Portugal, Alentejo - Atlantic Trail Ride
The horse riding center sits on the west coast north of the Algarve. The region is called Alentejo and is part of Portugal's largest nature reserve and is protected from development. This is a paradise for riders where there are hundreds of kilometers of sandy roads connecting the small-whitewashed villages.
This is a fast-paced trail ride where the horses are left in pastures along the road overnight while you are driven "home" to the stud farm each evening. Dinner is eaten at the family's cozy seafood restaurant which is also a popular meeting place for locals. If you are energetic in the evening you can finish the day with a swim in the ocean.
Your hosts are Claudia and her family. Claudia is an accomplished dressage rider who has trained many young horses and competed up to intermediate level. Now she has chosen to focus on trail rides. She raises Anglo Arabs which she breaks in and trains, but her main interest is making her trail riders as content as possible. Claudia's expert guides will lead the trail rides. A short distance from the riding center where you eat breakfast and dinner during the week, the family has its own restaurant located on the seafront. You can swim in the sea all year round if you wish.
You ride 4-6 hours per day at changing tempos, about 200 km (124 miles) in total. The horses have English saddles and bridles and yuo can brush and saddle the horses if you would like to. Some of the horses have saddlebags. The horses are left in pastures alongside the road each evening and you are driven "home" to the stud farm in time for dinner and maybe a dip in the sea.
The first day you ride southwest to the deserted Malhao Beach. You are treated to a lovely picnic in the pine forest and then ride home along soft sandy roads. The trail ride goes further on along the golden beaches to the small fishing village of Porto Covo.
Next day you will be riding though hilly terrain. You cross the Mira River and approach the coast again. The landscape changes dramatically over short distances - the desolate beaches, cliffs, long plateaus and oak forests.
On the last day, you ride along the River Mira and then home. One last quick gallop makes it difficult to determine whether your tears are from the wind in your face or from sadness that your trail ride is coming to an end.
Minimum number of riders are 4 and the maximum number is 6-8 riders. If you are less than 4 people the program will be slightly changed to the so-called star-ride. We then ride in different directions and ride back to the riding center every day.
Accommodation and Food
The farm has six apartments consisting of one double bedroom, kitchen with refrigerator, fireplace and a bathroom. Each apartment has its own sheltered patio. Here you can sit in the evening and watch the sun go down.
Single: It is possible to book a single room (price for single supplement available under Dates & Prices). If you are willing to share rooms, you will not have to pay a single supplement if you are allocated a single room.
Breakfast and dinner you eat at the family restaurant located by the sea, 800 meters (2,600 ft) from the riding center. You can be driven there, if you do not want to walk. The breakfast consists of coffee, tea, juice, bread with ham, cheese, marmalade. Dinner consists of three dishes. Given all the small fishing villages located nearby, you will be served many tasty seafood dishes. Wine and beer is payable locally. For dessert, you will be treated to dishes such as chocolate or almond pie. The picnic lunch is substantial and good, and includes hot food.
Day 1 Arrival. You get to meet the horses and enjoy a welcome dinner in the evening.
Day 2: Breakfast and then you take a test ride on your horse. The first day, you ride in a southwesterly direction to desolate Malhao Beach . You are treated to a lovely picnic in the pine forest and then ride home along soft sandy roads.
Day 3: After breakfast, you ride north through Porto Covo. Then it's off up the mountain with a great view of all the small beaches along the coast. You continue to a cork oak forest next to Morgavel Pond where you stay for a long picnic lunch and a swim with the horses in the pond, weather permitting. In the afternoon, you ride to Gaio Valley, which is filled with wild flowers. You continue north through Palrão Valley until you come to an old windmill. Here, you will leave the horses for the night and be driven back to the riding centre.
Day 4: The trail ride goes further inland through a Eucalyptus forest down to the green Roncão Valley where you stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you continue to the Sela Vermalha Valley. You will pass an old iron mine. Up on Cercal Peak, you can enjoy the wonderful view of the sea and the entire region. You continue to Cercal where you leave the horses.
Day 5: Today you ride south to Godin's Valley until you reach the Ribera Da Axenha Plateau with its sandy paths leading to a pine and eucalyptus forest. You cross the River Mira, have lunch and then continue through the pine forest to the small village of Almograve.
Day 6: Today you ride over Almograves big soft dunes, along the stunning cliffs at Cabo Sardão on safe paths with the foaming waters below. After lunch, you continue the ride along the cliffs and before the horses are stabled in Almograve. You will then drive to Milfontes and have a drink and enjoy the city before returning to the farm.
Day 7: Breakfast and transfer to the airport.
(Subject to change due to local circumstances.)
(Riding on the beach is prohibited from 1 June until 30 September.)
Ability description: Trail Ride level 2-3 >>
Included in the price: 6 nights, 5 days riding, full board incl. non alcoholic beverages.
Not included: Flights, alcoholic beverages, transfer, insurance and extras not mentioned.
Travel: Book flight/rental car >> We help you book your flight if you wish.
Fly to Lisbon.
Transfer: Book in advance with HorseXplore.
From Lisbon airport, about 2 hours.
Price: 98 EUR return per person. Payable on spot.
Meeting time: At 17.00
Taxi transfers at other times cost about 150 EUR per trip.
Departure: Book a flight going home after 1.00pm on departure day.
Riding: Trail ride where you are driven back to the farm every night, but the horses are left at different location every night. You ride 4-6 hours per day at varied tempo. Riding on the beach is prohibited from 1 June until 30 September.
Horses: Mainly Lusitanos that are excellent for trail rides. Relaxed but still sensitive and lively. Height at the withers 150-165 cm (59 – 65 in).
Credit card: Yes accepted by riding center.
Tipping: Not required.
Electricity jack: EU standard
Age limit: 12 years old
Closest village: 7 km away
Beach: 900 metrers away
Riding equipment to borrow: Helmet
Saddle bag available: Yes
Special diet: Inform when booking.