Riding through villages in Catalonia
A sunny day on the trail
Lakes of Catalonia
Lakes on the trail
Horses on the trail
Catalonian countryside
On the trail
Riding in Catalonia
The countryside on the route
Double room accommodation on the trail
A hotel on the trail

Enjoy this short break in Catalonia which includes four nights in hotels, four full riding days and an evening departure after the last day to maxmise riding time. Visit Catalonia's largest natural lake as well as fantastic scenery, great Spanish food and an optional spa experience. This trail is run by knowledgeable, experienced guides using fit and forward-going Andalusian horses.

The ideal trail for riders who are short on time but want to appreciate Catalonia's varied landscapes. The trail passes through several medieval villages where riders can admire the architecture and taste authentic tapas. The trail meanders across plains and forests and is the ideal way to experience the interior of Catalonia over a long weekend.

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Day 1
Arrive at the country cottage of Can Grau, situated deep in the heart of the Empordá countryside. Welcome dinner after a presentation of the program. Riders will tallk about the special characteristics of the Andalusian and crossed Hispano Arabian horses, suitable for all types of terrain and you will have the opportunity to chat with the team manager to find your ideal horse for the trail. Then, you can enjoy a good and lively dinner!

Day 2
After breakfast, you will leave through paths surrounded by Mediterranean forest. The trail takes you between mountains and through fields and meadows. You will pass by the Romanesque bridge over the river Terri and the walled villages of Ravòs and Palol de Reverdit where you will have a specially prepared picnic. The trail continues past rural houses and old churches, all surrounded by olive groves and cereal fields. In Banyoles accommodation will be at Hotel l'Ast, which is close to the lake. 

Day 3 
Today riders will visit Besalú; a medieval walled town, built between two rivers. A beautiful village with traditional squares with terraces to rest and taste tapas, the villages buildings are adorned with carved stone pillars and frescoes. Explore down dark alleys, arches and lintels. The atmosphere of this ancient medieval village is unique and its spectacular bridge is a marvel of Roman architecture. The trail then runs through forests and meadows, where you will have a spectacular view over the lake of Banyoles. A picnic will be served in a curve of the River Ser. In Besalú, accommodation will be in the Hotel Los Jardines de la Martana.

Day 4
From Besalú, riders will continue to Masia la Palma where you will spend the final night of the trail. The route begins with a descent, to Alt Empordà. Despite being a prosperous area, it retains the traditional rural, traditional way of life. The small roads and tracks are not asphalted, so there is an unlimited combination of paths to explore. Every hour you will pass another beautiful village, castle, church or tunnel. The daily picnic will be in the shade of a large old tree, with a spectacular view over the river Fluviá. In the afternoon you will continue to the nights’ accommodation Hotel La Palma, where guests can indulge in a massage or enjoy the Spa (not included).

Day 5
Today is a relaxed day in the saddle; through meadows and narrows tracks you will ride through Ollers, a small village where you will have a picnic near the ruins of the Hermitage of San Baldiri. Finally, you will return to Can Grau around 4pm where horses will have a well-deserved rest in the wide fields of the farmhouse. You will be transferred back to the airport, arriving at around 6pm.


We think our hosts in Catalonia are some of the best in the business! They offer a range of rides and in the very unusual event of a ride having less than 4 riders at the time of departure, an alternative trail or based ride will be offered and the difference in price refunded so you can book your flights with confidence.

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 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. All the rides are aimed at reasonably capable riders, who are also riding fit and riding regularly.

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 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.

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 Grau, a typical Catalan farmhouse dating from 1803. The farmhouse is your hosts' base and where the horses are stabled, the main house is surrounded by 12 hectares of fields and forests and is the perfect place to begin your holiday.

Accommodation used on this trail:

Day 2: Hotel l'Ast

Day 3: Hotel La Martana 

Day 4: Hotel La Palma

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.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

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: commerce@ukinspain.com www.ukinspain.com.

The Spanish Embassy in the U.K can be found at 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: (020) 7235 5555.

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 March and April as well as November!

Climate Chart

Health

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

Electricity

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

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 and there is free Wifi at the farmhouse base.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may vary 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, beach/pool towel, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect 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 an 5 day/4 night programme with 4 days riding available on set dates.

Departure Dates

2019: 19-23 June; 24-28 July

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 £
2019 - High Season5d/4n4double pp909
2019 - High Season5d/4n4single supplement115
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2019 - High Season5d/4n4double pp989
2019 - High Season5d/4n4single supplement125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2019 - High Season5d/4n4double pp1,179
2019 - High Season5d/4n4single supplement149
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2019 - High Season5d/4n4double pp10,609
2019 - High Season5d/4n4single supplement1,319
Recommended Reading

Ride specific: The Life of Dali, Miro or Picasso and the famous architect, Antoni Gaudi as all these artists originate from Catalonia. Also 'Victus - Barcelona 1714' - Albert Sánchez Piñol and 'Tirant Lo Blanc' - Ramon Llull. General reading: ‘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


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 and thyme and you may be lucky enough to see fields of sunflowers in all their glory. 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. Non-riders book on a half-board basis which includes breakfast and dinner.
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:
2019: payable locally - €90 pp return from Barcelona, €60 pp return from Girona.
Flight Guide:
London - Girona or Barcelona from £50 return.
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