The Alpujarras is a landscape of exceptional natural beauty and grandeur making a lovely location for a holiday on horseback in Spain. Here everything remains much as it was during the Rebellion of the Moors 400 years ago. Whitewashed villages cling to the edge of cliffs. On a clear day, one can see the Mediterranean Sea from here. Bubión (4000 ft), the starting point for three different treks, lies to the west.

On this trail, which runs for five or four nights depending on the date, we ride deep in the heart of this region, an experience not much different from that in Spain of the 19th Century. Here time stops for travellers, who wonder at the changing landscapes and vegetation of the different micro-climates. Your charming host, Rafael, has run trail rides in these mountains for over 30 years and knows the routes like the back of his hand. Pure Andalusians are well loved and very sure footed mounts on the steep trails. Without a doubt you will make many new friends on this trail.

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 BG of Bath on 30/04/2014

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Rafael was excellent, really approachable and loved his horses. He didn't always communicate his requirements clearly (English good but not excellent), esp for those of us near the rear of the ride - the communication didn't get passed on.
Could have been a faster pace.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
Horses were lovely, but mine did buck which was a bit unnerving before I got used to him - maybe a short trek on the Sunday to get used to the horses would be a good idea.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Other ride staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Transfer fee from Malaga not explained clearly on website -looked like 50 Euros for 2 people, but in fact was 100 for 2.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Up to date weather forecast to ensure we took adequate rain wear. A quick email or call 24 hrs per departure to say rain/hail due (which isn't usual, so none of us were prepared).
What could we do to improve this ride?
A bit faster. Keep group size to 6 - it was perfect.
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:
Fast on occasion, necessity of being able to jump in and out of the saddle quickly, steep trails in places, need good nerves for parts of trail as steep!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Sarah was great at letting me have answers to my queries.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments:

5 Night Itinerary:

DAY 1. CAPILEIRA.
Welcoming and introduction from your guide. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira.

DAY 2. BUBIÓN – TREVÉLEZ.
Drive to the riding centre in Bubión (2 Km away from Capileira). Introduction to the horses. We will start by climbing up along bridle paths through the Blood Ravine to the track that leads us to Trevélez with views of the villages of the Poqueira and La Taha Valleys. Picnic en-route. During the ride there are some opportunities for gallops with a magnificent panoramic view of the Sierra Contraviesa and Lújar opposite us. Descend to Trevélez by a bridle path where we will arrive in time for some beers with tapas. There will be the opportunity to visit some of the ham drying houses of Trevélez, famous for its hams and considered the highest village in Spain at an altitude of 1,700m. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel La Fragua **. A 5 hour ride.

DAY 3. TREVÉLEZ – JUVILES - LOS BÉRCHULES.
After crossing the bridge over the river, we will start this route by a bridle path that climbs the left slope of the ravine, leaving behind the village from which it takes its name. After a gallop, descend along a more gentle path to Juviles for lunch. Once again, we will enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Contraviesa and Sierra Gádor. On a clear day we will have the view of the Mediterranean Sea and the silhouette of the mountains of Africa in front of us. The journey continues on horseback to Los Berchules by a bridle path. Dinner and accommodation tonight in a very comfortable, family-run hotel - El Cercado***. Option for free access to spa. 5 hours riding.

DAY 4. LOS BÉRCHULES - CÁDIAR.
From Los Bérchules, we will descend to Narila where we will stop for water the horses and visit a breeding farm of P.R.E. (Spanish Pure Breed) horses. The ride passes through Cádiar village and we will finish the ride at the beautiful hotel Alquería de Morayma**, where we should arrive just in time for lunch. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel. 3.5 hours riding.

DAY 5. CÁDIAR - BUBIÓN.
Crossing the Guadalfeo river, we will join the path that will lead us to Lobras, Nieles and Càstaras. We will continue until we reach the impressive gorge of Las Carihuelas de Busquístar, where we will descend to cross the Trevélez river and we will follow the path which leads to the village of Busquístar for lunch. After lunch two more hours riding to Bubión. Farewell dinner in a local restaurant and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira. 6 hours riding.

DAY 6.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport of Granada.

4 night itinerary:

DAY 1. CAPILEIRA.
Welcoming and introduction from the guide. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira.

DAY 2. BUBIÓN - POQUEIRA VALLEY - BUBIÓN.
After breakfast, introduction of the horses and departure for a morning ride enjoying the beautiful panorama of the Poqueira Valley. Back to Bubión, where we arrive for lunch. Free afternoon to sightseeing the villages of the Poqueira Valley. Dinner at a local restaurant and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira. 4 hours riding.

