Riding in Liguria
Horse in the mist
Mountain views from the High Liguria trail
Riding between the mountains and the sea
Horses on the trail
Horses and riders enjoying the view
Riding through the mountains
Alpine valleys in the Mercantour national park
Views over the Alps

Discover the wild Ligurian mountains and coastline on this 8 day, point-to-point trail crossing from France into Italy on willing, sure-footed horses. Ride through mountain passes and pine forests before visiting ancient, medieval villages. This trail is for adventurous riders who want to get away from it all. Accommodation is in hotels and B&Bs in small villages along the trail. there is also the option to undertake a shorter version of this ride, completing a 6 day ride rather than the full 8 days.

This trail passes through an area considered to be one of Frances's last true wildernesses. The rich pasture and abundant wild flowers in this alpine valley support a huge range of wildlife, and what better way to get up close to ibex and deer than on horseback. Riders should look forward to enjoying spectacular views of the sea as they ride through the Alps that border France and Italy. Accommodation is in small hamlets along the trail, generally hotels or agriturismos where riders will be able to refuel with authentic Ligurian meals made with local produce.

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Please note if undertaking the shorter 6-day version of this ride (Petite Liguria), riders have the option of joining for either the first 6 days of the itinerary or the  last 6 days.

Day 1
Transfer to the village of Sainte-Agnes and settle in to your accommodation. Relax over dinner at your hotel and get a good nights sleep in preparation for the trail ahead!

Day 2
Departing from the village at 9am, you will ride along the coast with wooded mountains to one side and the sea to the other. You will ride to the Monti hamlet and then onto the village of Castellar. Crossing open scrubland, riders will be able to glimpse Monaco and Nice on the horizon as you cross the border from France into Italy. The first night will be spent at a B&B in Mortola, a small Italian hamlet, overlooking the sea.

Day 3
Civilization disappears for a few hours as you ride through scrubland along paths perfumed with herbs such as thyme and cypress. You will ride into Olivetta, a small frontier village, known for its olives where you will spend the night.

Day 4
Now in Italy you will ascend the first mountain on the route, crossing medieval villages such as Villatella, Torri and Colla Bassa. The trail takes us across the first Italian valley, crossing near the village of Airoles. This section of the ride gives a breath-taking panorama of the Cima Longoria and the sea. You finish the day with a steep climb through the woods until you reach Rocchetta Nervina where you will spend the evening.

Day 5
Today you will travel onto the ancient village of Pigna (meaning pinecone) which clings to the slopes of the Nervia valley. The riding will be through the pine forests which gave the village its name. In the evening riders will be able to refuel for the evening at a local restaurant, famous throughout the region for its authentic Ligurian food.

Day 6
You will ride on from Pigna following cow paths through lush pastures and pine forests before reaching the Italian village of Langan. Lunch will be a homemade picnic before riders will be able to indulge at their base for the night; a traditional Italian agriturismo.

Day 7
The trail continues on towards the Bignone mountain and will involve some steep climbs along the cliffs. Finally you will reach the village of Baiardo, on approach to the village you will be able to enjoy spectacular views over the sea. Riders will spent the night in a B&B in the village and be able to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 8
On the final day you will ride to the micronation of Seborga. A small village that has its own royal family and Olympic committee! The trail to the village will continue through flower-filled pastures and woods before finally horses and riders are transported back to Sainte Agnès by car.

Currently the Itinerary includes a night accommodation before the start of the tour. This can be changed to a night after as the ride finishes in the late afternoon, or an additional night at the end can be booked on request depending on arrival and departure times.

Riders must carry everything they need in the provided saddlebags. There is no baggage transfer on this trail although they can leave suitcases etc at the base.

 

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 focus here has always been to allow the horses to live the most natural life possible. The horses are raised in open pasture and they mature in the wild with their companions. They are not stabled, nor fenced into small paddocks, but instead, graze and wander free.



The horses are a mix of breeds, temperaments and ages, including Merens, Spanish, Portuguese, Arab and Pottoks. There are natural leaders among the group of course and the young horses learn from the behaviour of the more experienced horses. The horses are trained and ridden with simple hackamore bitless bridles. Most saddles are Portuguese military types, there are also some English saddles. 

As this is a point to point trail, your horses will be carrying your belongings. You will be provided with a 'banana'  saddle pack (located at the back of the saddle) of about 18 litres where all your personal belongings have to fit (toiletries, change of clothes for the night, etc.). Please bring a 'Sheet bag' (a kind of single duvet cover - https://www.decathlon.fr/drap-de-sac-polyester-gris-id_8382711.html) and not sleeping bags because they won't fit in the 'banana bag', a towel will be useful. You can put your daytime clothes (sunscreen, telephone, etc.) in the horses' saddlebags. Riding hats and half chaps are also available to borrow.

There is between 5 and 8 hours per day of riding/walking. The rides are on rolling country and high alpine terrain. On steep ground, riders will need to dismount and lead their horses, so walking boots are more practical than flat soled riding boots. Half chaps and riding hats are provided. A decent weight of jeans or jodphur is recommended. Riders should bring a waterproof coat, as the weather can change very quickly in the mountains. All of the guides are well qualified, speak French, English, Italian and sometimes Spanish and Portuguese. Safety briefings will be given where appropriate.


