This week-long riding holiday through rural Portugal will have you discovering the Alentejo region’s expansive coastline, saltwater lagoons and rolling hills from the back of a powerful Lusitano. The point-to-point nature of this ride means that you’ll get to explore new landscapes every day, all combining to give you a truly authentic taste of life in this unique part of the world.
With not a high-rise building to be seen once you roll out of Lisbon, this ride is PERFECT for anyone who’s ready to slow down and savour life’s simple pleasures: the smell of the ocean as you canter across the sand, the taste of fresh fish and still-warm bread, the beauty of a sun-dappled cork forest, the sweet sound of birdsong drifting over rice fields.
What makes this ride extra special is the horses. You’ll be mounted on pure or cross-bred Lusitanos, which are native to Portugal and have been a source of great pride for the Portuguese since medieval times. Lusitanos are noble and powerful horses, noted for their intelligence and willing nature. Their gaits are agile and elevated, while still being quite comfortable to ride. So sit back, relax and let your Lusitano steed transport you to a different world!
- Horse Breed:A mixture of purebred and cross-bred Portuguese Lusitanos.
- Pace:The pace varies on a daily basis from a walk right through to a fast canter whenever the terrain is suitable. There will be plenty of opportunities to trot in between.
- Weight Limit:Maximum of 85kgs / 187lbs
- Type of tack:Comfortable sheepskin covered Portuguese military saddles.
- Seasons:Low season is February, March, June, October & November. High season is July.
- Group size:Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 10 guests
- Time in Saddle:On average between 4 to 6 hours each day.
- Riding Ability:This ride is suitable for intermediate to experienced riders.
- Accommodation:You will experience a wonderful variety of accommodation on this ride, including pousadas (traditional manor houses), comfortable hotels in the heart of the countryside as well as private estates. You can expect to have an en suite bathroom and in most locations an on site pool is also available.
- Ride Length:8 days, 7 nights with 6 riding days.
- Inclusions:The price includes twin share accommodation, all meals (from dinner on day one through to breakfast on day eight), riding, luggage transfers and an English speaking guide, round trip transfer service to/from Lisbon Airport at set times, water, wine and soft drinks at lunch.
- Exclusions:The price does not include international or regional flights and travel insurance (compulsory), drinks with dinner (apart from water) and bar drinks, staff tips (expected, but the amount is to be decided at your own discretion).
DEPARTURE DATES & RATES
PLEASE NOTE: solo globetrotters will be required to pay the single rider rate if we do not have another guest willing to share.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes twin share accommodation, all meals (from dinner on day one through to breakfast on day eight), riding, luggage transfers and an English speaking guide, round trip transfer service to/from Lisbon Airport at set times, water, wine and soft drinks at lunch.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or regional flights and travel insurance (compulsory), drinks with dinner (apart from water) and bar drinks, staff tips (expected, but the amount is to be decided at your own discretion).
Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments.
Why is the price quoted in EUR?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.
ItineraryExpand AllCollapse All
*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.
This itinerary can also be run in either direction – North to South or South to North – and this will be decided by the ride hosts closer to departure date.
Today you’ll arrive in Lisbon and be picked up by your hosts at 5:30pm. You will travel roughly 135 kilometres south to the town of Melides, where you’ll have time to settle into your room at Hotel Vila Park, a quaint country hotel. Later, at dinner, you will be introduced to your guide and learn all about what the next week has in store for you. Make sure you get a good sleep tonight – tomorrow is a big day!
Today, after the first of many satisfying breakfasts that typically include freshly baked pastries, fresh fruit, still-warm bread, local honey and homemade jam, you’ll meet your Lusitano horses! Well-schooled, responsive and with a naturally proud head carriage, these powerful steeds will have you feeling like Portuguese royalty as you ride towards the sea. Between June 1st and September 15th, this ride begins at dawn to avoid the holiday crowds on the beach. It’s a beautiful ride at first light, and you’ll get to watch as the sun rises over the dunes. If everyone is comfortable and secure on their horses, you may even have the opportunity to enjoy a beach canter or gallop!
