In todays hectic world where time is precious, take a couple of days out to explore the ever-changing Catalan landscape, with its mountain villages, medieval castles, abbeys and churches steeped in history. This short break is a balance of exhilarating horseriding, discovery and relaxation. Your accommodation is in the heart of this region, 10km from the beach with panoramic views over kilometres of forests and mountains to the snow capped peaks of the Pyrenees. Enjoy the on-site swimming pool - guaranteed to alleviate stresses and strains.
There are 3 full days of good riding for competent riders on Andalusian and cross horses, well schooled and ridden English style. En-suite rooms and varied Catalan dishes complete a ride with comfort and culture.
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 BK of Ramat Gan on 09/04/2019
DAY 1 WELCOME TO CAN GRAU
You will arrive to the farmhouse, an exclusive horse and guesthouse for tourism accommodation, located on the Pyrenees’ feet, facing the natural and wild reserve of the Illes Medes. The ideal place for a horse-riding holiday and an original way of discovering the region. Before dinner we will go over the week's program and you will be told about the special characteristics of our Andalusian and crossed Hispano Arabian horses. You will be introduced the horse-riding program with an opportunity for a one-to-one conversation designed to find every rider their perfect horse. Then, you can enjoy a fantastic dinner!
DAY 2 SANT PERE PESCADOR – FLUVIÀ RIVER
We start from the farmhouse in North direction, to the mouth of river Fluvià. We will follow to the river riding in routes and paths in the middle of forests and meadows, and at the end along fruit trees and rice fields, to arrive at Sant Pere Pescador and at our Hotel El Molí where we’ll have night. Ours horses have a rest in the pine grove just in front of ours rooms while we enjoy the pool and the terrace, then, for dinner, we’ll go to a restaurant at the village. Our hotel is situated at one kilometer from the beach.
DAY 3 THE BEACH - EL MONTGRI - GOLA DE TER
After an early start, we trot our horses down to the first beach. Here we enjoy some excellent landscape. The long beach of the bay of Rosas awaits us for a dreamlike galloping. We will have a coffee break in Sant Marti d’Empuries and admire this town built upon a Greek dock. Then, we will get into Montgri’s massif through dunes, which offer an impressive landscape. After picnic, we will go downhill and reach the Ter River, to cross it in Torroella. We will follow it to its mouth, in Gola del Ter, where our hotel is, in front of the second beach.
DAY 4 TORROELLA DE MONTGRÍ - RIO TER
In Fonollera beach, the river forms a lagoon then enters it fully into the sea, in front of the Medes Islands. Riding your horse through the natural spaces of La Gola del Ter, La Platera or El Ter Vell will give you a view of the coastal plant life and the fauna of maritime-land areas. The entire route goes through a countryside that combines fields of crops, which sinuously cut into the clearings of Mediterranean woods, with small scattered human settlements, that are integrated into the territory. We ride through mosaic countryside, enjoying some excellent canters and gallops. We enjoy our lunch near a natural well, welcome refreshment for us and the horses. Back on our horses for the last part of today, a gentle ride following the path leads us to the farmhouse.
DAY 5 ADIÓS AMIGOS
Breakfast and departure and we hope to see each other again next year, or, why not on mountain Trail?
Please note the hotels named in this itinerary are subject to change without notice for another hotel of similar standard.
Please note: It may not be possible to gallop on the beach in the event of bad weather.
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.
2020/21: payable locally - €90 pp return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 11:30 drop-off, 2hrs), €60 pp return from Girona (19:30 pick-up, 10:30 drop-off, 45min).
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 used for rides are well schooled pure or crossbred Andalusians. 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. 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.
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.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The start point of your weekend is Can Grau, your hosts' base and where the horses are stabled. The guesthouse is surrounded by fields and forests and on-site is a swimming pool and large garden to relax in. It offers the warmest climate of all the Pyrenean range, an almost unknown corner of Spain.
The two hotels are small and family-run offering authentic Catalan cuisine and relaxation with swimming pools on-site. Both hotels are close to the beach and offer a friendly and welcoming environment.
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!
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.
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: email@example.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.
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!
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
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
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 Wi-Fi.
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!
This is a 5 day/4 night programme with 3 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.
2020: 1 Jul; 16, 23 (FULL) Sept; 14 Oct.
2021: 17 Mar; 5, 21 Apr; 12, 23 May; 9 Jun; 29 Sept; 27 Oct
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2020||5d/4n||3||non-rider half board||509|
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|2020||5d/4n||3||non-rider half board||555|
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|2020||5d/4n||3||non-rider half board||659|
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|2020||5d/4n||3||non-rider half board||5,945|
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
Although the hotels on this ride offer other activities such as watersports, the riding days are quite intense so there is little time for anything else! Both hotels boast beach front locations, ideal for swimming in the sea, walking on the beach and of course relaxing before dinner.
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.
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.
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.