Rider requirements

Riders must be confident in walk, trot and canter and happy riding on steep terrain. A reasonable level of fitness is required, as the rides are full days with 7/8 hours either riding or leading your mount, and with significant ascents/descents. Riders must be able to mount and dismount unaided.

Help to catch, groom and saddle are welcome but not compulsory.

Weight Limit

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

Accommodation is in comfortable hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses; private rooms are available for a supplement when possible. Guests should be prepared to share rooms and bathroom facilities on this ride. Examples of accommodation used on this trail can be found here:



http://www.altoblu.com



http://www.remolidays.it/



http://bb-le-camelie-del-bosco.baiardo.hotels-italian-riviera.com/en/



Generous picnics and meals use local and/or organic products. Special dietary needs can also be catered for.



Please not that accommodation is not included the night of Day 8, after the ride has finished. This has to be booked separately although your sales consultant will be able to help you with this.


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 Paris is at 35 rue de Faubourg St Honore, 75383 Paris Cedex 08. Tel + (33) 1 44 51 31 00. Email: webmaster.paris@fco.gov.uk.

The French Embassy in the U.K can be found at 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT. Telephone: (020) 7073 1000. Email: presse.londres-amba@diplomatie.fr.


Climate Summary

Due to the different altitudes and landscapes covered on this ride the climate can vary quite a lot. Temperatures will be cooler in the mountains and there will be a higher chance of rainfall. The following is based on climate data for Sainte-Agnes. During the months June, July, August, September and October you will experience pleasant weather with a nice average temperature. Most rainfall (rainy season / monsoon) is seen in October and November. On average, the warmest month is July. On average, the coolest months are January and February. November is the wettest month. This month should be avoided if you don't like too much rain. July is the driest month.

Climate Chart

Sainte-Agnes climate chart

Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to France, 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.

Film and Camera Equipment

Electricity is available all nights to recharge batteries, as well as Wifi. Mobile phone reception is limited.

Packing List

As this is a point to point trail, your horses will be carrying your belongings. You will be provided with a 'banana'  saddle pack (located at the back of the saddle) of about 18 litres where all your personal belongings have to fit (toiletries, change of clothes for the night, etc.). Please bring a 'Sheet bag' (a kind of single duvet cover - https://www.decathlon.fr/drap-de-sac-polyester-gris-id_8382711.html) and not sleeping bags because they won't fit in the 'banana bag', a towel will be useful. You can put your daytime clothes (sunscreen, telephone, etc.) in the horses' saddlebags. Riding hats and half chaps are also available to borrow.

Good quality walking boots with a deep heel - due to the terrain and the need to walk leading the horse at times it is recommended you choose walking boots over riding boots. There is a range of boots available to borrow on site.
Riding helmet - there are a range of sizes available to borrow on site
Jodhpurs, comfortable jeans or thick cloth trousers.
Waterproof clothing - jacket and trousers or slicker
Long-sleeved shirts
Warm jumper/fleece
Sports bra for women
Comfortable clothes for the evenings
Comfortable shoes for the evenings
Toiletries
Warm night clothes
Towel
Sun cream
Insect repellent
Camera and spare batteries/charger
A knife is not mandatory but useful to cut the bread and cheese during picnics.
A sheet bag (https://www.amazon.com/Cocoon-COCO-01-Cotton-TravelSheet/dp/B001DX803W)
Earplugs are useful for people who need silence to sleep as some night we might sleep in the same rooms.

Programmes

This is a 8 day/7 night programme with 7 days riding on set dates or the shorter 6 days/5 nights with 5 days riding.

Departure Dates

2020: 12 Apr
Petite Liguria - guests can join the High Liguria for the first or last 6 days

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.

For those nights when a single room is available, a supplement will apply, please enquire at the time of booking.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7double pp1,039
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7Single room when available per night39
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5double pp769
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5single supplement39
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7double pp1,165
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7Single room when available per night44
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5double pp865
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5single supplement44
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7double pp1,415
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7Single room when available per night54
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5double pp1,049
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5single supplement54
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7double pp13,139
2019 - 7 nights8d/7n7Single room when available per night495
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5double pp9,759
2019 - 5 nights6d/5n5single supplement495
Recommended Reading

Novels - Etoile Errante, JM LE Clezio Press : - https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2010/mar/20/france-provence-horse-riding - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDdxT09kqyg&ab_channel=VincentPougnaud


Wildlife

There are several species of mountainous goat and antelope including chamois, ibex and mouflon as well as red deer and roe deer that can be spotted in the undergrowth lower down. Marmots, ermine, hares and wild boars, partridges, golden eagles and buzzards, numerous species of butterflies and even Italian wolves can also be found within the National Park

Other Information

This ride is not suitable for non-riding companions.

Other Country Information

The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail.

The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity character in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year.

Food is very important in French culture, almost puritanical. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French!

France 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 France is +33.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Saint-Agnes
Transfer:
From Nice Airport or train station, €50 each way. From Menton train station 25€. Transfers payable on site.
Flight Guide:
London to Nice from £91
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