Mountain & Coast Ride

Catalonia Spain: (IT-SPCA05)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_catalonia_mountain_coast.aspx

Introduction
Catalonia Spain
A circular trail that takes you up the Catalan Pyrenees and down to the Mediterranean Sea, where you can enjoy an incredible gallop on Roses Beach. With our magnificent horses, we ride through the fantastic nature of the Alt Empordà with its Mediterranean forests, stunning coastline and long sandy beaches.

Discover the little medieval villages, like Báscara or Crespià. Pass by wheat fields, poppies and sunflowers. Discover pine forests and cork trees, filled with aromatic herbs to arrive at the end of the Pyrenees, where the mountains meet the sea. We leave the foothills of the Pyrenees and ride through the Alvera wine growing region: olive groves and vineyards, intense natural beauty. We leave the mountains behind us because the rolling plains of the Empordà region are waiting for us, and at the end, in the long curve of the Bay of Roses, miles of beach gallop! We continue along the coastline, enjoying the sea, the cliffs and the breeze, to return to Can Muní through fields and fruit trees.

Coast, beach and Catalan Pyrenees... a perfect formula to enjoy your holidays with excellent horses.

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride so you will be staying in different locations each night. There is full cell overage along the routes.

Accommodation Itinerary
Night 1 & 7: Farmhouse in Llabià  
Night 2: Can Sort near Vilaur
Night 3: Mas Jonquer in Vilanant
Night 4: Can Xiquet Hotel in Cantallops
Night 5: Mas Vivent in Vilamaniscle
Night 6: Mas del Mar in Sant Pere Pescador


Meals
All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on your last day are included. Breakfast is enjoyed at the hotel. We will have a picnic for lunch, including local homemade food and drinks (including wine). As for dinners, they will be in the hotels where we sleep and always include a Catalan or Spanish home-made food including water and wine.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions if given prior notice.

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

Riding

Riding Experience
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 fairly fit and riding regularly.
Participants are expected to ride 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 tack up their own horses. Our guides will show you how if you are unfamiliar and will double check that tack is properly placed every day before you ride.

Horses
We currently have 21 horses. They are all kept together as a herd so have developed a close bond. They are Andalusians and Spanish-Arabian crossbreds, well-trained and cared for. We work with them daily by techniques of natural dressage and Parelli to improve horse-rider communication and thus ensure a good development of the trail.
The horses naturally adapts well to the rhythm of a trail ride, traveling up to 30km a day from place to place as a wild herd would do when looking for food and water. A great deal of time has been spent selecting and training the horses for these trekking routes. Not too boisterous to be difficult for lower level riders, yet with enough spark to make an enjoyable ride to experienced riders.

Pace
We spend on average 5-7 hours on horseback per day (6 riding days total). The pace is moderate with plenty of opportunities to canter and gallop.

Weight Limit
Max 90 kg (~200lbs). We reserve the right to exceptionally check on riders weigh. Riders far over this weigh will not be able to ride.

Guides
We have 4 guides (1 per every 8 riders) who have the necessary qualifications and experience guiding groups and horses. Guides are first aid trained and always carry a first aid kit with them. Our guides are all fluent in English. If you are interested in another language, do not hesitate to ask. We may have a German or French speaking guide available.
Guides always carry a mobile phone while riding and coverage is available throughout the route.

Note: A travel insurance is required to take part in this trip!

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary 2019 - subject to changes

Day 1: Welcome!
Make your way to our farmhouse, a typical agricultural Catalan property. It is located in a middle of Baix Empordà, just a few kilometres to the beach. The environment, the pool, the meadow and the landscape procure a lovely ambience. We will go through the week’s program and we will have the chance to talk to our guides about our expectations, horse experience, etc., so they will be able to give the right horse to every rider.

