Ride in a different direction each day, including a trail to the beach, while enjoying the comfort the recently converted Can Grau base. Andalusian horses will adeptly guide you on this discovery trail deep into the heart of Catalonia where the riding is as varied as the ever changing landscapes of the region. There are plenty of opportunities to canter along the plains and meadows, over river valleys and through the winding forest trails.
Ride to medieval cobbled and walled villages and enjoy the famous Catalan cuisine and wines from the Empurdan region which are served throughout the ride. The diverse range of dishes, tapas and picnics make this a gastronomic way to discover the local area with opportunities to take days off or ride every day. A more relaxed experience than the trails with no pressure to ride each day or pack your bag each night.
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 JP of Kingston upon Thames on 20/04/2022
6 days / 5 nights / 4 riding days itinerary
DAY 1: WELCOME TO MASIA CAN GRAU
Arrive in the evening at the equestrian farm of Can Grau, located in the beautiful Empordá region of Catalonia. This 200 year-old, recently renovated farmhouse ('Masia' in local Catalan language), is set deep in the countryside away from the mainstream tourist routes. Over a delicious home-cooked meal, the guides will outline the daily program and discuss the abilities and preferences of each rider so they can match guests with the perfect mount from the school of beautiful Spanish x Arab horses.
DAY 2: CERVIÀ DE TER
After a hearty breakfast and preparing the horses, the route leads through beautiful Poplar and Beech forests while following theTer river, eventually reaching the village of Medinyà where, below its castle, riders have views of the region of Girona leading toward the Gavarres mountains. After a delicious picnic next to the river the trail leads back to Can Grau on meandering pathways through open meadows and dense forests. Along the way the trail passes the village of Cervià de Ter where the group can tour the local castle before arriving back at Can Grau to relax before enjoying a home-cooked dinner and re-living the day with fellow riders.
DAY 3: SANT MARTÍ D’EMPURIES
After breakfast the trail heads toward the ocean, but there is no beach riding today, instead, the route passes beautiful meadows and the villages of Saus, Ventalló and Palau Borrell and a welcome lunchtime picnic in the grounds of Castle of la Garriga, in Sant Feliu de la Garriga. After lunch, the group rides through Viladamat and Albons where the horses can alternate between a trot and some cantering. Leaving Mas Vilanera and its old mill, the ride heads to Sant Martí d’Empúries. This beautiful village is located at the end of the beach and boasts an old Greek dock dating from the 6th century BC. This is where the horses overnight, in specially built paddocks, while riders return to Can Grau by car.
DAY 4: THE BEACH
After an early breakfast and returning to where the horses were left the previous afternoon the ride heads to the beach that runs along the Bay of Roses. Here, the horses (and riders) can enjoy an exhillerating gallop while splashing though the shallows along 8km of golden sands. Return via fruit orchards and fields of rice toward the village of Vilaür, near to Lake Valveralla, the site of today's picnic lunch. The trail returns to the mountain ridge to reach Can Sort, where the horses spend the night and riders return to Can Grau by car .
DAY 5: VILAÜR – GALLINERS – CAN GRAU
After breakfast, riders prepare the horses and leave Can Sort, following dense Mediterranean forest paths and the mountainous ridge that offers sweeping views over rolling fields and meadows. Arrive at the river Fluvià next to the town of Báscara and its famous racecourse, where riders can enjoy a gallop before continuing through Olive groves and fields of grains. The ride passes quaint farmhouses and churches, and finally offers the chance of another gallop along the wide paths through the Oak and Cork forests, leading to Galliners, the picnic spot for today
Pass the small village of Vilamarí before arriving back at Can Grau. Say a fond farewell to the horses before relaxing and enjoying a final dinner and glass or two of Cava to celebrate the end of a memorable horseback holiday.
DAY 6: ADIÓS AMIGOS
Breakfast and departure
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.
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 mixed breed (some have Spanish blood and are very strong, others have some Arabian blood resulting in fast horses with good long distance endurance). 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 oftentimes 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, 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) and be well-balanced, comfortable, secure in the saddle and able to control a well-schooled horse 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 ride regularly.
We recommend that you ride regularly in the months before departure to ensure you can cope with the hours in the saddle. There are areas on the rides where you will need to dismount and lead your horse if the ground gets rough or steep, and also warm the horses up and cool them down each day. You are expected to groom and tack up your 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.
Masaia la Palma hotel or Can Grau guesthouse (or similar). Can Grau is a large farmhouse and the 'logistical' home to the Catalonia Trails team and their horses. It is situated on the slopes of a hill overlooking the extensive plains of the Ampurdán and the Bahia de Rosas. The snowy peaks of the Pyrenees can also been seen in the distance. The atmosphere at the recently rennovated Can Grau is tranquil and relaxing and you can enjoy the extensive gardens, the friendly staff and of course, the traditional Catalan cuisine! Bedrooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms and some have terraces or open out directly onto the garden.
The horses are turned-out in the large green meadows surrounding the farmhouse and the stables are on your doorstep.
The meals are plentiful and contain many typically Catalan fare 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!
Please note that, subject to availability, the hotels named here may be changed for another hotel of similar standard
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.
NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures
Passport and Visa 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 should you need a visa.
In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain
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 March and April as well as November!
COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.
You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.
Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Spain and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.
In Spain the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.
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 wifi.
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 ride is available on set dates with 6d/5n/4 days riding and can be confirmed online. Shorter stays are available from 5 days upwards. 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.
2023: 6, 20, 27 Feb; 27 Mar; 3, 24 Apr; 15 May; 12, 19 Jun; 17, 24, 31 Jul; 7, 21, 28 Aug; 11 FULL), 25 Sept; 23 Oct; 13, 20 Nov.
Special rate for February, November, July and August departures, please see Dates & Pricing
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||double pp||885|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||single supplement||139|
|2023||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||655|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||double pp||1,025|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||single supplement||139|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||719|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||double pp||1,005|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||single supplement||159|
|2023||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||745|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||double pp||1,159|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||single supplement||159|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||815|
|Riding days||Product item description||US $|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||double pp||1,119|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||single supplement||175|
|2023||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||829|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||double pp||1,295|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||single supplement||175|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||909|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||double pp||11,865|
|2023 February/March/November Special Offer||6d/5n||4||single supplement||1,855|
|2023||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||8,785|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||double pp||13,699|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||single supplement||1,855|
|2023 31 July - 26 August||6d/5n||4||non rider half board||9,615|
‘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
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.
Non-riders can easily join this holiday while their travelling companions ride. At Can Sort non-riders can relax by the pool or in the gardens or perhaps have a horse riding lesson? The area surrounding Can Sort has a wealth of opportunities, from visiting the Dali Museum in Figueres to visiting the beaches near l'Escala or taking in the sights and sounds of Gerona.
Car-hire is recommended although taxi's can be easily booked and are not very expensive. It is usually possible to find the riders for a picnic lunch too. Please note that 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.