Explore the Dalmatian countryside of Croatia on this budget-busting break for experienced riders. Enjoy delicious homemade food and wine, fast, thrilling riding and friendly and knowledgeable hosts on this delightful based stay. Escape the summer crowds and see a side of Croatia rarely explored by travelling to the spectacular, mountain interior of the Dalmatian region.
You'll be riding on ancient old Roman roads and cattle paths through this beautiful, rural area. The terrain is mountainous, but the slopes are gentle and the valleys are wide, making this ideal horse-riding country. Over the six days of riding you'll reach the summits of mountains Svilaja and Mosec and experience Croatian hospitality first-hand, riding through villages where tourism is still rare. We recommend allowing some time to explore the city of Split before departing especially the UNESCO-protected and awe-inspiring Diocletian Palace.
Accommodation is in simple double rooms with shared bathroom and home cooked food. The riding is super: on Roman roads and cattle paths through this beautiful, rural area.
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 SC of Surbiton on 27/08/2020
Transfer from Split airport or bus station to your base for the week. A traditional Croatian ranch set in quintessential Dalmatian countryside. Relax with an aperitif and get to know your friendly host and other guests. Watch the sun set while you experience traditional Dalmatian cuisine, all washed down with homemade wine.
Have breakfast at the ranch before meeting the horses. Once you've been paired with a suitable horse, you'll be taken out on a short ride for 2-3 hours to take a look at the pristine countryside and get to know your horse. This is an area not widely visited by tourists and you'll be able to put your horse through his paces with some gallops through the deserted fields. You'll return to the ranch for lunch followed by a siesta before riding for another 2-3 hours in the afternoon. In the evening you can expect a delicious dinner and a well-deserved rest.
After breakfast you will get ready for the trail and will groom and saddle your horse before riding. Riding up the Zelovo hill takes just over two hours and you'll be rewarded at the summit with a picnic lunch and time to rest. You'll spend the afternoon riding to typical Dalmatian villages where you will have an panoramic view of the fields, forests and nearby mountains. After the days trail you will return to the ranch for a nice dinner and drinks with your hosts.
After breakfast you will continue to ride to the Svilaja Mountain where you will gallop across the field and go through Dalmatian villages of Ogorje, Leskur and Milesina. After passing through the village you will continue on ancient Roman roads to the mountain where you can relax over lunch. After a well-deserved break will continue to ride over the mountains to the village Buzov. Then you will ride through the village Pribude to the ranch where you will enjoy a delicious dinner with the other guests and their hosts.
After breakfast you will ride through the fields at the foot of the mountain Svilaja the old villages Crivac and Čavoglave. You will ride the spectacular ancient Roman roads where you have the opportunity to trot, canter and gallop. In the village of Marinići you will passing old wells with clear cool waters and have lunch. After lunch, you can explore the hill above the village which is famous for its caves and underground waters. Later that afternoon riding continues to the field where you will trot and gallop. You will continue over Crivac fields and then return to the ranch through the glades and forest roads.
In the morning after breakfast you will get ready for another trail. The day begins with a gentle trot, riding through the open fields towards the top of Mount Svilaja. Half way through you stop for a delicious picnic lunch and a beverage (1300m above sea level). You will then continue to the summit of Mount Svilaja (1508m above sea level) where you can enjoy the view of the Perucko, the lake Cetina river, Adriatic sea and nearby islands! The panoramic view from the top of the mountain is truly breathtaking. After the break you will continue your descent of the mountain until reaching the ranch.
After breakfast you will saddle up for the final days riding adventure; climbing Mount Moseć on horseback. You will ride through lush fields and pastures at the foot of mountains and cross freshwater streams, before stopping for a picnic lunch. After lunch you will ride through the mountain canyon. Later this afternoon you will return to the ranch for a well-deserved rest and have a delicious final dinner with your fellow riders and hosts.
Departure is scheduled after breakfast or if you want you can visit Split.
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 horses at the ranch are specially trained for the trails and are well used to the terrain. There are 10 horses available, aged between 6-12 years. With a maximum of six riders at any time, there are always spare horses available if you want to swap. The sizes of the horses range from 14.1hh to 16.3hh and English tack is used. Breeds are Lipizzaner, English Thoroughbred and Croatian warm-blood. They are extremely calm, willing and reliable but fit and forward-going.
The riding on this holiday is fast-paced and thrilling. Expect lots of cantering through flower-filled fields and quite a few gallops on the hills, mountain slopes and wide valleys that make up this remote region.
