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Ride for five days on mountain trails and two days in the forest and on the Atlantic Ocean beaches! This adventure in the Basque Country from the mountain to the ocean, between France and Spain, is an exhilarating trail with a lot of thrilling sceneries over wild valleys framed by rugged peaks as eagles and vultures soar overhead. Spend four days far away from civilization, taking advantage of all the opportunities to approach herds of savage horses of the Basque country, the Pottocks, protected by their proud and brave stallion! Spend the latter four days discovering the culture of the Pays Basque people and the reason why they want to protect themselves while living apart from France.
For this trip, private and shared accommodations are offered in single, double or twin, triple, and quadruple occupancies. There will be no single supplement for single travelers who will share a room. The single and double or twin rooms are available everywhere, with the exception of the Mountain Guest House, if the group is bigger than eight riders.
Spend your first night in a three-star accommodation, Gite de Charme in Amestoïa, Saint Etienne de Baïgorry. This 15th-century house is set in the heart of the Basque country, 10 kilometers from Saint Jean Pied de Port, 50 kilometers from Biarritz and Bayonne, and 12 kilometers from the Spanish border. This accommodation offers views of the surrounding hillsides and vineyards. Each room is individually decorated with an en-suite bathroom an offers free wireless internet access.
You will spend your second night in altitude at Mountain Guest House, Espila. Mountain Guest House or Gite de Montagne is on the summit of the Basque Pyrenees mountains, on a height of 800 meters. Situated at a 17-kilometer distance from the pilgrim city, Saint Jean Pied de Port, and two kilometers from the Spanish border, this guest house offers you the time to relax in a nice farm environment; a quiet place with amazing views on the mountains and the sunset.
This family property offers a surface of 148 square meters with a bathroom and a dining room on the ground floor, three bedrooms for one to three people on the first floor, and two shared bathrooms; there is also an additional guest house at a 300-meter distance with two bedrooms for one to three people and one shared bathroom. Free wireless internet access is possible depending on the weather conditions.
Your third and fourth nights will be at a two-star hotel in Aldudes, Banca, Hotel Erreguina. This charming two-star family hotel is renovated with love. Situated at the center of the village of Banca, five kilometers from the Spanish border, this hotel provides nice bedrooms with a flat screen television and private bathrooms with Italian showers. Some of the rooms also offer also balconies and free wireless internet access is provided.
The last three nights will be at the two-star guest house of the riding center in Mimizan. Equestrian Guest House, from the 17th century, Chambres d’ Hôte, has a huge private pool and is situated less than 10 minutes by car from Mimizan beach and is just a minute by foot from the stable.
Renovated with love, this place provides comfortable bedrooms for up to four people, each with a private bathroom with an Italian shower or bath and floor heating. Free wireless internet access is provided.
This trek is really exciting and requires fit intermediate riders who are confident in all paces and are able to ride for six to seven hours each day; over varied and sometimes challenging terrain. All the opportunities to trot or to canter offered by the landscape are taken. The trail, in very few occasional and difficult sections, will ask the rider to walk near the horse but, the horses are fit, willing, and sure-footed over the rugged terrain.
On the last two restful days, you will be riding on endless beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, ventilated by the marine breeze. It will also be time for an exciting gallop on the white sand of the Aquitaine Coast and sometimes, if weather conditions allow, you can bathe in the middle of waves.
35 of the horses are in majority, Anglo-Arabs. These are safe horses; brave and easygoing; they are all well trained and very well-balanced as these horses live in herds and outside; they have nice and friendly connections with riders. The tack will be English saddle of very good quality and adapted for the trail. The riding center also provides saddle bags.
You will have an English speaking guide who has a good knowledge of the mountain ride and Landes. The instructor will be concerned about making you discover the lovely country in the southwest of France.
Arrive at Centre Équestre le Marina and transfer from Mimizan to Saint Etienne de Baïgorry. Spend the night in a three-star bed and breakfast. Visit the old and famous city and have dinner in a common and typical Basque restaurant in the middle of the historical part of Saint Jean Pied de Port.
Breakfast will be at 8 a.m. and the ride will depart at 10 a.m. You will start from Saint Jean Pied de Port or Saint Etienne de Baïgorry to Banca (according to the weather). Discover the famous village of Saint Etienne de Baïgorry! The goal is to get to the top of Monhoa summit to get a magnificent 360-degree view of the surroundings of the Aldudes valley and the ocean. Spend the night at Mountain Guest House, Gîte Espila.
