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The Camino de Santiago, or Way of Santo James, is one of the most infamous pilgrimage routes in history. 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, ancient villages, and historical sites. The route will begin and end at strategically important locations and you will be staying in comfortable hotels and guesthouses along the route. Your host is knowledgeable and passionate about the history and culture of this area. Join the pilgrimage towards Santiago!
You will be staying at various accommodation along the route. You will stay in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the first night, Villafranca Montes de Oca on the second night, Burgos on the third night, Castrojeriz on the fourth night, Carrion de los Condes on the fifth night, Sahagun on the sixth night, and Burgo Ranero on the last night.
The hotels used en route are all very comfortable with twin or double rooms and single rooms with ensuite 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 where there is plenty to do and see.
This second stage leaves the mountains behind as you travel into the plains of Castilla. The landscape opens out, dotted with medieval villages such as Belorado with its lovely 16th and 17th-century churches. You will pass ancient battle markers and the picturesque ruins of Convento de San Anton as you ride through fields of wheat, barley, and sunflowers to Leon and on to Burgo Ranero.
The riding is mainly at a walk due to varying terrain, but there are plenty (four - 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 are 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 a 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 inquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
You will be transferred from Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) to Santo Domingo de la Calzada (three hours) at 15:00.
After breakfast, you start your adventure in the beautiful town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, named after a monk whose devotion to creating Camino was enormous. You make your way through the last hilly vineyards of Rioja, fertile valleys, and hills to make your way towards plains of Castilla. After 23 kilometers, you stop for lunch in Belorado medieval village with its 16th and 17th-century churches. After lunch, you ride 12 more kilometers to Villafranca Montes de Oca where you stop for dinner and the night.
After breakfast, you start your last climb over mountains of Orca from 950 meters to 1150 meters of Alto de la Pedraja through the famous church of San Juan de Ortega, passing menhirs marking battle of 1054 between King of Castilla y Leon, Fernando the First, and King of Navarra don Garcia. After 24 kilometers of a morning ride, you stop for lunch in Cardenuela Rio Pico. Later after lunch, you ride on 11 kilometers to Burgos and skip 16 kilometers by car to Tardajos where you stop for dinner and the night.
After breakfast, you start the ride from nearby village Rabe de las Calzadas (just next to Tardajos) entering the huge open space of Castilla y Leon and ride for 18 kilometers through the fields of wheat, barley, and sunflowers to Horitamas where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you ride 10 kilometers passing picturesque ruins of Convento de San Anton and arrive at Castrojeriz, where you stop for dinner and the night. It is beautifully situated village with ruins of the Castle on the top of the hill and 18th-century Colegiata de Nuestra Señora del Manzano.
After breakfast, you ride for 29 kilometers with open horizon above your heads to Poblaion de Campos where you stop for lunch. But, before that, you will climb Alto de Mostelares and walk over 11th-century bridge Puente Fitero over river Pisuerga to Palencia municipio. After lunch, you ride 15 kilometers alongside national concrete road to Carrion de los Condes (town of 12 churches and a huge stunning monastery) or Villalcazar de Sirga where you stop for dinner and the night.
After breakfast, you ride for 17 kilometers on antique Roman road to the tiny village of Calzadilla de la Cueza where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you cross the municipio border entering Leon, and after 22 kilometers, you arrive at Sahagun, a town with strong Arab influence where you stop for dinner and the night.
Today, you only ride in the morning from Sahagun for 18 kilometers to experience “the poor Roman” architectonic style where the buildings were made of cheap mud bricks instead of red expensive bricks. You arrive to cozy El Burgo Ranero where you finish the ride with a glass of homemade chupito and stay for the night in.
You will be transferred to Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) (three 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 high - 16.2 hands high 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 curbed 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.
During the holiday, 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. The main cultural items are visited with your guide en route and non-riders can join in here.
Urszula was born in Warsaw, Poland and was always a big nature lover. She started riding at the age of six and has not stopped since then. In 2016, she arrived in Spain and started leading trails for Proatur.
This holiday is located in Spain covering Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Villafranca Montes de Oca, Burgos, Castrojeriz, Carrion de los Condes, Sahagun, and Burgo Ranero.
You will be served continental breakfasts, extensive lunches, and three-course dinners during the holiday. 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. Castilla-Leon is best known for its roast suckling pig and lamb, Ribere del Duero wines, and the best mature cheese. There is a range of cabbage, beans, and cheekpea dishes alongside with best beef, blood sausages, and river crabs.
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