Kingdom of Castile Ride

Central Spain Spain: (IT-SPGRE1)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_gredos_castile_horseback_riding_tour.aspx

Introduction
Central Spain Spain
Once upon a time the Kingdom of Castile was a medieval kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula; today it is known as a historical plot of central Spain. The kingdom emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century and this ride explores the territory that was once developed and patrolled by nobles and peasants on horseback: the breathtaking region of the Gredos Mountains. The varied terrain is a delight to be discovered on the back of our equine friends: the northern side of the Sierra de Gredos is a rugged terrain and home to fast flowing rivers that run through small farming villages while the southern side offers a soft and warm landscape dotted with orchards and vineyards. Wildlife in this area includes mountain goats (an icon of the Gredos Mountain), black and griffin vultures, and golden and imperial eagles. Gredos is a classically privileged and austere area conditioned by northern winds and situated in a clear, crisp altitude. Here, rocks mix with prairies protected by pine forests, creating an ideal location for horseback treks. The tranquility, silence of the mountains, and clean air combine with excellent horses and knowledgeable guides to create an idyllic riding destination. This trip enjoys long canters across pine forests, crossing rivers of crystalline waters and tasty lunches to not only provide sustenance but satisfy the taste buds. All these factors add up to create wonderful days in the saddle. The horses are of pure Hispano-Arab descent and are beautiful and noble: they maintain the excellent character like the Andalusians as well as the fortitude of the Arabs. Every evening, we come to a small and charming rural hotel where we enjoy the exquisite Castilian local gastronomy. Some nights will be spent in paradores - historic noble houses restored to high end hotels.

We offer 4 different itineraries throughout the season:
A. Four Valleys of Gredos
B. Castles of Gredos Mountains
C. Pristine Waters of Gredos
D. Gredos to Salamanca Ride

Accomodation

We choose the best lodgings in the area: comfortable, charming, picturesque, rustics, luxurious!

At the end of day we will return to our comfortable bedrooms with private baths before sitting down for a tasty dinner. Each hotel along the way will have a field where the horses stay the night. We only have to glance across the landscape to check up on them.

Most overnights are at charming rural hotels where we enjoy the exquisite regional cuisine, known for its tendency to be gourmet. We will also experience modern hotels, built in the traditional European style, located in areas of outstanding beauty.

Riding

Option A: Gredos to Salamanca Ride - 6 riding days (approx. 180 km total).
Option B: Castles of Gredos Mountains - 5 or 6 riding days (approx. 150-180 km total).
Option C: Valleys of Gredos - 5 riding days (approx. 150 km total).
Option D: Pristine Waters of Gredos - 5 riding days (approx. 150 km total).

Riding Schedule
On a normal day, we start riding at 10am, after a well-deserved rest and a good breakfast. Participants are encouraged in helping with the preparation of the horses. Usually, we need to catch the horses from the fields where they have spent the night, feed them, brush them and saddle them up before breakfast.
In the morning, you will ride about 4 hours with a short tapas-break (Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, olives, nuts, etc. and something to drink) in the middle of the morning (usually around noon). After the break, we ride to the lunch place. A luxury picnic is waiting for us in the quietest and most beautiful spot. The stop for lunch is about 2 hours long, with time to enjoy the pic-nic and little siesta after lunch.
In the afternoon, we ride for about 2 hours until we get to our accommodation.

Riding Experience
These trips have been designed for intermediate to experienced riders. You should be comfortable at the walk, trot and canter, in group, in open spaces and your seat should be firm. On the rides, you will be riding for between four to seven hours a day so it is important to be as riding fit as possible.

Pace
The overall pace of riding is moderate with walk, trots and canters mostly every day. Usually, when the terrain allows for a safe canter, we canter. In the mountains, in many areas the terrain does not allow for trotting or cantering so we enjoy walking with breathtaking views around.
The distance covered on the average is 25-35 km per day. We usually spend about 6 hours in the saddle every riding day.

Tack
We use fine quality English saddles and silicon seat saver. All the tack is in excellent conditions, very comfortable for horses and riders. You have small saddlebags in front of the saddles for a water bottle, sunscreen, camera, mobile, etc.

Support Vehicle
A support van follows the group during the whole week, meeting us in the morning, for tapas-breaks, lunches, at night and to move your luggage. This means you have access to your luggage at least 3 times a day.

