Bandalero Trail

Catalonia Spain: (IT-SPCA03)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_catalonia_bandalero_horseback_trail.aspx

Introduction
Catalonia Spain
The horse riding adventure "Bandalero Trail" is based on the biography of the famous "Bandalero" Joan Sala Serrallonga, the Catalonian Robin Hood. In north-east Spain, the bandit Serrallonga wandered around the mountains of Guilleries and Garrotxa during the 17th century. The vast pathless area of woodland offered good hiding places to outlaws. Canyons, table mountains and volcanoes rise up in this wild landscape. Rivers, lakes and waterfalls provide pleasant refreshment. In the picturesque villages there are still stories told about the gangs of thieves and the Catalan rebels. Today we find an incredible riding paradise where outlaws once hid. This is an extremely diversified horse riding trek through massive canyons, table mountains and volcanoes. The trails weave through a marvelous mountain landscapes which appears rugged or soft depending on the season. The air is usually pleasantly aromatic and there is peacefulness with only the sounds of nature. On our ride we explore the high plateau of Collsacabra, where the merging of the north and south, Mediterranean Sea and high mountains is a very special sight. Lush meadows and dense beech forests cover the land. Ferns spread over, the jungle sprawls and seems to be impermeable. The temperatures are pleasantly cool, with springs and calm brooks refreshing us on the way. In Spring and Summer the deep green beech forests blink through grey rock mountains, and on the 'Indian Summer' days of Autumn the forests shimmer like gold, the ambiance reminds us of landscapes in Canada. High on top of the edge of the table mountains we ride to the mountains of Guilleries, home of the bandit Serrallonga, the Catalonian Robin Hood. The view from the 'roof top of Catalonia' over the green mountains is unique. The evergreen and moist landscape is in contrast to the red, brown and silver grey rocks of the table mountains. We then leave the Guilleries and emerge into the land of volcanoes. The extinct volcanoes lie there resting until the end of time. Finally trots and canters take us along the brook "Ser" into the river "Fluvia" which points us towards the Costa Brava.

Highlights
- Spring: the soft green of the deciduous forests
- Summer: comfortable climate on the high plateau
- Fall:  "Indian Summer"
- Picnic at the foot of the Table Mountain
- Sunrise at the monastery "El Far", at the highest point of the Table Mountain 

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so night will be spent in different locations. You will be staying in 7 different locations total.

Description
You will experience a special feeling of Catalonia in our accommodations, which offer you a cozy ambience in carefully chosen country guest houses, pensions, and friendly family-run hotels. Far away from mass tourism you will be spoiled by attentive hosts with local specialties. The rooms, mostly with private bath, are charmingly furnished and you almost feel at home. 1-2 nights' accommodation may be with a shared shower and toilet. 
WIFI is available at some accommodations. Laundry is not available for this trip.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Sant Joan de les Abadesses
Night 2: Vidrà
Night 3: Collsacabra
Night 4: Tavertet
Night 5: El Far
Night 6: Santa Pau
Night 7: Besalú

Room Occupancy
Single rooms cannot always be guaranteed though booked. If a previously confirmed single room is not available, the guest is entitled to a refund of the price paid for those nights.
Those booked as 'willing to share' will not have to pay the single supplement fee only if we are able to find a rider of the same gender to share. If we have not found someone to share 60 days prior to the trip start, then the single supplement fee applies.



Meals
Most meals are included in the tour (arrival day dinner and departure day breakfast, 3 days fullboard including wine, 3 day halfboard. Three dinners are not included in the base pricing since we will be eating at local restaurants. This fee needs to be paid locally at your first dinner. Please note we only accept Euros!

You will get to know the food culture of the region through the lovingly prepared dishes from fish, game, vegetables and fruits. This experience is refined by the fine wine from the growing areas of the Empordá - your taste buds will not be neglected on this journey!
During lunch breaks, you will be cared for with your saddle-bag picnics or a three-course meal prepared by our trail assistants in a beautiful setting surrounded by nature with great attention to detail.

