Horse riding holiday Spain
Horseback vacation Spain
Horse riding holiday Catalonia
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Cultutal horse riding holiday in Spain
Holiday exploring Catalonia on horseback
Fast horseback vacation Spain
Beach horse riding holiday Spain
Beach horseback vacation Spain
Horse riding holiday Catalonia
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Beach horseback vacation in Catalonia
Beach riding horse riding holiday

The Catalan Culture and Beach equestrian Trail is ideal for experienced horseback riders and the perfect way to discover the Catalan coast's beautiful scenery, rich medieval history and a great artistic heritage. This region was deservedly voted one of the "Best of the World Destinations 2012" by National Geographic Traveller Magazine. Gallop through surf on unspoiled sandy beaches and ride through old villages while passing Romanesque churches on this fast exhilarating point to point horseback riding trail.

As well as the long sandy beaches, riders will also discover the Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empordanature reserve. This Park has been designated as both a RAMSAR site and an Important Bird Area. and is built on marshy land, sheltering predominantly aquatic birds, with more than 300 different species having been sighted. Exploring ;the magnificent river mouth "La Gola", (a protected natural area), will give horseback riders a view of the coastal plant life and the fauna of maritime-land areas of Costa Brava.

This equestrian vacation has it all: fit and forward going Andalusian horses, beaches, sand, natural dunes, precious villages, castles and churches. Discover small medieval sites such Peretallada and Torroella de Montgrí. Experience the most exciting gallop on the fringe of the sea and overnight in small friendly hotels and guesthouses sampling the fine cuisine of the region. A bottle of local wine or cava is never far away of course!

Read a personal ride review of this ride.

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 KF of Burnopfield on 29/09/2023

Ride Summary
Great holiday as always, lovely accommodation along the way, great horses, lots of fun
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Great guide, kept the pace to the experience of some of the riders, very friendly and approachable
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
The horses here are fantastic and do their best for you, got exactly what I wanted, the lovely Brandy
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
We had a briefing before the ride and knew exactly our route, how long days were, when we were having lunch etc
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
Nothing , was really good
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
7
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Some long days in the saddle and some steep terrain to walk down
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Great ride as always starting front Can Grau, fantastic horses, great guide and support . Loved it, will defo be returning soon
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

DAY 1
Arrival at Can Grau. This country house with 30-years experience in equestrian tourism is located a few kilometres from the Medes Islands Nature Reserve and offers guests an 'off-the-beaten-track' experience, away from passers-by and in the heart of the countryside. From here riders will discover the Empordá region, with its varied terrain offering guests numerous horseback riding possibilities. Spend time close to nature, the beach, and exploring cities like Figueres and Girona. The area is an ideal place for a horseback riding holiday, and an original way to discover the region.
After check-in and enjoying a first-night welcome dinner (and local wines), the guides will discuss the program for the week and explain the characteristics of the Andalusian and Arabian crossbred horses, a combination of the best of each breed. Each rider will have the opportunity for a one-to-one conversation aimed at matching each rider the perfect horse.

DAY 2
After breakfast and a short briefing, saddle-up and leave for Vilafreser, crossing Oak forests on the way to Besalú, a medieval walled village that was once the capital and a jewel of Romanesque architecture, set between two rivers. During the ride the group covers many miles through the wilds of Garrotxa. The hotel for the evening is set in front of a spectacular ancient bridge. There will be plenty of time to explore this special village.

DAY 3
Leave Besalú and head into the forest and over rolling hills. The soil is calcerous and this is a rocky area with old buildings built in the traditional rural style. Once reaching the Fluviá the route heads out on to open plains where riders can canter through the Olive groves and wheat fields. The destination is a country farmhouse, lovingly restored. Settle the horses into the paddock before freshening up and enjoying a delicious dinner.

DAY 4
Enjoy breakfast before joining the horses to saddle up and heading west. This is a prosperous region that still conserves the traditional rural and traditional way of life. There are no fences or paved paths, allowing an unlimited combination of paths and bridleways to explore.

DAY 5
Today is a long day in the saddle. Leave Can Grau and head our in a westerly direction. Enjoy canters through the Pine forests. Each hour on the trail passes an array of beautiful villages with castles, arches, tunnels, all offering ideal photo opportunities. As the afternoon draws on the route approaches the coast, finally arriving at the Gulf of Roses. End the day with a delicious Paella before settling for the night.

DAY 6
An early start heads to the beach to trot and canter the horses along the kilometers of golden sand that makes up the Bay of Roses. Head inland, following the Fluvia, past the bird sanctuary, home to flocks of migratory birds. This is flat terrain with lots of rice paddies and fruit orchards. Enjoy a picnic in the forest before continuing on to Can Sort. Overnight at Masia Can Grau.

