Horseback Riding in Spain

Coastal Range Ride

Overview

The Alpujarra and Coastal Range rides in the Sierra Nevada mountains use well mannered, fit horses and are moderately paced through beautiful landscape going up to alpine meadows. For these reasons this trip is an ideal horse riding holiday in Spain. One sees bridges and roads from Roman times and some of the aqueducts built by the Moors still flow to the small mountain villages.

Situated between the Sierra Nevadas and the Mediterranean Coast, is the Sierra la Contraviesa, a small mountain range reaching a maximum altitude of 1,511 meters. Due to the proximity of the coast, the climate and vegetation is very different from that of the Sierra Nevada, warmer and more arid. February and March are the months of almond blossoms and wild flowers, spring arrives here at least six weeks earlier than in the Alpujarra.

The early winter months are another lovely time to visit this area and rarely cold. Until the 18th Century, this range was thickly wooded with cork, oak and chestnut. However, most of the indigenous timber was felled by the turn of the century and replanted with almonds, figs and vineyards. Following ancient bridle paths, goat trails, dirt tracks and riverbeds, ride from the Alpujarras over the Contraviesas and down toward the coast. Little has changed here over the centuries; the mule and ox still pull the plough, the horse and mule still provide the transport.

The dramatic trail passes many small holdings and stone built farms that today provide the main industry for the area.

Lodging is in small village hostels and hotels providing twin bedded rooms and en-suite bath or shower rooms. Although clean and comfortable they are fairly simple (no porters, elevators or room service). Single accommodations are available at an additional charge.

Breakfast, lunch and all evening meals are included in the price of the trip. 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. Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notification.

  • Overview:
    The horses are pure and cross-bred Andalusians ranging in height from 15-16 hh. All the horses have been carefully selected for their intelligence, good nature and endurance and have been broken and schooled by the guide (there are no stallions used on the trek).
  • Horse Breeds:
    Andalusians and Arab cross
  • Trip Pace:
    slow to moderate with opportunities to canter
  • Tack:
    English trekking
  • Weight limit:
    190 lbs

Malaga

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Group transfer from Malaga airport no later then 5PM to the village of Bubión where you will be met by the ride organizer and guide. Dinner and accommodations in the comfortable and friendly atmosphere of the village.

Day 2

After breakfast you will be driven to the stables situated 5 kilometers from the village of Bubion at an altitude of 1.650 meters. Today is a day ride local to the stables, enabling you to acclimatize to the area and altitude and getting you acquainting with your horse prior to setting out for the week. Leaving the stables take a small path up through summer pastures to join the main forestry track into the National Park with opportunities for canters. Follow the track to approximately 2.300 meters where it joins a bridle path which takes you through pinewoods to come out on the ridge of Barranco Habali at approximately 2,100 meters where we will stop for a picnic lunch. On a clear day the views down the valley are fantastic, across the Contraviesa, the Mediterranean and even Africa. After lunch the route descends through oak woods and open pasturelands to meet the main forestry track leading back to the stables. Overnight in Casa Sevillana and enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Day 3

Heading east, set off for the village of Trevelez, which at 1.476 meters, is the highest village in Spain. During the morning, follow the old mule paths through open countryside, orchards and small terraces as it skirts the villages of Capilerilla, Pitres to the village of Portugos for lunch. There are a few sections of the trail where it is necessary to lead the horses on some of the steeper descents. After lunch continue on the mule path until it joins a broad, dirt forestry track surrounded by pines and oak. The afternoon offers some wonderful opportunities for canters. As you are coming into the village of Trevelez there will be a 15 min walk down an old stone path. Arrive in time to freshen up before dinner and overnight at the comfortable Hotel Fragua situated in the old Berber quarter of the town. Use of the pool at the hotel June through September.

Day 4

Today the trail is over totally different terrain, through mountain farms and pine forests to the village of Berchules. The first 15 minutes of the ride you will be leading the horses on an old Moorish stone path to the 800 year old irrigation channel where you mount up following the path through evergreen, oak and pines above the village of Juviles. Picnic lunch en-route.
After lunch, climb again through gorse, lavender and thyme to join a path as it begins the descent to the village of Berchules where you spend the night in a comfortable family run hotel. The final descent into the village is on foot followed by a 15 minute walk through the streets to the stables and hotel. Swimming pool open June through September.

Day 5

Today’s circular ride drops down to the Contraviesa foothills, riding through very different and rapidly changing terrain. The morning starts with an approximately 15 min walk down to the riverbed where you will mount up and ride through small cultivated terraces and orchards to the tiny village of Narila. After a steep climb out of the village the terrain becomes much more arid and eroded, green cultivated land giving way to wild rosemary, thyme, almonds and fig trees. 10 minutes on a small secondary road will take you to the village of Golgo, where you join the path leading to the bottom of the valley. After an early lunch by the stream in the shade of tall poplar trees the path climbs steeply to join a dirt track which will take you down to the valley of Yator. Late afternoon join one of the dry river beds which offers opportunities for some great canters and shorter gallops. At the end of the day cross and recross the river Cadiar, passing through orchards and small holdings to rejoin the bridle path leading back to the village of Berchules. Second night in the charming hotel. 7 hours saddle time.

Day 6

Today is a shorter ride (approximately 5 hours) following the valleys and hills of the Contraviesa Mountain range. The ride will take you through almond and fig farms and higher up through vineyards reaching an altitude of approximately 1,500 meters. During the spring the entire mountain is an amazing carpet of flowers. Enjoy the views of the Alpujarras and the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Picnic lunch in the almond groves. Tonight stay in the attractive Hotel Alqueria Morayma situated in the orchards above the river Cadiar. Swimming pool open late May through late September.

Day 7

Cross the river Guadalfeo and follow a steep bridle path west to the villages of Lobras and Timar, then onto a combination of dirt roads, mule paths and local roads before descending one of the most spectacular stone paths of the area. Built by the Romans into a sheer cliff face, this very steep path must be done on foot (approximately 30 minutes). After crossing the deep gorge of river Trevelez the path continues to the village of Busquistar and on to the village of Portugos for a well earned lunch. In the afternoon continue north west along paths and dirt tracks to Bubion. Overnight in Casa la Sevillana and farewell dinner.

Day 8

After breakfast transfer to Malaga for departure.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur a the guide's discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

All departures are Saturday to Saturday.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Mar 21, 2020
Mar 28, 2020
Mar 28, 2020
Apr 4, 2020
Oct 10, 2020
Oct 17, 2020
Oct 24, 2020
Oct 31, 2020

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,650
  • Single Supplement
  • 165 Euro payable in Spain
  • Transportation
  • Transfers are included from Malaga at specific times

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Mar 20, 2021
Mar 27, 2021
Apr 10, 2021
Apr 17, 2021
Oct 2, 2021
Oct 9, 2021
Oct 16, 2021
Oct 23, 2021
Nov 13, 2021
Nov 20, 2021

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,825
  • Single Supplement
  • 175 Euro payable in Spain
  • Transportation
  • Transfers are included from Malaga at specific times

Additional Pricing Information:
Prices are based on the dollar/euro exchange and are subject to change. Ride price is set, guaranteed, and final at the time deposit is paid.


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Contact Biggi Hayes

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