Dinner on the arrival day is at approximately 9:00pm.
Breakfast on the last day is at approximately 9:00am.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to all dietary restrictions such as vegan, gluten and lactose-free food. Please inform us with your booking if you have special diet requirements!


This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This trip is suitable for string intermediate riders and above. Riders need to be safe on a well-trained horse at all paces - including a long rising trot and canter. Equestrian experience in open country is also appreciated. Participants should be fit enough to spend several hours in the saddle every day.  

Riding Terrain
This trail takes you into a fabulous "robber landscape" and will reward you on the "Table Mountains" with overwhelming panoramic views. On rare occasions, we have to lead our horses, so you need suitable footwear. Steep passages can be avoided for any riders with vertigo.

Pace
This trip includes 6 riding days. Every day you spend 4-6 hours in the saddle. At lunchtime there is a delicious picnic and you have time to relax and have a siesta after eating.

Horses
Our horses have a good life! They are are kept in a natural herd setting.
Our horses are selected for their appropriate temperament and a lot of time is spent on training them, so our happy Spanish horses make absolutely reliable and sure-footed companions for you. Each of our "Spaniards" has a unique character, but they have one thing in common: they are high performance athletes.
A choice of around 40 lovely and reliable Andalusian and Spanish horses is waiting for you, to make your riding holiday a unique experience!

Tack
We ride on high quality trail saddles, specially made for long distance riding! In cooperation with the saddler ‘Hidalgo’ we have developed the perfect trail saddle that is very comfortable and safe forboth horse and rider.
Our saddle cloths are also self-produced and hand made with the best materials, such as medical "anti-pressure sore fleece" which offers ideal conditions for our horses’ backs.
During the trails, each rider is provided with a hand crafted saddlebag, which is also made to our specification based on our trail riding experience.

Trail riding without transfers
Travel with your horse. Staying in accommodation close to your horse is our philosophy, so on all trails the horses graze nearby. No annoying transfers along winding roads. After an exciting riding day, horses and riders can rest comfortably.

Age Restriction
Accompanied by an adult, teenagers from 12 years on can join our horse riding holidays. Anyone over 16 years of age can join our horse riding holidays without being accompanied by an adult. The youth should have good riding skills. Prior agreement must be obtained. Approval from the parent or legal guardian must be provided.

Guides
The trails are carefully developed. On remote paths and lanes our friendly trail guides show you a wonderful and unknown Catalonia. The trail leaders are experienced riders and hold a trail leader license. Guides and helpers know the horses, the area and the Catalan/Spanish culture.

Itinerary

Sample-Itinerary -Subject to changes

Day 1: Pyrenees

We will meet the riders in Barcelona or Girona in the afternoon. The transfer brings us into the mountains. Deep in the Spanish Pyrenees, at the foot of the mountain range of Cavallera, there is the small mountain village of St. Joan de Abadeses. This is the starting point of our trail of bandits. During our first meal together (around 9 pm) we get to know our guide and chat about the upcoming horse riding trek.

Day 2: High mountains of the Pyrenees
The horses are saddled and we mount up. The trail weaves through a marvelous mountain landscape which appears rugged or soft depending on the season. The air is pleasantly aromatic and there is peacefulness with only the sounds of nature. High above on a mountain range a small roman church enjoys an incomparably beautiful position and invites us for a picnic. In a little mountain village we stay overnight in a cozy guesthouse, where Joan serves us the 'best' Paella.

Day 3: High plateau

We are riding to the high plateau of Collsacabra, where the merging of the north and south, Mediterranean Sea and high mountains is a very special sight. Lush meadows and dense beech forests cover the land. Ferns spread over, the jungle sprawls and seems to be impermeable. The temperatures are pleasantly cool, with springs and calm brooks refreshing us on the way. In the heart of the high plateau there is the remote but very cozy riding farm of Jordi. Here we can only hear the wind in the trees, the singing of the cicadas and the splashing of the brook. In the evening we enjoy a bandit's menu and a glass of wine at an old wooden table, while Joan tells Catalonian stories of desperadoes.

