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Sierra Trails invites you to ride a stunning circular trail through the east of the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada National Park, riding over very diverse and varied terrain in three days at a high altitude. An amazing display of the Mediterranean and Alpine flowers cover the mountains. The seemingly endless vista of mountains and plains give an amazing sense of space and wilderness. This is the perfect riding holiday!
You will be accommodated at Casa La Sevillana, Hotel La Fragua, Hotel Rural Los Bérchules, a hotel in the small village of Valor, and a refuge of Postero Alto. These small family-run hotels offer twin bedded rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The accommodation is comfortable, very clean, and pleasant. Every effort is made to use the best accommodation available.
Most of the hotels are small with no more than 12 or 16 rooms. There are no porter services available and most of the rooms are on the first or second floor. At the refuge of Postero Alto, it is necessary to share rooms and the shower room. Bring a sleeping bag or sheets and a towel, the refuge provides blankets.
This small, family-owned country inn offers comfortable and attractive bed and breakfast accommodation in the dramatic setting of the Poqueira Gorge in the Sierra Nevada mountains, in an area known as the Alpujarras. Local facilities are excellent. There is ample free parking close to the inn, and shops, bars, and restaurants are a stone's throw away.
There are seven bedrooms - five on the first floor and two on the ground floor, all with en-suite bathrooms. Each bedroom is different in size and layout, and all are light, bright, and attractive with splashes of color. The accommodation consists of three double rooms with double beds, two double rooms with single beds, one single room, and one triple room. All the rooms have balconies or private terraces, all with gorgeous views.
Downstairs, leading off from the entrance hall, there is a communal sitting / breakfast room with sofas gathered around a large fireplace. This leads to a spacious, walled patio / terrace where the guests can sit at Morrocan tables and enjoy the fine air and country sounds of this little mountain paradise. From the sitting room, there is a kitchen anteroom where you can help yourself to a buffet-style breakfast in the morning, and coffee or a beer, perhaps, at any time of day.
The hotel is run by a family team with extensive knowledge of southern Spain and many years experience in catering. On the outskirts of the village of Bérchules at an altitude of 1320 meters, the hotel is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and is the ideal location to explore the Alpujarras. You can be sure of a warm and friendly welcome at Hotel Rural Los Bérchules.
It stands in its own grounds with private parking on the outskirts of the village and within easy walking distance to the shops, bars, bank, church, and bus stop. There are 10 en-suite twin bedrooms, four en-suite single bedrooms, restaurant and lounge / bar, library, swimming pool, gardens, Wi-fi and satellite TV, as well as Ceragem massage bed. The pool is available from June to late September.
Available on request are transport, laundry, special diets, maps, etc. The pinewood paneled lounge / bar overlooks the valley and mountains to the sea. It has comfortable sofas and a wood burning fireplace. Light meals and refreshments can be served here and outside on the long terrace. The double rooms have en-suite bathrooms and 1.05-meter twin beds with memory foam mattresses and duvets. Each room has a balcony with a table and chairs and beautiful views down the valley.
The gardens are now established with flowers, shrubs, and trees and the swimming pool, with its loungers and sunshades, is for the exclusive use of hotel guests. The pine-paneled dining room seats 35. Guests are welcome to exchange books from the library. Books in the lounge are about the region and its history, as well as on cookery, travel, and other topics of interest. There are also games and puzzles, maps and postcards, and information on walks and places of local interest.
Hotel La Fragua is situated in Trevélez, one of the few places in Spain where the environment allows to cure ham through a natural process. The hotel complements the tourist promotion with two hotels and a smart restaurant trying to keep the essence of the Alpujarra. They also contribute to preserving the local patrimony supporting the local culture and gastronomy.
On the first two days of this spectacular holiday, you will ride pass through the southern slopes of the Alpujarras following the ancient Moorish paths and forestry tracks between the picturesque white villages. On the fourth day, you will climb to Puerto del Peñon. Maintaining an altitude of over 2,700 meters, follow the ridge east to Puerto del Lobo and Altos de San Juan.
On the fourth day, keeping an altitude of between 2,000 and 2,500 meters, the trail passes through the summer pastures and woodlands of the northern slopes. On day five, the path crosses the high peaks at nearly 3,000 meters to the south side of Sierra Nevada and Sierra of Trevelez. On day six, head home on forestry tracks.
After being collected from Málaga Airport (AGP) at a designated time, you will be transferred to the picturesque village of Bubion, approximately a two-hour drive. While in Bubion, you will stay at the comfortable guesthouse Casa la Sevillana. After that, you will have dinner with your guide.
