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8 Days Adventurous Wild Horse Riding Tour in Alto Minho, Northern Portugal

Quinta Do Fijó, Vila Fonche, 4970-740 Arcos de Valdevez, Viana do Castelo District, Alto Minho, Norte Region, Portugal

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
Read more

Highlights

  • 5 to 6 days of horse riding
  • Trail riding in search of the wild Portuguese horses
  • Riding 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: Oporto (Portugal) / Vigo (Spain) - Arcos de Valdevez

Welcome to the airport. You will be transferred by a car/minibus from Oporto (Portugal) or Vigo (Spain) to Arcos de Valdevez. After one hour of traveling, you will arrive at the equestrian center. You will be given a tour along the stables and meet all the horses. At dinner time, the horse/rider team pairs will be decided.

Day 2, Sunday: Peneda-Gerês National Park

The day starts early and breakfast is served at 08:00. After that, there will be a horse preparation and you will start the adventure trip at 10:00. Starting just above the medieval town of Arcos de Valdevez, the journey makes you cross it and follow in the direction of the borders of Peneda-Gerês National Park. Castles, mountain plains where the wild horses live, and amazing landscapes of old traditional stone mountain villages are the scenery of this day.

You will have lunch at a local mountain tavern, followed by a trail horse riding that leads to pre-historical remains of old civilizations. Afterward, take the direction to the national park interpretation center where all the information about the park can be seen and discovered.

This location is also the place to leave the horses to resting overnight, in the old forestry nursery fields. You will be transferred back to the equestrian center lodging where afterward you leave to have dinner at a typical Portuguese restaurant in Arcos de Valdevez Town. Then you will go back to the equestrian center to rest.

Day 3, Monday: Peneda-Gerês National Park

Breakfast at the lodging at 08:00 a.m. will be followed by a transfer to the horse mount location. You will prepare the horses and depart into the woods of the national park, going uphill to the plains of old pasture fields and home of wild horses and all the wildlife of Peneda-Gerês National Park. The journey develops along this scenery all day through old commerce trails between mountain villages at 1,000 meters of altitude where the horizon is free from any human presence.

Lunch takes place near a mountain lake and is followed by a journey that takes you 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). Upon arrival in the village of Ferreiros, stable the horses in the old farmers' houses and you will be transferred back to the equestrian center lodging. Afterward, you will leave for dinner at a typical Portuguese restaurant in Arcos then return to rest.

Day 4, Tuesday: Ferreiros - Vez River - Arcos de Valdevez

Wake up and have breakfast at 08:00. After that, you will be transferred to Ferreiro's stables to prepare the horses. At 10:00, start the journey along the valley, countryside, farming fields, and oak tree forests. You will arrive at the Vez River shores and follow at his side through fisherman trails back down to the historical town of Arcos.

Lunch takes place by the riverside. Depending on the river level, the journey can take the horses to cross the river or make a detour to the nearest old bridge, if the water level of the river doesn’t allow the horse to cross the river. After arriving in Arcos de Valdevez, there will be a tour through the old town taking you through the 17th-century roads and all their story, spirit, and architecture. Afterward, you leave for the equestrian center to put the horses to rest and prepare for an evening dinner.

Day 5, Wednesday: Corno do Bico Protected Landscape

After breakfast and horse preparations, the journey starts in direction of the woods above of the equestrian center, Corno do Bico Protected Landscape. The trails are full of forest wildlife where wild horses, mountain cows, foxes, wild boars, and even deer and wolves can be part of the sightseeing during this journey.

Lunch will be in a local tavern in the heart of a small and wonderful village with only six houses and 16 inhabitants. Afterward, the journey continues uphill to a place where, if the sky is clean, the seashore of the Atlantic Coast is part of your horse riding scenery. Next, the destination is the core of Corno do Bico Protected Landscape.

You will make a quick stop in the sightseeing post of the old forestry guard in this wonderful protected natural landscape. In ancient times, it served the purpose of surveillance. Descending from the forest scenery, you take a trail that leads to the old villages in the vicinity of this forest park. There, you will then leave the horses in the fields of an ancient manor house and stay overnight also in this manor house. Dinner will be held in the town of Paredes de Coura and you will have the possibility to taste the famous Coura River trout. After dinner, return to the manor house and rest.

Day 6, Thursday: Corno do Bico Protected Landscape

This day is mainly a free ride day tour. Surrounding the manor house, the landscape is full of amazing places. Many options are available, even if you wish to enjoy the amenities of the resting house and leave your ride to rest. For those who wish to discover the landscape, the tour will take place inside of Corno do Bico Protected Landscape where trails are abundant and so full of contrasts that the experience of discovering them and go in search of the herds of wild horses is without any doubt a memorable experience.

Due to the natural territory that is the space of the journey and the absence of human presence, the meals are carried in the saddlebags of the horses and enjoyed during the adventure inside the forest landscape. In the evening after the journey, you head back to the manor house where the owners will provide a traditional Portuguese homemade dinner. They will also join you during the meal.

Day 7, Friday: Forestry guard trail

Wake up and have breakfast, then prepare the horses. Around 10:00, leave the manor house. You will head to another wonderful landscape, through the old forestry guard trail, that will show all the beauties that they were meant to preserve and care - the natural wild horses' shelters. It was made of groups of 50 to 60 trees planted in the woods, in a way that protected the wildlife in harsh winters and hot summers.

Along the way, the meeting with the wild horses is inevitable. From their pasture grounds, you head down from the mountain to the little mountain village called Grijó where lunch is provided by the logistics of the horse riding journey. After lunch, the journey develops through a rural landscape, the woods, and forests that are spread in between them. This creates a natural balance between wildlife and human presence in the mountain landscape.

The journey will also pass through an old castle built on top of a granite stone settlement and in the 15th-century served as a watch post for preventing incoming invasions from the Spain borders. From there, you continue down descending the hillside in the direction of the equestrian center where all started seven days ago.

Day 8, Saturday: Arcos de Valdevez - Oporto (Portugal) / Vigo (Spain)

After waking up and having breakfast, you say goodbye to the horses and place all your luggage in the transfer vehicle. You will head to the Portuguese airport in Oporto or Spanish airport in Vigo. Both of them are 100 kilometers away from the equestrian center.

Horses

The cavalry is composed of Hispano-Árabe and Lusitano horses and also 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 challenges, being brave and peaceful in all situations where horses commonly become stressed. They are strong, lively, and fast so they are fit for the trail, even on difficult soils.

Tack

Quinta do Dijo uses English saddles and most of the time they ride with long reins. This casual way of riding permits the enjoyment of all the surrounding landscape and comfort while horseback riding.

Included excursions

On day four, you will enjoy a tour of Arcos de Valdevez where you can explore its 17th-century roads.

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.

Saturday October 10, 2020
(8 days / 7 nights)

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