This week-long trail takes you through the best parts of the diverse Doñana Natural Park including Aldea de Rocio, Las Marismas and Playa Matalascanas. Riding PRE and PRE mix Spanish horses you will travel through pine forest, through fields of rosemary and along unspoilt beaches, visiting many quaint and traditional villages along the way. Follow the parts of the Camino de Hinojos pilgrimage and see some of the traditional baptism spots. Stunning sunsets pick out all the highlights in the surrounding scenery, and the variety of landscapes along the trail house many different types of fauna and flora. Accommodation is in local hotels and ‘Casas rurals’, including a night by the beach with the sound of the waves to lull you to sleep.
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You will be met at Sevilla airport and transferred to La Puebla Del Rio (30 min). Dinner and overnight in Hotel Jardín de la Reina or similar.
Day 2 LA PUEBLA DEL RIO – PINARES DE AZNALCAZAR
The trail will start from the Sevillan village of La Puebla del Rio with a lot of art and a real Andalusian feel. You enter the National Park of Doñana from the northeast through a pine forest heading to the second most popular village of the region: Aznalcazar. You follow the local “Religious” Brotherhoods pilgrimage path, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way, towards Aldea del Rocio where you stay for the night in cosy bungalows surrounded by native pine trees. Dinner and overnight the Bungalows Dehesa Nueva or similar.
Day 3 LOS PINARES DE AZNALCAZAR - HINOJOS
Today you head towards Quema river, a pilgrimage “baptism” passage on the way to Rocio. You continue through dehesa fields of rosemary and jaguarzo - cistus salvifolius, leaving free grazing bulls behind to arrive at Villamanrique De la Condensa, a village famous for working equitation and Doma Vaquera. Here you stop for lunch. After the picnic you progress to Hinojos in the heart of Doñana. Here you will dine in one of the oldest restaurants in Doñana called the Choza de Doñana and stay overnight at Doñarrayan Park hotel or similar.
Day 4 HINOJOS - LA ALDEA DEL ROCIO.(HEART OF DOÑANA)
Mounting up again after breakfast you will follow one of the most emblematic pilgrimage trails in the region (along with the road of Huelva that you will take tomorrow), the Camino de Hinojos. This trail will take you past the international Raya Real and on to the famous Ajolí Bridge. The Village of Rocío welcomes you with its white houses, marshes and sandy streets and of course the Hermitage of La Señora de la Marisma, La Pastora, La Virgen del Rocío. You can enter the church to admire its interior and find out about its history. In the evening enjoy a drink as you watch the incredible sunset. Overnight at Hospederia del Rocío Cazadero Real or similar.
Day 5 LA ALDEA DEL ROCIO - PLAYAS VIRGENES DE DOÑANA (HEART OF DOÑANA)
This is the longest but also most beautiful day of the week. You are in the western part of Doñana riding the Popular Road of the Brotherhood of Huelva, passing through the municipal district of Almonte. Here you can see the famous Rociona stream (baptism place for the new pilgrims). Riding through the Doñana National Park you will pass Gato, a village of great beauty, and carry on towards Bodegones, another wonderful village where stop for lunch. After the lunch you go on between pine forests and marshes until you reach Mazagón, right next to the virgin beaches of Doñana. Stay overnight at Hotel Martín Alonso Pinzón or similar where you will be surrounded with the sounds of the waves.
Day 6 LAS DUNAS MÓVILES DE DOÑANA Y SUS PLAYAS VÍRGENES.
Today the sea breeze will accompany you through the day towards spectacular Atlantic viewpoints. You will witness one of the most important mobile dune system in Europe, as well as enjoy the magical sunset on the seashore filling up your senses. On this route you will have a totally different environment from the previous days. You will visit the fishing village of Mazagón, placed at the edge of the sea, and enjoy a restaurant lunch there. Overnight at Hotel Martín Alonso Pinzón or similar.
Day 7 VIRGIN BEACHES OF DOÑANA AND THE TOWER OF LORO.
On the last day you can enjoy the beach, visiting the famous Torre del Loro, located on the shores of the sea and overlooking the cliffs of fossil dunes from the beaches of Doñana. It is a rest for the senses, an experience filling with magical and unforgettable energy allowing to restore vital energy and wash the worries away with the crunch of the waves. The trail will end around noon on this day. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Jardín de la Reina or similar.
