Donana Riding Adventure

Southern Spain Spain: (IT-SPAN05)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_andalusia_donana.aspx

Introduction
Southern Spain Spain
This riding holiday is designed for those who share our passion for horses, want to get to know this amazing part of Spain on horseback and are up for a real cross-country adventure as we ride from North to South, from the tranquil Sevillian countryside, to the spectacular Atlantic beaches, and crossing Europe’s largest wildlife preserve, the Doñana National Park.

Andalusia is not only famous for its cultural richness, its environmental diversity and the open and friendly character of its inhabitants, but also for its magnificent Andalusian horses. The Andalusian horse is renowned for its versatility, it’s kind nature and tractability and it’s incomparable beauty. You will be riding these amazing horses through varied and unforgettable landscapes, from the rolling and peaceful farmland, through pine forests and shrubland, marshlands, cork woods, impressive cliffs, dunes and sandy beaches. The wildlife will always be present, from many birds such as kites, eagles, flamingos and storks to several types of deer, iberian lynx, wild boar and wild horses!

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights will be spent in different locations.

Description
You will be lodged in high quality establishments. Your base in Carmona is a 4 star Hotel. Throughout the Doñana Adventure, you will be staying in Hotels and lodges of similar category.
As well as our guests, we will also take great concern in providing our horses with comfortable stables and the best care for their overnight too, as their rest and well-being is, obviously, a priority to us as well.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 2: Alcazar de la Reina in Carmona
Night 3: Ardea Purpurea Lodge in Villamanrique de la Condesa
Night 4: Hotel Malvasia in El Rocio
Night 5: Parador Hotel in Mazagón
Night 6: Alcazar de la Reina in Carmona



Alcazar de la Reina in Carmona
This is a beautiful hotel located in the heart of the historic center of the city of Carmona, just a few minutes drive away from the Riding Center. The hotel is full of history, charm, and elegance while at the same time comfortable and modern, and is located at only twenty minutes distance from Seville International airport. It offers breathtaking views over the fertile valley, the Vega de Carmona, all the way to the great river Guadalquivir, and the Sierra Morena mountain Range behind. The name of the hotel comes from the Moorish term Alcazar, meaning a fortified Palace, and the Spanish, Reina, or queen.
The building was originally erected by the Moors in the 13th century as a fortress adjunct to the Puerta de Cordoba, in an era when the town was one of the most important caliphates of Andalucía. The Palace, totally restored in the 1990s in the original Mudejar style, and refurbished in 2007, boasts spacious and elegant lounge areas and patios, a outdoor solarium with salt-water swimming pool, and a total of four different options for dining.
The rooms are ample, airy, comfortable and very tastefully furnished and feature two large (1m wide) single beds (for double occupancy beds are placed together, for twin, they have a space between), a full en-suite bathroom (tub and shower) with hair-dryer, air-conditioning and central heating, Satellite T.V., a safe and a minibar (consumption not included in the price).
Wi-Fi internet is available in all the public areas.

Ardea Purpurea Lodge in Villamanrique de la Condesa
This luxurious lodge is charmingly cosy. It has been designed and built using the materials and the unique architectural style of the area. All rooms have a terrace with views, air conditioning, heating, TV, a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi access. The rooms are simply decorated and the furniture is mainly made by artisans from local materials.
There is a saltwater sand pool located in the center of the complex.

Hotel Malvasia in El Rocio
This charming hotel displays a perfect example of the local architectural style. The rooms are simple but comfortable and each feature its own unique decor. All rooms offer free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heating, a TV, a safe and a private bathroom.

Parador Hotel in Mazagón
This beachfront hotel is surrounded by nature with the forest on one side and the beach and ocean on the other. Each of the spacious bedroom comes equipped with air conditioning, a balcony, a TV, a safe and private facilities with hairdryer.
The Hotel has an non-heated outdoor and indoor heated pool as well as a sauna and massage service (extra cost).


Room Occupancy
The single supplement fee applies if we are unable to find another rider to share.



Meals
Most meals are included in your program. Only dinner and day 2 is not included.

We will take special care in giving you the best gastronomic experience, with all the delicious dishes and wines this area has to offer.

Meals will feature mainly traditional Spanish dishes, which give you a taste of the renowned Mediterranean diet, with some International dishes.   

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most diets including vegetarian and gluten and lactose-free, etc. with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
You should be a confident rider, able to trot and canter easily and be fit enough to ride between 4 and 6 hours per day (with a resting break over lunch).