Day 2: Riding with Emotions
Today the route will leads us to Can Muni, where we will pass orchards in the area of Ter by following the river. A low landscape that will give us the opportunity to enjoy exciting races of gallop while enjoying the nature’s silence and riding across the narrow streets of all the small cities chiselled in stone. The only thing that we hear is the sound of the horse’s hooves.  
Pace: Long and fast speed in the morning

Day 3: To the Mountains
We will start our journey from Can Muni to visit a country characterized by lots of small traditional villages as well as by many pine and oak forests. On this trail, we will ride alternately on trot and gallop. We arrive at Pontos, at the “Tower of the Angel" for a sitting down picnic lunch. Later we proceed our journey to arrive at Vilanant. Once we arrive there, we will spend the night in an antique property that has belonged to the count Rocaberti.
Pace: morning slower pace + afternoon including the chance of a 10-minute long canter

Day 4: Crossing the Pyrenees
This is when we start our mountain adventure, because today we will commence to climb up the Pyrenees. But first we will have the chance to practise long races of gallop. The route flows across a region with lots of old wine-growing areas, olive groves, and rustic buildings. We continue our journey by following the old trail of the Muga River, discovering forests at the bank as well as flood plains. Nearby the river we will have a cowboy picnic and if the weather is kind with us we will take a refreshing bath thus we have the possibility to relax for a while. In the evening we will proceed to the mountains crossing many regions full of beauty marked with small villages to arrive at Cantallops which is located at the Mediterranean Pyrenees. There one of the best hotels that you would find in the Mediterranean Pyrenees will welcome us.  
Pace: medium speed

Day 5: Alt Empordà
The route flows across the Mediterranean Pyrenees where the mountains meet the sea; there is a spectacular landscape which shows us, step by step, the beauty of the Empordà. Today we will gallop less and go more on foot. We will pass the Pyrenees on foot until we get to see the sea. In the meantime, the cork oaks, which are perfectly cautious, will accompany us. We will pass by the castle of Recasens an impressive fortress of the 11th Century that, as the years passed, has been renovated. At the peak of the mountain we will have a small cowboy picnic and afterwards we will descend to the most oriental part of the Pyrenees, where we will have one of the most beautiful views above the coast of Cap de Creus. We will spend the night in a small hotel with traditional architecture, where we will have a reinforcing dinner. 
Pace: Slow speed in the morning and medium speed in the afternoon

Day 6: The Beach
Today we leave the mountains and move to the beautiful plain of Empordà, because today’s programme will lead us to the beach! We will gallop across vineyards and olive groves and pass small towns like Garriguella, Perelada and Vilanova de la Muga. We will have a lunch break in Castello de Empuries, a small city that used to be the old capital of Empordà so preserves a rich medieval past that we will discover in every single small corner and square of this town. In the evening we will ride in a fast gallop to Mas de Mar, an antique house at the beach of Sant Pere Pescador.
Pace: fast day with long canters

Day 7: Baix Empordà
We arrive at the beach! Our horses gallop through the arena thus we are able to hear how the sound barrier is going to break. Later we arrive at L’Escala and continue our journey the Montgrí Massif, a mountainous zone that separates Alt Empordà from Baix Empordà, two areas that remain very well protected. We will have a break for a sitting down picnic at the entrance of the protected area of the dunes and the Medes Islands.
Its rocky reef sinks into the Mediterranean and creates spectacular landscapes, with a large horizon that spreads above the Mediterranean. Thanks to its protection, some very important sorts of fauna were able to grow in this landscape. After this, we will descend to reach again our farmhouse in Llabià. 
Pace: beach + afternoon fast canters through the dunes

Day 8. Goodbye / Hasta Pronto
After spending a wonderful vacation together with our horses, the time to say goodbye has come. We hope to welcome you again very soon !

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Sample Itinerary 2020 - subject to changes

Day 1: Welcome!
Make your way to our farmhouse, a typical agricultural Catalan property. It is located in a middle of Baix Empordà, just a few kilometres to the beach. The environment, the pool, the meadow and the landscape procure a lovely ambience. We will go through the week’s program and we will have the chance to talk to our guides about our expectations, horse experience, etc., so they will be able to give the right horse to every rider.

