France, Aquitaine - Pays Basque and Beach Combo
This is an exciting ride where you get to experience an unspoiled wilderness on a beautiful Anglo-Arab. You will ride in a wide variety of terrain, often rugged, but the horses are sure-footed and will take you safely down from the high peaks into the deep wild valleys where eagles and vultures soar high above you in the blue sky. The ride ends at the Atlantic Coast!
This is a challenging ride and you will need to be in good condition and safe at all gaits to be able to ride for 6-7 hours every day over sometimes challenging terrain. There will be several opportunities to trot and canter, as the terrain allows. In some places, you will have to dismount and lead your horse. Lunches consist of food typical for the region. After lunch, there is often time for a short siesta before continuing your adventurous ride.
The program is not only exciting from a riding perspective, but it also provides a very interesting insight into the culture of the Pays Basque region. When you get to Saint Jean Pied de Port, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, you can enjoy discovering the area on foot before visiting the small shops and choosing a restaurant for the evening.
There will be two easier days on the Atlantic coast where you will have the opportunity for an exciting gallop on the white sands. If the weather permits, you can swim with the horses. Also depending on the weather forecast, the program may start on the Atlantic coast in order to take advantage of the best weather in the mountains.
Preliminary day-by-day program. The trail may start by the Atlantic Coast according to the forecast in order to take advantage of the best weather in the mountain.
Sunday: Transfer from Bordeaux 2.00 pm, and arrival at Saint Etienne de Baigorry where you will have time to explore this famous old city. You have dinner at a typical Basque restaurant in the center of the historic part of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. You spend the night at a bed and breakfast.
Monday: You eat breakfast at 8.00 am and start riding at approx. 10.00 am from Saint Jean Pied de Port or Saint Etienne de Baigorry heading to Banca. The goal is to get to the top of Monhoa and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding area - the Aldudes Valley and on to the sea. You spend the night in mountain Guest House.
Tuesday: You start riding at approx. 10.00 am. You will ride up onto the ridge with its stunning views of Spain and then along the ridge line between France and Spain. You ride until you reach the picturesque village of Urepel in the Aldudes Valley. Overnight in hotel in Banca.
Wednesday: You start riding at 10:30 am, and you will get to know the traditional life of the Basque people in the valley and enjoy a typical Basque lunch. You ride up Mount Marguibel on the Spanish side and then cross a native Spanish forest in what is an unforgettable moment. Same overnight stay as yesterday.
Thursday: You start riding at approx. 10.00 am and cross the Elhorrieta Pass and enjoy the stunning views over Spain to the sea as you ride down the Ispeguy Pass. After lunch at a typical Spanish restaurant, you continue downhill on an old smuggling route towards Erratzu Spain village. Crossing the picturesque countryside and the nearest city on horseback. Dinner on the way to Mimizan and night in the Guest House of Mimizan with swimming pool.
Friday & Saturday: Over these two days you will discover Europe’s largest forest, with views over the most beautiful beach in France. It is also where you will get the opportunity to enjoy some exciting gallops on the white sandy beaches of the Aquitaine coast. The ride ends on Saturday evening at around 8.00 pm with sunset on the beach. You stay in a gite at the equestrian center.
Sunday: Breakfast and transfer to the airport. You will be in Bordeaux around 11.30 pm. So book a flight back home after 1.00 pm. The transfer takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Note – this is a provisional program only and may change due to unforeseen circumstances.