Ramon setting the pace
Planning meeting on the first day
Stopping for a drink
Cantering on again - endurance pace
At a fast clip past a lake
On the beach, ready to go?
Beautiful views in Catalonia
Riding along the tree avenue
Last day celebration

This is the perfect trail for fit and experienced riders and certainly not for the fainthearted! 5-7 hours of riding per day covering a total of 140km over 4 days of riding. Enjoy faster riding with long canters along the paths, plains and beaches of the Alt Empordà region, combined with nights in Besalú and Sant Pere Pescador sampling the nightlife after a day in the saddle.

This ride is the perfect chance to escape everyday life and be immersed in true Catalan culture aboard fit and forward-going Andalusian and cross horses, well schooled and ridden English style.

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 TN of Stockholm on 17/06/2022

Ride Summary
Amazing! Fabulous horses, beautiful trail, incredible organisation,, top lodging and food and the hosts were so warm, welcoming and knowledgable.!
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
The actual guide on this tour unfortunately was the only factor that actually brought this ride/trail down. Not very interested in her job or clients and with a difficult accent in both English and Spanish. She didn’t pay attention to a couple of details or asking her clients how they were doing. Also spending most of her time on the phone when riding - and didn’t show a lot of patience nor friendliness. Sadly. I would have liked someone who was a bit more passionate about her job and about sharing that with her clients.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Beautiful horses in top shape. Very responsive and fun to ride.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
To me the way this trail is described by n the website seems rather accurate to what it is.
It’s an intensive ride with longer hours of riding and more cantering. This is good to know ahead since people are looking for different themes on their rides :-)
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
There wasn’t a single thing that I was surprised to find out or lacking the information about. The host and hostess, Ramon and Anne are the best. Very warm, welcoming and friendly. Also very knowledgable and quick to respond and act if something needed changing or fixing.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Change the guide!
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
8
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I’m not a professional rider- but to me- I can imagine an even faster ride with more and maybe canters longer than han the ones we did (that were already long) as well as some jumping would probably be a 10. So leaving a bit of space for those rides that includes an even faster tempo and jumping I do think this ride is advanced because of its longer canters, longer hours every day and the fact that you have to be in good shape to enjoy it.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Incredible diverse and lots of choices worldwide. Fast and responsive. All budgets
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Everything was great!! (Except the guide)
Fabulous- I’m already planning the next!
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

DAY 1
Arrival. Discuss the week's program and the special characteristics. Riders will be able to discuss their riding skill level and preferences so as to enable each rider has the perfect mount. After the briefing the group settles down to enjoy the first night dinner with their riding companions.

DAY 2
Today's route crosses a landscape of cultivated fields that cut into the clearings of the Poplar forest on the bank of the river Ter, Pass small settlements while enjoying cantering through the mosaic fields before enjoying lunch next to the river, close to the quaint village of Verges. After lunch, the route follows the path to Torroella de Montgri at a gentle walk, following the river until it forms a lagoon as it meets the sea at Fonollera beach.

DAY 3
Today's route retraces yesterday's path while skirting the river Ter to Torruella, where we cross it to continue to the Montgri Massif and its imposing cattle that dominates the landscape. Enjoy a picnic in the upper Pine forest before descending to L'Escala, passing the Hotel Masia, a converted mill where the group will spend the night. Ride up to Sant Marti d'Empuries from where the group will be able to see the old Greek pier.

DAY 4
After breakfast, trot the horses down the golden beach following the long curve of the Bay of Roses. Stretch the horses legs with an invigorating canters and gallops before heading inland along the Fluvia river and past a bird sanctuary, home to many migratory species, and enjoy coffee in Sant Pere Pescador. The terrain in the region is flat with numerous rice paddies and fruit orchards. The group stop at Valveralla Lake and wade the horses to remove the sea-salt from their legs before relaxing with a lunchtime picnic. The afternoon is spent riding a series of paths and forest tracks while passing the small towns and villages with their beautiful old buildings. Arrive at Can Sort, the equestrian farm (and our past logistic base) where we have our own paddocks.

DAY 5
From Can Sort, the group follow a different set of paths on the way to the Bascara racetrack for a final gallop before heading to the beautiful hermitage of Sant Baldiri for a picnic. Ride the mountainous tracks in the afternoon, leading through les Serres and it's vantage point overlooking the Sant Mar hermitage on the route back to Can Grau.

DAY 6
After a hearty breakfast, say farewell to new friends and head back to the departure point.

This itinerary can be modified in case of incidents due to climate change (high temperatures, bird migration, fire, drought etc.) Unfortunately it is not possible to canter on the beach when there is too much wind.

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 trail 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 sometimes 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. Riders will be paired with a suitable horse based on their experience and preferences, but if for any reason after the first day anyone feels that they are not well matched, then just let the guide know and they will be given another horse.


Rider requirements

To participate in this trip you must be a 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. This rides is aimed at capable riders, who are also fit and ride 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.

The hotels used on the ride are small and quiet, offering authentic Catalan cuisine and a friendly and welcoming environment. The meals are plentiful and contain many typically Catalan dishes as well as regular European fare. 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!


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

Passport and Visa 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain

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 February, March and April as well as November!

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Spain and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Electricity



In Spain the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly


Mobile, WiFi and charging

There is electricity available each night to recharge phones. There is good mobile reception in some part of most days. If using a GoPro please get the permission of the group to be filmed

Packing List

- 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
- Gloves
- 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
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
- Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
- Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
- Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
- Swimwear
- Sunhat
- Sunglasses
- Sunscreen
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset repellent
- Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- A copy of your passport
- Travel insurance certificate

Provided by hosts
Riding helmets

Programmes

This is a 6 day/5 night programme with 4 days riding available on set dates which can be confirmed online. 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

2024: 26 Feb; 12 Mar; 8, 30 Apr; 20 (Full) May; 30 Sep (FULL); 14 (Full) Oct; 4 Nov

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 £
20246d/5n4double pp1,085
20246d/5n4single supplement155
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20246d/5n4double pp1,269
20246d/5n4single supplement185
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20246d/5n4double pp1,475
20246d/5n4single supplement215
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20246d/5n4double pp14,875
20246d/5n4single supplement2,135
Recommended Reading

Ride specific: The Life of Dali, Miro or Picasso and the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi as all these artists originate from Catalonia. Also 'Victus - Barcelona 1714' - Albert Sánchez Piñol and 'Tirant Lo Blanc' - Ramon Llull. General 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

It is possible for non-riders to join this trail and meet up with their riding companions every evening. Depending on where the chosen lunch spot is, they may also be able to join riders for lunch (if it is a 'saddlebag picnic' lunch that day then it will not be possible due to the riders being in an inaccessible location.)
Car-hire is recommended although there is also the option to travel with the back-up team. Please be aware however that the back-up team may take different routes due to logistical and geographical reasons and althought they love to have non-riders travelling with them, they will be busy setting up lunches/picking up luggage etc.
Please note that non-rider 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:
2024: payable locally - €120 pp return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 12:00 drop-off, or from Girona €60 pp return(19:3 0 pick-up, 10:00 drop-off, 45 min).
Flight Guide:
London - Girona or Barcelona from £50 return. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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