Horses
We currently have 21 horses: 14 PRE, 4 Pure Hispano-Arab, 1 Anglo-Arab and 2 Crossed (hispano-bretón, hispano-lusitano).
Our horses are responsive, well behave, good natured and serene thanks to the natural horsemanship method used to train them.
Most of our horses were born and bred at home while others have been with us since they were foals.
They live in freedom as a herd, eating, drinking, sleeping and traveling together in the most natural way possible.
They live in a huge pine forest (500 ha) in the Gredos Mountains or in the rich pastures in the Dehesas of Extremadura. They keep fit as they can walk around 20 km every day. They live with other groups of animals including other horses, donkeys, cows and also wild animals such as wolves, roe deer, deer, wild boar, foxes.

Staff
Emilio and Mamen (both born in Gredos Mountains) will be personally escorting you on these trips. Emilio will happily guide you across the trails, while Mamen will be preparing delicious meals and pic-nics.
Emilio has been working in equestrian tourism for over 30 years and he dedicated his whole life to his horses. He speaks English and Spanish.

Age Restrictions
There is no upper age limit, as long as you are riding fit and healthy. The minimum riding age is 10 years old (competent riders only), accompanied by an adult.

Travel Insurance
It is mandatory to take a travel insurance for this trip! If you come from Europe, you should bring the European Health card, this gives you access to Spanish health care.

Non-Riders
Non-riding companions are welcome to join this trip. They can travel in the support car and join in meals, dinners and others activities, or if they wish, they can rent a car and move on their own, joining the group for dinner.

Itinerary

In 2020, we offer 4 different itineraries:

A. Gredos to Salamanca Ride

B. Castles of Gredos Mountains

C. Four Valleys of Gredos

D.
Pristine Waters of Gredos

 

A. Gredos to Salamanca Ride (2020) - 8 days / 7 nights / 6 riding days (progressive ride)

Day 1: Madrid - Navarredonda de Gredos

Meet at Madrid airport and transfer to Navarredonda (2 hours’ drive) with a break in Avila for a short visit (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Enjoy your welcome dinner at the hotel with us in Navarredonda de Gredos.

Day 2: Navarredonda de Gredos – Angostura de Tormes
Distribution of horses. Following the Tormes River at the bottom of the valley. Tapas for a short break. Lunch stop. Riding in the afternoon downhill along the river valley to Angostura de Tormes.  Horses spend the night at the village and transfer for accommodation to El Barco de Ávila hotel. Dinner at hotel.

Day 3: Angostura de Tormes-Barco de Avila – Becedas
In the morning, we will go through cattle trails. Lunch by the Tormes River, beside the medieval bridge (14th c.) and in the shade of a 14th c. church in El Barco de Ávila. Then in the afternoon we will ride to Sierra de Bejar and Becedas, the last village in Avila province where the horses spend the night. We transfer the riders to the same hotel than the night before in Barco de Ávila.
Dinner and night at the hotel.

Day 4: Becedas - Candelario
This day is a short day ride from Becedas to Candelario. We will go through villages of peculiar feature.
In the afternoon, visit of Candelario, a picturesque village (one of the most beautiful in Spain). Walk up the steep streets, and walk along the channels that collect the water from the mountains - magnificent, examples of architecture in this town.
Dinner and overnight at charming rural Inn “Artesa”, in the center of the town. Accommodation and an excellent restaurant where you can taste the most traditional Castilian cuisine.
Riding 4 hours

Day 5: Candelario - Neila de San Miguel - Guijo de Avila
Northward to Salamanca through Puerto de la Hoya we will get to Neila de San Miguel and stop for tapas at the unique church in a Celtic location (Cerro del Berrueco). Lunch at Medinilla. In the afternoon, the landscape is open and flat and we will reach the Cañada Soriana Occidental one of the main cattle path in Spain.
We will spend the night at Guijo de Avila at a rural complex in a very comfortable cabins, with a nice views of the Tormes River.
Riding 6.5 hours.

Day 6: Guijo de Avila – Horcajo Medianero
We will cross the river Tormes by Santa teresa´s dam a huge water reservoir. We will ride all day through the Dehesas of Salamanca with holm oaks, bulls, black Iberian pigs. Lunch by small river. Afternoon canters through the dehesa and holm oaks to Horcajo Medianero. Night and dinner at monastery of Valdejimena with horses very close to us. You stay in a very special place, a chapel, and you might have to share a bathroom.
Riding 6 hours.