Heading east to the village of Trevelez, the ride begins with a steep climb on old bridle paths passing by ancient Moorish irrigation channels, sheep farms, and old small holdings. At 1,950 meters, you join the main forestry track for five to six kilometers where some nice canters are possible through the pine woods before rejoining the path. After a picnic lunch on the edge of the woods with panoramic views over the Contraviesa hills to the Mediterranean Sea, the path starts the descent to the ravine Barranco de la Vina, approximately one hour with some sections on foot.
In Barranco de la Vina, you join another dirt track that takes you the final hour to the village of Trevelez. At 1,486 meters, Trevelez is the highest municipality in Spain. It is also famous for its air-cured ham, jamon serrano. The overall riding takes approximately six hours. After that, you will stay overnight and have dinner at the comfortable Hotel La Fragua situated in the old Berber section of the village.
The route continues east to the village of Berchules. After a 10-minute walk through the streets of Trevelez, you water the horses at one of the many springs, mount up, and head down to the river. Once across the river the path, many centuries old, follows first the Moorish irrigation channel and then works its way through oak and pine forests to the open pasture lands of the Sierra of Juviles. There will be a picnic lunch in the oak woods above the village of Juviles.
After lunch, the path continues for a while through the oak woods before joining the main dirt road for a steep climb to cross over to the small farms above Berchules. The final descent into the village of Berchules is on foot about 30 minutes by walking. The overall ride takes approximately six hours. After that, you will overnight and have dinner at the very comfortable Hotel Rural Los Bérchules.
You will go on a long ride leading to the summit of the eastern peaks of Sierra Nevada. You will enjoy a day of spectacular views and grandiose mountains. Leaving the village below, you take the old path winding its way up through the valley above the cause of the river. This path is over 1,000 years and a testimony to the craftsmanship of the old builders. After a couple of hours leaving the path below, you join the main forestry track for about four kilometers. Here, it is possible to have some canters. Leaving the valley of Berchules, you climb for a couple of hours across open mountainside to Puerto del Peñon (2,760 meters).
From here, you follow the ridge east for a further couple of hours to Altos de San Juan (2,780 meters), where you start a descent of approximately 600 meters. This descent takes you down to the tree line to join up with a forestry track. There are sections where it is necessary to lead the horses. Leaving the horses in the pine woods, a vehicle will take you (approximately 40 minutes) down to the hotel in the small village of Valor. The overall riding is approximately nine hours.
Saddling your horses, you return to the ridge of Puerto del Lobo to cross over to the north of Sierra Nevada. After an initial descent of about 400 meters, you follow small sheep, cattle, and bridle paths between 2,400 and 2,000 meters west along Sierra Nevada's north face. You will see high summer pastures, small streams, and gullies, and lower down pine woods. There are also stunning views over the Altiplano and Guadix region. The overall riding is approximately seven hours. Tonight, you stay in the high mountain refuge of Postero Alto.
There will be another spectacular day following foot and bridle paths through the mountains. The morning starts with a steep climb to nearly 3,000 meters where if there has been a good winter, there will still be snow drifts. Passing over the summit, you commence the descent into the valley of Trevelez on the southern side of Sierra Nevada. Small paths and old irrigation channels work their way along ridges and gullies and on down through pine and oak woods to the valley and village of Trevelez.
You will enjoy spectacular views of the Mulhacen and the Alcazaba at 3,486 meters and 3,378 meters, two of the highest peaks in Spain. Today, there is a number of descents where you need to lead the horse. The final one down to the village is nearly an hour. The overall riding takes approximately nine hours. After that, you will overnight at the comfortable Hotel La Fragua in the village of Trevelez.
Today is a short ride. Following the forestry track through pine and oak woods, you return directly to the stables high above the villages of the Poqueira. This route not only offers wonderful views out over the Contraviesa mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, but also some good opportunities for canters. The riding takes approximately three to four hours. You will have a late lunch in the village of Capileira or Bubion. The afternoon is free for some last-minute shopping and a well-deserved siesta. After that, you will overnight in the village of Bubion and have a farewell dinner.
You will be transferred to Málaga Airport (AGP) on the day of departure. The return transfer will leave Bubion no earlier than 07:00. The transfer time is approximately two and a half hours from Bubion.
Enjoy top quality well-bred Andalusian horses that are responsive, happy, and well-cared for. There are Purebred Andalucian (PRE) and Andalusian Arab, or sports horse crosses ranging from 14.3 to 16.1 hands. Some of the horses are home-bred, others came as youngsters, while most of them stay with Sierra Trails for life. The horses are all well-schooled and forward going. They have been carefully selected for their good natures (a trait of the Spanish horse) and endurance. The horses are fit, happy, and strong. They enjoy their work and are a pleasure to ride.
