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Mountain Horse Riding Tour in Portugal

Quinta do Dijo offers a unique adventure for nature lovers and wild open spaces in northern Portugal. In the mountains of northern Portugal, Peneda-Gerês National Park features one of the last races of wild horses in Europe - the Garranos. From the valley of Vez, you will go looking for them in a varied mountainous landscape dotted with villages.

Key information

  • Tack Type: English saddle
  • Horse Breed: Cruzado horses

Meet the instructors

Carlos & Luis
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Highlights

  • 5 to 6 days of horse riding
  • Trail riding in search of the wild Portuguese horses
  • Ride to Peneda-Gerês National Park, Vez River, and Corno do Bico Protected Landscape
  • A tour of Arcos de Valdevez to explore its 17th-century roads
  • Use of Cruzado horses and English tack
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Spanish
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Accommodation

During this tour, you will stay at Quinta Do Fijó for five nights and an ancient manor house for two nights in a village within the vicinity of Corno do Bico Protected Landscape.

Quinta Do Fijó

Quinta Do Fijó is located in the heart of the Alto Minho. This beautiful villa is situated just minutes from Arcos de Valdevez. It has three floors and can sleep up to 15 people. There are seven charming bedrooms, eight bathrooms, an outdoor pool, barbecue facilities, fully equipped kitchen (dishwasher, drying machine for the washing machine, and microwave oven), a tennis court, private parking, and extensive lawns.

Quinta Do Fijó villa has a dining room with table for 18 people. The doors are open onto a stone terrace outdoor, overlooking the pool and the valley. This is ideal for a traditional dinner. On the ground floor, there is a living room with comfortable armchairs, three sofas, and satellite TV (video and radio). The door opens to a large balcony with superb views over the valley. There is also a double room with a private bathroom and balcony and outdoor patio.

On the first floor, you will find two double bedrooms and one twin bedroom, each with a private bathroom and hot tub. The bedrooms are fully equipped with heating system, TV, and radio. The living room, breakfast room, and meeting room are also available for the guests. if needed, there is also a convention hall with a capacity of 200 people, with bar and kitchen service.

Program

Day 1: Saturday

Welcome at the airport and then transfer by car / minibus from Porto (Portugal) or Vigo (Spain) to the Equestrian Center located in Arcos de Valdevez. Upon arrival to the Equestrian Center, we will tour the stables and you will meet all the horses. After settling into your comfortable accommodations, we will establish our dinner time.

Day 2: Sunday

The day starts early, and breakfast is served at 8.00 AM, followed by horse preparation. We will begin the adventure at 10:00 AM, starting just above the medieval Town of Arcos de Valdevez. The journey crosses the area towards the direction of the border of Penêda-Geres National Park. We will see castles, view mountain plains, and discover where the wild horses live. There will be amazing landscapes of old traditional stone mountain villages along the way. Lunch will be at a local mountain tavern, followed by a horse-riding trail that leads to pre-historical remains of old civilizations.

Afterwards, the tour will lead to the National Park interpretation Center. The Center provides all the information about the park. This location is also the place where we will leave the horses resting overnight. They will be kept in the old forestry nursery fields. We will then travel back to the Equestrian Center; after a rest, we depart to have dinner at a typical Portuguese restaurant in Arcos de Valdevez. Following dinner, we return for a good night’s rest.

Day 3: Monday

Breakfast will be served at 8.00 AM. We will transfer to the horse mount location. We will prepare the horses and depart into the woods of the national park. Our exploration will take us uphill to plains of old pasture fields and the home of wild horses. We can view the wildlife of Penêda-Geres National Park along the way.

Our journey continues along trails of natural scenery through the day. We will ride through old commerce trails between mountain villages. Our views will be from 1000 meters of altitude where the horizon is free from human presence. Lunch takes place near a mountain lake and is followed by a journey that takes us down to the ancient Trail of the Deceased (used in ancient times to take the mountain people back down to the bottom-of-the valley cemeteries, near the main mountain villages).

After arrival at the village of Ferreiros, we will stable the horses in the old farmers houses and transfer back to the Equestrian Center for a rest. We will depart for dinner at a typical Portuguese restaurant at Arcos and then return for a good night’s rest.

Day 4: Tuesday

Awaken and enjoy breakfast at 8.00 AM. We will transfer to Ferreiros stables, prepare the horses, and at 10:00 AM we will begin the journey along the valley countryside’s farming fields and oak forests. We will arrive at the Vez river shores and follow the fisherman trails back down to the historical town of Arcos. Our lunch will be on the riverside. Depending on the river level, we may cross the river with the horses or make a detour to the nearest old bridge.

In Arcos de Valdevez, we will tour the old town, which includes a 17th century road. The history, architecture, and spirit of the area will be discussed. We will depart to the Equestrian Center and then stable the horses to rest. You can enjoy relaxation followed by the evening dinner.