DAY 7
After breakfast, tack up and leave heading south through the Catalan scenery, passing the villages of Galliner and Vilamari. Take in the spectacular views over the coastal plains and foothills of the emporada region. After a picnic, the group take a gentle ride back to Can Grau to freshen up and enjoy a farewell dinner.

DAY 8
Breakfast and departure. Please note the hotels named in this itinerary are subject to change without notice for another hotel of similar standard. Depending on the season this trail can be run in reverse.

Group Transfers 2024

Payable locally - €120  return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 11:30 drop-off, 2hrs), €60 pp return from Girona (19:30 pick-up, 10:00 drop-off, 45min).

Private taxi transfers can be arranged and paid on site if you are not catching the group transfer. For non-group transfers, the private taxi transfers are €60-€70 one-way from Girona and €200-€250 one-way from Barcelona. These prices are subject to change depending on the taxi company and time of transfer.

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.

Horses & Riding

The horses used for rides 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 sometimes rough terrain.



The horses are all trained using natural horsemanship techniques which helps to create an enthusiastic, good natured horse that is keen to collaborate with its rider and really enjoys its work. 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. Riders will be paired with a suitable horse based on experience and preferences, but if for any reason after the first day you feel that you are not well matched then just let your guide know and you will be given another horse.


Rider requirements

To participate in this trip you must be a competent rider (English style). You should be well balanced, comfortable and secure in the saddle and able to control a well-schooled horse outside at all paces. Riders are expected to be able to cope with a variety of different going and different types of terrain. It would be beneficial to be a fit and regular rider.

Participants are expected to ride regularly in the months before they go, to ensure they can cope with the hours in the saddle. There are also places on the rides where you will need to dismount and lead your horse - if the ground gets rough or steep, and for a short time to warm the horses up and cool them down each day. Riders are expected to groom and tack up their 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.

Weight Limit

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

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 be seen in the distance. The atmosphere at Can Grau is tranquil and relaxing; enjoy the large swimming pool, 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.



Accommodation list: (subject to change)

Sunday night: Can Grau (or similar) - Vilaür

Monday night: Hotel Riomar or Can Grau (or similar) - St. Marti d'empuries/Vilaür

Tuesday night: Hotel Canet (or similar) - Castelló d'Empuries

Wednesday night: Can Grau (or similar) - Vilaür

Thursday night: Hotel La Gola (or similar) - Torroella de Montgrí

Friday night: Can Casadella (or similar) - Serra d’Aró

Saturday night: Can Grau (or similar) - Vilaür.



The meals are plentiful and contains typically Catalan fare as well as regular European dishes. Breakfast is substantial and lunches are saddle-bag picnics (extensive with quiche/salted cakes/chorizo/Catalan cured meat/fruit/cheese/ham/wine/biscuits/chocolate). 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!


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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

Climate Summary

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 February, March and April as well as November!

Climate Chart

Health

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.

Electricity



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


Mobile, WiFi and charging

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 parts of most days. At the base, the mobile reception is variable but there is free wifi.

Packing List

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384
- Gloves
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot). You may find a light-weight, cotton pair, more comfortable during the summer months
- Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
- Long-sleeved shirt is recommended for protection against the sun and against scratches when riding through undergrowth
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Light cotton scarf can help to avoid breathing in too much dust in dry areas.
- Bum bag to contain your camera and any other items you may need during your ride.
- Swimsuit
- Sunglasses - also to protect your eyes from dust.
- Sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- A copy of your passport
- Photocopy of your travel insurance certificate

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding on set dates which can be confirmed online. 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.

Departure Dates

2024: 11* Feb; 3 Mar; 14 Apr; 5 May; 22 Sep; 13, 27 Oct,
(denotes special offer)

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 £
20248d/7n6double pp1,385
20248d/7n6single supplement219
20248d/7n6Small group supplement 2-3 pax pp269
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20248d/7n6double pp1,605
20248d/7n6single supplement255
20248d/7n6Small group supplement 2-3 pax pp309
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20248d/7n6double pp1,845
20248d/7n6single supplement295
20248d/7n6Small group supplement 2-3 pax pp355
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20248d/7n6double pp19,189
20248d/7n6single supplement3,045
20248d/7n6Small group supplement 2-3 pax pp3,699
Recommended Reading


Wildlife

The flora and fauna in this region is plentiful and varied. On the plains you'll come across plenty of livestock.

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):
Barcelona (BCN) or Girona (GRO) Airport
Transfer:
2024: payable locally - €120 pp return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 12:00 drop-off, or from Girona €60 pp return(19:3 0 pick-up, 10:00 drop-off, 45 min).
Flight Guide:
London - Girona or Barcelona from £69 return
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