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The Camino de Santiago, or ‘Way of St. James’ is one of the most infamous pilgrimage routes in history, and this part four holiday offers the chance to cover the most popular route from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostella on horseback. Split into four one-week programmes covering the whole route, you can choose to do one stage at a time or combine several weeks as your schedule allows to complete the pilgrimage. With plenty of time in the saddle, each stage follows the traditional route through beautiful countryside, ancient villages, and historical sites, beginning and ending at strategically important locations and staying in comfortable hotels and guesthouses along the route.
The hotels used en route are all very comfortable with twin or double rooms and en-suite shower, toilet, bidet, and basin in the bathrooms. They are always located in spots of particular interest and have a local character all of their own. For the first night, you will stay in O Cebreiro. The second night will be spent in Samos, third night in Portomarin, fourth night in Palas de Rei and fifth night in Arzua. You will stay in Monte do Gozo.
This fourth and final stage passes some of the most significant locations of the Camino de Santiago as all routes start to converge in the approach to the cathedral. You will pass a Benedictine monastery, a pilgrim’s cemetery at Ligonde, and Monte do Gozo where pilgrims cry with happiness for finally seeing towers of Santiago Cathedral. Riding through forests, along with country roads and small tracks which display the heart of Galicia you reach Santiago de Compostella, then entering Obradoiro Square on horseback, and complete the pilgrimage.
Transport from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) to O Cebreiro (four hours). The airport pick up will be at 15:00.
After breakfast, you start the ride from tiny but spectacular, stone village O Cebreiro, muncipio Lugo, located on 1300 meters and ride for 21 kilometers through lush, green Galician hills with oak and chestnut trees, then down to Tricastela where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you continue for nine kilometers along the beautiful Camino through a forest, enjoying the genuine Galicia and its variety of tracks and country roads to village famous for its 6th-century Benedictine monastery - Samos, where you stop for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, you start the 15-kilometer ride, mostly on a concrete, passing the town of Sarria to Barbadelo. Later after lunch, you will pass mistic "100 kilometers” of Camino where many people start their walk and continue your 18-kilometer ride to new Portomarin, as the old, original medieval village was flooded by the waters of an artificial lake in 1960. You stay there for dinner and your overnight stay.
After breakfast, you ride up the hill for a 16,5-kilometer ride to Ligonde where you stop for lunch. Here, you can see how tough a four-week pilgrimage was for medieval people as this place has a well-preserved pilgrim cemetery that was used to be located nearby the pilgrim hospital. After lunch, you ride for eight and a half kilometers to Palas de Rei where you stop for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, you start the ride from Palas de Rei, ride for 16 kilometers crossing muncipio A-Coruña and arriving in the modern village of Melide, famous for its octopus dish, where you have lunch in the famous local Pulperia Ezequiel. After lunch, you ride up and down the hill for 14 kilometers to Arzua where you stop for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, you ride 20 kilometers through forests and villages from Arzua to O Pino Pedrouzo where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you ride last 15 kilometers before reaching Santiago de Compostella, crossing the Amenal river and arriving in Monte do Gozo where pilgrims cry of happiness to finally see towers of Santiago Cathedral. You stay for dinner and stay the night at a nearby hotel.
On the last day, you will enter the Obradoiro Square, the monumental center of Santiago de Compostela. You must start early to enter the Plaza Obradoiro on a horse before the crowds of pilgrims appear. You will ride through the city center in and out of the cathedral square. After the ride, horses get loaded into the truck and return home and you can enjoy Santiago de Compostella.
You will drive to Valladolid on Friday afternoon (four and a half hours) and then have a Saturday morning transfer to Madrid Airport (two hours).
The owner breeds Pure Spanish horses (PRE). The horses used for the trails are Spanish, Arab X and some Andalusian X, and there are 35 excellent riding horses to choose from. They range in height from 15 hands to 16.2 hands with some ponies available. They are all in well rounded condition and beautifully polished on a daily basis with traditional flowing manes, mainly kept stabled, shod all round and very well mannered. They are ridden in traditional deep seated Spanish saddles with soft sheepskin covers and traditional big stirrups. The bridles are mainly curb bits and the horses are ridden loose reined and respond easily to weight shifts and subtle signals.
This is a very easy and relaxing style of riding similar to Western, some instruction will be given if wanted. The horses are all experienced and sure footed trail horses with temperaments that vary from quiet and reliable through responsive to fiery and showy. With 35 horses to choose from you are sure to find your ideal partner for the week. The riding is mainly at a walk due to varying terrain, but there are plenty (four to six) of opportunities for long and fast canters every day. Vacero style does not include trotting although this is possible if requested!
The riding starts late morning, after two to three hours a break is made for lunch followed by a siesta and a similar length afternoon session to arrive late afternoon at your destination. All saddling and grooming is done for you although you are welcome to assist with your own horse.
Riders need to be able to walk, trot and canter. These horses are trained in the Spanish style and are used to being ridden with a loose rein when at walk and a light contact at canter. Due to the long riders this ride is not suitable for children under 12 and all children should be competent riders. There is no need to saddle or clean your own horse on this ride unless you wish to. Assistance is available for mounting and dismounting and minimal walking next to your horses is required. The weight limit for this ride is 17 stones / 231 pounds / 105 kilograms, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
This holiday will take place in Spain, exploring places like O Cebreiro, Samos, Portomarin, Palas de Rei, Arzua, Monte de Gozo, and Santiago de Compostella.
The food is typical of the region, lovingly prepared and freshly cooked. On this trail you have breakfast and dinner at the hotels and lunch is in the local pilgrim restaurants. Continental breakfasts, extensive lunches, and three-course dinners are the norm. Galicia is famous for its seafood so you will have the chance to try octopus, clams, shrimps, crabs, and all kinds of fish.
You will be visiting local churches of unique architecture and big historical importance. Non-riders are welcome to accompany the ride in the luggage transfer vehicle. Each night is spent in interesting local villages and hotels and there is plenty to do and see. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en route and nonriders can join in here.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport
Santiago de Compostela Airport
Transfer not provided
The transfer is included from the meeting point. Transfer time is approximately two hours. Pick up time is 5 p.m. so your arrival should be around 4 p.m. Return flights departure is around 12 p.m. noon.
If you wish to fly back from Santiago de Compostella please search for suitable flights that may be scheduled a day or two after the last programme day. Some of the clients prolong their stay in Santiago and fly when the suitable flight is scheduled. Proatur cannot provide the Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ) transfer though. Flying back from Santiago is a big advantage as you save all day of driving back to Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD). This time can be used to hang around the amazing town of Santiago.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookHorseRidingHolidays.com. All major credit cards supported.
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