Day 5: Wednesday

After breakfast and preparing the horses, the journey starts in the direction of the woods above the Equestrian Center. This is a protected area called Corno de Bico. The trails are full of forest wildlife, including: wild horses, mountain cows, foxes, wild boars, and even deer and wolves. We will enjoy lunch in a local tavern in the heart of a small and wonderful village with only 6 houses and 16 inhabitants. Afterwards, the journey continues uphill to a view that includes wide open clean air, beautiful skies, and the Atlantic coast.

Our next horse-riding destination is into the core of the protected landscape of Corno de Bico. We will see a post of the ancient forestry guard that served as surveillance in this wonderful, protected nature landscape. Descending from the forest scenery, we take a trail that leads to the old village. We will leave the horses in the fields of an ancient manor house and spend the night in the manor house. Dinner will be in the town of Paredes de Coura, where you will have the opportunity to taste the famous river Coura trout. After dinner we will return to the manor house for a good night’s rest.

Day 6: Thursday

We will explore the landscape around the manor house and enjoy the day with a landscape tour or a day of rest. For those who wish to discover the landscape, the tour will begin inside the protected area of Corno de Bico. There are a variety of trails that will offer a day of discovery. This memorable experience will include searching for the herds of wild horses. Within this natural territory there is an absence of human presence.

Our meals are carried in the saddle bags of the horse, and we will enjoy lunch during the adventure within the forest landscape. In the evening, the journey heads back to the manor house, where the owners will provide and join us in partaking of a traditional Portuguese homemade dinner.

Day 7: Friday

We awaken to breakfast, and then prepare the horses for the day. We will depart at 10:00 AM from the manor house. We will ride to another wonderful landscape, through the old forestry guards trail, exploring the beauty that is preserved and cared for. We will see the shelters of the wild horses, which are comprised of groups of 50 to 60 trees planted in the woods. The trees are planted in a way that protects the wildlife in harsh winters and hot summers. We will most likely meet the wild horses grazing on their pasture grounds as we head down the mountain to the little mountain village called Grijó.

We will take a break and enjoy lunch. After lunch, the journey continues through the rural landscapes, woods and the forests. This area creates a natural balance between wildlife and human presence. The journey will also pass through an old castle built on top of a granite stone settlement during the 15th century. The castle served as a watch-post for preventing incoming invasions from the Spanish borders.

We will continue down, descending the hillside in the direction of the Equestrian Center where the journey began seven days ago.

Day 8: Saturday

After breakfast, we will say farewell to the horses and place all luggage in the transfer vehicle. Depart to (Portuguese airport) Porto or (Spanish) Vigo Airport (both are 100 kilometers away from the Equestrian Center.

Northern Portugal Wilderness Trail Guides

Carlos and Luis are the guides that will accompany you on all of the trails. Their deep knowledge of the region spans culture, cuisine, blacksmithing, and horsemanship. Both local guides speak Portuguese, English, and Spanish. Carlos and Luis are the perfect companions on the Northern Portugal Wilderness Trail adventure.

Horse Description and Riding Level

The cavalry is composed of Hispano-Arab and Lusitanian horses; under 15 years old, the horses are "Cruzados” (Arab and English thoroughbred with Spanish or Portuguese horses). These horses are ideal for adventurous journeys in any kind of terrain or challenging situation—they are brave and peaceful in all situations. They are strong, lively, and fast, which makes them fit even on difficult terrain. We use English saddles and most of the time we ride with long reins. This relaxed way of riding permits enjoyment for the riders as well as the horses.

Instructors

Carlos Orlando

Luis

Location

This horse riding tour will take you to explore Arcos de Valdevez, Peneda-Gerês National Park, Vez River, and Corno do Bico Protected Landscape in Portugal.

Arcos de Valdeve

In the heart of the Alto Minho, the town of Arcos de Valdevez exhibits all the charm of its streets and houses irregular, mansions, and churches. The land around it is fertile and verdant, crossed by many streams that serve as shelter for the trout. The path of the villages and Ázere Mezio, the palace of the isolated Giela, is a magnificent example of a medieval manor house. Arcos de Valdevez is also at a convenient distance for those wanting to visit Peneda-Gerês National Park. With its spectacular scenery, untamed cities, and features, rich and varied fauna constitutes one of the greatest natural attractions of the country.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Canoeing
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Massage and body treatment
  • Rafting
  • Swimming in the river or lake
  • Tennis
  • Trekking
  • Wine tasting tours

What's included

  • 5 to 6 days of horse riding
  • A tour of Arcos de Valdevez
  • Use of Cruzado horses and English tack
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at either Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) or Vigo–Peinador Airport (VGO). Transfer from these airports is available at an extra 145 EUR per way to be split by the number of passengers.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
from --
Pricing information

For riders who don’t want to share a room, you will have to pay an extra cost (210 EUR) during the stay.

 

Other dates

The available dates below are the best for the proposal, but they can be changed, just let Quinta do Dijo know.

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