Blue Coast Ride

Alentejo / Blue Coast Portugal: (PG-PAAC)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/portugal_blue_coast_ride.aspx

Introduction
Alentejo / Blue Coast Portugal
The Costa Azul or "the Blue Coast" is the southern stretch of Portugal’s western coastline, and is as long and beautiful as the popular Algarve. However, on the breath-taking Costa Azul there is one of the rarer deserted beaches, a place where you do not have to worry about mobs of tourists and their hustle and bustle.

Ride across old paths through the virgin landscape of southwest Portugal - through vast valleys to the Atlantic shore with rocks and dunes, inviting for a refreshing canter. Overnights are excellent in country hotels with traditional gastronomy. Experience empty sand dunes and beautiful landscape of the Blue Coast on horseback.

Magnificent horses and above average accommodation make this ride one of the top riding vacations in Europe.  If you want to experience Portugal and avoid the crowds of the Algarve, the Blue Coast is the destination for you! 
 

Accomodation


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

Description
Accommodations in 3 and 4-star lodging. Laundry facilities are available at Hotel Vila Park and Quinta da Malmerda for a small fee.

Accommodation Itinerary (South to North) - subject to changes based on availability
Nights 1-4: Casas Verdemar in Casas Novas
Night 5: Quinta de Malmerda in Santiago do Cacém
Nights 6 & 7: Hotel Vila Park near Natural Reserve of the Lagoons of Santo André and Santa Sancha



Casas Verdemar in Casas Novas
This accommodation is an old tavern that was restored in order to accommodate guests in comfortable bedrooms. Each room has air conditioning and private facilities. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a beautiful garden where guests can relax. Free Wi-Fi access is available in common areas.

Quinta de Malmerda in Santiago do Cacém
This charming farmhouse is surrounded by nature and features both an outdoor and indoor pool. All of the 12 rooms are simply decorated and feature a TV, free Wi-Fi access, air conditioning as well as a private bathroom.

Hotel Vila Park near Natural Reserve of the Lagoons of Santo André and Santa Sancha
This hotel offers modern accommodations only a few steps away from a beautiful natural reserve. The 79 rooms are all fitted a TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom with hairdryer. There is also an outdoor pool where guests can cool off after a long day riding.

Room Occupancy
If we are unable to find another rider to share the room with you, the single supplement fee does apply.



Meals
The package includes all meals and drinks at lunch time.
The meals are usually traditional Portuguese food.

Lunches are eaten on the trail and usually included grilled food.
The dinners are eaten in local restaurants or in the hotels' restaurants.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with advance notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding


Horses

You will be riding pure-bred and part-bred Lusitano Horses. The Lusitanos, which come from the same origin as the famous Andalusians, can be considered as some of the finest horses in Europe. Together with their Spanish brothers, the Lusitanos were the first horses which were brought to the New World and thus became ancestors of all American breeds. They are known for their splendid abilities and glamour performing the collected movements. You can indeed look forward to getting a mount which is not only well tempered and of a docile character but who will allow you to explore the great feeling of riding a well-trained horse.

Tack
The saddles that you will be using are mostly Portuguese Army saddles covered with sheep skin which are very comfortable and well-suited for the purpose of long distance rides. English style bridles are used.

Weight Limit
The weight limit for this ride is 85 kg / 190 lbs, but we can accept riders exceeding this weight if they are experienced (under confirmation).

Itinerary


Sample Itinerary: South to North - subject to changes

Note: This is a sample itinerary only and subject to changes at the tour operator's discretion. Riding times and distances are subject to change due to group dynamic and rider levels.

