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Catalonia

Overview

This riding holiday destination offers a wide choice of programmes including several different trail routes, based stays and weekend or short breaks. These trails are suited to intermediate riders and above, although a beginner riding programme has been introduced for those who wish to learn. The r…

Highlights

  • Offering trails, centre based rides and short breaks
  • Families and group bookings welcome
  • Fast riding on the trails and day rides
  • Riding in an area of cultural and historic interest
  • Great local food and drink!

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198 lbs/ 14 stone 2 lbs

Description

This riding holiday destination offers a wide choice of programmes including several different trail routes, based stays and weekend or short breaks. These trails are suited to intermediate riders and above, although a beginner riding programme has been introduced for those who wish to learn. The rides are primarily based out of the farmhouse at Els Masos D'en Coll, with some other accommodations used during the point-to-point trails. Joan is your host at Els Masos and he is a knowledgeable and passionate man with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. He speaks limited English but will be aided in the day-to-day running by Patricia, as well as their experienced trail guides who all speak English fluently.

This beautiful area is full of spectacular towns and villages, surprisingly untouched by the hands of time, and the architecture still reflects the glory of days gone by. Catalonia is full of wild and unspoilt wilderness just waiting to be discovered on horseback. From pretty beaches to meadows and mountain paths, there is a variety of terrain to be explored with the help of knowledgeable guides and a sure-footed horse.

Following the Pyrenees down to the coast brings you to the Emporda region, one of the wonders of Catalonia with undulating fields of olive groves, vineyards, sunflowers and fragrant Mediterranean pine forests. Here you will also find the Alvera wine growing region that produces rich, full-bodied wines that are an absolute delight. The gastronomy of Catalonia is an experience all of its own: the meats, game, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables... all combined to create the most delicious Mediterranean style cuisine. During these trips, you will enjoy authentic local meals accompanied by locally produced red wine. Catalonia is an area rich in history and culture and has a very distinctive feel to it. It remains a relatively unknown corner of Spain and has a strong cultural identity of its own. It's a fascinating place to explore!

There is such a choice of riding programmes that it can become hard to choose! Please get in touch if you are in any doubt or would like some help choosing between the different options below. We can check the availability for these rides and should be able to tell you what programmes and dates are available for you to join or discuss the suitability of an itinerary for you as well.

This destination has been visited by Natalie from Far and Ride, so please get in touch if you'd like to chat with us to get more of a feel for the type of riding available.

NB. Costa Brava beach riding is not available during the peak summer months of June to September. At other times of the year, the beach rides may need to be early in the morning to ensure that you can make the most of empty stretches of sand! However, please note that canters/gallops are subject to local conditions and sometimes tides mean that the sand is too deep and you won't be able to canter on the beach.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The saddles are English or sometimes trekking style, mostly made from synthetic materials as they are light and easy to care for. The majority of the horses are ridden in simple snaffle bridles and again, these are mostly made from a synthetic material with detachable bits. Saddlebags will be provided for each guest to carry items required during the day, such as the picnic lunches.

Horses

The horses here are well-mannered and responsive Spanish and Hispano-Arabians. They have all been carefully chosen for their suitability for the trail and most are between 14.2hh (150cm) and 16hh (165cm). They are generally of a medium build and all are surefooted, fit, forward-going and well adapted to the requirements of the sometimes difficult terrain.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Mountain and Sea Trail is a trail ride

Ages

Children aged 12 years and older can be accepted on the trails, whilst children from 9 years of age can join the Discovery programme. The Beginners Programme is open from 3 years of age. All those under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult. All children joining the trails must be competent, experienced riders, happy to ride a horse (there are no ponies for the trails).

Health

General good health recommended.

Weight

90kg / 198 lbs/ 14 stone 2 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

The region of Catalonia produces a high standard of ingredients which is reflected in the quality of Catalan cuisine. Highlights of the region include wild mushrooms and game from the Pyrenees; olives, grapes and wheat from the heartland; fruit, vegetables and nuts from the lowlands; rice and fish from the river deltas and fish and shellfish from the 500km of coastline.

Breakfast at the farmhouse is made using high-quality products from their own orchard and farm or from local producers

Accommodation

Accommodation varies between the centre base, a traditional stone farmhouse and cottages in the Costa Brava, to small hotels and local inns along the trails. These have been carefully selected for their character and comfort, as well as for their cuisine.

The equestrian activities are centred around a traditional farmhouse, a base for all the trails in this lovely region of Empordà. Els Masos d’en Coll is a corner of peace in the heart of the Empordà, on the Costa Brava. From here you can discover medieval villages, fabulous landscapes between fields of sunflowers and the beautiful beaches and coves of crystalline waters only 9 kilometres from the farmhouse.

Els Masos comprises two farmhouses owned by the same family who has cultivated the land for six generations. There are six fantastic rooms at the Masia Can Barnosell or, if you are looking for space, you can choose one of the three apartments instead (each big enough to sleep four people). For larger groups, there are two houses, Mas Llop I and Mas Llop II large enough for five or six people and perfect for family holidays, with children, or with friends. Regardless of where you sleep, you can enjoy your time on the terrace, in one of the two swimming pools, at the simple home gym or just wandering around the farm, meeting the animals. Free Wi-Fi is available through the buildings, and the reception contains some leaflets and tourist information about the area if you need some inspiration. Of course, you can also ask your friendly knowledgeable hosts!

