Ride Overview - Great Trail of the Sierra Morena
A memorable horseback riding vacation in southern Spain! You will ride in the Cordoba province, the home of the purebred Spanish horse and Doma Vaquera horsemanship which is a disciplined mix of western reining and dressage. Cordoba was also not only the ancient capital of the Islamic world but also of Christians and Jews and boasts some of the most important religious monuments in the world. You will ride along the Sierra Morena Trail (GR48), the longest ancient travelers’ route in Spain. Your trails will lead you through dark cork oak forests and endless olive groves to the impressive Almodovar Castle filmed in the Game of Thrones as the Lannister “High Garden” and the vast 10th century Medina Azahara Castle ruins. This is a land with a long history of men caring for animals in arduous terrains. Along the way, you will appreciate the gentle sunlight light created from arranged trees which provide shade for herds of black bulls yet enough light to grow grass. Your horse will drink from old stone watering troughs. You will ride capable Hispanish Arabs who easily navigate the countryside and mountain trails. Every day you can expect delicious traditional Spanish cuisine. At the end of your ride, you can choose a non-riding day visit to historic Cordoba which includes a tour of La Mezquita, an immense 784 AD mosque that was converted in the 13th century to a Catholic Church; the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, the castle where Christopher Columbus made his request to King Ferdinand and Queen Elizabeth to sail to America and the Andalusian Horse Musicale, a wonderful Royal Andalusian dressage exhibition.
Ride Itinerary - Great Trail of the Sierra Morena
You will be transferred from the Córdoba train station to the Hotel Monasterio de San Francisco This converted monastery offers spacious rooms in an ambience where you expect a medieval monk to greet you in the hallway. The Hotel is an architectural jewel that began to be built in 1492, as a monastery for the Order of San Francisco. With more than 500 years of history, we emphasize that from this place different expeditions of Franciscan monks went that accompanied the armies of the Spanish kings during the conquest of America, taking with it to the New Empire, among many other contributions, the seed of the orange of Palma del Rio, which later gave rise to the Californian orange, being founders of different cities, among others the city of San Francisco in the United States. The hotel keeps intact the monastic style, respecting the architecture of the building rigorously, being able to enjoy all the comforts of a hotel of its category. After you have settled into your room, the afternoon is free for you to visit the historical city of Palma del Río and enjoy an aperitif at the Peña Flamenca La Soleá. You will then meet your fellow riders and guide at a delicious traditional dinner in a Palma del Rio restaurant.
You will be transferred to a traditional bull farm owned by the heirs of the famous bullfighter, Manolo Vázquez. Before you mount up, you will learn more about Maestro Vaszuez and his incredible career. Next, horseback riding trails lined with dense Mediterranean scrubland and marvelous cork-oak trees will lead you to the Sierra de Hornachuelos Natural Park where riding the Eagle’s Path will allow you to view millenary oak, the Tethys Sea, the Rabbit’s View, and the Hermitage of San Abundio. A traditional Andalusian farmers’ lunch will be served at the wild bull breeding farm, Cortijo Los Arenales. You will also be able to taste Montilla-Moriles wine produced by the well-known winemakers, Doblas Alcalá. Afterwards, you will see a 1902 circa stone mill whose wheel was moved by mules to grind olives and extract the oil. To end the day, you will be transferred to the comfortable Hotel El Alamo for dinner and lodging. If time permits, you can take a walk through the historic Arabic fortress. In the old town , you can visit the village center, a Gothic church and the battered tower of the De Armes.
After breakfast, your group will ride along farming lowlands, wild olive trees, “palmito” (European palm) and holm oaks as your trail traces the old herder Real Cañada Soriana route. From this land came the ancestors of the American mustangs. You will then cross the Bembézar Reservoir dam bridge and continue past the historical sites of Atalaya de Nublos, the Pilar de Paterna and the Cantera Honda. The pungent pine forrest of La Sierrezuela provide the canopy over your trail which leads to lunch in the Periurbano Park. The menu includes a homemade cuisine inspired by the hunt and the products of the garden. Your day ends after releasing the horses in a nearby farm and a transfer to the Rural Houses of Alisné, After dinner, you can enjoy wonderful views of the La Breña Reservoir and possibly a visit the La Breña Yacht Club.
After enjoying a robust breakfast at the San Luis Restaurant, you will ride to the interior of Sierra Morena for a visit to the popular Villalobillos Estate that once belonged to Manuel Benítez, “El Cordobés.” You will then retrace the footsteps of both royal and conqueror as you ride to foot of the breathtaking hilltop Almodavar Castle. This is one of the most popular castles in Europe and movie lot for the Lannister High Garden Castle in the Game of Thrones. After touring the castle, the rich Spanish culture unfolds before you ride across vast farmlands, numerous stone mills and an Arabic watchtower. Lunch will be served at Restaurante La Taberna. Your day ends with a return ride to Casas Rurales Alisné for dinner and lodging.
Today, you will ride from Almodóvar to Santa Maria de Trassierra. Your trail crosses vast meadows where black bulls graze peacefully. Gently ascending paths will take you along the Casas del Brazona and a small reservoir over the Matalagartos River. After lunch at the El Candil Restaurant in Santa Maria de Trassierra, you will then ride to the farm where the horses will be stabled for the night. Dinner and lodging will be in the city of Córdoba.
The mountain Trassierra Trail will lead you through one of the best preserved spots in the Cordoba mountain range. Your destination is the incredible Medina Azahara. Here are the ruins of the 10th century “Shining City”, a vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace-city. After a guided tour, you will have lunch at El Rancho Cordoba Restaurant. Your group will then ride to the final stable. Your riding day will end around 4:00 PM. Afterwards, you will either be transferred to the train station or return to your Cordoba hotel to stay the extra night for your non-riding tour of Cordoba.
You will be transferred to the train station/airport for departure home or begin your post-ride guided tour of Cordoba.
If you selected the non-riding guided tour, you will be transferred to the train station or airport.
Ride Details - Great Trail of the Sierra Morena
Dates: March 10th – 16th, March 22nd – 28th, April 8th – 14th, April 22nd – 28th, May 6th – 12th, May 10th – 16th, June 20th – 26th, September 7th – 13th, September 23rd – 29th, October 13th – 19th
Airport: Madrid or Malaga
Meeting Place: Cordoba train station
Riding ability: INTERMEDIATE Able to trot and canter in open spaces. Comfortable with mountain trails.
Daily Riding hours: 4-5
Horses: Hispanish Arabs, Anglo Arabs
Saddles: Spanish western, English
Group size: 2 – 12
Lodging: 3 – 4* hotels and inns.
Price: $1,755 per person, single or double occupancy
Post ride tour of Cordoba: $300.00 per person
*Prices are based on the USD/EURO exchange rate and will be fixed at your final payment.
Includes: 6 nights lodging, 5 riding days, horse, tack, guide, breakfast, lunch, transfer to and from the train station
Not included: airfare, transfers to and from the airport to the hotel (Malaga: 400 euros roundtrip, per car), train ticket to and from Madrid airport, dinners
Non-riding day in Cordoba: Includes: 1 night lodging Hotel Los Abetos del Maestre , breakfast, lunch at Bodegas Campos, visit to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Jewish quarter and Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba, transfer to train station or airport.
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Great Trail of the Sierra Morena: Gallery
Great Trail of the Sierra Morena