Day 4: Canyons and table mountains

Brilliantly our agile "Andalusians" climb over an overwhelming landscape. In spring and summer the deep green beech forests blink through grey rock mountains, and on the 'Indian Summer' days of Autumn the forests shimmer like gold, the ambiance reminds us of landscapes in Canada. Vast cattle meadows give us amazing views over valleys and mountains and we stop for a picnic in the open air.
After lunch speedily in trot and canter we approach the abundant table mountains. Here we see canyons and waterfalls and hear the calling of birds of prey that sail above. Like an eagle's nest the small village of Tavertet is located majestically on the edge of a table mountain, where we have a beautiful view looking down at a canyon lake that shines in a deep green below us.

Day 5: Home of Serrallonga

High on top of the edge of the table mountains we ride to the mountains of Guilleries, home of the bandit Serrallonga, the Catalonian Robin Hood.The view from the 'roof top of Catalonia' over the green mountains is unique. The evergreen and moist landscape is in contrast to the red, brown and silver grey rocks of the table mountains. At a clearing we rest and feel like 'Outlaws' from long ago, then we continue our trek through a mystical jungle like area with ferns that cover the path. At the highest point of the table mountain the monastery 'El Far' rises up majestically. It is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Catalonia. We stay here overnight and wake the next morning to the sun rising up over the sea.

Day 6: Garrotxa, Land of the volcanoes

We leave the Guilleries and emerge into the land of volcanoes. The landscape is well cultivated but also has a wildness about it. The extinct volcanoes lie there resting until the end of time. The last eruption was some thousand years ago and only the black lava and some craters remind us of the explosions. In the medieval village Santa Pau we find cozy accommodation.

Day 7: Costa Brava

We trot and canter along the brook "Ser" and leave the area of Garrotxa. The brook leads into the river "Fluvia" which points us towards the Costa Brava. Stone oaks and pines are the dominant trees here and under their pleasant shade we enjoy our "Bandalero" picnic. After a siesta, we ride at good speed towards the medieval town Besalú. Our accommodation for the last night is a hotel right next to the beautiful romantic bridge with a view over the river Fluvià and the town. Before having dinner in the enchanting garden of the restaurant, we have the possibility to stroll through the alleys of Besalú. During our farewell dinner, we discuss the adventures of our horse riding trek.

Day 8: Hasta la vista!

After breakfast (approx 9 am) we say goodbye and transfer to Girona or Barcelona.

Note: Depending of the time of year, weather conditions and national holidays, the horse riding trek can be ridden in both directions! There may be alterations to this program.


Rates and Dates for Bandalero Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations (5-6 nights in dbl room with private bath and 1-2 nights with shared bath), most meals (arrival day dinner and departure day breakfast, 3 days fullboard including wine, 3 day halfboard (dinner at restaurant not included)), 6 riding days, tax on tourist establishments, transportation of luggage, local transfers during trip.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP€1395$1675
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

Single rooms cannot always be guaranteed. If a previously confirmed single room is not available, the guest is entitled to a refund of the price paid for those nights surcharge.
Transfers only payable in cash.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Single rooms cannot always be guaranteed. If a previously confirmed single room is not available, the guest is entitled to a refund of the price paid for those nights surcharge.
Transfers only payable in cash.


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from/to Barcelona airport, return (5:30 PM, last day drop off around 12:30 PM)
- to be paid locally
120 $145
2019 Transfer from/to Girona airport, return (6:30 PM, last day drop off around 11:00 AM)
- to be paid locally
120 $145
2019 Single supplement 210 $255
2019 Meals not included in itinerary, pp (mandatory)
- to be paid locally
90 $110

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 10/06 - 10/13 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 10/20 - 10/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 10/27 - 11/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 11/03 - 11/10 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 11/10 - 11/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP 4 /12 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfers, entrance fees to Museums and Monuments, drinks/ food in bars, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, coffee at dinner, 3 dinners at restaurant (board fee €90, payable by cash at first dinner), tips for the team and other services