Turning away from the waves, you’ll come to a lovely picnic spot in a pine forest at the edge of the dunes. Here your horses will rest while you take a siesta or swim in the sea, and later enjoy the first of many delicious picnics of grilled meats or fish, salad, freshly baked bread and local wine. After lunch, you’ll ride through the dunes and return to Hotel Vila Park. For dinner, you’ll be escorted to a local Portuguese restaurant to enjoy fresh, seasonal cuisine.
Today you’ll leave Melides and ride in the direction of Santiago do Cacém, past the Santo André Lagoon. The largest lagoon in the Alentejo region, it boasts a diverse range of ecosystems, from marshes to sprawling reed beds to willow forests, and is home to over 240 bird species. As you ride, you may catch glimpses of flamingos, storks, red herons, reed warblers and coots, among others. You’ll then pass a long stretch of rice fields, which in late summer prior to harvest are an astonishing shade of green. Your daily picnic lunch of meats, salad, bread and wine will be served in a shady pine forest.
After lunch you’ll continue towards the riding centre where the horses will be stabled. A 30 minute transfer then brings you to your modern and comfortable hotel, Quinta de Malmedra, where you will be served dinner before resting up for the next day’s ride.
Today, after enjoying the usual delightful breakfast, you’ll continue riding south towards the small town of Cercal, with the sea always in sight. From Cercal, your Lusitano steed will bring you up a nearby mountain and through one of the last unexploited regions of Portugal, a ‘montado’. Montados are a unique type of ecosystem characterised by cork oak forests, scattered pine trees and diverse animal species – including livestock, honey bees, rare birds and, rumour has it, the Iberian bobcat.
In the afternoon you’ll arrive at your accommodation, Casas Verdemar. This is a beautifully renovated tavern with individual rooms and cottages dotted around the gardens. Take a dip in the pool if you so choose, or relax in the shade of the fruit trees and enjoy the countryside. Your meals can be enjoyed either on the veranda or in the dining room. Your hosts are antiques restoration specialist Christine Nijhoff and artist and cook Nuno Vilas Boas Lebreiro (don’t worry, you can call him Nuno!).
Today you’ll tack up early for a morning ride, exploring the fields around the farm and the trails through the mountains surrounding Cercal. More cork forests, postcard-worthy farming scenes and coastal vistas await on this leisurely ride. In the afternoon you’re invited to visit the fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes, which is a popular seaside resort in the summer months. You’ll be free to spend some time shopping, sightseeing or relaxing on the beach before returning to your hosts at Casas Verdemar for dinner.
Today, after breakfast, you’ll ride once more into the mountains of Cercal, exploring a new region close to Campilhas dam. This man-made lake has become a hot-spot for local wildlife and is the perfect place to cool off in the water before tucking in to lunch. The scenery today offers stunning contrasts between sloping mountains, shady valleys and beautiful freshwater ecosystems. After feeling the wind in your hair with some nice long trots and canters, you’ll make your way back to Casas Verdemar. Relax and enjoy the quiet of a typical ‘monte alentejano’ (rural Alentejan property) as the sun sinks in the sky, or treat yourself to another dip in the pool before sitting down to a satisfying Portuguese dinner.
Your last day in the saddle is here, and you’ll really get to make the most of it as you ride ever further into the mountains of Cercal. There will be plenty of opportunities to trot and canter as you enjoy your time with the Lusitano horses who have carried you on your Portuguese adventure. Along the way, you’ll visit the chapel of Nossa Senhora das Neves, which boasts a spectacular vista over the surrounding region. After another delicious lunch, you’ll ride back to Casa Verdemar, where you’ll say a fond farewell to your horses and enjoy one last Portuguese feast before retiring to bed, where you’ll no doubt dream of the past week’s pleasures.
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Lisbon airport for onward travel. Please don’t book departing flights until after 12 midday (1pm or later is preferred).
Complimentary transfers at set times are provided to/from Portugal’s main international airport in Lisbon. Pick up time is 5.30pm on day 1 of the ride (please ensure your flight arrives no later than 4.30pm). The meeting point in Lisbon’s airport is located to the right after leaving the luggage collection area. You’ll be welcomed there by a ride representative. The transfer will depart your accommodation on the final day after breakfast at 10.30am. No flights are to be booked before 12 midday on departure day (1pm or later preferred).
Globetrotting is happy to provide a competitive quote on international flights, travel insurance, car hire and hotels before and after your ride.