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Arrival in Lisbon and transfer at 5:30pm. We take the direction of the Cercal Mountains, approximately 200 km to the south. You will stay overnight at Casas Verdemar, a rural, renovated farmhouse. Here you can relax, and enjoy dinner and your first night in Portugal.
You will stay for four nights at Casas Verdemar, a beautifully renovated tavern with individual rooms and cottages around the gardens. There is a pool, fruit trees and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the countryside. Take your meals either on the veranda or inside in the dining room. Your hosts are Christine Nijhoff, a specialist in antiques restoration and Nuno Vilas Boas Lebreiro, artist and cook.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 2 (Monday): Meet your horse
Today for your first day’s ride you explore the mountains of Cercal. You will ride to the chapel of Nossa Senhora das Neves from where you have a splendid view of the area you have been riding through in the morning. For lunch, a delicious picnic will be prepared with grilled meats or fish with salad accompanied by fresh bread and local wine. After lunch, return to Verdemar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 3 (Tuesday): Ride to the dam
Today after breakfast you set off into the mountains of Cercal, close to the dam of Campilhas where you have lunch. The scenery is varied and interesting and after some trots and canters you return to Verdemar. Relax and enjoy the quiet of a typical ‘monte alentejano’ after a dip in the pool.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 4 (Wednesday): Visiting Vila Nova de Milfontes
Today we ride through the mountains of Cercal. We will have our usual picnic close to the hotel. The afternoon is free to visit Vila Nova de Milfontes, a fishing village close to the sea, with a very nice beach and spectacular views of the ocean. This is a great destination if you like to swim in the open ocean.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 5 (Thursday): Canter through forests
Today we ride inland enjoying many canters through eucalyptus and pine forests. After lunch in a shady place in the woods, we continue towards Quinta da Ortiga where you leave your horses before a short transfer of 30 min to your accommodation, a modern, luxury rural hotel in the vicinity of Santiago do Cacém where you will have dinner and overnight.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Quinta de Malmedra


Day 6 (Friday): Towards the ocean
Today we ride in the direction of the ocean and reach Hotel Vila Park. After lunch we pass through rice fields we continue in the direction of Melides, an area of great peace and tranquillity. The beach is about 3km away so if you have enough energy left from the day’s ride, you can enjoy a nice swim before dinner. We will stay in a nice country hotel. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Vila Park


Day 7 (Saturday): Beach ride
Today you ride to the beach. Between June 1st and September 15th, this ride is at dawn to avoid the holiday makers on the beach. It’s a beautiful ride at first light as the sun rises over the dunes. There is the possibility of a beach canter before reaching a lovely picnic spot in the pine forest where your horses rest while you may swim in the sea and after lunch. After lunch you ride through the dunes, returning to your hotel. Farewell dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Vila Park


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
After breakfast, transfer back to Lisbon and departure.
Meals included: Breakfast



Sample Itinerary: North to South - subject to changes

Note: This is a sample itinerary only and subject to changes at the tour operator's discretion. Riding times and distances are subject to change due to group dynamic and rider levels.

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival
Arrival in Lisbon and transfer at 5:30pm. You will travel to the south to the town of Melides, approximately 135kms. Settle into your room in a nice country hotel. Later at dinner you will meet your guide and learn all about the trail.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Vila Park


Day 2 (Monday): Beach ride
Today you meet your horse and ride towards the beach. Between June 1st and September 15th, this ride is at dawn to avoid the holiday makers on the beach. It’s a beautiful ride at first light as the sun rises over the dunes. If everyone is comfortable and secure on their horses, then there is the possibility of a gallop or canter on the beach before reaching a lovely picnic spot in the pine forest where your horses rest while you may swim in the sea and later have lunch. For lunch, a delicious picnic will be prepared with grilled meats or fish with salad accompanied by fresh bread and local wine. After lunch, you ride through the dunes, returning to the hotel. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Vila Park


Day 3 (Tuesday): Ride past the lagoon
Today you ride in the direction of Santiago do Cacém, past the Santo André Lagoon. In this beautiful place you may see flamingos and storks. Ride past the rice fields of the area, which in late summer prior to harvest are an astonishing colour of green. Stop for a picnic in the pine tree forest.
After lunch you continue towards the Quinta da Ortiga where we will stable the horses. A short transfer of 30 min takes you to your hotel, a modern, luxury rural hotel, where you have dinner and spend the night.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Quinta de Malmedra


Day 4 (Wednesday): Climbing the mountain
Today you continue to ride southwards towards Cercal, always with the sea in sight. Climbing the mountain through the ‘montados’ you ride through one of the last unexploited regions of Portugal.
In the afternoon you arrive at your accommodation at Casas Verdemar. This is a beautifully renovated tavern with individual rooms and cottages around the gardens. There is a pool, fruit trees and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the countryside. Take your meals either on the veranda or inside in the dining room. Your hosts are Christine Nijhoff, a specialist in antiques restoration and Nuno Vilas Boas Lebreiro, artist and cook.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 5 (Thursday): Visit to Vila Nova de Milfontes
Today you have a morning ride exploring the fields around the farm and trails into the mountains of Cercal. The afternoon is free to visit the fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes which is a popular seaside resort in the summer months. There is time for shopping, sightseeing or relaxing on the beach.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 6 (Friday): Exploring the area around the dam
Today after breakfast you set off into the mountains of Cercal, close to the dam of Campilhas where you have lunch. The scenery is varied and interesting and after some trots and canters you return to Verdemar. Relax and enjoy the quiet of a typical ‘monte alentejano’ after a dip in the pool.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 7 (Saturday): Up towards the chapel
For your last day’s ride you continue exploring the mountains of Cercal. You will ride to the chapel of Nossa Senhora das Neves from where you have a splendid view of the surrounding area. After lunch, you return to Verdemar. Farewell dinner at Casas Verdemar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Casas Verdemar


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
After breakfast, transfer back to Lisbon and departure.
Meals included: Breakfast


Non Riders
Non-riding companions are welcome to join this trip. It is best to have a car in order to do some sightseeing while the rest of the group explores on horseback.


