Picturesque Catalan villages, varied scenery and the gallop of your life on a deserted beach through crystal surf.
Experience an exhilarating mountain to coast trail with a variety of scenery through the Alt Emporda region, with its beautiful villages, castles and churches. Discover unspoilt medieval villages like Besalu, Crespia and Bascara.
Continue along rolling hills and fields of wheat, poppies and sunflowers, with opportunities for faster riding to the coastal plains and on to the beach. The Alt Empurda region is brimming with culture, history and natural diversity.
Good company, great riding, Andalusian X horses, comfortable accommodation and regional cuisine; this horse riding holiday has the classic formula for an unbelievable and unforgettable ride for competent riders who like many fast canters.
This ride also has a special New Year programme. Great company, comfortable accommodation, regional cuisine and a fun New Year's Eve party make this horse riding holiday an exceptional trail for competent riders who like to ride fast. What better way to blow the Christmas cobwebs (and mince pies) away? Click the link for more information
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 LB of Gothenburg on 16/10/2022
Arrive in the evening at the equestrian farm of Can Grau, located in the beautiful Empordá region of Catalonia at the foothills of the Pyrenees. This 200 year-old, recently renovated farmhouse ('Masia' in local Catalan language), is set deep in the countryside away from the mainstream tourist routes. Over a delicious home-cooked meal, the guides will outline the daily program and discuss the abilities and preferences of each rider so they can match guests with the perfect mount from the school of beautiful Spanish x Arab horses.
After breakfast and the allocation of the horses, the group set out on the first day of this fun and varied 200km ride. Spend the morning exploring the Alt Emporda region, with canters and gallops in the Pine forests and rolling hills. Pass through old towns and villages dotted with churches and castles, fine examples of beautiful stonework. As the afternoon draws on, the riders approach the coast and the Bay of Roses to spend the night in a beachfront hotel.
An early start this morning with a short trot to the beach and the kilometers of golden sand that follows the curve of Bay of Rosas. Here, riders can enjoy canters and gallops along the sands before turning inland, following the River Fluvia, passing a bird sanctuary, stop-off point for flocks of migrating birds. The flat terrain is filled with orchards, perfect for more canters, so the pace remains lively for the rest of the day.
By lunchtime the group arrives at the destination for the night, Castelló d'Empuries. From here the beach is close by, as is the areas capital, Figueres, where one can explore the Dalí museum, and Castellon d'Empurias, a lively cathedral town, and excellent place to enjoy the local culture sitting on the terrace of a local restaurant over tapas and a glass (or two) of wine.
After an excellent breakfast the group saddles up and set off on today's 40km trail into the mountains with plenty of opportunity for cantering and some exhillerating fast-paced gallops throughfields, forrests and Mediterranean woodland filled with the scent of wild herbs and flowers. After a picnic lunch the ride continues through Olive groves and vineyards, past the lake of Boadella,, the site of tonights stop and the perfect place to relax after a full day in the saddle.
Today's ride heads into the most isolated area of the trail. Ride through Oak and Pine forests until reaching the River la Muga, the ideal place for a refreshing dip and picnic lunch. The ride continues through the natural scenery while encountering herds of sheep and wild boar. The trail ends for the day in Sant Marti Saserres, where the horses are pastured for the night and rders are driven to the charming Hotel Masia La Palma (or similar) in Espinavesse for a delicious meal and overnight stay.
Today's route follows the north bank of the Fluvia River with its spectacular scenery and varied birdlife. A fast ride through fields of sunflowes, open meadows and forests brings us to Besalú, a medieval walled village and ancient capital located between two rivers.The squares, stone cut pillars, cool shady arched passageways and beautiful stained galss of its churches is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture and there will be time to explore this historic village before heading back to the Hotel Masia La Palma (or similar), where we stayed yesterday, for a relaxing evening over a homecooked meal.
This morning the ride sets off from Vilert through forests and over the rolling hills of the village of Ollers, with its church that dominates the area and majestic farmhouses built by the nobility in the 17th century. Leaving ththe With amazing Pyrenees behind, riders enter the historic village of Galliners with its fine examples of Catalan architecture before travelling through forests full of aromatic herbs and wild flowers. Stop for lunch surrounded by rosemary bushes before continuing of the journey into the Alt Empordan region and the town of Bascara,
The trail ends with a gentle ride along the river and into the village of Calabuig, with its 15th century castle/church, built on a hill with an expansive view of the Alt Empurdan region, before reaching Can Grau (or similar) where we say goodbye to the horses and relax before a farewell dinner with your fellow riders and the team.
Breakfast followed by transfers to the airport. Please note the hotels named in this itinerary are subject to change without notice for another hotel of similar standard.
Please follow this link for a map of the start point of this itinerary: Mountain to Sea Trail
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 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.
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.
The horses 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 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.
The trail is up to 200km long, slightly less (160km-180km) in case of bad weather or clients not being able to cope, so expect long hours and a faster pace than normal on a riding holiday. 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.
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.
Participants are expected to have ridden 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.
The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The start point of your weekend is Can Grau (or similar), your host's base and where the horses are stabled. The guesthouse is surrounded by fields and forests and an on-site swimming pool and large garden to relax in. IThe area offers the warmest climate of all the Pyrenean range, in an almost unknown corner of Spain.
The meals are plentiful and contain many typically Catalan dishes as well as regular European fare. 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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
• 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
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding ride 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.
2023: 26 Mar; 23 Apr; 14 May; 18 Jun; 10 Sept; 8, 22 Oct; 5 Nov.
Special rate for November departures, please see Dates & Pricing
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2023||8d/7n||6||non-rider half board||995|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,349|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||single supplement||199|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2023||8d/7n||6||non-rider half board||1,105|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,505|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||single supplement||219|
|Riding days||Product item description||US $|
|2023||8d/7n||6||non-rider half board||1,245|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,699|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||single supplement||249|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2023||8d/7n||6||non-rider half board||12,659|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||double pp||17,239|
|2023 November Special Offer||8d/7n||6||single supplement||2,515|
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
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.
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.). 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.
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.