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Join Sierra Trails in the La Alpujarra ride! You will follow ancient bridle paths and valleys where the horse, mule, or oxen still pull the plow and thresh the harvest. Each day of the ride, you will pass through different terrain from mountain pastures and pine forests to almond and olive groves. Here is an opportunity not only to discover spectacular landscapes and sceneries, but also a culture where tradition remains very much part of everyday life. On some days, there are plenty of opportunities to trot and canter, other days it is mainly walking due to the rough terrain. No matter what pace, it is a beautiful ride.
You will be accommodated at Casa La Sevillana, Hotel La Fragua, and Hotel Rural Los Bérchules. 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.
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.
Those of you who have arranged to be collected from Málaga Airport (AGP) will be picked up at a pre-arranged time and driven to the village of Bubion. While in Bubion, you will be staying at the comfortable Casa La Sevillana. Your host (Dallas Love) will meet you at 08:30 and take you for dinner in one of the local restaurants, within easy walking distance of your accommodation.
Today is a day ride local to the stables, enabling you to acclimatize slightly to the area and the altitude. It is also to acquaint you and your horse prior to setting out for the week. There will be approximately six hours of riding. After breakfast, you will be collected and driven to the stables situated five kilometers from the village of Bubion at an altitude of 1,650 meters.
The ride takes you high into the Poqueira valley on a combination of bridle paths and forestry tracks. The route follows along ancient Moorish irrigation channels and summer pastures watered by the snowmelt. This valley is claimed to be one of the most beautiful in the whole of Sierra Nevada with the high peaks reaching over 3,000 meters at the head of the valley and the Mediterranean Sea at the foot.
The horses will carry a full picnic lunch which you will eat beside one of the mountain streams at 2,500 meters. It is an idyllic spot offering spectacular views on a clear day all the way across the mountains of Morocco. Returning to the stables, you will be driven down to the village. There will be a set dinner in one of the local restaurants. Overnight is at Casa la Sevillana.
Today, you head east to the village of Trevelez at 1,486 meters, the highest municipality in Spain that is not a ski resort. In the morning, you gradually descend (approximately 350 meters) forestry tracks and bridle paths. The path passes through orchards and small terraces as it skirts the villages of Capilerilla, Pitres, and Portugos. There are a few sections where it is necessary to lead the horses on some of the steeper descents. Leaving the village of Portugos below, you start the 600-meter climb to your picnic spot in the shade of the pine woods.
After lunch, you join the main forestry track to Trevelez. This track maintains pretty much the same altitude as it winds its way through woodlands and small mountain farms. There are some good opportunities for nice canters. At the end of the day, you will take approximately a 15-minute walk down an old stone path into the village. The overall riding is approximately six hours. Stay overnight and have dinner at the comfortable Hotel La Fragua situated in the old Berber quarter of Trevelez.
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.
Here, you have two options. Depending on the weather, you continue to climb and picnic at about 2,300 meters or start a gentler descent and picnic in the oak woods above the village of Juviles. Both are lovely rides with stunning views. Both are slow as you are mostly climbing on mountain paths. On both options, the final descent into the village of Berchules is on foot about a 30-minute walk. The overall riding takes approximately six hours. After that, stay overnight and have dinner at the very comfortable Hotel Rural Los Bérchules.
Berchules takes its name from the old Spanish word 'berchel' which literally means mountain garden. In the morning, you take the ancient Moorish bridle path, once the main trade route over the mountains to Granada. As the path passes through terraced orchards and fields, high above the cause of the river, it is easy to see how the area came by its name.
Leaving the path, you stop for a picnic lunch in the shade of the pine woods. After lunch, you join the main forestry track built in the early 1900s to improve access for farming and reforestation in the area. There will be opportunities for trots and canters. The riding is approximately seven hours. You will spend the second night in the village of Berchules.
Today, you head back to the village of Trevelez. Leaving the village of Berchules below, you have a steep climb to approximately 2,400 meters. In the morning, the route follows dirt tracks through farm and pasture lands up to the tree line. There will be some canters and the riding is approximately five hours.
Your picnic lunch will be on the edge of the pine woods with wonderful views over the valley of Trevelez, the sea to the south, and the Mulhacen, 3,486 meters (the highest mountain on the mainland) to the north. During the afternoon, you descend the bridle path through the woods to the village of Trevelez. There are some places one needs to lead the horses for short periods. After that, you will stay overnight and have dinner at the comfortable Hotel La Fragua.
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 is 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. Overnight in the village of Bubion and enjoy 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.
Dallas owns the longest established holiday riding center in the Alpujarra. Since 1987, her top quality Spanish horses have provided unforgettable holidays for hundreds of people. The week rides and much of the short breaks are led by Dallas. Working with horses most of her adult life, she established the first stables in the Alpujarra and now has more than 20 horses. The horses have been backed and schooled by Dallas and her brother Mordecai Love, a professional dressage trainer. Many of the horses have a basic training in classical dressage.
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 at 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, 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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