Day 2: Ride to Can Sort
After a good breakfast, we meet with the horses, tack them, and we go for our first ride. We will leave towards the interior, crossing the alluvial zone of the Ter River: the main artery of this territory that facilitates the irrigation of the fields of fruit trees, corn and cereals. We will pass along Sant Iscle d'Empordà, a typical example of construction of settlements in elevated areas. The most arid terrain awaits us once we have crossed the river. We have lunch in Colomers, close to the river, before making our way to Can Sort. The terrain is ideal to get to know our travel companions. After leaving our friends at the paddock, we can rest and taste the delicacies that Cristina will prepare for us.

Day 3: Ride through History
After a good night’s sleep and a tasty breakfast, we are ready to go. Today's route runs between farmlands and forests, passing through several towns of historical interest. We arrive in Bascara, where there are writings dating from the 9th century. Later on, we pass the river Fluvià and cross Pontós with its archaeological site of the 6th century. We will stop in Torre del Ángel, a historic tower from where we will enjoy a panoramic view. Here, with the horses in the shade of the pines, we will take a delicious meal, nap and rest before continuing on our way to our accommodation for the day.

Day 4: Ride to Cantallops
Today’s route takes us between vineyards and olive trees. We go north, passing through Vilanant and Llers, until we reach the Muga River, in a small dam with waterfall. If weather allows, we can bathe with the horses (the water is always very fresh!). We enjoy a good meal in the shade of some willow tree, and after some well-deserved rest, we continue towards Capmany. In the evening, we arrive in Cantallops (dry stone buildings listed as a world heritage site). From the hotel, we can see the bay of Rosas and treat ourselves to a relaxing massage (reservation required – not included in the package). Tonight we have a typical dinner.

Day 5: Mediterranean Pyrenees
Today a beautiful mountain route awaits us through the Sierra de la Albera. During the first section we will pass near the impressive castle of Requesens (from the 11th century) now fully restored.
We marvel at the landscape of the Mediterranean Pyrenees, and go on tracks between cork oaks and holm oaks with intermittent views of the sea. We will stop in an enchanted village to replenish energy and rest a little. In the afternoon, the trail will be going across vineyards and olive trees.
We reach Vilamaniscle, where we can see high above the ruins of an old castle. As we are in a wine production area, we will allow ourselves to make a tasting in a “Celler”. Then, in the evening, we enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Chef Montse.

Day 6: Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park
We leave the Pyrenees behind to go to the beach. We can still see by olive trees and vineyards all around us, giving life to villages. Once we reach Garriguella, the terrain becomes flatter and we can increase our pace until we reach Castello d'Empuries. We will pass by Vilanova de The Muga where we will have lunch by the Muga River. We rest under the trees if there is a lot of sun or on the shores of the river if we want to be under the sun. Then, we move on to Castelló d'Empúries and visit this place full of history. The city retains many vestiges of the medieval period. After our visit, we will continue to our destination: the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park. Once in installed in our hotel, we can take a walk to the beach to feel the sea breeze while we wait for dinner.

Day 7: Ride back to the farmhouse
Today will be our last full day together.  We will start early so that just when the sun rises we are on the beach. On horseback, next to the sea and with the sun's rays peeking over the horizon, the indescribable feeling of freedom will take us to Sant Martí d'Empúries, where we will stop to shower the horses and have a good breakfast. We will then continue towards the majestic massif of Montgrí. These mountains will have watched us throughout our entire route from the Alt del Baix Empordà. After contemplating the panoramic view at the top, we will cross to reach the southern face, where we will find beautiful views over the Medes Islands, the Ter River and the Gavarres in the background.
We continue to our farmhouse, where we will arrive just in time to eat.

Day 8. Departure Day 
After spending a wonderful vacation together with our horses, the time to say goodbye has come. We hope to welcome you again very soon !