Horses
Our horses are the most important thing for us. They are the ones who truly make this Equestrian Vacation something unique. There are over 60 horses of different breeds, shapes, sizes, levels of training and temperament. With this large number we can match each guest with the ideal horse. There is also the option to change horses if the horse and rider are not getting along.
Most of our horses are Andalusians or Andalusian cross breeds but we have lots of others breeds such as Warmbloods (Hannoverian, Holsteiner and Oldenburg), Anglo-Arabs, Thoroughbreds, different breeds of ponies and others.
But most importantly we would like to emphasize the good nature and willingness of all our horses. We have no kickers or biters and besides their training and work, we think they are all special in their own way; they are all individuals and so they are treated as such. Our horses are a part of our family.

Staff
Your main guide is not only a fully qualified riding instructor but also a biologist and is local to the area. There will always be a second guide plus a backup team to ensure the holiday runs smoothly. Our guides speak English and Spanish.

Hard Hat
It is obligatory by law in Spain to wear a riding helmet for all riding activities. We do have a few helmets out, but it is preferable for each person to have his/her own, as a good fit is essential.

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

This sample itinerary is subject to changes at tour operator's discretion

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Guests arrive in the afternoon either by pick-up at the train station in Seville (10 - 20 minute drive) or by means of their own transport. A free transfer service is offered at 4:30 pm from the Santa Justa Train Station. You will then be escorted to your hotel in the nearby town of Carmona, one of the famous white villages of Andalucia. Carmona is the oldest continually inhabited village in Europe and as you stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, you will feel and breathe the spirits of ancient cultures (Iberians, Visigoths, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors), in the innumerable examples of their architectural influence in the churches, towers, palaces and mansions as well as in the inherited customs.
After you are settled in, you may appreciate a dip in the pool, or perhaps discover the pleasures of the Spanish afternoon "siesta" after a tiring journey.
In the evening, you will be joined at your hotel by one of the hosts, for a welcome dinner, where you will meet the rest of the members of the week's group and where you may clarify any last minute questions about the weekly program. After some friendly conversation, you are free to spend the rest of the evening at your leisure, and to relax before the beginning of what we hope will be an unforgettable week.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Carmona


Day 2 (Monday): Haciendas Ride & Seville Visit
This first day will be an easy one, as some riders may still feel slightly jet-lagged or stiff, from the previous day’s travelling. We will collect you after breakfast and take you, after a very short drive, to the Equestrian Centre just outside Carmona. Here you can have a chat with our instructors and guides. This is important so we can allocate you the correct horse. Then, mount up to go on a morning ride. This will be an assessment ride and an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. The ride takes you through tranquil, slightly rolling farmland, scattered with crops of cereals, olives, citrus and almond trees. It is a charming way to get to know this part of the region, filled with culture and peaceful landscapes. Through the ride, we will be passing several Haciendas (olive oil estates), many of which were built around the 16th Century.
Arrive back to the centre for a delicious fresh, home-cooked lunch. After lunch, we offer you a complimentary transfer to Sevilla for a sightseeing or shopping opportunity. This is a unique city so a visit is highly recommended and really should not be missed.
If you would rather take it easy and would prefer to rest up in preparation for the Doñana Adventure, we will transfer you back to the Hotel for an easy afternoon in town.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight at Hotel in Carmona


Day 3 (Tuesday): Quema River & Aznalcollar Forest
Today, after an early breakfast, we drive to the town of Villamanrique. We will arrive at the stables where you will meet the horses that will take you on this unforgettable adventure through Doñana. Mount up and get to know your horse. We will do a little «test ride» in the centre’s indoor arena and as soon as everyone is feeling comfortable, we will head off into open country and begin the adventure!
Today’s ride is loaded with the folklore and tradition of the area, as we will cross the famous Quema river. This river is where pilgrims are baptized on their first pilgrimage to the village of El Rocío to show their respect and devotion to the Virgin Mary. We will also pass the emblematic Virgen del Rocio monolith. The ride also takes us through the famous pine forests of Alznalcollar.
This part of Doñana, with an extension of 30.000 acres is famous for its majestic beauty. The forest is mostly made up of umbrella (stone) pine. This type of pine is native to the Mediterranean and is famous for its delicious pine nuts used to make many dishes, pastries and sweets in this region, since ancient times.
We will also ride through the scrubland filled with Mediterranean shrubs such as rosemary, rockrose, heather and palm hearts. This vegetation provides the perfect habitat for wildlife, with many birds of prey in the area such as different types of Eagles and black Kites, and depending on the time of year, it will be very easy to see dozens of storks nesting in the treetops.
Lunch will be at a famous Venta, popularly frequented by the locals. Here we will have the opportunity to taste the delights of the local cuisine of this Sevillian region. After lunch, we will ride back to Villamanrique, the oldest town in the Doñana environment.
In the evening, rest in your comfortable room or stroll through the extensive gardens before meeting the rest of the group for dinner in the lodge’s restaurant, famous for its exquisite dishes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Lodge in Villamanrique