DAY 3. BUBIÓN – TREVÉLEZ.
After breakfast walk to the riding centre. We will start by climbing up along bridle paths with views of the villages of the Poqueira through the Blood Ravine with views now of the villages of La Taha Valleys and Portugos. Along a bridle path through a forest of holm oaks we arrive to the track that leads us to Trevelez. Picnic en-route. During the ride there are some opportunities for gallops with a magnificent panoramic view of the Sierra Contraviesa and Lújar opposite us. Descend to Trevélez by a bridle path where we will arrive in time for some beers with tapas. Trevélez, famous for its hams and considered the highest village in Spain at an altitude of 1,700m. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel La Fragua **. A 5 hour ride.

DAY 4. TREVÉLEZ - BUBIÓN.
We will start by climbing up along a bridle path with views of the village of Trevelez, to the track which will take us to the Bina Ravine where after few metres we take the Sulayr path to climb through oak woods again to the top of the Loma del Jabalí, with stunning views of the Trevélez and Guadalfeo valleys. Later on we ride to Las Alcubillas for a picnic. With an altitude of 2.240m is the highest point of our itinerary for this journey with a magnificent panoramic vista of the foothills of the Sierra Contraviesa and Lújar opposite. On a clear day, you can even see right across the Mediterranean to Africa. We ride now by a track and along a bridle path descending through pine woods with views of the villages of the Poqueira Valley that leads us to Bubion. Farewell dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira. A 5 hour ride.

DAY 5.
After breakfast, transfer to Granada airport at a pre-arranged time.

Please note: the hotels named in these itineraries are subject to change without notice for one of similar standard.
 Please follow this link for a map of this itinerary: Spain, Alpujarras Trail

Single Supplement: Please note that if you are prepared to share, and we cannot find you a sharer, the single supplement is reduced by 25%.

 
Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

The Hand of Fatima - Ildefonso Falcones
The New Spaniards – John Hooper
Driving over Lemons - Chris Stewart
The Story of Spain - Mark Williams
South from Granada – Gerald Brenan
For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemmingway
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee
Don Quijote de la Mancha – Miguel de Cervantes

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 Spanish Cross horses are fit and strong and extremely sure footed in the rocky terrain. There is a range of tack utilised, from English saddles to Spanish and Western saddles. The bridles are English with a Spanish influence.


Rider requirements

Riders should be confident at walk, trot and canter.

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 2 and 3 star small, family run hotels along the way. The food is delicious and traditional of the region.


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

Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit and the days are sunny and warm (25 Celsius). In the summer it can be very hot with temperatures exceeding 30 Celsius on a regular basis.

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).

Packing List

Light summer clothing is need on most departure dates. You need a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. 2 pairs of riding trousers (cycling shorts for men), half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey, warm jacket (Spring and Autumn), shorts, long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, 4 pairs of socks, raincoat (seasonal), sun block, camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt, binoculars, 2 pairs of shorts, lightweight riding boots or trainers.

Programmes

These rides are either 6 days/5 nights/4 days riding or 5 days/4 nights/3 days riding Trails can also be tailormade for 4 or more people.

Departure Dates

2019 5 nights: 6 Apr; 1 Sept; 26 Oct
2020: 5 nights: 4, 25 Apr; 24 Oct; 4 nights: 6 Jun; 5 Sep

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 £
2019 5 nights6d/5n4double pp839
2020 5 nights6d/5n4double pp889
2020 5 nights6d/5n4Single Supplement109
2020 4 nights5d/4n3double pp749
2020 4 nights5d/4n3Single Supplement91
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 5 nights6d/5n4double pp929
2020 5 nights6d/5n4double pp985
2020 5 nights6d/5n4Single Supplement119
2020 4 nights5d/4n3double pp825
2020 4 nights5d/4n3Single Supplement99
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 5 nights6d/5n4double pp1,055
2020 5 nights6d/5n4double pp1,159
2020 5 nights6d/5n4Single Supplement139
2020 4 nights5d/4n3double pp975
2020 4 nights5d/4n3Single Supplement115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 5 nights6d/5n4double pp10,369
2020 5 nights6d/5n4double pp10,949
2020 5 nights6d/5n4Single Supplement1,339
2020 4 nights5d/4n3double pp9,215
2020 4 nights5d/4n3Single Supplement1,115
Recommended Reading

The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones, ‘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 also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

Their main activity is horse-riding but they can also tailor-make trips for 4 or more people, including mixed programmes in jeeps and on horseback, picnics and visits to the most interesting places in the area such as museums, artisans’ workshops, wine bodegas and serrano ham curing establishments.

Wildlife

The Alpujarras are located to the south of the Sierra Nevada massif, in a Natural Park and with views over the Mediterranean. With their dramatic scenery and wild flora and fauna, they were declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986. The village of Bubión, the starting point for the treks, is 1,300 metres above sea-level, in the Poqueira Valley.

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):
Granada Airport (GRX) at 18:30
Transfer:
Included from Granada at 18.30 or €75 per person each way from Malaga at 16.30 for a minimum of 2 people. There is also a bus from Malaga airport to Granada train station from which you can be collected.
Flight Guide:
London - Granada return from £50 with Ryanair. Please see "getting there" for flight information
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