The Path of the Herdsmen is an exciting trail which will take you from the Mediterranean Costa Brava to the alpine mountain peaks of the Pyrenees mountains. Nowadays herdsmen still pass along the “Camino Real” through the northeastern part of Catalonia. During winter month the herds stay in the mild coastal areas and in summer they make their way up towards the Pyrenees. This diverse trail through quiet and remote lands of the herdsmen is an unforgettable adventure for experienced riders, offering opportunities for fun canters and gallops on sure-footed Andalusians. Enjoy comfortable accommodations en-route in natural stone houses and family-run farms and hotels on this ride in the land where the mountains meet the sea.
Lodging is planned in small and very comfortable village and rural hotels, providing twin-bedded rooms and en-suite baths. When available, places with character and history have been chosen. Rooms on most nights have en-suite facilities, though they may be small in size, for two nights showers and bathrooms could be across the hall. Single accommodations can be arranged at an additional charge but may not be available every night.
A support vehicle will follow riders during the entire trip, meeting for lunch when possible and at night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided while on the trek. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide visitors with a sampling of the many different dishes produced in the area. A few of the meals are not included in the price of the ride and a flat fee of 80 Euro is payable for this at the welcome dinner in cash (Euros).
The horses are Andalusian and Spanish horses, typically mountain bred, and range in height from 15 - 16 hh. They are selected for their good nature and endurance, and are well-suited to the terrain and safe in difficult areas, quick and powerful in canter and gallop, intelligent and reliable, and are fun to ride.
Occasionally you will be riding on rural paved roads and on cobblestone streets through villages.
English trekking saddles and Spanish saddles are used. Saddle bags are provided.
Barcelona or Girona.
You will be met at the Barcelona International Airport at 5:30pm or the Girona airport at 6:30pm on the first day of your ride.
You will be returned to Barcelona airport at about 1:00pm, or Girona airport at about 11:00am, on the last day of the ride.
Arrive in Barcelona or Girona and transfer to Mas Roca where Bogi welcomes you into his home, an old mill from the 16th century which enchants with its unique character. What a beautiful place to start your adventure into the Pyrenees mountains! The welcome dinner is served at 9PM.
Saddle up this morning and pass through the hilly countryside of the pre-Pyrenees and follow the river Fluvia in the direction of the mountains, a route taken by old herdsmen like Juan the Shepherd. The village of Alt Emporda are impressive witnesses of an amazing past. In the shade near the river lunch is provided a la fresca by “Catalan Buffalo” who will meet you with a glass of Cava and a beautifully set table. After the siesta, ride quickly to the medieval town of Besalu. Accommodations for the night are in a hotel right next to the romantic bridge with a view over the river and the town. Before dinner in the enchanting garden of the restaurant, enjoy a stroll through the streets of Besalu.
Mountains and swimming
Ride into the wild and hilly countryside of the Garrotxa, passing through Besalu and crossing the romantic bridge of Llierca. The sparkling turquoise rock pools invite for a refreshing swim. Your agile horses carry you safely over the pass of Santa Barbara. From the top enjoy a fantastic view of the bizarre rock formations. Dinner and overnight in a small mountain village.
Rocky hills of the Garrotxa
The valley of the Llierca lies in front of you with its strong lime rocks. Only the clapping of the hooves, splashing of the stream and the calm sounds of the cow bells interrupt the deep quietness of this secluded area. Birds of prey, reptiles and butterflies accompany you and with a bit of luck you may spot a wild boar or a badger. Stop for a picnic lunch under two-thousand-year-old oak trees where the turquoise water of the stream invites for a refreshing dip. In the afternoon reach the picturesque mountain village of Beget where you spend the night.
Ride into the high mountains
Today continue deeper into the Pyrenees mountains and an ancient medieval merchant’s pass takes you over the border into France. Ride through beech, oak and chestnut forests that cover the hills. The view of the surrounding 9000 feet of high mountains is breathtaking. Dinner and overnight in the small town of Camprodon on the river Ter. Enjoy an evening stroll if you have energy left, before dinner at your accommodations.
Pyrenees - the realm of the herdsmen
Have an early start this morning to ascend to the high region of the mountains. Along the way ride through fields with cattle, sheep, goats and the occasional wild Pyrenean horse. This region has an alpine character with wild flowers blooming galore which transform the hilly meadows into carpets of blooms. Reach a high mountain pass – an infinite steppe of grass and stone at 6000ft and marvel at the magnificent views. To the west the highest peak of Catalonia towers and to the east the Mediterranean sea glistens in a deep blue. Take a siesta and observe vultures rising high into the sky, then ride on a secluded path through the mountain paradise on route to the town of St Joan de les Abadesses. Spend the night in an authentic hotel where you can discuss the weeks events at the last dinner together.
Hasta la vista, amigos!
After breakfast say farewell and transfer to either Girona or Barcelona for you onward travel.
This itinerary is flexible. Changes may occur due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, as determined by the guide.
Trip Dates & Pricing
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Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change.
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Epona November 2018: Super trip! Fernando and team were terrific, accommodations were great, fun riding (dressage lessons and trail rides) and extra activities, excellent food. THANKS
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