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 seven or five 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 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

DAY 1 CAPILEIRA.
Welcome and introduction to your guide. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos***.

DAY 2. BUBIÓN - TREVÉLEZ.
Drive to the riding centre in Bubión (2 Km away from Capileira). Introduction of 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 five hour ride.

DAY 3. TREVÉLEZ - 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. Riding down to Los Berchules by a track. Once again we will enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Contraviesa and Sierra Gádor, this one already in the province of Almería. 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. Arrival to Los Berchules by a bridle path. Dinner and accommodation tonight in a very comfortable, family-run hotel - El Cercado***. Four and a half 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. We ride now to the dry riverbed of Yator where, later on, we will take the path that leads up to the hill that separates Sierra Nevada and Sierra Contraviesa with breathtaking panoramic views over these two mountains. During the ride there are some opportunities for gallops. The ride passes through the village of Cádiar and will finish at the beautiful hotel Alquería de Morayma**, where we should arrive just on time for lunch. Four hours riding. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.

DAY 5 (7 Night Itinerary): CÁDIAR -CADIAR.
The ride today follows the bridle path across the hill over the Guadalfeo River where later we will descend to ride across its subtropical vegetation for a while. We ride now on the other side of the river where, after a gallop, we will get the way back to the hotel on time for lunch. Option to visit to the wine cellar and the olive-oil mill of the hotel Alquerìa de Morayama** with an explanation of the process to produce the wine and the olive oil. A three hour ride. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel
 
DAY 5 (5 Night Itinerary): 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. A six hour ride. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira.

DAY 6 (7 Night Itinerary):  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. A six hour ride. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira.

DAY 6 (5 Night Itinerary):
Departure after breakfast.

DAY 7. - BUBIÓN –VALLE DEL POQUEIRA - BUBIÓN
A morning ride enjoying the beautiful panorama of the Poqueira valley. Back to Bubión, where we arrive for lunch. Three hours on horseback. Free afternoon for sightseeing. Dinner in a local restaurant and accommodation at the hotel Finca Los Llanos*** in Capileira.

DAY 8.
After breakfast, we say goodbye.

Please note: the hotels named in this itinerary 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. Minimum riding age is 6 years

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/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.

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

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

This is an 8 day/7 night OR 6 day/5 night programme on set dates. Trails can also be tailormade for 4 or more people.

Departure Dates

2017 7 night: 10 June
2017 5 night: 8, 22 Apr; 3 Sept; 21, 28 Oct
2018 7 night: 2 June
2018 5 night: 8, 22 Apr; 1 Sept; 27 Oct

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 £
2017 5 nights6d/5n45 Night Itinerary double pp849
2017 7 night8d/7n67 Night Itinerary double pp1,185
2018 5 nights6d/5n4double pp849
2018 7 night8d/7n6double pp1,185
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2017 5 nights6d/5n45 Night Itinerary double pp929
2017 7 night8d/7n67 Night Itinerary double pp1,299
2018 5 nights6d/5n4double pp929
2018 7 night8d/7n6double pp1,299
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2017 5 nights6d/5n45 Night Itinerary double pp1,119
2017 7 night8d/7n67 Night Itinerary double pp1,559
2018 5 nights6d/5n4double pp1,119
2018 7 night8d/7n6double pp1,559
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2017 5 nights6d/5n45 Night Itinerary double pp9,139
2017 7 night8d/7n67 Night Itinerary double pp12,765
2018 5 nights6d/5n4double pp9,139
2018 7 night8d/7n6double pp12,765
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 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.

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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