Route map Catalonia extreme trail
Planning meeting on the first day
Cantering along the beach
Stopping for a drink
Cantering on again - endurance pace
At a fast clip past a lake
On the beach, ready to go?
Beautiful views in Catalonia
Ramon setting the pace
Riding along the tree avenue
Last day celebration

This is the perfect trail for fit riders and certainly not for the faint-hearted! Here we can offer 5-7 hours of riding per day covering a total of 170km over 4 days of riding. Enjoy long canters along the paths, plains and beaches of the Alt Empordà region combined with nights in Besalú and Sant Pere Pescador, sampling the nightlife after a day in the saddle.

This exciting long weekend was actually thought-up by past clients who were looking for a short, exciting getaway which offered more than the average trail. It's perfect chance to escape everyday life and be immersed in true Catalan culture aboard fit and forward-going Andalusian and cross horses, well schooled and ridden English style.

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 BL of Clydach North, Near Abergavenny on 05/06/2017

Ride Summary

What was your overall impression of the holiday
An excellent experience
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     (X) Excellent     (   ) 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     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (X) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
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     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response Some miscommunication with the transfer arrangements
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response
What could we do to improve this ride? The only thing that let this ride down was the quality of the horses' tack. The leather was old, worn and cracked. Maybe invest in some endurance synthetic bridles that convert to headcollars when needed. Saddles definitely need money spending on them
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 Long, fast days in the saddle over varying terrain. Horses forward going and fit.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?     (   ) NO     (X) 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?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments
Unicorn comments Thank you for you feedback. Glad you had a great time! We have spoken to the hosts about the tack :)

DAY 1 WELCOME
Transfer from the airport to our guesthouse and equestrian centre located at the foot of the Pyrenees, facing the natural and wild reserve of the Illes Medes. This is the ideal place for a horse riding holiday and an original way of discovering the region. Can Sort serves as a gateway to the delightful region of l'Empordà. After meeting your guide it is time for dinner where we will go over the week's program. You will be told about the special characteristics of our Arabian and crossed Anglo Arabian trail horses, fit for “endurance”. You will be given an opportunity for a one-to-one conversation designed to find every rider their perfect horse. Then, you can enjoy a fantastic and cheerful dinner!

DAY 2 TO BESALÚ, MEDIEVAL VILLAGE
After breakfast and preparing the horses, we will leave Can Sort through tracks surrounded by Mediterranean forest. The mountain creeks offer amazing views of prairies and meadows. We will then reach Fluvià River, near the village of Báscara with its famous hippodrome, where we will test our gallop. The picnic will take place at Masía La Palma. On our way we will find country cottages and churches, all surrounded by olive groves and cereal fields. Then, we will cross Crespià, a town surrounded by large prairies. Once in Besalú, we will spend the night at the nice Hotel La Martana.

DAY 3 BESALÚ - CRESPIA - CAN SORT
Besalú, a medieval walled village and the ancient capital, is a jewel of Romanesque architecture set between two rivers. The squares, stone cut pillars and cool shady arched passageways are a wonder to behold. The atmosphere of this ancient medieval village is unique with its spectacular bridge and Romanesque architecture.
From Besalú we will head back to Masía La Palma via a different route and have our picnic there. We will ride through more mountainous tracks this time before heading to Can Sort. On our way, we will go again through Parets d’Empordá and Bascarà, where we can have another gallop at the hippodrome.

DAY 4 CAN SORT - SANT PERE PESCADOR
We will start our trail going down to Baix Empordà. In spite of being a prosperous area, it still conserves the traditional rural and village way of life. The paths and tracks have not been tarmaced nor has the countryside been fenced off so there is an unlimited combination of paths and bridleways to explore. Every hour we pass another beautiful village, castle, church, arch, tunnel and old wooden doors with wrought iron knockers. Leaving St Miquel de Flúvia, we’ll have our daily picnic in a Kermes oak forest, and then we’ll continue along the Gulf of Rosas paths, through Riumors to Sant Pere Pescador, where we stay at Hotel Molí and dine at the village restaurant.

DAY 5 BEACH OF ROSAS - CAN SORT
Today is a nice day in the saddle. The long beach ride awaits us, plenty of galloping and trotting before arriving to Sant Martí d’Empuries, where we will have breakfast and coffee to recover our energy. A scenic little world set in one of the most beautiful bays in the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Rosas. Surrounded by areas of authentic natural beauty Sant Marti d’Empuries is located near the famous ruins, with the same name, of the first Iberian Peninsula Greek city and keeps a perfect balance between land and sea, between the greens and yellows of its orchards and the blue and gold of the village´s extensive beaches and historic past. We will then head to Can Sort, the end of our trail, where we will wash and leave our horses in the paddocks for a well deserved rest.

Farewells and goodbyes before leaving for the airport at 17:00….. Hasta pronto amigos!