Day 7: Horcajo Medianero – Alba de Tormes
This day is a half-day ride.
In the morning, we ride along the Eastern lands of the province with beautiful and clear horizons bathed by waters of the Tormes River. We have lunch near Alba de Tormes. The history of Alba de Tormes is linked to Santa Teresa´s life and death, where the body rests in one of the convents. This is the end of the ride.
The horses travel back home by truck and we transfer riders to Salamanca town, 20 min driving.
In the afternoon you can walk along the streets of this historical town, world heritage by UNESCO, visit the most important monuments, The Plaza Mayor with its arcades is particularly impressive. Dinner at a restaurant located at the Plaza Mayor. Night in the heart of Salamanca at a hotel.
Riding 4 hours.

Day 8: Salamanca - Madrid
After breakfast, departure from Salamanca at 10 am on time for flights departing Madrid after 2 pm. All riders will be transferred at the same time, so if any of rider needs to arrive to Madrid prior to noon all riders depart earlier or we will arrange transfer (at extra cost).



B.
Castles of Gredos Mountains (2020) - 8 or 7 days / 7 or 6 nights / 5 or 6 riding days (progressive ride)

Day 1: Madrid - Navarredonda de Gredos
Meet at Madrid airport for 3:00 pm and transfer to Navarredonda (2 hours’ drive). Stop in Avila for a short visit. Enjoy a welcome dinner at Navarredonda de Gredos.

Day 2: Navarredonda de Gredos - Navacepeda de Tormes
After the distribution of horses, we ride through the Tormes valley and pine forest. We cross some open fields with great views of the Gredos Mountains. We have lunch at fisherman´s hut with an excellent paella, cooked on the spot, beside the river Tormes (possible swimming in summer). Short afternoon ride to Navacepeda. Overnight and dinner at a local hotel.
Riding 4 hours.

Day 3: Navacepeda de Tormes - Barco de Avila
The longest day and the most beautiful views of Gredos Mountains await us! We ride down the valley riding through small and remote shepherd villages. We stop for lunch at Aliseda de Tormes, beside the Tormes River and its medival bridge. In the afternoon, we will ride across an open valley with a different landscape and good trots and canters to El Barco de Ávila. We will cross the Tormes River on a beautiful roman bridge to get to the village. Night and dinner at a 4* hotel.
Riding 6.5 hours.

Day 4: Barco de Avila - Hoyorredondo
We ride to Salamanca province, a beautiful flat and dry area, with incredible granite formations. It is a very rural region, where you will see fields with stonewalls and farmers riding donkeys. Later on, we ride through holm oaks woods and pastures. We will cross Puente del Congosto, another medieval village with a 15th century bridge and Castle. Picnic near the river, a very beautiful spot for swimming in summer. In the afternoon, we will have some fast and good canters to Hoyorredondo. Overnight and dinner at a very beautiful rural Inn, La Trocha de Hoyorredondo, where it is possible to see the horses resting from your bedroom´s window. A magical place.
Riding 6 hours.

Day 5: Hoyorredondo - Navacepedilla de Corneja
Good trots and canters in the morning by the flat Corneja River Valley to Bonilla de la Sierra - very important medieval town, with a beautiful church. We take our lunch break in a private garden with swimming pool and taste a bbq with Avilan beefsteak. In the afternoon, we will start climbing to the top of the mountains. Overnight and dinner at charming hotel in Navacepedilla de Corneja.

Day 6: Navacepedilla - Navarredonda
This is a magnificent day! We ride in the mountains through 3 different valleys. In the morning, we will ride up to the highest place of the ride: Puerto de Chía (1,800 m), with a magnificent view of the Corneja river valley in the back and the Alberche river valley in the front. Lunch break is at San Martin de la Vega with the views of the Gredos Mountains. After lunch, we will cross the Alberche River and continue to Tormes River valley to get to the stables. Night and farewell dinner at the hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos.

Day 7: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel, departure at 10am to be in Madrid airport around noon.

8-day option: Same itinerary with extra day riding with good trots and canters along the lovely Tormes river valley.

