness as this ride is at altitude.

Weight

210 lbs / 95 kg / 14 stone 12 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Meals are based on Mediterranean food and is locally sourced where possible. They are hearty and variable and some dietary requests can be met as long as you notify us in advance.

Breakfast and dinner are taken at the hotel whilst lunch is a picnic carried in your saddle bags. Wine is included with the meals but other drinks cost extra.

Accommodation

You return to the same hotel each night whilst the horses stay out on the trail. The hotel is a charming mountain hotel based in the middle of the beautiful landscapes of the Benasque Valley. Double/Twin, Triple and Single rooms can be arranged and all rooms have bathrooms. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and social areas as well as free WiFi in the cafeteria. The hotel is clean and comfortable but not luxurious and has been designed for nature lovers who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Pyrenees.

Itineraries

Discover the Benasque Valley Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

These are riding trails and there is no time for other activities, although you will have to walk alongside your horse sometimes and use different muscles.

Travel

The nearest airports are either Barcelona or Toulouse, both of which are c. 3 hours drive.

We recommend hiring a car and making your own way - we can provide driving directions. Airport transfers are available at added cost but work out very expensive for just a few riders, although could be a good option for groups or families.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in Anciles and have a guided tour of the village which dates back to the medieval period. Have dinner with your group.

Day 2

Riding: 6 hours

Transfer from your hotel to the stables to meet your horses and set off on your ride. Today you pass through a mixed forest with a lot of varieties of tree such as birch, oak and wild cherry before reaching Cerler. This village is at 1540m and is the highest village in the Pyrenees.

Leave Cerler and the forest changes to that which is more typical of high mountains, with black pine and firs. If you are lucky you may spot some wildlife such as capercaillie or bearded vulture. Eventually you'll reach an alpine meadow at around 2000m and can admire the beautiful view.

Day 3

Riding: 6 hours

Today you will be riding across to the south of the valley, El Solano (sunny area). Head up a ski slope until you see the south side of Aneto (3404m), the king of the Pyrenees, and the massif of Maladeta. Follow a spectacular scree slope and path to drop down 1000m. The landscape is spectacular and you will discover how glaciers chiselled and eroded the mountains to create the valley millions of years ago.

Continue riding and the view changes so that the massif of Turbon is in front of you. Cross a Roman bridge over a beautiful natural pool to reach the first villages of the Solano - Liri and Ramastue, both of which contain Roman churches.

Day 4

Riding: 6 hours

Today you'll discover different villages and the unique architecture of the Benasque valley. You'll be riding along traditional tracks which link the villages.

Cross the Esera river and sample the natural water which has filtered out of the mountains and then view the best Romanic hermitage of the valley - Virgen de la Gracia. This lombard style building, whose construction originated in Lombardy, Italy, was built in the 12th century and rose up to shelter the pilgrims travelling the camino to Santiago de Compostela. The history of the village, hermitages and fountains will take you back in time.

Day 5

Riding: 6 hours

El Collado of Sahun is a mountain pass at 2025m which connects the two valleys of Benasque and Plan. In the midst of a great alpine meadow you can enjoy the silence, pure air and incredible landscapes. As you descend you discover magnificent waterfalls into Barbarisa lake where you can rest and cool off. A long narrow path then leads through mixed forest to Sahun. Sahun is known for its traditional passage of fire torches "Las Fallas" which celebrate the summer solstice as a pre-Christian festivity. At the end of the day you cross the Esera river again to reach Anciles.

Day 6

Riding: 6 hours

Depart Anciles to ride to the village of Benasque which gives the valley its name. After a few miles you find some remains from the civil war. Within the Benasque valley there are other valleys created by glaciers 40 million years ago - one of them is Estos valley. Within this valley, farmers drive their cattle in transhumance from the high meadows for the different seasons. These cows graze freely in large areas of meadows and forests bathed by the river Estos. The peak of El Perdiguero, one of the most beautiful and unknown in the Pyrenees at 3222m will hold your gaze as you ride through the Estos valley.

Day 7

Riding: 6 hours

Your final day as you ride through the bottom of the valley under the massif of the Maladeta, the highest mountains of the Pyrenees with the spectacular summit of Aneto at 3404m. This scene remains in view as you follow the track to Portillon de Benasque at 2444m and the gateway to France. This iconic place is known for its beauty and history - for many years the population of the Benasque valley used the portillon to exchange merchandise with the French village of Luchon.

Continue your ride through the heart of the Natural Park of Postes Maladeta.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Depart after breakfast

Accommodation

All nights are at the hotel whilst the horses stay out on the trail.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You need to be at least an intermediate rider and fit for around 6 hours in the saddle each day. You will also need to walk on foot besides your horse sometimes. Most of the ride is at a walk due to the terrain, but there are some trots and canters.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

June 5, 2021 - June 12, 2021

June 12, 2021 - June 19, 2021

June 19, 2021 - June 26, 2021

June 26, 2021 - July 3, 2021

July 3, 2021 - July 10, 2021

July 10, 2021 - July 17, 2021

July 17, 2021 - July 24, 2021

July 24, 2021 - July 31, 2021

July 31, 2021 - Aug. 7, 2021

Aug. 7, 2021 - Aug. 14, 2021

Aug. 14, 2021 - Aug. 21, 2021

Aug. 21, 2021 - Aug. 28, 2021

Aug. 28, 2021 - Sept. 4, 2021

Sept. 4, 2021 - Sept. 11, 2021

Sept. 11, 2021 - Sept. 18, 2021

Sept. 18, 2021 - Sept. 25, 2021

Sept. 25, 2021 - Oct. 2, 2021

Oct. 2, 2021 - Oct. 9, 2021

Oct. 9, 2021 - Oct. 16, 2021

Oct. 16, 2021 - Oct. 23, 2021

Pricing

2021
Sharing
£1185 $1640 €1385
Included Accommodation, riding, meals
Not included Flights, insurance, tips
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.