Please note the hotels named in this itinerary are subject to change without notice for another hotel of similar standard.

Please note: It may not be possible to gallop on the beach in the event of bad weather.

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 well schooled pure or crossbred Andalusians. 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 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 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. This rides is aimed at capable riders, who are also fit and ride regularly.

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 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The start point of your weekend is Can Sort, your hosts' base and where the horses are stabled. The guesthouse is surrounded by fields and forests and on-site is a swimming pool and large garden to relax in. It offers the warmest climate of all the Pyrenean range, an almost unknown corner of Spain. The hotels are small and quiet offering authentic Catalan cuisine and a friendly and welcoming environment. The meals are plentiful and contain many typically Catalan dishes 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!

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

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

Film and Camera Equipment

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 Wi-Fi.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your programme and preferences.

• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• 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
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - 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
• A copy of your passport
• Swimwear

Programmes

This is a 5 day/4 night programme with 4 days riding available 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

2017: 15* Mar; 19** Apr; 1*, 15 Nov (* denotes mid season, ** denotes high season).
2018: 14* Mar; 4**, 18** Apr; 2** May; 26** Sept; 31* Oct; 14 Nov.
Other dates on request

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp765
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement105
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board435
2017 High Season5d/4n4double pp805
2017 High Season5d/4n4single supplement105
2017 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board475
2017 Low Season5d/4n4double pp715
2017 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement105
2017 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board385
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp789
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement109
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board465
2018 High Season5d/4n4double pp825
2018 High Season5d/4n4single supplement109
2018 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board499
2018 Low Season5d/4n4double pp735
2018 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement109
2018 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board409
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp849
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement115
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board485
2017 High Season5d/4n4double pp889
2017 High Season5d/4n4single supplement115
2017 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board525
2017 Low Season5d/4n4double pp789
2017 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement115
2017 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board425
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp875
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement125
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board515
2018 High Season5d/4n4double pp915
2018 High Season5d/4n4single supplement125
2018 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board555
2018 Low Season5d/4n4double pp815
2018 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement125
2018 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board455
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp1,005
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement135
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board575
2017 High Season5d/4n4double pp1,049
2017 High Season5d/4n4single supplement135
2017 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board619
2017 Low Season5d/4n4double pp935
2017 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement135
2017 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board499
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp1,035
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement145
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board609
2018 High Season5d/4n4double pp1,079
2018 High Season5d/4n4single supplement145
2018 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board655
2018 Low Season5d/4n4double pp965
2018 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement145
2018 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board535
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp8,409
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement1,139
2017 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board4,789
2017 High Season5d/4n4double pp8,805
2017 High Season5d/4n4single supplement1,139
2017 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board5,185
2017 Low Season5d/4n4double pp7,815
2017 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement1,139
2017 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board4,195
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4double pp8,659
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4single supplement1,219
2018 Mid Season5d/4n4non-rider half board5,085
2018 High Season5d/4n4double pp9,055
2018 High Season5d/4n4single supplement1,219
2018 High Season5d/4n4non-rider half board5,485
2018 Low Season5d/4n4double pp8,065
2018 Low Season5d/4n4single supplement1,219
2018 Low Season5d/4n4non-rider half board4,489
Wildlife

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.

Other Information

It is possible for non-riders to join this trail and meet up with their riding companions every evening. Depending on where the chosen lunch spot is, they may also be able to join riders for lunch (if it is a 'saddlebag picnic' lunch that day then it will not be possible due to the riders being in an inaccessible location.)
Car-hire is recommended although there is also the option to travel with the back-up team. Please be aware however that the back-up team may take different routes due to logistical and geographical reasons and althought they love to have non-riders travelling with them, they will be busy setting up lunches/picking up luggage etc.
Please note that non-rider lunches are not included in the non-rider price.

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) Airports

Transfer:
2017: payable locally - €80 return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 18:30 drop-off, 2hrs), €50 return from Girona (19:30 pick-up, 18:00 drop-off, 45min). Private transfers available on request.
2018: payable locally - €90 return from Barcelona (18:00 pick-up, 19:30 drop-off, 2hrs), €60 return from Girona (19:30 pick-up, 18:15 drop-off, 45min). Private transfers available on request.
Flight Guide:
London - Girona or Barcelona from £50 return. Please see "getting there" for flight information
Riders who booked this ride also considered
beach gallop in the surf!
France, Atlantic Coast Trek
Lots of fun, very good horses. Fantastic beach riding all ye...Read more >
from $1,165
Fast ride
USA, Arizona, Grand Canyon Trail
Vehicle supported camping trip in an emblematic part of the ...Read more >
from $1,615
Fast riding over the Plains
Hungary, Puszta Trail
A fast point to point trail ride across the plains on lovely...Read more >
from $1,275