Swimming with your horse
mini trail to the sea
Having a break on the morning ride
Splashing in the water
map of mini trail to beach 2015
First day before departure on the ride
Stables back at base
Horses resting at lunchtime

Whilst enjoying the comfort the recently converted Can Grau base, you will ride in a different direction each day including a trail to the beach. Andalusian horses will adeptly guide you on this discovery trail deep into the heart of Catalonia where the riding is as varied as the ever changing landscapes of the region. There are plenty of opportunities to canter along the plains and meadows, over river valleys and through the winding forest trails.

Ride to medieval cobbled and walled villages and enjoy the famous Catalan cuisine and wines from the Empurdan region which are served throughout the ride. The diverse range of dishes, tapas and picnics make this a gastronomic way to discover the local area with opportunities to take days off or ride every day. A more relaxed experience than the trails with no pressure to ride each day or pack your bag each night.

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 JP of Kingston upon Thames on 20/04/2022

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
We discovered that, in Europe, there is no linguistic difference between canter and gallop. The trip was described as being appropriate for riders comfortable in three gaits, but in fact experience of four gaits is required. Our group was also very experienced (either had their own horses or rode multiple times per week) and so I think the trip might be better described as high level intermediate.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
7
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
As above, lots of speed and distance. On a day when we chose not to ride, the rest of the group hit 40km.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
NO
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for you comments and we are glad you enjoyed your ride.

6 days / 5 nights / 4 riding days itinerary

DAY 1: WELCOME TO MASIA CAN GRAU

In the evening upon, you arrive at the equestrian farm of Can Grau. The country cottage, name is « Masia » in Catalan language, is located in the Empordá region in the middle of nature, hidden from busy people and curious. It is a more than two hundred years antic Catalan farmhouse converted into a rural guest house for tourism and horseback activities. After a homemade cooked dinner we will explain the program of the week and we will talk about the characteristics of our crossed horses of Spanish and Arabic, the best of each breed. You also will have the opportunity of an individualized one-to-one conversation designed to find the ideal horse for each rider.

DAY 2: CERVIÀ DE TER

After a good breakfast, we prepare our horses with the help and recommendations of the guide. Today the route will take us to some beautiful poplars and beech forests, next to the Ter river. It is quite followed by fields and forests, crossing the village of Medinyà below its castle where you can see views of the region of Girona to the Gavarres mountains. After a delicious picnic next to the river, we have a pleasant return to Can Grau alternating small paths with immense meadows and dense and varied forests. During the journey we cross the village of Cervià de Ter where we can go around the Castle. Upon arrival, we can enjoy some relaxing moments in the gardens of Can Grau, or in the company of the horses that graze in the meadows of the farm. For dinner, Anne has prepared an excellent homemade meal in the Catalan style.

DAY 3: SANT MARTÍ D’EMPURIES

After a copious breakfast, we prepare our horses direction to the beach, which we have been looking forward to since the first day. The beach ride will be early tomorrow, and we have a long day in the saddle today. The horses will spend night closer by the seafront and we will return by car to can Grau this afternoon. We descend gently along paths surrounded by meadows, passing through Saus, Ventalló and Palau Borrell, to have our daily picnic next to the private Castle of la Garriga, in Sant Feliu de la Garriga. After lunch, we pass through Viladamat and Albons, alternating trot and some canter. It seems that our horses are smelling the sea breeze. We leave behind Mas Vilanera and its old mill, very close to the town of L'Escala, to reach Sant Martí d’Empúries. This beautiful village is located at the end of the beach where we can apreciate the Old Greek dock, from the 6th century BC, and where, a few meters away, we will leave our horses in paddocks enabled for this purpose.

DAY 4: THE BEACH

We get up early for breakfast, and then move to where we left the horses yesterday afternoon. We trot our horses along a stream for a few minutes until we reach the sea, at the beginning of the bay of Roses. We will continue galloping up the beach, stopping from time to time to enter the sea, until we almost wet our feet. After a long eight kilometres of golden sand and sparkling sea, we return inland, through fields of fruit and rice fields, towards Vilaür. We continue riding, now, between forests and silent streams and stop for picnic next to the lake of Valveralla, which allows us to relax horses and riders. We return to the mountain ridge to reach Can Sort, where we will leave the horses tonight to return by car to Can Grau.

DAY 5: VILAÜR – GALLINERS – CAN GRAU

After breakfast, we prepare our horses and leave Can Sort along the paths of the dense Mediterranean forest, following the mountainous ridge, with spectacular views over the harmonious chain of fields and meadows. We arrive at the river Fluvià, next to the town of Báscara and its famous racecourse, where we will test ourselves at a gallop. Then, we continue between olive groves and cereal fields, we pass farmhouses and churches, and finally another gallop on wide roads through the oak and cork oak forest, which takes us to Galliners, where we will have our picnic. We finally arrive at Can Grau passing through the small town of Vilamarí. Once our horses showered and in the meadow, we will enjoy an amazing moment together with a glass of cava to celebrate our pleasant experience in these lands in the company of horses.