Depart at 10 a.m. Ride through summits of the mountain and enjoy the view of Spain, the ridgeline between France and Spain, the pass of Lindus, and have a new magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding quaint country and Spain. Arrival to Urepel, a pictorial village of the Aldudes Valley, and spend the night at Hotel Erreguina.
Depart at 10:30 a.m., it will be time to discover the traditional life of the Basque people in the valley. Have your lunch with testing of the locally produced food and wine. Ascend the Harguibel mountain and ride to the Spain side; then cross the Spanish virgin forest, this will be an unforgettable moment! Spend the night in Banca in Hotel Erreguina and have dinner with testing of the famous trouts of the Banca Valley River.
Depart at 10 a.m. and ascend and pass the crossing, Elhorrieta. Discover the Kromlech, prehistoric graves, and have a new 360-degree view, on the valley, of Spain and the ocean. Descend towards the pass of Ispéguy and have lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant. Then, have a thrilling descent by the path of the smugglers towards Erratzu, a Spanish village. Crossing the picturesque countryside and the nearest city on horseback, it will be time to put all the horses in the truck and depart to the Atlantic Coast and Mimizan by bus. Have dinner on the way to Mimizan and spend the last three nights on The Guest House of Mimizan, equipped with a hot water swimming pool.
The rhythm of evolution is changing, it will be time to enjoy long and fast gallops in the largest forest in Europe with, sometimes, a large view on the most beautiful beach in France. It’s also the time of exciting gallop on the white sand of the Aquitaine Coast and the most beautiful beach in Europe. The ride may also be on the beach on Saturday evening, with the sunset on the beach, if the tide is late in the evening. The last dinner will be in one nice restaurant in Mimizan with seafood testing or traditional local meals.
Transfer back to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) and cross into the city center if there is more time before taking off.
During this holiday, you will be visiting Saint Jean Pied de Port. This quoted hurdy-gurdy and major passage of the pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is worth to be discovered by foot on the arrival day. There, you will find plenty of little shops and will choose a typical restaurant for dinner with the group.
With 30 years of experience in teaching horse riding in harmony between horse and rider, Michel provides a huge experience of instructing the quality of the communication between horse and rider in dressage and show jumping. Showing up with successful own competing until the age of 45, he followed up with giving classes to his students who provided various placements at the national level (French championships). In love with his horses and nature, he is a guide who established itineraries with exceptional views and picknick spots in the region of Aquitaine, Perigord, Basque Mountains.
Full board meals are included in the packages, except for dinner on your first night. Lunches are leisurely and relaxed, often followed by a short siesta. Lunches and dinners will be made from typical food from Pays Basque and will be prepared by the owner of the two-star accommodation. Dinner will be at different restaurants, each night offering traditional local meals or seafood on the last night. Dinners in restaurants or hotels included two glasses of wine or two sodas, tea, or coffee. Lunches are organized by the riding center and soda and wine without restriction is provided.
Transfer available for additional US$54 per person
Please arrange your flight to arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD). Transfers from and to this airport every Sunday for two to eight riders are not commissionable. The organized transfer will be on the arrival day, Sunday at 2 p.m., and the drop off will be on the departure day, Sunday before 1 p.m. The cost for the transfer is 45 EUR per person, each way, or 90 EUR per person for roundtrip transfers. This price also includes the transfer during the week to Mimizan Beach on Monday and Saturday.
IMPORTANT: In order to have enough time to spend visiting Saint Jean Pied de Port in the evening, all guests need to arrive at the airport before 2 p.m. The meeting point will be in the Hall A of Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD). On the departure day, you are kindly asked to plan your departing flight, not before 1 p.m. There is a two-hour driving time between Mimizan and Bordeaux, departure in Mimizan at 8:30 a.m. means arrival at the airport at 11:30 a.m. for a flight at 1 p.m. (if check-in is one hour and 30 minutes before).
If you would like to arrive on your own, there is a shuttle from the airport to the railway station of Bordeaux at 13 EUR per person (45-minute ride). Then, you will ride a train to Labouheyre at 17 EUR per person (50-minute ride). After, ride an RDTL Bus from Labouheyre to Mimizan at 5 EUR per person; there are trips at 11:30 a.m. until 12:20 a.m. all year (40-minute ride). Please arrive at the riding center before 3:30 p.m.
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