This horse riding holiday is a great introduction to the delights of riding abroad and will leave you with fantastic memories; galloping along unspoilt beaches, through forested national park, and quaint white-washed villages. Based on the Costa de la Luz this destination is very convenient for European travellers as Malaga is such a popular hub. This riding holiday offers the perfect balance between exhilarating riding, relaxation and socialising. The horses are fit, responsive and ready to go. The accommodation is a comfortable and  friendly 3* star hotel only 50 metres from the beach in Barbate, so it is an ideal base for sunbathing, swimming and relaxing after horse riding. Meals are provided in a variety of typical Spanish restaurants. The town is lovely and the friendly local people will soon make you feel very welcome. As well as providing a great horse riding holiday Barbate also has lovely walks available and shopping in the town centre. The town also has a lovely old quarter that takes you back to how Spain used to be.

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 KN of Maidstone on 02/06/2017

Ride Summary
Brilliant holiday with the best of both worlds . Riding first then lunch with time left in the day to spend back in Barbate either on the lovely sandy beach ,swimming or wandering around the town, before going out for dinner in the evening.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
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Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments Forward going well schooled horses.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Other ride staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
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What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced? 5
Please explain why you scored it as you did Worked through all paces on suitable stretches of ride.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Staff always helpful ,knowledgeable and friendly.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments
Unicorn comments Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Sample 7 night itinerary:

Day 1
Your holiday starts at Malaga airport where guests are collected at 14:30 with transfer to Barbate. Over dinner the weeks holiday is discussed.

Day 2
Guests are collected from the hotel at 09:30 each day. Today's ride leads through the beautiful pine forest to the 17th century Mecca tower overlooking cape Trafalgar. This introductory ride allows you to get to know your horse, with the faster paces being introduced as your confidence grows.

Day 3
Your first beach ride. The route leads through the pine forest to the beach ‘Hierbabuena’. Plenty of opportunities to canter, with a memorable beach gallop. 

Day 4
Today's route takes us to the cliffs overlooking Barbate. The ride has superb views of Barbate, the surrounding mountains and on a clear day North Africa. This ride includes lots of long gentle canters.

Day 5
A day free from riding. An optional excursion to Jerez to visit the Royal Spanish riding school can be arranged according to availability (booked on site, additional fees apply).

Day 6 
Today we head to the scene of the famous sea battle where Lord Nelson lost his life at Cape Trafalgar. We follow the coast to El Palmar spending most of the ride on the beach enjoying canters and gallops.

Day 7
On the final day the ride follows roller coasters of sand and allows plenty of opportunity to canter and gallop. The route joins the cliffs leading to Caños de Meca.

Day 8
Transfer to Malaga airport for your return flight.

Please note that the ‘free day’ may be changed to Day 4 to accommodate riders joining the short break. The excursion to Jerez only operates on Thursdays and is not included in the ride price.

Sample 4 night itinerary:

Day 1
Collection from Malaga airport and transfer to Barbate. Dinner in the evening when the weekend break is discussed. 

Day 2 
Forest ride, with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today's ride leads through the beautiful pine forest to the 17th century Mecca tower overlooking cape Trafalgar. This introductory ride allows you to get to know your horse, with the faster paces being introduced as your confidence grows.

Day 3
Beach ride, with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today we head to the scene of the famous sea battle where Lord Nelson lost his life at Cape Trafalgar. We follow the coast to El Palmar spending most of the ride on the beach enjoying canters and gallops.

Day 4
Forest ride, with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today's route takes us to the cliffs overlooking Barbate. The ride has superb views of Barbate, the surrounding mountains and on a clear day North Africa. The ride follows roller coasters of sand and allows plenty of opportunity to canter and gallop

Day 5
Transfer to Malaga airport for your return flight.

Please note: It may be possible to include another ride on the beach if everyone wants to and depending on the weather and tides.

Riding is in the morning, then lunch served in the village where the horses are kept. You are returned to Barbate about 3.30pm where you are free until 8pm when you are collected for dinner.


Summer Beach Horse Riding
Unlike most other horse riding holidays on the Iberian Peninsular there is riding on the beach for twelve months of the year at this location. Some of the beaches in the area are hardly used at any time of the year for sunbathing and riders have them to themselves. The law in Spain and Portugal prohibits taking horses on the beach at any time of the year. However in practice this law is only enforced when the beaches are heavily used. On the main Spanish Costa's like the Costa del Sol this law is enforced stringently. On the Costa de la Luz the law is only enforced on busy beaches from the 1st June to 30th September. This location is lucky as they have beaches where this law is currently not enforced.