Rates and Dates for Blue Coast Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, 6 riding days, Transfers & Luggage transfers

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20228 day trip, AP - North to South€1590$1910
  • B
    20228 day trip, AP - South to North€1590$1910
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2022 Transfer from Lisbon airport at 5:30 PM included 0 $0
2022 Small group supplement (3pax) +25% pp 0 $0
2022 Small group supplement (4pax) +10% pp 0 $0
2022 Single supplement 540 $650

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 03/20 - 03/27 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - North to So... 5 /10 Reserve
B 2022 03/27 - 04/03 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - South to No... 5 /10 Reserve
A 2022 04/10 - 04/17 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - North to So... 5 /10 Reserve
B 2022 04/17 - 04/24 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - South to No... 5 /10 Reserve
A 2022 05/29 - 06/05 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - North to So... 5 /10 Reserve
B 2022 06/05 - 06/12 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - South to No... 5 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/11 - 09/18 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - North to So... 5 /10 Reserve
B 2022 09/18 - 09/25 8d / 7n 8 day trip, AP - South to No... 5 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages at dinner or from from bar & Gratuities

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Blue Coast Ride (PG-PAAC):

If your booking is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible to postpone your trip to a later date.

We will re-evaluate the situation for each ride, 1 month before the scheduled departure.


For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Cercal (N) / Melides (S)
Airport: Lisbon
Transfer: From Lisbon included at 5:30 p.m.

Climate:
                                    Santiago do Cacém‎‎ area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

58

59

62

65

69

74

75

77

75

71

63

59

Average Low Temperature (°F)

46

46

49

51

54

58

60

61

60

58

51

48

Average High Temperature (°C)

14

15

17

18

21

23

24

25

24

22

17

15

Average Low Temperature (°C)

8

8

9

11

12

15

15

16

16

14

11

9

Source: NOAA
 

Seasons
The temperature along the coast is very pleasant for riding. However, be prepared for quick showers, which may occasionally occur.
In the months of February, March, October and November. It is advisable to bring some protection against rain and a pullover or other type of warm cloth for the evenings. In the summer months it is advisable to have a hat for protection against the sun (if you don’t use a riding helmet).

Spring
Daytime temperature ranges between 12° and 20° C with many sunny days. Possibility of rain

Summer:
Daytime temperature ranges between 22° and 28° C with many hot, sunny days.

Autumn:
Daytime temperature ranges between 17° and 22° C, with many sunny days. Possibility of rain.

What To Bring:
During the ride informal attire prevails. Either English or Western riding gear is acceptable, although since tack is English style, we feel that breeches and high boots are most comfortable for the long hours in the saddle. And even though it is not required, we recommend a riding helmet. For those of you who wish to ride in jeans we highly recommend chaps or leggings. Casual sportswear is appropriate for the evenings. Do bring a sweater and jacket for the cooler evenings. There are no saddle bags available but the riders will be met at picnic time every day by the car transporting the luggage. We do recommend that you obtain a belt pack to carry your valuables and other small items during the ride. Regular film can be obtained locally but special sizes may not be available, so bring plenty. Do not forget swimsuit and towel. When traveling in Europe it is always a good idea to bring a bar of soap since not all hotels supply it. We also like to carry along some leather thongs for tying things to the saddle. We recommend that you take two different suitcases/bags in order to leave all clothes which are not being used during the trail at the starting point of the trek; and only take the absolutely necessary equipment, while on the ride. This bag will be transported by the jeep from one stopover to the next.
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

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

 

RIDING GEAR
Cotton shirts with long sleeves (protection against the sun!)
Riding pants or Jodhpurs (used if possible!)
Riding boots + Minichaps
Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strap) for sun protection
Rain coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Jogging suit / Pyjama
Light summer jacket
Comfortable shoes/sneakers
Swimsuit and towel
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra films
Small bag to buckle on (for small items needed during the ride)
Spur straps (to tie sweater or parka onto the saddle)
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Flash light