Other Info
Meeting: Sant Joan de les Abadesses
Airport: Barcelona
Transfer: Barcelona airport at 5:30 pm, Girona airport at 6:30 pm

Climate:
                                                    Girona area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

57

59

63

67

73

81

87

87

80

72

63

58

Average Low Temperature (°F)

35

36

40

44

51

59

63

64

58

51

42

37

Average High Temperature (°C)

14

15

17

19

23

27

30

30

27

22

17

14

Average Low Temperature (°C)

2

2

5

7

11

15

17

18

15

11

6

3

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

4

4

5

6

7

5

3

4

5

5

4

3

Source: NOAA


Seasons
The overall climate of Catalonia is similar to Southern California. It enjoys a balmy, year-round climate; not too steamy in summer and with a few cold days in winter. July and August are the warmest months and December, January and February are the coldest months.

What To Bring:
Riding Helmet/Hat

Some riding helmets are very lightweight and are vented, which means they are more comfortable in hot weather, we have a limited supply of basic helmets so we advise that you bring your own.

Riding Footwear
A pair of comfortable boots with a good grip is very important. There are boots on the market which you can use for riding but are also excellent if the terrain dictates that you walk beside your horse for a while. We recommend an ankle boot with half-leg chaps as they are a favourite for comfort both while riding and walking. In the mountains, you will need to lead your horse downhill on rocky terrain.

Riding Trousers

Riding trousers or jodhpurs together with half-leg chaps will ensure you are comfortable for long hours in the saddle. Two pairs of trousers or jodhpurs are usually enough.

Important Extras
  • Riding gloves, personal toiletries (towels are usually provided in your accommodation).
  • Each rider gets a saddle bag, in which you can stow personal things for the way. For quick access, a hip/ abdominal bag has proven itself useful, in which you can accommodate, for example, your camera. A small zoom lens ensures that the most beautiful impressions also inspire at home. For the camera, you should not forget additional batteries or the charger for the battery.
  • A headlamp could be useful, but is not essential.
  • Sun protection, this is essential and we recommend that you carry a small tube or stick with you so you can re-apply it throughout the day.
  • Plastic bags can protect your personal belongings from water damage caused by rain or river crossings.
  • Sun protection is especially important! We recommend that you also have a small bottle of sunscreen during the day so that you can freshen up the protection at any time.
  • A remedy for insects is also recommended. It should be noted that some agents have a particularly high proportion of DEET and the handling of a spray or a pen is often more pleasant than is the case with a lotion.
Medical Kit
  • It is advisable to travel with a small medical kit that includes any basic remedies you may need such as antacids, painkillers, anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, antihistamines and cold remedies. It might be wise to take anti-diarrhoea medication such as Imodium. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses you might want to take some spares.
Hot Weather
  • You will need long sleeved shirts to protect against the sun as well as a couple of cotton t- shirts.
  • Remember that the Spanish (mountain) sun is strong and you can burn quickly. Wide brimmed hats are preferable to baseball caps for sun protection at the picnic. Both sunglasses (elastic is useful to keep them in place whilst riding) and a good quality sunscreen (rated SPF15 or higher) should be used including lip salve. For those fair skinned it may be wise to take a complete sun-block.
  • A pair of flip flops, swimming costume and shorts for when you get a chance to relax. It may get chilly in the evening even on hot days, so a fleece is a must and a lightweight jacket may be useful.
  • You should be prepared for all weather conditions in the mountains as well as during spring, autumn and winter on any trail. A waterproof mac or poncho will not take up much space but may prove very handy.
Winter Riding/Cold Weather
  • For trails where the weather is inclement, it is vital that you pack correct clothing to keep you warm and dry. Silk vests and thermal underwear will be a good base followed by layers of warm clothes. A good waterproof/windproof coat will prove a good investment. Waterproof trousers and waterproof gloves are light to pack and will be invaluable if it is really wet. Plenty of socks and a spare pair of boots are a good idea.