Optional Extra
A trip to Jerez de la Frontera to see the Royal Spanish riding school can be arranged, subject to availability. After the display there is time to visit the tack shop nearby, go to the Museo del Enganche or even try some sherry tasting. Lunch is taken at a typical Spanish bar in Jerez. The trip can be booked and paid for on site.


Non Riders
Non riders are welcome, and the area is a good base for non riding vacations. There are many other sports available, such as scuba diving, wind surfing and golf. The local public transport is good and car hire is also available locally. Information can be provided on local places of interest and there is a tourist information office in the town. Non-riders are booked on a half board basis.


Solo Travellers 
There is no single room supplement during low and mid season. Solo travellers will be allocated a twin room without a balcony or sea view to themselves and will not have to share. During high season there is a compulsory supplement for solo travellers.


Flight Information

Flights to Malaga Airport.

Flights are available from most UK airports. Transfers from Malaga airport are included for our horse riding holidays with collection no later than 14:30 on arrival Sunday and return to Malaga arriving no earlier than 10:30 on departure Sunday.

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.

Horses & Riding

We currently have 12 horses, all locally bred Andalusian and Arab crosses, ranging from 14.3hh to 16.3hh in size. Our horses are a very important part of our family and are well mannered, forward going and responsive, with a kind calm temperament. We buy all our horses locally and they stay with us for life. They are sure footed, strong and used to riding in the warm Spanish climate. The horses are very responsive to weight and seat aids and able to neck rein. Our trails provide superb off road horse riding through the Barbate nature reserve. With our farm bordering the nature reserve we have direct access to fantastic riding through unspoilt forests and unforgettable days on the beach. With long wide firebreaks, and twisty forest tracks the park couldn't have been designed better by a horse rider. Two of our routes on our horse riding holidays take in the beach where you will enjoy a riding experience never to be forgotten. At times the pace of the beach is fast and exhilarating, at times it is mesmerising and relaxing.

Rider requirements

This ride is for strong intermediate and experienced riders: Each day there are plenty of opportunities for long collected canters along sandy tracks, and exhilarating gallops along firebreaks. In-between canters the horses relax and walk at a leisurely pace, enabling us to take in the peaceful tranquillity of the forest. With the floor of the forest being sand the going is good for the horses whatever the weather.
The horses are prepared by grooms at the stables to ensure any specialist tack is properly fitted. Riders are expected to untack the horses at the end of each ride.
Maximum weight 13 st/187 lb/85 kg

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 13 st/187 lb/85 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Your accommodation for the week is an important part of a horse riding vacation. We use the luxurious and well appointed 3 star hotel Adiafa in the seaside town of Barbate. The hotel is situated only 50 meters from the beach and is ideal for relaxing after horse riding. Being small and family run the hotel is very friendly and welcoming. All the rooms are spacious twin bedrooms with an on-suite bathroom with bath and shower, with some having a balcony and full sea view. Rooms are allocated that are without a balcony and single bookings will have their own bedroom. There is a supplement that can be paid to upgrade rooms to one with a balcony and full sea view. Air-conditioning, wi-fi internet connection and international digital TV is also provided in the bedrooms The horse riding vacations would not be complete without good food and drink. A breakfast buffet is provided in the hotel's cafeteria. Relaxed Lunches are eaten after the ride in traditional 'tapas' bars. Dinners are taken at a variety of quality restaurants within Barbate. All meals are typical 'Andaluz' with superb meat and fish dishes being served. Vegetarians can be catered for.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Climate Summary

Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit and the days are sunny and warm (25 Celsius). In the summer it can be very hot with temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius on a regular basis.

Climate Chart

Health (ride specific)

No special health precautions are required for visits to Spain, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!

Film and Camera Equipment

Packing List

Light summer clothing is needed on most departure dates. You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string are recommended. 2 pairs of riding trousers / jodhpurs (cycling shorts if you like the extra padding! for men), half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, plenty of socks, raincoat (seasonal), sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, bum bag, shorts, lightweight riding boots or trainers.

There are only a few hats to borrow, so please bring your own to ensure a good fit.