DAY 6: ADIÓS AMIGOS

Breakfast and departure… Thanks for your visit! We hope to see you again soon!

Please note that, subject to availability, the hotels named here may be changed for another hotel of similar standard

We think our hosts in Catalonia are some of the best in the business! They offer a range of rides and in the unusual event of a ride not confirming ie. there are 3 or less riders, an alternative rail or based ride will be offered and the difference in price refunded so you can book your flights with confidence.

On this horse riding holiday, you will need to dismount and walk next to your horse over short distances so good walking boots are required.

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

The horses used for rides are mixed breed (some have Spanish blood and are very strong, others have some Arabian blood resulting in fast horses with good long distance endurance). They have all been carefully chosen and most are between 14.2hh (150cm) and 16hh (165cm) and are of a medium build. They are sure-footed, fit, forward going, responsive to ride and well adapted to the requirements of the oftentimes rough terrain.



The tack is English and trekking style and most horses are ridden in snaffles. English saddles and trekking saddles are utilised. Saddle bags are provided to carry items required during the day and for picnic lunches. You will be paired with a suitable horse based on your experience and preferences, but if for any reason after the first day you feel that you are not well matched then just let your guide know and you will be given another horse.


Rider requirements

To participate in this trip you must be a reasonably competent rider (English style). You should be well balanced, comfortable and secure in the saddle and able to control a well-schooled horse outside at all paces. Riders are expected to be able to cope with a variety of different going and different types of terrain. All the rides are aimed at reasonably capable riders, who are also fairly fit and riding regularly.

Participants are expected to ride regularly in the months before they go to ensure they can cope with the hours in the saddle. There are also places on the rides where you will need to dismount and lead your horse - if the ground gets rough or steep, and for a short time to warm the horses up and cool them down each day. Riders are expected to groom and tack up their own horse each day in preparation for rides.

Your guide will go over the week's programme when you first arrive (usually at dinner on the first night), explaining the special characteristics of the Andalusian trail horse and of the tack used, then discussing each rider's ability, experience and their preference as to the kind of horse they would like to ride. The minimum age for this ride is 14 years.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Masaia la Palma hotel or Can Grau guesthouse. Can Grau is a large farmhouse and the 'logistical' home to the Catalonia Trails team and their horses. It is situated on the slopes of a hill overlooking the extensive plains of the Ampurdán and the Bahia de Rosas. The snowy peaks of the Pyrenees can also been seen in the distance. The atmosphere at the recently rennovated Can Grau is tranquil and relaxing, enjoy the extensive gardens, the friendly staff and of course the traditional Catalan cuisine! Bedrooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms and some have terraces or open out directly onto the garden.

The horses are turned-out in the large green meadows surrounding the farmhouse and the stables are on your doorstep.



The meals are plentiful and contain many typically Catalan dishes as well as regular European dishes. Breakfast is substantial, lunches are either saddle-bag picnics (extensive with quiche/salted cakes/chorizo/Catalan cured meat/fruit/cheese/ham/wine/biscuits/chocolate) or sit-down lunches at a table prepared by the back-up team (hot food/mixed salads/cheese/biscuits/fruit). Dinners are 3-4 course and accompanied by good local wines.



A bottle of local cava is never far away and the atmosphere is very welcoming. The team always tries to showcase their regional and Catalan products resulting in beautifully prepared meals for all to enjoy!



Please note that, subject to availability, the hotels named here may be changed for another hotel of similar standard


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

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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:

Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk

The British Consulate in Madrid is at the Calle de Fernando el Santo 16, 28010 Madrid. Tel: +34 91 7008200. Email: commerce@ukinspain.com www.ukinspain.com.

The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.

Climate Summary

Due to the interaction of Mediterranean and mountain climate in this region, you will find ideal conditions for horse back riding the whole year round. In spring the climate is mild, summer is not too hot, the autumn pleasantly warm and winter with its clear air, not too cold. Especially recommended are March and April as well as November!

Climate Chart

Health

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!

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org

Electricity

Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.

230V 50HZ with a two pronged round pin plug

Film and Camera Equipment

Good quality film is widely available for purchase as well as batteries (normal, alkaline and lithium). There is electricity available each night to recharge cameras and batteries. There is good mobile reception in some part of most days. At the base the mobile reception is variable but there is free wifi.

Packing List

We recommend wearing jodhpurs, as these protect your legs from soreness, and you will find a light-weight, cotton pair, more comfortable during the summer months. You may need two pairs if you are on one of the longer rides.

Your riding boots should have a sole with tread and be comfortable for walking, as you are certain to lead your horse on some occasions. Jodhpur boots and half-chaps are a more flexible combination for comfort and leg protection than long riding boots.

