Ride beautifully schooled arab and X horses through a very isolated and almost deserted mountain range on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. You'll enjoy thrilling riding here - from steep descents down the side of canyons to exhilarating gallops along open tracks covering up to 50km each day. The contrasting landscapes of the snowy mountains in the north, lush pastures and olive groves on the slopes, down to the deserted plateaux in the south is remarkable. This is for confident, fit riders.
You'll discover the hidden secrets of the Pyrenees; griffon vulture colonies, historic castles and drovers tracks leading to abandoned stone villages. The contrasting landscapes of the snowy mountains in the north, lush pastures and olive groves on the slopes, down to the deserted plateaux in the south is remarkable. Prepare for a week of unforgettable riding on superbly trained horses.
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 LS of BARNSTAPLE on 16/06/2022
Meet at Zaragoza airport at 5.30pm and transfer to your hosts base in a small village. You will enjoy a welcome meal in the evening alongside a short presentation on the horses and the trail you are about to embark on. Dinner and sleeping accommodation is provided at a local guesthouse.
You'll be able to test out your horse on an introductory ride from Nocito. The trail uses mule paths to travel to San Urbez and the Pardina Bail. You’ll climb to the crests of the Sierra d’Aineto as far as the uninhabited villages of Abellada and Azpe. Accommodation back at the guesthouse. Today's ride will be approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.
You’ll ride southward through the long valley of the Guatizalema to the viewpoint of Santa Eulalia la Mayor and down through the plain to Arbanies. Accomodation at a bed and breakfast following a 6 hour ride.
You’ll explore the foot of the southern slope and visit the San Cosme Monastery and the Fabana hermitage before riding down to Panzano where we’ll spend the night in flats at the village inn following a 5h30 ride.
Through a colourful labyrinth of hills and rivers with clear waters we’ll ride south to the medieval village of Alquezar after long canters near Alberuela de la Liena. Accomodation at the Alquezar hotel following a 6-hour ride.
We’ll ride to the heart of the canyons through the Fuente Tamara, along the canyon of La Peonera and the Barranco de Trensus; we’ll reach Rodellar across the valley of Pedruel. Accomodation at a bed-and-breakfast following a 6-hour ride.
Amazing ride at the bottom and then on the slopes of the famous canyon Mascun, outstanding set of stone cathedrals, then we’ll head for Nocito through the plateau of Otin and the valley of Bara. Accomodation at La Mallata following a 6-hour ride.
After breakfast, departure and transfer to Zaragoza airport.
2022 Transfer information
Time: Arrival 17h30 - Return 11am
Price: €150 return per person (about 1h45)
Huesca train or bus station
Time: Arrival 18h30 - Return 10am
Price: €100 return per person (about 1h)
Alternatively meet directly at the stables in Nocito in the afternoon (max 19h30) for people who come by car.
2022 Travelling from Barcelona
A transfer from Barcelona can be arranged. For a minimum of 4 people the price is €225/person. This transfer cost is payable on-site only and you should book a flight that arrives in Barcelona by 3pm at the latest. On departure day, please book a flight that departs after 2pm.
You can take a bus (3h30m) or train (1h40m) from Barcelona to either Zaragoza or Huesca where you can be collected. The cost is around €18 one way for the bus and around €35 for the train. Both bus and train times and tickets can be purchased here.
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 are a mixture of Spanish Arabs and Arabs which are bred in the Sierra's and are therefore, very well suited to the terrain. There are around 30 horses in the herd ranging from 15hh to 16.1hh. The tack is English style with fitted saddlebags for your personal belongings and the all important picnic! There is an emphasis on natural horsemanship and working with your horse as a partner. The pace is fast where possible and many miles are covered each day. It is necessary to dismount and walk next to your horse for some steep and rough areas, this can be 30 minutes, so bring comfortable boots suitable for walking and scrambling. This ride is a real challenge with the untold delights of discovering a totally remote and isolated area in Europe.
You host is experienced as a hiking and riding guide in the canyons, as well as a guard in the Natural Park. The focus here is on natural horsmanship; developing a privileged relationship with your horse which is based on the observation of - and compliance with - the social rules of the herd. By becoming integrated in the group hierarchy, you will work to replace submissiveness and stress with respect, trust and sharing. Here, no bits, no spurs and no crops are used. Everything is done in order to make the life of both horses and riders as comfortable as possible.
Riders must be able to walk, trot and canter confidently and mount and dismount unaided. It is also helpful to be physically fit for the 5-7 hours a day riding and be prepared to dismount and walk your horse through rough terrain.
The weight limit for this ride is 220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
There is a mixture of small village hotels with en-suite bathrooms and rural guesthouses with shared facilities. The food is traditional Aragon county fare - excellent quality and quantity both with the evening meals and elaborate picnic lunches.
You'll be staying at your hosts' base for the first two nights and the last night of the trail. This is in a small, picturesque village and rooms are doubles or twin rooms with en-suite bathroooms. There is wifi available for your use although please be aware there are no hairdryers. For the other nights you will be staying in twin or double rooms in local village guesthouses. The accommodation on nights 4 & 5 includes a swimming pool so don't forget to pack swimwear! There is also the option of swimming in natural pools throughout the trail if the weather is warm enough.
You can expect a continental breakfast with juice, yogurt, muesli, cheese, ham and fruit For lunch, it's always a picnic taken in the saddle bags. These will be varied and include a different salad each day, different cheeses, assorted delicatessent items, can of different fish, fruit, wine and water). Your guide will always try to find pleasant places for thelunchtime picnic, close to a natural pool, a good spring or with a good view and shade. at lunchtime, you'll unsaddle your horse and let them roll and eat, the lunchstop is usually about 2 hours which leaves time for a short siesta. Diners are enjoyed in local village restaurants, these serve traditional aragon dishes with local wine known as Somomtano.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ukinspain.com.
The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.
Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit. The climate is very changeable in the mountains with unpredictable changes from hot and dry to sudden cold showers. You may well experience a 20 degree Celsius change in temperature over 24 hours.
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
No specific health requirements, just bring plenty of sunscreen!
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
Electricity is available on all nights for charging camera/batteries. There is also wifi available at the evening accommodation.
-a pair of short riding/ walking boots (you will need to walk next to your horse over rough terrain on this ride)
-sunglasses with string
-2 pairs of riding trousers
-half chaps are recommended
-warm jacket (depending on time of year)
-long trousers (evenings)
-long sleeve shirts
-waterproofs (that work)
This is a 8 day/7 night point-to-point trail on set dates between May and October.
2022: 17 Apr; 1, 15 May; 5, 19 Jun; 4, 18 (FULL) Sept; 9 Oct.
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- The New Spaniards’ by John Hooper
- Driving over Lemons’- Chris Stewart
- The Story of Spain’- Mark Williams
- For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemmingway
- As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee
This ride in the Natural Park of the Canyons and Sierra de Guara, so in a large wild area where there is a lot of wild boars, roe deer, badgers, foxes, etc.. you may see some time during the day but usually they move more at night, But during the day, you are likely to see a large variety of birds of prey -golden eagle- short toes eagle- hawks- etc.. and one of the best concentrations of Europe of necrophage birds - griffon vultures - lammergeier- Egyptian vultures- etc. The entire park area is famous for birds watchers.
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.