Programmes

Sunday to Sunday throughout the year (short breaks run Wednesday to Sunday)

Departure Dates

2017 7n: Sunday arrivals from 5 February to 19 November (Low Season = 5 Feb to 23 Apr and 29 Oct to 19 Nov; Mid Season = 30 Apr to 18 Jun and 10 Sept to 22 Oct ; High season = 25 Jun to 10 Sept)
2017 4n: Wednesday arrivals from 1 February to 22 November (Low Season = 1 Feb to 26 Apr and 1 Nov to 22 Nov; Mid Season = 3 May to 21 Jun and 13 Sept to 25 Oct; High Season = 28 Jun to 6 Sept).

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Single supplement only payable during high season.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp595
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider315
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room60
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp695
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider349
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room50
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms45
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5double pp1,049
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5non rider525
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room75
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5single supplement (for guests booking together staying in separate rooms)75
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5double pp1,149
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5non rider575
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room75
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms125
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3double pp745
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3non rider375
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room50
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3single supplement (guests booking together staying in separate rooms)80
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5double pp1,149
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5non rider575
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room75
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5single supplement for solo traveller195
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3double pp745
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3non rider375
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room50
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3single supplement for solo traveller129
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp675
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider359
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room68
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp789
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider399
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room57
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms51
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5double pp1,189
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5non rider595
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room85
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5single supplement (for guests booking together staying in separate rooms)85
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5double pp1,305
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5non rider655
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room85
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms145
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3double pp845
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3non rider425
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room57
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3single supplement (guests booking together staying in separate rooms)91
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5double pp1,305
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5non rider655
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room85
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5single supplement for solo traveller219
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3double pp845
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3non rider425
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room57
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3single supplement for solo traveller149
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp769
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider409
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room78
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp899
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider455
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room65
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms59
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5double pp1,359
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5non rider679
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room97
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5single supplement (for guests booking together staying in separate rooms)97
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5double pp1,489
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5non rider745
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room97
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms165
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3double pp965
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3non rider485
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room65
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3single supplement (guests booking together staying in separate rooms)105
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5double pp1,489
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5non rider745
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room97
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5single supplement for solo traveller255
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3double pp965
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3non rider485
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room65
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3single supplement for solo traveller169
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp6,439
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider3,409
2016 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room649
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3double pp7,525
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3non rider3,789
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room545
2017 5d/4n Low Season5d/4n3for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms489
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5double pp11,509
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5non rider5,755
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room825
2017 8d/7n Low Season8d/7n5single supplement (for guests booking together staying in separate rooms)825
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5double pp12,605
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5non rider6,305
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room825
2017 8d/7n Mid Season8d/7n5for two guests booking together staying in separate rooms1,369
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3double pp8,165
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3non rider4,109
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room549
2017 5d/4n Mid Season5d/4n3single supplement (guests booking together staying in separate rooms)879
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5double pp12,605
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5non rider6,305
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room825
2017 8d/7n High Season8d/7n5single supplement for solo traveller2,139
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3double pp8,165
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3non rider4,109
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3Room upgrade (room with balcony) per room549
2017 5d/4n High Season5d/4n3single supplement for solo traveller1,425
Wildlife

The natural park is characterised by beautiful woods of umbrella pines with rosemary, blackthorn and palms, and rocky cliffs and outcrops. This is a protected area due to the ecosystems of the rocks and the rich offshore marine life. It is considered one of the most diverse and best-preserved parts of the Andalucian coast. The spectacular cliffs are full of nooks, which provide a safe home for birds, including herring gulls, egrets, kestrels and one pair of peregrine falcons who have decided to nest here.

Other Activities

A visit to Jerez de la Fronterra to see the famous stallions of the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art can be arranged when the rest day is on a Thursday (75 Euros).
Other local activities:
Scuba diving
Diving school based in Barbate harbour.
Full week open water PADI course for beginners, on completion a PADI diving licence will be issued.
Immersions for experienced divers holding a PADI licence can be arranged.
Cycling
Single or multiple day mountain bike or road bike hire can be arranged from the hotel.
Photography
Single or multiple day photography courses can be organised.
Ideal for guests with a bridge or DSLR camera wishing to learn more about getting the best from the camera.
Walking
The area is ideal for hiking, advice can be given about routes, etc.
Beach
Beautiful fine golden sand beaches for sunbathing.
Safe swimming off Barbate beach

Other Information

There is WiFi available at the hotel

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Malaga airport
Transfer:
2017: Included two-way from Malaga airport (14:30), return from Barbate (07:30) approx. 2.5 hours
Flight Guide:
London to Malaga with Easyjet from London Gatwick and Monarch from Luton. From £60.00

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