Spain ~ Sierra Nevada
4, 5 and 7 nights, riding between village guesthouses and hotels, available March to November. For fit, confident novice riders and above.
Where Exploring the foothills of Andalucia's Sierra Nevada mountains, about an hour south east of Granada in southern Spain.
What is it like Sun-parched hills hide small whitewashed villages, blossoming almond orchards, ancient olive groves and tiny terraced farms where horses, mules and oxen are still used to plough the fields and where life goes on in the same unhurried way that it has for centuries. The winding cobbled streets of the villages are decorated with colourful awnings of bougainvillea, Moorish waterways feed ancient water troughs which provide a welcome drink for the horses and there is miles of open space, with views stretching to north Africa.
Who does it suit Anyone who wants a challenging ride that is not a race; a well-schooled responsive horse that they'll love to ride and a chance to see a part of Spain that's probably not what they thought it was. In spring and autumn the Contraviesa Ride goes from village to village following a route through the lower foothills of the Contraviesa range. In mid-summer, the Alpujarra Ride follows a similar route but ventures higher into the mountains and the Buena Vista Ride goes higher still, crossing right over the mountain range. All are a proper 'journey' through the hills. Nights are in village hotels and guesthouses, for a good night's rest after an active day out (one night mountain refuge on Buena Vista ride). Shorter breaks are also offered throughout the season and are perfect for a quick getaway.
Why we love it Its always hard to believe this part of Spain is so rural and untouched yet only an hour or so from the busy coast. Dallas's horses are a treat to ride, laid back yet full of energy as they power up the hills and the routine of a morning's work out, a picnic in the mountain air, a snooze in the shade and an afternoon riding home for sundown is a real tonic.
Riding: 6 hours a day
Horses: Andalucian and Spanish Purebred cross
Pace: moderate, can be slow in places due to rugged, hilly terrain but chances to canter most days
Riding ability: confident novice to experienced riders
Weight limit: about 90kgs (14st 2lbs) but please call to discuss if your weight is close to this
Accommodation: 2* and 3* local hotels
Group size: max 8
Season: March to November
Price: 7 night trails from 1850 Euros (approx £1610) per person
Horses: The horses are mostly Andalucian and Spanish Purebred crosses of between 15hh and 16hh. They are of medium build and all have been carefully selected for their endurance and good nature and schooled personally by your English guide. They are a real delight to ride, being extremely responsive, forward going and well mannered. All are very sure footed and cope easily with the varied, and sometimes steep, difficult terrain. Tack is similar to English style wiith saddle-bags provided and seat-savers if required. Rides are normally limited to 10 guests.
Hours: There is usually about 6 hours riding on full days, moving from village to village, with stops for rests and lunch.
Pace and experience required: To take part in these rides you should have a reasonable amount of previous riding experience and a fairly good level of general and riding fitness. You should be secure, comfortable and in control on a well schooled horse at the walk, trot and canter and used to riding in open country. The horses are a well schooled, very enjoyable and forward going ride for experienced riders. There are also well mannered, steady horses that are suitable for the fit, but less experienced rider. The terrain in the area is rugged and there will be some steep ascents and descents and some narrow trails to negotiate along the route. This means the riding can be at a slow pace, although there are opportunities to canter on forest tracks or dry river beds most days.
Accommodation on the rides is in small village hostels ("Posadas") and comfortable local hotels. The hotels vary in size and style; all are quite simple and rooms are generally fairly small, but they are clean and comfortable, and all rooms have a small en suite loo and shower or bath with plenty of hot running water available. Your luggage is transported from hotel to hotel by vehicle. Rooms are twin bedded and if you are booking alone a small single supplement is payable for a single room. Breakfast and dinner each day will be eaten at the hotels (except on 3 evenings on the short breaks where you are free to choose your own restaurants for dinner). Lunches are usually picnics out riding.
Contraviesa Ride (7 nights) - Euros 1850
Contraviesa Ride (7 nights)
Average temperature guide
Itinerary in brief - Contraviesa Ride. Please enquire for other itineraries.
|Day 1||You will be met in Malaga usually at about 17.00 and driven to Bubion, a village in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Dinner and overnight in a village hotel.|
||Driven a short way to the stables to meet the horses. The ride today takes you high into the sierra, to the base of Mulhacen, the highst peak. A picnic with tremendous views and then ride back to Bubion for dinner and the night.|
||Set off riding following mule tracks through open country and woodland then broad forest tracks to reach Trevelez, the highest village in Spain. Dinner and night in Trevelez.|
||Breakfast and ride on through oak forest and out onto open pastures with wonderful views of the Contraviesa range. Continue to the village of Berchules where you will stop for the night. Dinner and night in a hotel in Berchules.|
||Set off after breakfast riding a circular route through the Contraviesa foothills. A picnic lunch by a stream and in the afternoon opportunities for some faster pace riding in the dry riverbeds. Return to Berchules for dinner and night.|
||Today's ride is a little shorter, around 5 hours, following the Cadiar river, then through orchards and then vineyards, climbing to around 1500 meters. A picnic lunch in the almond groves with wonderful views of the high peaks. In the afternoon ride on to the lovely Morayma Hotel where the night is spent.|
||Breakfast and set off following dirt tracks and mule paths, crossing a deep ravine and continuing to Portugos where you stop for lunch. Then follow forest tracks back to the stables at Capileira. Dinner and the night at a hotel in Bubion.|
||Breakfast then a return transfer to Malaga to arrive late morning.|
|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 Malaga and transfers from/to Malaga at set times on the first and last days are included for the 7 night and 5 night programs. For Short Break rides transfers from Malaga can also be arranged and will be billed locally, approx 55 euros per person each way at set times. British Airways, Iberia, Easy Jet and several other airlines have direct flights to Malaga from London. For flights to Malaga from London budget around £150 to £250 economy return (seasonal and depends on the airline).