Ride through four valleys with very different landscapes, from flat fields with holm oaks riding by the very well conserved Roman road from the second century, through gardens of olive trees, cherry trees, peach trees, grapes, to mountain valleys with only pine trees, and broom bathed by the clear, clean and cold waters of Gredos.
On this ride you can appreciate the aptitude for adaptation to different terrains of the pure hispano arab horses. They are noble and have a good character as Andalusians, rough and resistant as the Arabs, the horses are the best companion for the best riding holiday. Your guide Emilio knows every stone along the path of the ride and is dedicated and enthusiastic about this trail. His warmth and care bring to life the contrasts and different landscapes during the week, all contributing to an all round experience.
The accommodation en route is in rural hotels with comfortable en suite rooms most nights and a hot shower and an aperitif never very far away. Typically Spanish food is cooked to a high standard with extensive warm lunches provided by a backup vehicle. All this makes for a very special and personal experience.
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 NS of Amstelveen on 02/07/2011
Day 1 MADRID – NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS
Meet at Madrid Airport, transfer to Navarredonda de Gredos, a two hour drive with a stop in Avila for a short town visit. Night and welcome dinner at Hotel Garabatos, or similar.
Day 2 NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS-PUERTO DEL PICO –SERRANILLOS
Distribution of the horses at the stables. Ride on the cordel path to join Cañadas Reales - very important medieval paths for Merino sheep. We will get to Puerto del Pico, with magnificent views of the Tietar River Valley. Lunch at restaurant.
Afternoon ride through beautiful path in the mountains. Horses spend the night in Serranillos and we transfer the riders to Burgohondo night in hotel El Linar del Zaire or similar.
Day 3 SERRANILLOS –BURGOHONDO
Ride along the Alberche River Valley until we reach Burgohondo, a town beside the river Alberche, where we stop for lunch and a swim. Four hours in the saddle. The night is spent at the same hotel as last night.
Day 4 BURGOHONDO- SAN MARTIN DEL PIMPOLLAR
Again following the Alberche River Valley, you will ride through old and small towns with stony houses and experience a very different landscape on the north side of mountains. Lunch in Hoyocasero. In the afternoon you will reach the highest villages in the mountains. Six and a half hours in the saddle. You'll stop in San Martin del Pimpollar for dinner and spend the night at a rural inn.
Day 5 SAN MARTIN DEL PIMPOLLAR – NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES
You start the day in the mountains with the pine trees, broom, stony walls... It is the region of the summer pastures of Avilan cows. You will get very close to the source of the Alberche River. Lunch in beside the river. Afternoon ride to Navacepeda through open landscapes with beautiful views of Gredos Mountains. Dinner at restaurant, and night at hotel in Navacepeda de Tormes.
Day 6 NAVACEPEDA DE TORMES – NAVARREDONDA DE GREDOS
An easy and beautiful day's ride following the Tormes River Valley. Lunch beside the Tormes River, a wonderful spot for swimming.
Short afternoon ride and a few fast good canters to finish the ride. Night and dinner at hotel Garabatos or similar.
Breakfast at Parador. Departure at around 10 am to be at Madrid Airport at 12 noon.
Please follow this link for a map of this itinerary: Gredos Four Valleys
2019/20: If there are 3 riders transfer cost will be €50 per rider each way. If there are 2 riders transfer cost will be €75 per rider each way, payable locally. Groups of 4 or more riders transfers included.
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.
Homebred PRE and Pure Hispano-Arab horses with English saddles and tack are utilised. The horses are responsive, well behaved and good natured ranging from 15 - 16 hands. They are perfectly groomed and well shod.
The ride is at a moderate pace with walk, some trot and regular canters. The terrain has no drop-offs although there are mountains all round.
Riders should be able to walk, trot and canter confidently and have experience of riding over varied terrain. It is an advantage to be able to mount and dismount unaided but not essential as help is usually at hand. There is a minimum age of 10 for children who must be competent riders.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Rural hotels in very remote villages are part of this trail. All rooms are twin with extra beds available if arranged in advance. The hotels offer beautiful views in really peaceful locations and some have swimming pools.
Meals are of a Mediterranean flavour including paella, excellent Avilan beef, salads, fish, iberic ham, sheep's cheese and excellent red and white local wines and aperitifs included in the price with your meals.
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.
The climate is dry continental weather. Springs mild temperatures around 18ºc with sunny and cloudy days, an excellent time to ride. Summers are dry and sunny, the temperature during the day around 25º - 28ºc good for picnics beside the rivers and swimming.
Autumn usually Sept and Oct, are months with temperatures around 18ºc, sunny and cloudy, excellent time to ride in Gredos .
The temparatures in the night are lower in spring and autumn, but the hotels are comfortable with central heating.
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 along with sunglasses on a string. There are a number of riding helmets available for use.
Half chaps (recommended)
Short riding/ walking boots and trainers
Long trousers (evenings)
Long sleeve shirts (great for layers when riding)
On a practical level a bottle of water for refilling and the all essential loo paper (for outdoor emergencies only!) are handy.
This is a 7 day/6 night programme with 5 days riding on set dates. Extra dates can be arranged for groups of 4 or more.
2019: 10 November
2020: 22 November
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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
Gredos is a National Park where the Hispanic goat is the icon. You may also see royal (golden) and Imperial Eagles, Red and black kite, black vulture, black stork, falcon.
Fox, wild boar, red squirrel, different types of deer, badger...
Flora depends on the different level of altitude. In the spring, a grand multicoloured carpet of thousands of flowers. At the highest level in the Gredos the yellow broom flowers with their very characteristic aroma can be experienced in the spring.
Non riders can travel in the support car and join the riders at meal times and join in any other activities. Or if they wish, they can rent a car in Avila and explore on their own and join the group for the evening meals.
Castilla y Leon is very historical region. Riders can visit, before or after the ride, very interesting towns like Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia, Avila... All are towns full of history.
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.