Adventure vacations in Spain

Trails of Old Castile


This wonderful horse riding tour in Spain combines 3 days of riding in the Sierra de Gredos with 3 days of riding in the province of Segovia; the historic as well as the natural heart of Castile. Both provinces, Segovia and Avila are in Central Spain, in the Meseta – the great high plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, in the region of Castilla y Leon.

The horseback riding holiday begins in the Sierra de Gredos Nature Park, where landscapes full of light and color inspire you. This area is rural Spain at its finest, with an economy based on free range Avilian cattle breeding. The small villages display their architecture, traditions, and way of life of their people, isolated in this inaccessible nature that has shaped their unique character. It is an excellent terrain for riding, mostly open fields with magnificent views and paths that follow the course of rivers.

The second half of the riding holiday in Spain takes you to Segovia, on a journey back in history. Many sites are accessible on horseback while riding through the open and unspoilt Castilian countryside. You will visit the medieval city of Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It boasts a magnificent cultural heritage, including the colossal Roman Aqueduct from the 1st century AD – one of the greatest in Europe.  Ride to the Romanesque church of Sotosalbos, the castle and fortified city of Pedraza and the Royal site of La Granja de San Ildefonso, with its grand baroque palace and beautiful gardens.

The accommodations chosen for the ride are excellent, including some historic sites which are very unique hotels. All the hotels provide double or twin bed rooms and en-suite baths.

Breakfast, aperitifs, lunches and dinners are included while on the trek. The local cuisine is excellent and much consideration is taken when planning the meals to provide a sampling of the many different dishes available in the area.

  • Overview:
    The outfitter organizes this ride from her own stables in the Gredos area and has an excellent stable in Segovia for the riding there. The part of the ride in Segovia is accompanied by the outfitter and will be guided by Enrique, owner and trainer of the horses, an excellent horseman with a show-jumping and cross-country background. He is passionate about Segovia, its nature and history. The horses are Andalusian crosses, mainly Hispano-Arabs and Anglo-Hispanos, ranging in height from 15-16HH, and are selected for their good nature and endurance. They are well trained for the rides, fit, very willing and fun to ride. The tack used is English - general purpose leather saddles with deep knee rolls - no western saddles. Seat savers and saddle bags are provided.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Andalusian, Arabian and Thoroughbred crosses
  • Trip Pace:
    Moderate to fast
  • Tack:
    English all purpose
  • Weight limit:
    195 lbs in riding gear

Barajas International Airport in Madrid

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Madrid – Navarredonda de Gredos

Meet in Madrid at 3:00 pm and transfer to Navarredonda de Gredos (2 hour drive), a small village in the heart of Castile with a splendid view of the Sierra de Gredos. This is a region steeped in history, where the Moors and Christians fought, where Romans built roads that have lasted for centuries, and which the Spanish still refer to as “the stone heart of the peninsula”. Enjoy a welcome dinner and overnight at the National Parador of Gredos (the first Parador opened in Spain).

Day 2

Pine Woods and summer pastures

Ride through pine woods, open fields and trails towards the mountains, with great views of the Sierra de Gredos. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the countryside before riding back to the stable in Navarredonda. This day is a short ride so riders and horses can get to know one another. Dinner and overnight as previous night. A small spa has been opened in the next village which is 5 minutes away. It is possible to arrange for a massage (an out of pocket expense) before dinner.

Day 3

Navarredonda – Navacepeda de Tormes – Pozo de las Paredes

In the morning ride through the pine woods following the river Tormes to Hoyos del Espino. Climb up to the village of Hoyos del Collado where you stop for an aperitif. Following an old cattle track, descend towards Navecepeda and the Tormes with a rich vegetation of oaks and poplar trees.

Crossing the Tormes you will reach the gorge of Barbellido and the idyllic site of the Pozo de las Paredes, with a 14th century bridge. Lunch will be served at the local picnic area with a special traditional menu. This is an ideal spot for an invigorating swim in the river. Afternoon ride back to Navarredonda, following the course of the Tormes river with great views of the valley.

Alternatively day ride to el Pozo de las Paredes, with 14th century bridge, depending on weather conditions and group profile.

Day 4

Navarredonda de Gredos – Laguna Cañada el Gallo – Hoyos del Espino

Ride towards the heights of Cañada Lengua, through a yellow ocean of broom in the spring time. Following the ancient cañada, ascend to the heights of los Cervunales, open fields of summer pastures at about 5000 ft. You will discover the beautiful laguna of Cañada El Gallo, full of life in the springtime. The views of the Sierra de Gredos from these alpine plains are simple overwhelming. Gourmet picnic lunch close to the lagoon. Descent towards the village of Hoyos del Espino and ride back to the stables in Navarredonda de Gredos.

At the end of the ride, transfer to Segovia – La Granja directly from the stables – a two hour drive. Arrive at the Parador of La Granja around 8 PM. Visit the baroque palace and gardens of this royal site, built in the times of Felipe V, before dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the Parador.

Day 5

La Granja de San Ildefonso – Pedraza, Villa Medieval

From La Granja rejoin the Cañada Real, at the Caserio de Gamones, and ride along the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama to Sotosalbos. Aperitivo stop and visit of the Romanesque church from the 13th century. Continue riding through countryside of holm oaks and the small village of Requijada until you reach your picnic lunch spot near the river Cega. In the afternoon ride by the Ermita de Las Vegas, and follow the Cega river to Pedraza. This is a beautiful medieval village with an imposing castle, charming cobbled streets and a main square. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel de la Villa, a hotel in the heart of the village.

Day 6

Pedraza Villa Medieval – Collado Hermoso

From Pedraza follow ancient bridle paths through nearly abandoned rural villages that show the typical architecture of stone and timber. Pass the Romanesque church of San Juan Bautista from the 13th century and reach the slopes of the Sierra Guadarrama on the Cañada Real. After the aperitivo stop, follow the Cañada until reaching the mountain village of Navafria. Picnic lunch by the river Cega. In the afternoon ride to Collado Hermoso. Dinner and overnight at the country hotel Finca del Duque.

Day 7

Collado Hermoso – Segovia

Morning ride passing through the villages of Santa Domingo de Piron and Torrecabelleros. Short aperitivo stop in the countryside. Continue riding through open farm land and pass the remains of an old ranch where shepherds used to stop with their flocks to sheer the sheep during their long transhumant journeys. Late lunch at the equestrian center Hipica Eresma where the horses come from. Transfer to Segovia to the National Parador of Segovia with wonderful views of the city. A beautiful open air swimming pool and spa invite you to relax. Informal visit of Segovia with a local guide followed by farewell dinner at the Parador.

Day 8

Segovia – Madrid

After breakfast, transfer to the Madrid airport, arriving there about 12 noon. All riders will be transferred at the same time, so if any need to arrive in Madrid prior to noon, all riders will depart earlier – or an alternative transfer (extra cost) can be arranged ahead of time.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may be changed at the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

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Trails of Old Castile
June 22, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

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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

Susan Mercer