This riding programme is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. You must be comfortable at all paces including gallop and with experience of riding in open countryside. A reasonable level of fitness is required to cope with up to six hours a day in the saddle. You will be helping with feeding, grooming and tacking up your horse but assistance is always available if required.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
You'll be staying with the owner and his family at their ranch in basic but comfortable double or twin rooms. There are 5 rooms in total, 3 rooms have a private bathroom and 2 rooms share a bathroom.
The meals at this destination are really special, all are homemade by your hosts family and you can expect to sample traditional Dalmatian cuisine with much of the produce such as fruits and vegetables homegrown at the ranch. You are welcome to join your hosts mother in the kitchen for an impromptu cooking demonstration to see how some Dalmatian specialties are prepared.
Breakfast at the ranch is excellent and filling, it includes fresh bread, cheese, jam, eggs and seasonal fruit (often home-grown) Lunch is usually eaten as a picnic at a picturesque spot on the trail and can include sandwiches, quiches, cold meats, fruit and bread. In case of poor weather, you will then return ot the ranch for lunch which could be a Dalmatian dish (based on fish or meat, greens, olive oil, and seasonings). Dinner is eaten back at the ranch and is another authentic home-cooked meal freshly prepared by the family. A drink is included with each meal (juice, wine, beer, tea, coffee, milk or water).
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request. General information: British citizens and EU passport holders do not need a visa to visit Croatia but British citizens must be in possession of a valid passport. The maximum length of stay is 90 days. The address for the British Embassy in Croatia is: Ivana Lučića 4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia. The phone number is +385 (1) 6009 100.
Croatia has a typically Mediterranean climate consisting of hot, dry, sunny weather during summer, and relatively mild – though sometimes wet – weather in winter. Average temperatures during summer should lie in the mid-to-high 20s °C/77-86°F, although it is more likely that you’ll have temperatures well into the 30s °C/high 80s or low 90s °F. Winters are obviously cooler, although temperatures never really get below about 5°C/41°F. Anything colder than this is considered freak weather, though technically not impossible – in the last ten or so years, there have been occasions of snow in parts of Dalmatia, such as Zadar and Split. In some winters, even Dubrovnik (one of the most southern points of Croatia) has seen a light dusting of snow. It is not usual for summer weather to stretch out into autumn with temperatures in the high teens or even low 20s (Celsius) – meaning some hardy souls still hit the beach and go swimming. In general, however, during autumn and winter on the coast, you will still experience some sunny days, although it can sometimes get quite rainy.
The power outlets in Croatia are 220V/50Hz. A 2 pronged European plug is required. Mobile phone reception and internet access are available at the farm. Sockets are available for charging phones and cameras.
There is electricity and Wifi available at the ranch.
We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your preferences.
• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Fleece - for cooler weather
• Warm layers
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a good idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Eye protection - it might be very helpful as the ground is stony in many areas
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates with other dates available on request.
2020: 1, 15, 29; Sept 12, 26; Oct 10, 24.
2021: 17 Apr; 1, 15, 29 May; 12, 26 Jun; 10, 24 Jul; 7, 21 Aug; 4, 18 Sept; 2, 16 Oct.
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- Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West - Written on the brink of World War II, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon probes the troubled history of the Balkans. The landscape and the people of Yugoslavia are brilliantly observed as West untangles the tensions that rule the country’s history as well as its daily life.
- The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna. A fictional tale of a handyman in a small Croatian town who befriends a neighboring family of foreigners, and by doing so exposes the town’s dark, war-ridden past.
- Cafe Europe by Slavenka Drakulić - A collection of 25 short essays. All have a recurrent theme which is how Eastern European countries adopted Western values after the fall of communism.
We recommend adding a day or two onto your trip to explore the town of Split, regarded as the capital of the Dalmatia region. The town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, is known for its beaches and the fortresslike complex at its centre, Diocletian's Palace, erected by the Roman emperor in the 4th century, the palace is now UNESCO-protected and consists of 200 buildings which now host bars, cafes and shops.
Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southern Europe, and the Mediterranean. The capital is Zagreb, and perhaps unsurprisingly this is also Croatia's largest city. The country is divided into 20 counties, plus the city of Zagreb. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and its climate is a combination of continental and Mediterranean weather systems. Croatia's Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. It has a population 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism. Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union 1 July 2013.