Ride Overview - Mountains of Portugal Horseback Ride
An equestrian vacation in the mountains of Portugal! Located on the northern tip of Portugal, Castro Laboreiro reaches almost 3,200 feet/1000 meters of altitude in the mountainous area of Peneda Geres. The region´s forests are rich in oak, holly, laurel cherry, pine and white birch trees. Highlands are dotted with brooms, furzes and heathers. Ancient paths will lead you to the little ecological treasures of the Peneda mountains. Your group may cross the paths of Iberian wolf and wild Garrano horse. Your guides are extremely knowledgeable about the region and the habitats of the wildlife. Your mount is either a Lusitano or Garrano. There will be opportunities to swim in the natural pools of the Laboreiro River or the nearby hot water thermal baths. Lodging is provided in a private country guesthouse nestled in the valley below the historic village of Castro Laboreiro. Built in the early 20th century and recently restored, the house maintains many of its original features. The house is also equipped with all the modern comforts required for a pleasant stay, such as central heating, wood burning fireplace, Wi-Fi, cable television and a fully equipped kitchen. If available, a yoga and meditation class will be offered. Traditional Portuguese cuisine is offered. Breakfast includes a basket of bread, croissants, ham, cheese, jams, biscuits, yogurt and fruit. Milk and juice and tea and coffee are readily available in the house kitchen. Lunches are either a picnic eaten in the mountains or are served in a local restaurant. Dinners are served at the guesthouse. Your hosts strive to use local produce and make their own jams and honey as well as growing some of their own vegetables. This ride is ideal for those who love nature and appreciate a well-schooled horse. RIDING IN PORTUGAL
“Three afternoons and one full day of excellent riding on the most willing, well-trained, brave and sure-footed horses I think I’ve come across (and I’ve done a round up in Iceland and ridden up/down Mount Bogong in Australia!). Pedro was a fountain of knowledge – a fascinating guy! The house I shared was warm, clean and very modern. Anabela supplied all we needed for a good, healthy breakfast and the evening meals we ate at the local restaurant were tasty and excellent value for money. The horses were well-schooled and brave, perfect for the job they were doing. The tack was clean and sounds and the saddles very comfortable. Pedro looked after us – and his horses – well. He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife. What more can you ask? ” J.M.
Ride Itinerary - Mountains of Portugal Horseback Ride
Day 1: Sunday
You will be transferred from Porto Airport to the quaint village of Castro Laboreiro. Plan to arrive at the airport by 3:00 PM. You will meet your fellow riders at a traditional dinner served in the country house.
Day 2: Monday
Today, you will become acquainted with your horse as you ride along the beautiful paths of the Peneda Mountain. Lunch will be enjoyed at a local restaurant. Next, you will visit the National Park’s welcome center to learn more about the region and its wonderful biodiversity. There will be a sunset ride in the evening with an eye toward tracking a wild Garrano horse herd. Dinner and overnight in the eco-lodge.
Day 3: Tuesday
Your trail will lead you towards the eastern border of Portugal. Along the way, you will continue to look for Garrano horses and see amazing megalithic monuments which represent the largest megalithic necropolis on the Iberian Peninsula. After you enjoy a mountain picnic, you will have the opportunity for some long canters. Dinner and overnight in the eco-lodge.
Day 4: Wednesday
This morning’s ride offers some gallops in the mountains and is followed by lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit the old part of the historical village of Melgaço with its castle and old churches. You will stop at the Alvarinho winery where you can sample this fresh, local white wine which has a richness of extreme rarity. This is a typical Portuguese wine, one of the most important varieties in the Tart Wine Region and also internationally prized, truly a wine of top quality. Dinner and overnight in the eco-lodge.
Day 5: Thursday
Today, your trail will descend from the mountain into the hills of the Monteiro area. The dramatic landscape with granite rocks will mark this day of incredible sightseeing. You will ride across beautiful old hamlets full of history and traditions before a picnic lunch in the mountains. On the ride home, you will follow an ancient transhumance trail (seasonal movement of livestock) and these were also used as a connection to Spain in old times. Dinner and overnight in a mountain guesthouse.
Day 6: Friday
In the morning, you will visit the medieval castle of Castro Laboreiro and the Peneda Pilgrimage Sanctuary and village. This enormous, beautiful sanctuary lies in the middle of the mountain and was built during the 18th century. Lunch will be near a natural pool next to an extraordinary Roman bridge over the Laboreiro River It’s possible to swim in the pool. This is followed by an afternoon ride.
Day 7: Saturday
This last ride will lead you to the fabulous Valley of the Wolves, one of the most beautiful valleys of the mountain. Full of biodiversity, the area is rich in rare sightings of wild animals. Last but no less important, you can spot the best Garrano herds of all the region here in the valley. Picnic lunch will be enjoyed along with your mountain trail. Farewell dinner and overnight in the house.
Day 8: Sunday
You will be transferred to the airport ( 2 – 3 hours drive). Plan to depart by air at mid-day.
Ride Details - Mountains of Portugal Horseback Ride
Dates: Saturday – Saturday, April to November
Best Months to Ride: March – May and September – October
Riding days: 6
Riding Hours: 4- 5
Horses: Lusitanos and Garrano
Riding Ability: STRONG INTERMEDIATE: Confident and in control at all paces including posting trots, two point canters and gallops in open country. Able to lead your horse along the trail.
Group Size: 2 – 6
Accommodations: comfortable eco-lodge
Price: $1,865.00 per person, double occupancy $250.00 single supplement
**This price will fluctuate with the USD/EURO exchange and will be fixed at your final payment.
Includes: lodging, transfer to and from the airport, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, horse, tack, guide, one meditation and yoga class
Not Included: airfare
ANNUAL TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL:
Mountains of Portugal Horseback Ride: Gallery
Mountains of Portugal Horseback Ride