Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from JM of Salford on 11/10/2016
Day 1: TRANSFER MADRID - COVARRUBIAS
Dinner and accommodation: Hotel Nuevo Arlanza or Hotel Doña Sancha (Covarrubias).
Day 2: SAN JUAN DE ORTEGA – BURGOS
We start the tour in San Juan de Ortega - this village is famous for its beautiful roman church were you can see the 'Milagro de la Luz', or 'miracle of the light', twice a year. The light of the sun illuminates the equinox and the scene of Annunciation will appear. We follow the camino along Agés and Atapuerca and slowly climb up to the mountain Matagrande (1078m), from here we can see Burgos on the horizon. The descent will bring us to the villages of Villalval and Cardanuela-Riopico and in Orbaneja-Riopico we will carry on, passing Castañares where we will stop for lunch. After lunch we will head to Burgos, the capital city, along the Riverside of “el rio Arlanzón”.
Dinner: Burgos or Calzadilla
Accommodation: Calzadilla de la Cueza
Day 3: CALZADILLA DE LA CUEZA – EL BURGO RANERO
We leave Calzadilla de la Cueza crossing over farmland, wheat fields and rammed earth of adobe in these last villages in Palencia and we will enter the province of León. Passing Sahagún, known as the capital of the poor roman for its use of mud bricks instead of stone, we will have lunch and after a typical Spanish siesta we continue our camino to el Burgo Ranero.
Dinner and accommodation: Castrillo de los Polvazares
Day 4: VALDEVIEJAS (ASTORGA) - FONCÉDABON
Today we will leave the Castilian flatness behind and start climbing the mountains of León. We are leaving Valdeviejas and at the crossroads we will pass by the charming medieval hermitage of Ecce Homo. From here the camino will incline progressively and we will continue to climb until the end of the journey today. Entering the mountains of León we will stop to have lunch and some rest in Coloma de Somoza. In the afternoon we will head towards Foncébadon, a ruined village on the Irago mountain where we will stay until tomorrow.
Dinner and accommodation: Convento de Foncébadon
Day 5: FONCÉBADON - MOLINASECA
We leave the village of Foncébadon through its principal road and along the camino after 3kms we come across the “Cruz de Ferro”, almost on the highest point of the Irago Mountain. This ancient monument is very simple: an iron cross nailed to a stick, borne on a base of infinity of small stones. We march on in slight ascent until we reach the highest point of the camino, 1.151m. After this we will start to descend down to a beautiful village called Molinaseca.
Dinner and accommodation: Molinaseca.
Day 6: OCEBREIRO – SARRIA
Today we finally reach the land of Santiago; land of fog, Celtic castles and mines which were craved by the romans: infinity of hills, oak and chestnut trees. After some more climbing we start descending to Fonfria (and its church) Viduedo, Filoval, Pasantes and we arrive at Triacastela where we will have lunch. We continue along the beautiful camino through a forest full of chestnut and oak trees, enjoying the genuine Galicia and its variety of tracks and country roads. At the end of our ride we will arrive in Sarria.
Dinner and accommodation: Sarria or Santiago de Compostela
Day 7: ENTRADA A SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
On the last day we will enter the Obradoiro square, the monumental centre of Santiago de Compostela. We will have to enter before 9:00am as we are not allowed to enter with the horses after. After a short ride back to the stables there is time to visit Santiago or attend the service. In the afternoon we will drive back to Covarrubias.
Dinner and accommodation: Hotel Nuevo Arlanza or Hotel Doña Sancha (Covarrubias).