A long-sleeved shirt is recommended for protection against the sun and against scratches when riding through undergrowth.

Lightweight riding gloves are useful, as is a "bum bag" to contain your camera and any other items you may need during your ride.

We strongly recommend taking a water-bottle, especially on trail rides, which can be refilled en-route; these can be carried in the saddle-bags provided.

A light cotton scarf can help to avoid breathing in too much dust in dry areas.

Bring sunglasses, also to protect your eyes from dust.

Suncream and lip balm are also recommended.

It is essential that you bring good wet weather gear. Although it rains very little, when it does it is normally a heavy downpour, consequently a jacket or cape and waterproof trousers are a good idea.

Please bring a photocopy of your travel insurance certificate with you.

Last but not least... do not forget your bathing suit!

Programmes

This ride is available on set dates with 6d/5n/4 days riding and can be confirmed online. Shorter stays are available from 5 days upwards. Please let us know if you wish to book another date, we can confirm new dates on request for 4 or more riders between February and November.

Departure Dates

2022: 5, 12, 26 (FULL) Sept; 3, 17, 31 (FULL) Oct; 7, 21 Nov.
2023: 6, 20, 27 Feb; 27 Mar; 3, 24 Apr; 15 May; 12, 19 Jun; 17, 24, 31 Jul; 7, 21, 28 Aug; 11, 25 Sept; 23 Oct; 13, 20 Nov.
Special rate for February, November, July and August departures, please see Dates & Pricing

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp819
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement139
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4double pp875
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4single supplement139
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4non rider half board609
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4double pp965
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4single supplement139
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4non rider half board675
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp915
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement145
20236d/5n4double pp965
20236d/5n4single supplement145
20236d/5n4non rider half board679
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4double pp1,059
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4single supplement145
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4non rider half board745
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp899
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement155
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4double pp955
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4single supplement155
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4non rider half board669
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4double pp1,055
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4single supplement155
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4non rider half board739
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp1,005
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement159
20236d/5n4double pp1,059
20236d/5n4single supplement159
20236d/5n4non rider half board745
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4double pp1,159
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4single supplement159
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4non rider half board815
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp925
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement159
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4double pp979
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4single supplement159
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4non rider half board689
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4double pp1,085
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4single supplement159
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4non rider half board759
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp1,029
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement159
20236d/5n4double pp1,085
20236d/5n4single supplement159
20236d/5n4non rider half board765
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4double pp1,189
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4single supplement159
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4non rider half board835
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp10,049
2022 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement1,725
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4double pp10,665
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4single supplement1,725
2022 6d/5n6d/5n4non rider half board7,479
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4double pp11,779
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4single supplement1,725
2022 6d/5n August6d/5n4non rider half board8,259
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4double pp11,195
2023 February/March/November Special Offer6d/5n4single supplement1,749
20236d/5n4double pp11,809
20236d/5n4single supplement1,749
20236d/5n4non rider half board8,289
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4double pp12,929
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4single supplement1,749
2023 31 July - 26 August6d/5n4non rider half board9,069
Recommended Reading

‘The New Spaniards’ –John Hooper, ‘Driving over Lemons’- Chris Stewart, ‘The Story of Spain’- Mark Williams, ‘South of Granada’ – Gerald Brenan, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ – Ernest Hemmingway, ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’- Laurie Lee and ‘Don Quijote de la Mancha’ – Miguel de Cervantes. For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com. Another fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Wildlife

The flora and fauna in this region is plentiful and varied. On the plains you'll come across plenty of livestock such as herds of sheep and cattle as well as wild boar, deer and many species of birds. As you climb higher into the mountains you may be lucky to see mountain goats and eagles soaring. The flora is really special. Meadows of sweet smelling and colourful wild flowers such as, lavender, thyme and sunflowers. Walnut groves, beech and oak forests make for cool riding and provide perfect shade for a relaxing picnic.

Other Information

Non-riders can easily join this holiday while their travelling companions ride. At Can Sort non-riders can relax by the pool or in the gardens or perhaps have a horse riding lesson? The area surrounding Can Sort has a wealth of opportunities, from visiting the Dali Museum in Figueres to visiting the beaches near l'Escala or taking in the sights and sounds of Gerona.
Car-hire is recommended although taxi's can be easily booked and are not very expensive. It is usually possible to find the riders for a picnic lunch too. Please note that lunches are not included in the non-rider price.

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):
Barcelona (BCN) or Girona (GRO) Airports
Transfer:
2022/23: payable locally - €90 (€100 in 2023) return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 11:30 drop-off, 2hrs), €60 return from Girona (19:30 pick-up, 10:00 drop-off, 45min) per person.
Flight Guide:
London - Girona or Barcelona from £50 return. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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