Itineraries

Mountain and Sea Trail Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Besides riding, there are several great activities to keep you busy in Catalonia. The region is well known for its diversity of outdoor pursuits, including cycling, hiking, mountaineering, watersports and many more. During the riding programmes, interested guests will have the chance to visit several pretty and unique historic sites, including medieval villages, churches, Iberic ruins, necropolis - the region has historically been incredibly industrious and the remains are evident wherever you go.

Non-riding partners and family are also welcome on these programmes. We would recommend taking a hire car if you are coming as a non-rider as lunches will not be provided for you at the farmhouse and this itself is in a very remote location. With access to a car, you will be able to reach many beautiful and interesting places in this region within a few minutes, including the beaches of the Costa Brava, the Pyrenees foothills, several historic villages such as Peratallada and Pals, as well as the museum of Dali, vineyards, olive oil producers and even cider makers.

Our partners can suggest local hire firms for bicycles where keen cyclists can discuss their requirements and have the bikes delivered to the farm ready for their arrival - please ask. Fit cyclists can also join the trail weeks and will be given maps to follow a route to the next accommodation.

Travel

You should fly into Girona which is roughly a 1-hour drive from the farmhouse. Transfers from and back to Girona train station at set times are included in the cost of the set-date trails, but not the centre-based rides which offer more flexible departures. If you are doing one of the stationary programmes, you may wish to hire a car to allow you to explore the area when not riding.

The scheduled group transfers from and to Girona train station are at the following times;

Arrival Girona: Pick up at 19:30 (please do not book a flight landing after 18:00 as you will not have time to get to the meeting point)
Departure: Pick up at Els Masos at 09:30 and drop off at Girona train station at 10:30.

There are regular buses from the airport to the bus station in Girona which is situated beneath the train station. The journey takes about 15 mins.

A private taxi transfer can be booked for you if you would prefer to arrive or leave outside of the above mentioned times, or would like collecting/dropping at the airport. This is an additional cost (see individual itineraries).

Arrival at Barcelona airport is another option for guests as it does offer more flight options. However, the airport is roughly a 2.5-hour drive away from the farmhouse. If you would prefer to fly into Barcelona instead of Girona then we will need to organise a private transfer for you at a supplementary cost (see individual itineraries). If you are travelling alone, then you may prefer to take a train or local bus from Barcelona to Girona in time for the inclusive transfer from the train station at 19:30 pm. This is a far more economical option and we would be more than happy to help you with train and bus times, so please do just ask!

Testimonials

Phillipa A., Oct. 19, 2022

Very good. (Favourite memory?) cantering along the beach!


Charlotte R., June 14, 2022

It was brilliant. Great guide. Great accommodation, great food and wine! Lovely, kind and calm horses who are fit and full of energy for the demanding ride. The guide was great at recommending horses according to what our preferences were. Favourite memory? Getting to canter through the waves - the stuff dreams are made of!


Diana W., April 1, 2022

An enjoyable ride over mixed terrain with a cheerful and responsive team supporting us. Some long days in the saddle as expected but each day was very different in terrain and experience. A limited number of long canters but when we did get them they were good and long generally. Horses fit, fun, forward going and well mannered and enjoyable to ride. Favourite memory? Long canters when available. Excellent farmhouse accommodation with fantastic quantity and quality of food. Good picnic lunch as well, much more than average! Hosts were very attentive and generous. My husband (bicycling) had a very good experience as well with bike being delivered before we arrived and of very high standard.


Stina A., Oct. 5, 2021

We have had a fantastic week. It was a great holiday. The guide was very sweet, the horses were easy going, very very used to traffic, they were in good shape/condition. The food was good. The hotels were clean and nice.


Amanda S, May 22, 2019

Some of the most stunning landscapes ever seen on a riding holiday - snow capped Pyrenees one side and sea the other. Great accommodation and food and wonderful horses. Paula the guide was exemplary - she made the ride fun, looked after everyone, was helpful and caring and very attentive with regards to safety. She went the extra mile even going in the evening by car to check a couple of stops to make sure there was adequate mounting places, etc.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in Girona with transfer to the farmhouse, a typical Catalan farm called Els Masos d'en Coll located in the middle of Baix Empordà, just a few kilometres from the beach.  You will start your holiday with a delicious dinner, where you will meet the rest of the group and your guides. You can discuss the upcoming ride and reaffirm your horse preferences too.

