France ~ Pyrenees & Pays Basque
These rides explore the Basque country of the western Pyrenees in south-west France and northern Spain, a region of spectacular mountain scenery where you can also experience first-hand the culture and traditions of the intriguing Basque people.
Routes for 2019 are exciting opportunities to join your expert French guide on an exploration of the border country, the vineyards of Rioja, the Urbasa Natural Park in Navarra. The spirit of adventure, an insider’s knowledge and a charming and reliable team - a wonderful chance to get under the skin of this fascinating part of France & Spain
Riding: 5-6 hours a day
Horses: local cross breeds
Pace: slow to moderate
Riding ability: intermediate and above
Weight limit: 95kg (15 stone)
Accommodation: 2* & 3* village hotels, guesthouse & Chambres d'Hotes
Group size: maximum 10
Season: April to October
Horses: The horses are locally bred, of mixed blood and range between about 14.2hh and 16.2hh. They are well kept, well-mannered and also forward going and responsive to ride. English style saddles are used and most horses are ridden in hackamores. They are used to a light contact with the mouth and go well on a relaxed rein. .
Hours: There is usually about 5 to 6 hours a day - broken up with stops for drins, lunch and to stretch your legs.
Pace and experience required: The rides are at a moderate pace overall, with routes taking you through the mountains along narrow tracks. Some days in the hills will be at a relaxed pace, mostly walk and trot, but where the terrain allows there are usually good opportunities for trots and canters (you will be asked not to overtake the guide). The ride is aimed at reasonably competent riders but as the horses are sensible and well-mannered and the pace is not particularly fast, it is well suited to confident riders of an intermediate ability. As with all of our ‘progressive’ rides, you will be spending quite a bit of time in the saddle on consecutive days, so will enjoy your holiday much more if you are reasonably riding fit and we recommend regular riding practice in the months before you go.
Accommodation is in a variety of 2* to 3* village hotels, guesthouse and Chambres d'Hotes. Rooms have their own bathrooms - usually with a loo and shower rather than a bath tub. Some of the remoter areas offer limited choice and here the hotels will be quite simple. As far as possible hotels are chosen for their character, style and ambiance - and also for their excellent food.
Rioja Alavesa Vineyards to Urbasa National Park (5 nights) Euros 1650
Rates include - all riding, twin accommodation, meals, wine with dinner, and transfers from Biarritz to the start of the ride and back at set times with the group.
Rioja Alavesa Vineyards to Urbasa National Park
Itinerary in brief, Rioja Alavesa Vineyards to Urbasa National Park - please enquire for other itineraries
|Day 1||Arrive Biarritz airport where you will be met (usually around 4pm) and driven about two and a half hours, to comfortable accommodation in the town of Laguardia. Dinner and night.|
||Breakfast and a short drive to meet the horses. After an introduction set off riding, through vineyards of Rioja and crossing the great plain of Laguardia. Return to the stables, dinner & night Laguardia.|
||Set off riding, climbing the Sierra Cantabiria which marks the divide between Atlanticand Mediterranean.A spectacular view from the top. Descend to Bernedo and continue riding to the village of Urturi where the night is spent.|
||Breakfast and ride towards Izki, a natural park in the wild area of Alava, on the edge of the Vitoria-Gasteiz mountains. Ride through the centre of the park, eventually reaching the village of Sabando where the night is spent.|
|Day 5||Saddle up and set off riding towards the Sierra Urbasa-Andia, a large plateau. The two distinct areas, the beech forests of Urbasa and the high pastures of the Andia, are wonderful to explore by horse. In the late afternoon meet the vehicles and drive across the border into France and the stables at Sare. The final night at a lovely guesthouse in Espelette.|
||Breakfast and then transfer to Biarritz airport.|
|Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions|
The meeting point for the rides is Biarritz airport with meeting usually on the afternoon of the first day. From the UK several low cost airlines operate during summer months - Easy Jet have flights from Gatwick and Luton; Ryan Air fly from Stansted and Flybe have flights from Southampton and Birmingham. It is also possible to fly via Paris.