Day 8: TRANSFER TO MADRID
Today we will say our fond farewells and head home, full of memories of the Camino de Santiago.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The owner breeds and competes Pure Spanish horses (PRE). The horses are Spanish, Arab X and some Andalusian X, and there are 35 excellent riding horses to choose from. They range in height from 15hh-16.2hh with some ponies available. They are all in well rounded condition and beautifully polished on a daily basis with traditional flowing manes, mainly kept stabled, shod all round and very well mannered. They are ridden in traditional deep seated Spanish saddles with soft sheepskin covers and traditional big stirrups. The bridles are mainly curb bits and the horses are ridden loose reined and respond easily to weight shifts and subtle signals. This is a very easy and relaxing style of riding similar to Western, some instruction will be given if wanted. The horses are all experienced and sure footed trail horses with temperaments that vary from quiet and reliable through responsive to fiery and showy. With 35 horses to choose from you are sure to find your ideal partner for the week. The riding is mainly at a walk due to varying terrain, but there are plenty of opportunities (4-6) for long and fast canters every day. Jose Manuel, your guide, is not too keen on trotting although this is possible if requested! The riding starts late morning, after 2-3 hours a break is made for lunch followed by a siesta and a similar length afternoon session to arrive late afternoon at your destination. All saddling and grooming is done for you although you are welcome to assist with your own horse.
Riders need to be able to walk, trot and canter. These horses are trained in the Spanish style and are used to being ridden with a loose rein when at walk and a light contact at canter. There are some large and strong horses, so there is a higher than usual weight limit of 105kg. Due to the long rides this ride is not suitable for children under 12 and all children should be competent riders. There is no need to saddle or clean your own horse on this ride unless you wish to. Assistance is available for mounting and dismounting and minimal walking next to your horses is required.
The weight limit for this ride is 17 st/231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The hotels used en-route are all very comfortable with twin or double rooms and en-suite shower, toilet, bidet and basin in the bathrooms. They are always located in spots of particular interest and have a local character all of their own. The meals cover a range of local dishes and are always freshly prepared. Continental breakfasts, extensive lunches and 3 course dinners are the norm.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
July is the hottest month in Galicia with an average temperature of 18°C (64°F) and the coldest is January at 7°C (45°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 8 in August. The wettest month is December with an average of 135mm of rain. Due to its exposed north-westerly location, the climate is still very cool by Spanish standards.
We strongly advise you to consult with your General Practitioner before travelling. The best medical advice regarding suitable immunisations and prophylaxis to enable you to travel safely requires knowledge of your medical history and therefore cannot be covered in this advice sheet. Recommendations are also subject to change and it is important to obtain the most up to date information available.
Similar to USA. Electricity 110V 60HzHz. Electric Plug Details: Typically 2-pronged plug with flat metal pins.
There is electricity in the hotel rooms and camera equipment can be recharged each night. Most towns and villages will sell some batteries and film.
It is recommended to take a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. There is a good range of riding helmets on site if you wish to borrow one. 2 pairs of riding trousers, half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey/fleece, warm jacket (depending on time of year), shorts, long trousers (evenings) long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, 8 pairs of socks, waterproofs, sun block, camera, binoculars, a pair of short riding/walking boots and trainers. On a practical level a bottle of water for refilling and the all essential loo paper (for outdoor emergencies only!) are handy.
8 days / 7 nights and 6 days riding with set dates for this programme. Other dates may be arranged for groups of 6 or more.
2017: 24th June-1st July; 16th September-23rd September
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Non-riders are welcome to accompany the ride in the luggage transfer vehicle. Each night is spent in interesting local villages and hotels and there is plenty to do and see. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en route and non riders can join in here.
Spain is a beautiful and diverse country, the second largest in Europe. The official language is Castilian Spanish but Catalan, Galician and Basque are also spoken. Territory includes two island archipelagos – the Balearics and the Canaries – and two enclaves on the North African coast, bordering Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. The African influence can be found throughout Spain but especially in the south, for example the guitar was invented by the Spanish when they added a sixth string to the Arab lute. Music and art permeates Spanish culture, most obviously displayed in the fire and passion of the Flamenco and the stunning modern architecture found in the cities.
The famous siesta is still enjoyed by the majority of Spaniards, most shops close at lunchtime for two or three hours so everyone can escape the often scorching afternoon sun. Evening meals are served late into the evening with plenty of wine or sangria. Often meals can last two or three hours, especially if your host is serving Tapas, small and varied dishes of meats, bread, vegetables. Paella is also a delight and very popular across the country.
Spain is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for Spain is +34.