Day 4 (Wednesday): Pilgrims path to El Rocio
Today’s ride takes us to discover the northern part of the Heart of Doñana, which the locals call «El Coto» (the Reserve). We will ride the same sandy tracks that pilgrims use on their religious journey to the Basilica church and village of El Rocio. They call this cross-country path through the heart of Doñana the Raya Real (Royal Strip). These tracks and the whole area are completely closed off from the general public as it is wildlife preserve. Brotherhoods of pilgrims get a special permission to use them on the week of the pilgrimage which is in May, but no one gets to enter the park the rest of the year except a couple of licensed and selected bird watching companies and some very few and selected horseback adventures like ours.
The scenery in this area is stunning. The ride takes us through wooded areas of stone pine and eucalyptus, and through scrubland formed by aromatic thickets that impregnate our path with delicious aromas such as rosemary, lavender, rockrose and heather. We then arrive at the Royal Palace, an ancient hunting estate that was used by spanish Kings and royalty since it was built in the 13th century. This is the perfect place for a picnic. After a short break we will continue our way through grasslands and pastures dotted with cork oaks and mastic trees.
These oak groves are the ideal habitat for many birds. More than 80 species of vertebrates inhabit this area of the reserve and more than half are birds, such as the Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle or Pito Rea (Woodpecker). If we are lucky we may be able to spot the Iberian lynx, wild boar or foxes. It is very common to see several types of deer during this part of our journey. Towards the end of our route, we will cross the famous Ajolí bridge that takes us to the gates of the Village of El Rocio. Before the end of the day we will visit the marshes loaded with natural life such as flamingos, herons and other water birds followed by a glass of sherry or wine on horseback in the local style! We will rest in one of the villages best Hotels with views to the Marshlands.
Dinner in the hotel restaurant with the rest of the group and the guides to sample the local cuisine and wines.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in El Rocio


Day 5 (Thursday): El Rocio to the beaches of Doñana
We are now riding entirely in the province of Huelva. Today's route takes us south, from the village of El Rocio to the virgin beaches of Doñana. We will pass through some of the most popular places in the park, such as the famous Rociana lagoon where the brotherhoods of pilgrims arriving from the western parts of Andalusia are baptized. This area of great beauty and environmental richness is the perfect habitat for wildlife with species such as roe deer, red deer, and wild horses. Halfway there, we will make a stop to taste a typical country lunch, accompanied by wines from the Doñana county.
Finally, our path takes us to the Mazagón beaches. We will spend the night in a luxurious Hotel with ocean views and direct access to the beach. Dinner at the Hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Mazagón


Day 6 (Friday): Dunes, viewpoints and virgin beaches of Doñana
This last ride is a half day ride (about 3 hours). It is quite impressive and of great beauty. We will visit the coast of Doñana, with its dunes, cliffs and beaches. From the top of the Asperillo Dune, the highest and most important in Doñana, we will have amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean. The line of fossil and mobile dunes that form the cliffs of Doñana is the most important in Europe.
We will make our way down to the immense virgin beaches, and then it will be time for a long canter. The sound of the waves, and the splashing of our horses in the water will lead us to an immense sense of freedom, elevating our senses. This feeling is scarcely matched by any other. After the ride, it is time to say goodbye to our horses and take some last minute pictures.
Today, lunch will be partaken in a nearby restaurant in the fishing village of Mazagón, by the sea. After lunch it is time to return to your Hotel in Carmona. The afternoon and evening in Carmona can be used to rest. The Hotel has a massage service (on request), and a salted outdoor pool. Or it can be used as an opportunity to visit this beautiful medieval town. Dinner will be at the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Carmona


Day 7 (Saturday): Departure
We offer complementary transport to the airport and train station. First trip at 8.00 am and last will be at 11.00 am.
Have a nice journey home, we hope you enjoyed your stay and we look forward to welcoming you back!
Meals included: Breakfast



Rates and Dates for Donana Riding Adventure

Rates include:

Accommodations, Most meals, 5 riding days, Transfers from/to Santa Justa train station at set times.
Some helmets can be borrowed

Packages and Options




* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2022 Transfer from Sevilla train station at 4:30pm on Day 1, return included 0 $0
2022 Transfer from Sevilla Airport on Day 1 via taxi, per car, each way (usually around 45 euros)
This is a "Group Rate" - to be paid locally
45 $55
2022 Single supplement 270 $325

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2023 11/13 - 11/19 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 1 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Dinner on Day 2, Gratuities & Transfers from/to Sevilla Airport

Other Info
Meeting: Carmona
Airport: Seville
Transfer: Included from Santa Justa train station.