Transfer to Sevilla airport (30 min) after breakfast.
For non-riders wishing to accompany riding companions, horse cart rides are available for a minimum of 3 passengers following the same trail as the riders (there may be some deviation according to the terrain). This is available for 5 out of the 6 riding days.
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 owner breeds and competes Pure Spanish horses (PRE). The horses are Spanish, Arab X and some Andalusian X, and there are 35 excellent riding horses to choose from. They range in height from 15hh-16.2hh with some ponies available. They are all in well rounded condition and beautifully polished on a daily basis with traditional flowing manes, mainly kept stabled, shod all round and very well mannered. The horses are all experienced and sure footed trail horses with temperaments that vary from quiet and reliable through responsive to fiery and showy. With 35 horses to choose from you are sure to find your ideal partner for the week
The horses are ridden in traditional deep seated Spanish saddles with soft sheepskin covers and traditional big stirrups. The bridles are mainly curb bits and the horses are ridden loose reined and respond easily to weight shifts and subtle signals. This is a very easy and relaxing style of riding similar to Western, some instruction will be given if wanted.
The riding is mainly at a walk due to varying terrain, but there are plenty (4-6) of opportunities for long and fast canters every day. Jose Manuel, your guide, is not too keen on trotting although this is possible if requested! The riding starts late morning, after 2-3 hours a break is made for lunch followed by a siesta and a similar length afternoon session to arrive late afternoon at your destination. All saddling and grooming is done for you although you are welcome to assist with your own horse.
Riders need to be able to walk, trot and canter. These horses are trained in the Spanish style and are used to being ridden with a loose rein when at walk and a light contact at canter. There are some large and strong horses, so there is a higher than usual weight limit of 105kg.
Due to the long rides this ride is not suitable for children under 12 and all children should be competent riders. There is no need to saddle or clean your own horse on this ride unless you wish to. Assistance is available for mounting and dismounting and minimal walking next to your horses is required.
The weight limit for this ride is 17 st/231 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The hotels used en-route are all very comfortable with twin or double rooms and en-suite shower, toilet and basin in the bathrooms. They are always located in spots of particular interest and have a local character all of their own. The meals cover a range of local dishes and are always freshly prepared. Continental breakfasts, extensive lunches and 3 course dinners are the norm.
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.
Doñana Park has a mild, typically Mediterranean climate, characterized by dry summers and relatively wet winters resulting from variations in the polar front and the subtropical ridge of high pressure. The rainy seasons are intermediate, occurring in spring and in autumn; autumn especially can produce torrential rains caused by the accumulation during the summer of heat in nearby large bodies of water, and the arrival of polar air masses. In winter, however, thermal anticyclones may occur locally. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, with maximum temperatures varying about 17 °C from winter to summer. The most significant feature of the climate is the three to five months of dry weather in the summer, when it is dominated by the subtropical anticyclone.
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
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
There is electricity in the hotel rooms and camera equipment can be recharged each night. Most towns and villages will sell some batteries and film.
It is recommended to take a riding helmet or broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly and sunglasses with string. There is a good range of riding helmets on site if you wish to borrow one. 2 pairs of riding trousers, half chaps are recommended, riding gloves, jersey/fleece, warm jacket (depending on time of year), shorts, long trousers (evenings) long sleeve shirts, T-shirts, sarong or wrap, swimsuit, 8 pairs of socks, waterproofs, sun block, camera, binoculars, a pair of short riding/walking boots and trainers. On a practical level a bottle of water for refilling and the all essential loo paper (for outdoor emergencies only!) are handy.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates. Other dates may be arranged for groups of 6 or more.
2019: 30 Mar; 19 Nov.
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`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 also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com
Non-riders are welcome to accompany the ride in the luggage transfer vehicle. Each night is spent in interesting local villages and hotels and there is plenty to do and see. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en-route and non riders can join in here.
European and African migratory birds, fallow deer, Spanish red deer, wild boars, European badgers, Egyptian mongooses, and endangered species such as the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx.
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.