Day 7: Navarredonda de Gredos
Good trots and canters along the lovely Tormes river valley.

Day 8: Departure 
Breakfast at hotel, departure at around 10 am. To be at Madrid airport at 12 pm.

 

C. Valleys of Gredos (2020) - 7 days / 6 nights / 5 riding days (progressive ride)

Day 1: Madrid - Navarredonda de Gredos

Meet at Madrid airport for 3:00 pm and transfer to Navarredonda (2 hours’ drive) with a stop en route in Avila (short visit). Enjoy your welcome dinner at the hotel with us in Navarredonda de Gredos

Day 2: Navarredonda de Gredos - Cuevas del Valle (Tietar river valley)
Distribution of horses at the stables. We cross the mountains through Puerto del Arenal following the very old path, which was used like a commercial way from north to south of the Gredos Mountains. Beautiful views of the Tietar river valley. Night in very nice rural inn “El rinconcito de Gredos” in Cuevas del Valle.
Riding 6 hours. 

Day 3: Cuevas del Valle–Puerto del Pico- San Martín del Pimpollar (Alberche river valley)
We ride through the Roman Road (II century B.C.) to join the Cañada Real - very important medieval paths for Merino sheep Transhumance. We will get Puerto del Pico, with magnificent views of the Tietar River Valley. After a tapas-break we continue riding along the Alberche River Valley. Beautiful lunch beside the river. Tonight, we will arrive in San Martín del Pimpollar. Night at casa rural “Las cuatro calles”.
Riding 5 hours. 

Day 4: San Martín del Pimpollar - San Martín de la Vega (Corneja river valley)
Following the Alberche River Valley, we will ride through wild nature in the north side of the mountains. Beautiful landscape, especially in Spring when the broom is blooming. Lunch in the countryside with magnificent views of the highest peaks of the Sierra de Gredos. We stop for dinner and overnight at rural inn in San Martín de la Vega.
Riding 6.5 hours

Day 5: San Martín de la Vega– Navacepeda de Tormes (Tormes river valley)
We are still in the mountains, with pine trees, broom, stonewalls… The region we explore today is the summer pastures for Avilan cows. We will get very close to the source of the Alberche River. We stop for lunch beside a lagoon. In the afternoon, we ride to Navacepeda through open landscapes with the most beautiful views of Gredos Mountains. Dinner at a restaurant, and night at hotel in Navacepeda de Tormes (“Capra Hispanica”).
Riding 5 hours.

Day 6: Navacepeda de Tormes – Navarredonda de Gredos (Tormes river valley)
Easy and beautiful day. Today’s ride follows the Tormes River Valley. Lunch at fisherman´s hut beside the Tormes River - wonderful spot for swimming. Short afternoon ride with a few fast good canters to finish the ride. Night and dinner at hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos.
Riding 5 hours

Day 7: Navarredonda de Gredos - Madrid
Breakfast at hotel. Departure around 10 am to be at 12 pm in Madrid airport.



D. Pristine Waters of Gredos (2020) - 7 days / 6 nights / 5 riding days (progressive ride)

Day 1: Madrid - Navarredonda de Gredos

Meet at Madrid airport for 3:00 pm and transfer to Navarredonda (2 hours’ drive). Stop in Avila for a short visit. Enjoy your welcome dinner at the hotel with us in Navarredonda de Gredos.

Day 2: Ride To San Martín Del Pimpollar
Easy day riding from Navarredonda to the mountains, across summer pastures. We stop for lunch by the river near San Martín del Pimpollar with an excellent pic-nic cooked on the spot. In the afternoon, we ride through pine forests, with a possibility of good canters and trots. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Navarredonda.
Riding 5 hours

Day 3: Ride To Laguna Cañada Del Gallo
Riding in the morning to Cañada del Gallo lagoon with some great views of the peaks of Gredos. We have some great canters in open landscape. Later on, we ride down to the Tormes river valley for another luxury pic-nic with an excellent paella cooked on the spot (opportunity for swimming). After a relaxing lunch break, we head back to the stables with some good canters. Night and dinner at the hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos.