Note: Sometimes changes can be made to the program (always under the responsibility and trust of our guides), due to weather conditions, and / or exceptional situations that are beyond our control.


Rates and Dates for Mountain & Coast Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, meals, 6 riding days, tourist tax
Non-riders: breakfast, dinner, and accommodations included, but must bring own car.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day Trip, AP (High)€1355$1625
  • B
    20198 day Trip, AP (Low)€1165$1400
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

Beach Rides are not possible during the high season (July to September)
No single supplement if willing to share.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

Beach Rides are not possible during the high season (July to September)
No single supplement if willing to share.


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from Barcelona airport (6:00pm), pp, return 170 $205
2019 Transfer from Girona airport (7:30pm), pp, return 70 $85
2019 Single supplement (if requested) 250 $300
2019 Non-rider rate, pp (half board - sharing room with rider) 595 $715
2019 Discount for children from ages 12-17 years- please inquire 0 $0
2019 Small group supplement (3 pax), pp 180 $215
2019 Private transfer from Barcelona, per car (up to 4 pax), one way 245 $295
2019 Private transfer from Girona, per car (up to 4 pax), one way 85 $105

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 09/21 - 09/28 8d / 7n 8 day Trip, AP (High) 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 09/29 - 10/06 8d / 7n 8 day Trip, AP (High) 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 10/05 - 10/12 8d / 7n 8 day Trip, AP (High) 4 /12 Expired
A 2019 10/19 - 10/26 8d / 7n 8 day Trip, AP (High) 4 /12 Expired
B 2019 11/02 - 11/09 8d / 7n 8 day Trip, AP (Low) 4 /12 Expired

Dates Note:
Ask about custom tour dates between March to November

Rates do not include:

Non rider rates do not include lunches. Single travellers: No single supplement if willing to share. Transfers from Barcelona airport, train or coach station. Extra drinks.

Other Info
Meeting: Llabià
Airport: Girona
Transfer: Barcelona airport or Girona airport

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:
*Send us a copy your travel insurance policy - with your reservation (or shortly after). All non-insured riders will not be allowed on the trail -- bring along a copy as well
  • Helmets are mandatory and available to borrow but we highly recommend bringing your own if possible; there is no guarantee otherwise for your fit and comfort!
  • We recommend wearing jodhpurs, as these protect your legs from soreness of jean seams, and you will find a light-weight, cotton pair the most comfortable during the summer months.  You may want to bring two pairs.
  • Your riding boots should have a sole with a safe tread and be comfortable for walking, as you are certain to lead your horse on some occasions.  Paddock boots and half-chaps are the most flexible combination for comfort and leg protection than tall riding boots.
  • A long-sleeved shirt for protection against the sun and against scratches when riding through undergrowth.
  • A light cotton scarf can help to avoid breathing in too much dust in dry areas.
  • Bring sunglasses, also to protect your eyes from dust.
  • We strongly recommend bringing a water-bottle which can be refilled en-route; these can be carried in the saddle-bags provided.
  • Rain gear suitable for riding should be carried along, particularly during the months from November through April. It is essential that you bring good wet weather gear.  Although it rains very little, when it does it is normally a heavy downpour, consequently a jacket or cape and waterproof trousers are a good idea.
  • Good sun protection - gloves, sunscreen, and hat with a chin strap, sunglasses with straps!
  • A swimsuit, towel, shorts, and a windbreaker should also be taken. 
  • A belt pack in which to carry your camera and other small valuables during the ride is handy.
  • Attire on the ride daytime and evening, is strictly informal throughout, though if you are planning to visit other cities on your own later you may wish to bring dressier evening clothing.
  • Regular film can be obtained locally, but special sizes may not be available - bring plenty.  And make sure you have plentiful batteries.
  • It is a good idea to bring your own soap, since not all the hotels supply it.
Don’t forget your Passport!
 
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