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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 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 and ancient villages. The ride will begin and end at strategically important locations and you will be staying in comfortable hotels and guesthouses along the route. If you are looking for a pilgrimage tour while horse riding, this is perfect for you!
The hotels used en route are all very comfortable or even luxurious 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.
The third stage joins the famous regions of Castilla and Galicia together, riding from Burgo Ranero to O Cebreiro along open country tracks that are great for long canters and up challenging mountain paths around Irago. The route takes you into Hospital de Orbigo via the restored stone bridge, through Astorga with its Palacio Episcopal, the museum of Caminos and Santa Maria Cathedral, and to the beautiful stone village of Castrillo de los Polvazares. The ride finishes riding through mountains and hills with superb views of Galicia to O Cebreiro, 1300 meters above sea level.
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 - 17 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 a walk and a light contact at the 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 232 pounds, please inquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
You will get transport from Madrid airport to El Burgo Ranero (three hours). The airport's pick up will be at 15:00.
After breakfast, you start the ride from El Burgo Ranero for 19 kilometers through the dry open landscape of Leon and alongside the national road to Mansilla de las Mulas where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you ride 11 kilometers to Arcahueja and skip the 14 kilometers of a concrete road by car to Virgen del Camino where you stop for dinner and night.
After breakfast, you start the ride 14 kilometers through open fields that may provide an opportunity for some pleasurable canters to Villar de Mazarife where you have lunch. Later after lunch, you ride on 15 kilometers through a monotonic plain landscape and over the stone bridge over Orbigo river to Hospital de Orbigo where you stop for dinner and night.
After breakfast, you start the ride from Hospital de Orbigo and ride 17 kilometers through small villages to a monumental town of Astorga with its Palacio Episcopal, museum of Caminos, Santa Maria Cathedral where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you ride six and a half kilometers to beautiful stone village Castrillo de los Polvazares, a great example of the local malagateria architectonical style with the characteristic such as round, heavy doors, and ornamented locks. Here you will stop for dinner and night.
After breakfast, you start your ride out from big plains towards mountains of Leon. You can enjoy the view on Picos de Europa for 16 kilometers until you reach Rabanal de Camino where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you ride six kilometers to Foncebadon, the highest located village on the Irago mountain where you stop for dinner and night.
Today, you only ride in the morning. After breakfast, you pass emblematic Cruz de Fierro a place to leave your rock symbolizing private intentions to walk the Camino, this is also the place where the pilgrims ask for the protection on the way. After the cross, you start 19 kilometers descent through picturesque hills to lovely Molinaseca where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you drive 30 kilometers to Villafranca where you stay for dinner and night.
After breakfast, you cross the Galician border and ride alongside river Valcarce for 17 kilometers to Vega de Valcacel where you stop for lunch and in the afternoon you have some serious climbing to do for another 12 kilometers to O Cebreiro (1300 meters), stone Galician village with stunning views where you finish the ride.
You will get transfered to Madrid Airport (four hours).
This horse riding will start from El Burgo Ranero, continue to Virgen del Camino, Hospital de Orbigo, Castrillo de los Polvazares, Foncebadon, Molinaseca, Villafranca del Bierzo, and end in O Cebreiro, Spain.
The food is typical of the region, lovingly prepared and freshly cooked. On this trail, you will have breakfast and dinner at the hotels and lunch in the local pilgrim restaurants. Continental breakfasts, extensive lunches, and three-course dinners are the norm. However, you will not get drinks other than with meals.
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 non-riders can join in here.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD). The transfer is included from the meeting point. The 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 around 12 p.m.
You can take direct flights from the UK and Ireland with the following information:
You can also take indirect flights which fly from many regional airports and get a connecting flight from:
For cheap flights, try using Skyscanner website. While for the complex or multi-leg flights, Proatur recommends google flights.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookHorseRidingHolidays.com. All major credit cards supported.
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