Day 2 - The Pirate Coast

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Following a delicious breakfast at the farmhouse, you will head out to meet your horses and enjoy your first day of riding. The morning will be a relaxed one allowing you the chance to become accustomed to your mount (and them to you!). You will follow quiet trails along the edge of the Ter river which winds its way through the Baix Emporda region. As you make your way towards the mountain of Montgri, you will pass old fortified farmhouses - fortifications that once defended these coastal inhabitants from marauding pirate attacks! Through the afternoon you will continue the ride passing cider apple orchards, ponds and wetlands until you return to Els Masos for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Medieval Villages

Riding: 5 hours

Today set off on your trail ride passing through the most beautifully preserved medieval villages in Spain. You will cross this fertile region, dotted with vineyards and apple orchards, contemplating the fact that this was all once under a vast ocean. Your route will take you through the fortified villages of Peratallada, Canapost, Castell d'Emporda, Monells and Cruilles. In each, you will take time to visit the walled villages of medieval origin that still display well-preserved moats, towers, castles and palaces for you to discover.

You will continue through the afternoon until you reach your accommodation for the night - a 13th-century farmhouse located in the foothills of the Gavarres national park. The house has a lovely atmosphere and has been restored and decorated by its present owners, Joan and Marta. You will have time to enjoy the pool or relax before a delicious homemade dinner is served in the large dining room.

Day 4 - The Romantic Costa Brava

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

On today's route, you will move on from Medieval times and discover some of the region's Roman influences instead. Passing through ancient forests of cork oaks and chestnut trees, you will head to the Roman outpost of St Cebria de Llado. From the viewpoint of Els Metges, you will enjoy expansive vistas right the way from the Pyrenees to the Costa Brava coastline. Next on your journey will be a brief stop at the first Romanesque megalith dolmen located at the top of Puig D'Arques mountain. Again, you will witness some phenomenal views from this point before rejoining your horses and descending through the Gavarres mountain range to your accommodation for the night. An early stop today will see you enjoying plenty of rest before the long day of riding tomorrow.

Day 5 - From the Mountains to the Sea

Riding: 6 hours

Today will be a long day in the saddle. Along your route, you will see old ice wells which are abundant here and also the Dolmen Tres Peus which is one of the best-preserved megalithic monuments in the area. There are beautiful views over the plains to the blue Mediterranean as you drop downhill through forests and along Roman trails, stopping at monuments such as the Church of Sta. Coloma de Fitor. Eventually, you reach your accommodation - a more modern hotel complex - which is located only a few metres from the beach. After settling the horses you can take a short walk on the fine sand of Pals Beach before dinner.

Day 6 - Costa Brava's heart

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Today you ride a circular route passing old mines and following paths through holm oaks, cork oaks and pines to reach a high point from where you can behold this beautiful landscape. This viewpoint - Queremany - has splendid views of the Pals beach, where some historians claim you could see the departure of Christopher Columbus' ships on his first trip to America. Continue back to your hotel beside the beach to rest for your early start tomorrow.

Day 7 - Between the River, Sea and Rice Fields

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

An early start today as there is the possibility of riding on the beach (this depends on dates as there can be restrictions within the natural park). Follow the entire beach to the mouth of the Ter river where you turn inland and leave the sea behind you to ride past apple orchards and cultivated fields - at certain times of the year there are magnificent rice fields here too. Upon arrival, back at Els Masos d'En Coll, you'll enjoy a rice casserole to celebrate your adventure.

Day 8 - Adios Amigos

Riding: No riding.

You will depart after breakfast.

Accommodation

Nights 1, 2 & 7 spent at Masos d'En Coll in Llabia
3rd & 4th nights at Mas Masaller in Cruilles
5th & 6th nights at Aparthotel Golf Beach in Pals

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate riders and above - must be capable of riding at all paces for long hours and over difficult terrain. Your hosts recommend that you be well balanced, comfortable and secure in an English saddle and able to control a well-schooled horse outside at all paces.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

March 26, 2023 - April 2, 2023

April 30, 2023 - May 7, 2023

May 28, 2023 - June 4, 2023

Sept. 17, 2023 - Sept. 24, 2023

Oct. 8, 2023 - Oct. 15, 2023

Nov. 5, 2023 - Nov. 12, 2023

Pricing

2023
Non-Rider, Sharing, Half-Board
£590 $715 €665
* Non-riding guests should have access to their own transport during the week as transfers between overnight accommodations will not be provided.
2023
Rider, Sharing
£1590 $1925 €1790
Included 7 nights shared twin or double room accommodation, full board meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, water, one soft or alcoholic drink with dinners and return transfers from Girona train station at set times.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, tips, other drinks and extras not mentioned. Airport transfers from Barcelona or outside of set times.

Extras

2023 - Barcelona Airport Transfer €264
Paid locally
Each way, for a car of up to 4 passengers.
2023 - Girona Airport Transfer €93
Paid locally
Each way, for a car of up to 4 passengers. Only payable if you cannot join the set-time group transfers which are included.
2023 - Girona Train Station Transfer €73
Paid locally
Each way, for a car of up to 4 passengers. Only payable if you cannot join the set-time group transfers which are included.
2023 - Single Supplement £215 $260 €245
Paid to Far and Ride
* Payable by anyone staying in a single room.
2023 - Small Group Supplement €300
Paid locally
Supplement to confirm a ride for only two riders.
2023 - Small Group Supplement €200
Paid locally
Supplement to confirm a ride for 3 riders. Not payable when group size reaches 4 riders.
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.