Day 4: Ride to Barbellido & Navacepeda de Tormes
Today we will ride in the direction of the highest mountains with stunning views on the way. We ride up to Puente de las Juntas and down to Barbellido gorge, where we stop for an excellent lunch with Avilan beef bbq at a fisherman’s hut. It is a good spot for swimming in crystalline waters of Barbellido gorge.
After a relaxing lunch stop, in the afternoon good canters along the pinewoods riding to a different hotel in Navacepeda de Tormes.
Riding 6 hours

Day 5: Ride To Pozo De Las Paredes & Back To Navarredonda De Gredos
Following the Tormes River through Navacepeda historic town, we ride into the mountains to Navalperal for a tapas-break, continuing to Pozo de las Paredes, a 14th century bridge over the Barbellido gorge. Lunch at the beautiful place perfect for swimming. In the afternoon riding along the Tormes river coming back to the stables. Dinner and night at rural hotel in Navarredonda de Gredos.
Riding 6 hours

Day 6: Ride To Hoyos Del Espino
Fast morning riding to Hoyos del Espino. Lunch stop and swimming at an excellent spot. In the afternoon great riding with canters through the pine forest. Night and farewell dinner in Navarredonda de Gredos.
Riding 5 hours

Day 7: Departure
Breakfast at hotel, departure at 10am to be in Madrid airport around noon.


Rates and Dates for Kingdom of Castile Ride

Rates include:

6 nights accommodation (rural guesthouse hotels or upgrade to 5 nights at Parador and 1 night in rural hotel only), all meals and wine with dinner, 5 riding days

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day trip, AP The Gredos Salamanca Ride- 6 riding days€1650$1980
    • Single supplement€190$230
  • B
    20198 day trip, AP Castles of Gredos- 6 riding days€1550$1860
    • Single supplement€190$230
  • C
    20197 day trip, AP Castles of Gredos- 5 riding days€1375$1650
    • Single supplement€150$180
  • D
    20197 day trip, AP Valleys of Gredos- 5 riding days€1375$1650
    • Single supplement€150$180
  • E
    20197 day trip, AP Pristine Waters of Gredos- 5 riding days€1300$1560
    • Single supplement€150$180
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

The price for non rider is the same than always, 20% less than normal price.

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

The price for non rider is the same than always, 20% less than normal price.


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer included from Madrid Airport at 3:00pm on Day 1 0 $0
2019 Small group supplement on transfer if 2 pax only, pp, each way
- to be paid locally
50 $60
2019 Small group supplement on transfer if 3 pax only, pp, each way
- to be paid locally
33 $40
2019 Non-rider- 20% discount 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
D 2019 09/15 - 09/21 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP Valleys of Gr... 4 /10 Expired
C 2019 09/22 - 09/28 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP Castles of Gr... 4 /10 Expired
C 2019 10/20 - 10/26 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP Castles of Gr... 4 /10 Expired
D 2019 11/10 - 11/16 7d / 6n 7 day trip, AP Valleys of Gr... 4 /10 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities. Transfers not included in cost if there's less than 4 riders in the tour.

Other Info
Meeting: Navarredonda de Gredos
Airport: Madrid
Transfer: Madrid airport

Climate:
                                                Ávila‎‎ area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

46

48

54

57

65

75

82

82

74

62

52

47

Average Low Temperature (°F)

30

32

34

38

44

51

55

55

50

43

36

32

Average High Temperature (°C)

8

9

12

14

18

24

28

28

23

17

11

8

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-1

0

1

3

7

11

13

13

10

6

2

0

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

5

4

4

7

7

4

1

2

3

6

6

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons
Castilla and León has a continental Mediterranean climate with long and relatively cold winters with an average of temperatures between 4º and 7º C (39.2º F and 44.6º F) and with warm to hot summers.

The general lack of rainfall makes it easy for accommodating riding holidays and is excellent to enjoy the sun all year round whatever the temperature. The high altitude of the plateau and mountains accentuate the contrast between the winter and summer temperatures, as well as during the day and night.

What To Bring:
This list is only a basic guideline for you...

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

RIDING GEAR
English or Western riding attire - whatever you are most comfortable riding long distances in!
Comfortable and worn-in riding boots
A hard hat is not required, but always recommended for safety
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Rain proof coat

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cooler evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Light summer jacket
Trekking boots /comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
Bandana
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for any electric appliances
Camera and enough extras (films, batteries, memory cards etc)
Belt pack
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Small bar of soap
Flashlight