These rides are not suitable for novice riders but suitable for competent to experienced riders. In order to participate in one of these rides, it is necessary that you can control a horse outside at all paces as well as mount and dismount without assistance. You will also need to be reasonably fit to participate in one of these rides because of the altitude. In addition to being fit, you will be required to lead your horse on some of the steep descents and need to be comfortable walking on rough ground. There is also a weight limit of 90 kilograms.
The Alpujarra is the name given to the south of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A region of much botanical and geological importance, it is an area with a rich cultural and historical heritage. With its rich variety of landscapes and consistently beautiful scenery, La Alpujarra and the Sierra Nevada mountains offer some of the most spectacular horse riding countryside in Europe. Less than two hours from the Mediterranean Sea and with more than 20 peaks over 3,000 meters, the region boasts many diverse microclimates, flora, and geological formations.
Sierra Nevada covers an area of approximately 2,000 square kilometers in the provinces of Granada and Almeria in the south of Spain. Sierra Nevada National Park covers 86,210 hectares and the natural park another 86,000 hectares, making it the largest park in Spain. The many microclimates have given rise to the richest botanical life in Europe. 2,100 plants have been cataloged in the park, 60 of which are unique to the area.
The rides follow ancient bridle paths and drovers routes, dating back to the Moorish occupation and before. Many of these paths have been in use for a thousand years or more, as have the terraces and irrigation channels they transverse. Through parts of the mountains, there are more recent dirt tracks providing opportunities for canters and gallops, as do some of the river beds on the spring and autumn rides.
The paths in many places are built into the rock and on some of the steeper descents, it is necessary to lead your horse. Likewise, it is necessary to lead the horses through the narrow village streets. Here, it is possible to forget the pressure of daily life and to ride all day meeting only the occasional shepherd or farmer.
The stables are situated in the spectacular Poqueira valley, above the picturesque villages of Pampaneira, Bubion, and Capileira. At 1,650 meters, they are possibly the highest stables in Europe. The stables are just over an hour drive to the coast, an hour and 15 minutes to Granada, and a little over two hours from Malaga.
Bérchules is located on the southern slope of Sierra Nevada Natural Park, in high mountain between beautiful places and sources of ferruginous and carbonated waters. It has a spring called Fuente Agria and located in the hollow of the Guadalfeo River. Its white houses with flat roofs and its stepped streets, perfectly adapted to the broken terrain, make up the typical Alpujarra architecture.
The originality of its urbanism, the integration of the people in the landscape, the historical monumental resources as well as the customs and traditions make this municipality a very appropriate place for the development of rural tourism and the complementary activities that this sector carries with it. The set of all architectural, cultural, and landscape features make Bérchules an exceptional tourist destination.
The name Bérchules is derived from the ancient Arabic 'vergel' or pasture. It was a collection of wealthy smallholdings and a center for the silk trade. Mulberry trees still line one of the prettiest local walks leading to the ruins of the silk factory, with its perfect Moorish arch still intact, now a delightful spot for a picnic.
The town perches on the mountainside above the deep river gorge, the source of the Guadalfeo. Behind is the snow-capped Sierra Nevada and all around are terraced and irrigated farmlands. There are great old chestnut trees, cherry, peach and apple orchards, and fields of cherry tomatoes, green beans, raspberries, and strawberries. You will hear the tinkling of bells of all sizes on the sheep, goats, and cattle and the jolly song of multitudes of birds.
The Moors' influence is still visible in Berchules, with its steep, narrow, cobbled streets, more comfortable for mules than for cars or humans. The higgledy-piggledy houses compete with their displays of colorful plants and there are many fountains, washing houses, and drinking troughs. There are two banks (one with a cash dispenser), a few shops, a chemist, a doctor's surgery, library, school and a helicopter pad for emergencies plus several bars for tapas.
Trevélez is a village located in the well-known national park of Sierra Nevada and within the historical region of La Alpujarra. Trevélez is also known for its excellent hams, scenic beauties, a strategic location within the region of La Alpujarra, and also for being the highest village in Spain.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the price. The food is fresh local produce. The area is famous for its air cured hams, cheese, and trout. A special effort is made to enable the visitor to sample different local dishes, ordering what each place cooks the best. Some days, lunch will be in a small village, on others, you will take a picnic. Please specify if you have any special dietary requirements.
Please book your flight to arrive at Málaga Airport (AGP). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Sierra Trails will pick you up from the airport.
You will be collected from the airport on the day the trek commences. The collection will be no later than 4 p.m. Alternatively, Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX) is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Bubion and private transfers can be arranged on request at an extra cost.
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