Climate:
                                                Seville area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

61

64

69

72

79

88

96

96

91

79

68

62

Average Low Temperature (°F)

43

45

48

51

55

62

66

66

64

57

50

46

Average High Temperature (°C)

16

18

21

22

26

31

35

35

33

26

20

17

Average Low Temperature (°C)

6

7

9

10

13

16

19

19

18

14

10

8

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

6

5

5

5

3

1

0

0

2

5

5

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Due to its inland location in southern-central Spain, the riding center experiences mild winters and hot summers.

Spring (May to June)
This is one of the best times to visit as the skies are clear and temperatures are getting warmer.

Summer (June to September)
June to September are the hottest months of the year but the ocean breeze makes the heat bearable.

Autumn (October to November)
This is another great time to visit as the heat starts to calm down and the conditions are perfect for riding.

Winter (December to April)
Even during the winter months it never gets too cold here. However, keep in mind that the sunrays can be quite strong and riding out, it is easy to get burnt without noticing. You should look for a total sun block, or at least factor 30+. You will still get tanned; it's just safer and recommended by dermatologists in this part of the world.


Special note - insects
It doesn't matter what time of the year you choose (though obviously summer is the worst season), you will probably experience more insects, especially flies, than you are accustomed to at home. The horses are used to them, but they can be bothersome when riding, so we recommend you bring along some insect repellent for yourself.

What To Bring:
In Spring, Autumn and especially in the summer months, it can get very hot, so to avoid feeling sweaty and sticky all the time, try to stick to natural fabrics, especially cotton. There are many fantastic new products on the market, including full cotton seamless underwear, which is a blessing for the trail rides. Don't forget about fine cotton socks, too.

Trousers:
Of course, nothing beats the comfort and protection that proper cotton breeches or jodhpurs afford for riding, but if you don't intend to ride much after your holiday, you can get by with cotton tracksuit bottoms or leggings.

Tops:
Should be fairly fitting, and it is better to have at least half sleeves for protection to the shoulders against sunburn or low hanging branches on the trail rides. Even in the summer, they are just as cool and for the ladies, are much more "supportive" and comfortable so you can concentrate on learning in your classes. If you come in winter, it's good to bring tops you can wear in layers, T-shirts, sweatshirts and vests. Sometimes it is quite cold and suddenly it gets hot, so it's good to be able to add or subtract quickly.

Helmet:
This is obligatory by law in Spain, though not always put into practice, but here in Epona safety of our guests is our first priority, so it is mandatory for all riding. Light colours reflect the sun and keep your head cooler and cooling vents are a huge plus when riding in hot conditions. Also, some helmets come with a detachable net lining, which can be rinsed out everyday?. Fantastic! We do have a few helmets to lend, but it is much preferable for each person to have his/her own, as a good fit is essential If you are buying a new helmet, do try various different trademarks and models as they come in different shapes and you should find the one which fits the shape of your head.

Footwear:
Short jodhpur or paddock boots are the best option as they are much cooler and easier to transport, but if you are serious about your riding, we recommend that you use half-chaps along with them If you do not have riding boots and do not want to go to the expense of buying some, you must bring string shoes or boots with a small, 1cm heel and no buckles. Please note, sneakers, canvas shoes or sandals are NOT acceptable, even for beginners.

Gloves:
We recommend you wear gloves at least for the classes. We will be teaching you to ride a horse correctly on the bit which requires a good contact, and if you are not accustomed to this, plus the warmer conditions, blisters can develop on the first day, which will definitely spoil you enjoyment of the riding for the rest of the week.

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Normal riding gear, no rubber boots, please
Light pants without any strong seams
Ankle-high solid shoes with flat heels
Long sleeved cotton shirts (sun protection)
Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)
Light gloves, if wanted
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Lightweight jacket or vest
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjama
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra films and batteries
Address book and pen (for pictures postcards!)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm