Ride and Swim

Catalonia Spain: (IT-SPCA04)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_catalonia_ride_swim_catalonia.aspx

Introduction
Catalonia Spain
A Special trail from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Sea with daily opportunities to swim in fresh water lakes, rivers and finally in the salt water sea. On one day we can even swim with our horses. We pass through deep stone oak and pine forests on secluded paths, where we find our first pool deep within the Mediterranean forest, where a waterfall splashes from high above. The atmosphere reminds us of Costa Rica. On long canters we pass through the valley of the river Fluvia up to the foot hills of the Pyrenees. Here we enter deep into a mixed forest providing shade. At the mountain stream Manol we again discover a huge pool - perfect for swimming! Deeper and deeper we ride into the nature reserve of Garrotxa and then descend to the most beautiful natural pool in the Pre-Pyrenees, with turquoise and crystal clear river water, where we swim and have a picnic! Following high paths with beautiful views of the Mediterranean, we come to a new vegetation zone - chestnut and cork oak forests cover the mountains here. In the middle of the Pyrenees we stay overnight in the pretty wooden houses of Can Roquet. We take a dip in the pool and while we are having our evening meal on the terrace, we have a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The next day our swim will be in a mountain lake and it's a dream comes true - we can go for a swim with the horses! The next day we quickly trot through a soft hilly landscape with its broad forests and meadows. The sweet-smelling pine forest and the soil with a tinge of red remind us of Arizona. In front of us, the plateau of the Alt Emporda opens.  The next day we reach the Mediterranean. Our strong Andalusian horses manage the mountains easily and in the afternoon, we descend to the picturesque fisherman's bay. We have reached salt water and can have a swim in the sea! On the terrace of the hotel we conclude the wonderful trail with good wine and a delicious meal.

Highlights of the trip
- Trail riding in Catalonia from mountains to sea! 
- Crystal clear mountain streams – a picnic each day next to water
- A unique experience: swimming with the horses
- Riding through silvery cork forests
- Fantastically long canters in the wide valley 
- Swimming in salty and fresh air
- Breathtaking panoramic views of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea 

Accomodation


Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so nights will be spent in different locations. You will be staying in 5 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. 1-3 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: Crespià
Night 2: Beuda
Night 3 & 4: Sant Llorenç de la Muga
Night 5: Darnius
Night 6: Llançà

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, 2 days halfboard with wine). Two lunches or 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 strong 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.  
On rare occasions, we have to lead our horses, so you need suitable footwear.

Riding Terrain
Along the rivers, you will ride through the Mediterranean Pre-Pyrenees to the Mediterranean Sea. The trail includes mountainous and flat terrain in the valleys and plains. On two of the days the horses have to be led by us. Comfortable walking shoes are very helpful for approximately 30-minute descents.

Pace
Over five days, you will spend between 5-7 hours in the saddle and on one day we ride for 4 hours.
The riding pace is very mixed. Lively canters and interesting climbing with the horses gives this trail ride a sporty character for active riders.
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 for both 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: Arrival – Masia Catalana
Arrival in Barcelona or Girona and transfer to Hostal Nou, a beautiful country hotel. Depending on the season you may stay at an alternative guesthouse of a similar standard nearby. A delicious evening meal around 9:00pm and overnight stay with views of the surroundings. The unique light transforms the surroundings into a picturesque painting!

Day 2: Catalan Jungle
From the Mas Alba horse farm, we ride along secluded paths through dense peaks and pine forests. A soothing peace surrounds us - our trail riding holiday can begin! Deep in the forest we discover tropical vegetation, like in a jungle. The atmosphere reminds us of Costa Rica. In the floodplains of the river Fluvia, we discover under shady tress a lovely prepared lunch table with Catalan delicacies. Cold Cava is served and afterwards you can relax during a “siesta”.
Our way takes us through the wide valley of the river Fluvia with a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains of Catalonia. In the afternoon, we reach a nice schoolhouse, a small paradise at the foot of the Catalan Pyrenees. Who wants to jump into the swimming pool?

Day 3: Pyrenees
Along the Catalan Pyrenean coast, we dive deep into a shady mixed forest. In a lonely valley, a small mountain stream splatters peacefully. We have a bathe! - A jump into the luminous water pool refreshes us and after the from the Mediterranean sun heated rocks warm us up. We have a delicious saddle bag picnic near to the wild river!
Our Spanish horses climb hard and confidently over a pass with a magnificent panorama view on the high peaks of the Pyrenees. We stay near a pretty mountain village on the edge of the river Muga. You will be impressed by David's culinary art!

Day 4: Swimming with the horses
Today we want to bathe in a lake! We cross a cork oak forest that disperses a silvery light. The sandy ground invites us to canter fast, and soon we will have reached our bathing spot. A dream comes true. We can go swimming with the horses!
After the picnic, we ride along a high pass. The view of the lake and the sea is marvelous. Our accommodation for tonight is situated in an enchanting village. We stay in a comfortable family-run guest house from the 16th Century. The friendly hosts prepare us a delicious dinner with salad and vegetables from their own garden.

Day 5: Muga River & thermal springs
Today we get up early. The landscape is dominated by ancient olive trees and vineyards. We are impressed by the beautiful light. Later, we encounter the river “Muga“ with its icy water. Thermal water accumulates within a secluded section of the river. Here we go swimming!
After lunch, we reach a medieval town. Surrounded by old castle walls is our rural inn. At the end of the day, we enjoy delicious Catalan delicacies and drink the Catalan dessert wine "Garnatxa" in a typical village bar! Salut!

Day 6: Riding to the sea
Our Andalusian horses cross the coastal mountains of Rodas with ease. We descend to a picturesque bay on the Wild Coast to reach the beach! We swim in the saltwater and taste the salt on our skin!
After our break by the sea, we arrive at our hotel. Bizarre rock formations along the Costa Brava dive sharply into the sea. The view of the turquoise blue, shimmering Mediterranean Sea is terrific.
Up on the terrace of a restaurant near the beach, we enjoy a delicious fish dish with good wine and let this wonderful trail finish in style.

Day 7: Hasta la vista
Breakfast at 9:00am, then transfer to the airports

Note: This itinerary is a general guideline and in order to offer our customers the best riding holiday experience we often makes changes. Depending on the season, the weather and national holidays, we may make alterations to itineraries at short-notice. Trails can be ridden in both directions. We endeavour to ensure that our high standards of quality are maintained and reflected in the alternatives we choose.

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Dates where the trail is run in reverse in 2020:
June 13-19
July 5-11
July 19-25
July 26 - August 1
August 10-16
August 22-28
September 6-12


Rates and Dates for Ride and Swim

Rates include:

Accommodations (3-5 nights in dbl room with private bath and 1-3 nights with shared bath), most meals (arrival day dinner and departure day breakfast, 3 days fullboard, 2 days halfboard), wine with some meals, 5 riding days, tax on tourist establishments, transportation of luggage, local transfers during the trail

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20207 day trip, AP€1290$1485
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.15

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$
2020 Transfer from/to Barcelona airport, return (5:30 PM, last day drop off around 12:30 PM)
- to be paid locally
120 $145
2020 Transfer from/to Girona, return (6:30 PM, last day drop off around 11:00 AM)
- to be paid locally
90 $105
2020 Bringing your own car, per car
- to be paid locally
60 $70
2020 Single supplement 180 $210
2020 Meals not included in itinerary, pp (mandatory)
- to be paid locally
80 $95

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 06/07 - 06/13 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 06/13 - 06/19 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 06/21 - 06/27 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 06/27 - 07/03 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 07/05 - 07/11 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 07/13 - 07/19 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 07/19 - 07/25 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 07/26 - 08/01 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 08/03 - 08/09 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 08/10 - 08/16 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 08/16 - 08/22 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 08/22 - 08/28 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 08/31 - 09/06 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve
A 2020 09/06 - 09/12 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Airport transfers, entrance fees to museums and monuments, 2 lunches or dinners at restaurant (board fee €60, payable by cash at first dinner), drinks and food in bars, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, coffee at dinner, gratuities.

Other Info
Meeting: Crespià
Airport: Barcelona, Girona
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.