Andorra Trail, Spain

12 NightsStrong Intermediate to AdvancedFrom €2,790 EUR?Tour costs €2,790 EUR which is approximately $4,613 AUD

During this epic 13-day journey from the Mediterranean coast to the heart of the Pyrenees mountains, you’ll cover THREE countries on horseback – Spain, France and Andorra!

Okay, we may have told a white lie: this ride is not entirely Spanish. During your epic 13-day journey from the Mediterranean coast to the heart of the Pyrenees mountains, you’ll also ride through France and Andorra (just casually)! AND let’s not forget the unique identity of Catalonia, the region you’ll be privileged to discover in Spain. That’s three countries in thirteen days!

As one of the most challenging horse riding experiences in Europe, the Andorra Ride is NOT for the faint-hearted: you’ll cover a whopping 350 kilometres (217 miles) of canyons, rivers, mountaintops, cliffside tracks and more, riding for up to eight hours a day. You’ll also spend four nights in tents, packing your gear onto your horse for a few days so you can ride into the otherwise-inaccessible wilderness!

And let’s not forget the horses themselves: noble, courageous Andalusians who tackle the Pyrenees like mountain goats. The beauty of such a long trip is that you’ll develop a deep bond with your horse – forged on mutual trust, heightened with oodles of fast canters across alpine meadows. Seriously, it’s THIS that excites us most about The Andorra Trail: exploring the mountains on a horse of the utmost quality and athleticism, who will take you out of your comfort zone while keeping you safe every step of the way.

If all of that has you champing at the bit, then congratulations! THE most epic ride through the heartachingly-beautiful Pyrenees mountains lies ahead.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Andalusian and Andalusian-cross.
  • Pace:The trail includes mountainous and flat terrain in the valleys and plains. For this reason the riding pace is very mixed. Lively canters and steep mountain climbs mean riders need to be active out of the saddle.
  • Weight Limit:A strict maximum limit of 85kg / 187lbs.
  • Type of tack:Spanish and English endurance saddles.
  • Seasons:June to September.
  • Group size:A minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 riders.
  • Time in Saddle:On average between 6 and 8 hours daily.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for strong intermediate to advanced riders only who are comfortable at all paces. You MUST be physically fit - not only will you be spending 11 consecutive days in the saddle, sometimes for up to 8 hours per day, but there will be times when you’ll need to dismount and lead your horse on foot (both up and downhill) due to the mountainous terrain.
    *Please be aware, if you suffer from vertigo you will find parts of this ride VERY challenging.
     Not sure what your riding experience is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:A variety of accommodation will be enjoyed throughout this ride:
    *5 nights in welcoming family-run hotels/guesthouses with twin share rooms with ensuites or shared bathrooms (depending on the location)
    *4 nights in tents (twin share)
    *3 nights in refuges (multi-person dormitories where all guests share a bunk-bed room, with shared bathrooms down the hall)
    PLEASE NOTE: on the nights you spend camping, facilities will be very limited, with a makeshift long-drop toilet set up, but no access to showers or running water unless from a nearby stream. You need to be prepared to pitch your own tent, help with the food preparation and clean up, and live in more basic conditions. You’ll be rewarded with tranquility and peace beneath a starry sky!
  • Ride Length:13 days, 12 nights, with 11 riding days.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes twin share accommodation; 11 riding days with half board only (breakfast and picnic lunch, including wine), arrival day dinner & departure day breakfast, tax on stays in tourist establishments, and local transfers during the trail.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include international or regional flights and travel insurance (compulsory); airport transfers on arrival and departure days; restaurant & catering services during the ride (all dinners apart from arrival day) – a board fee of €200 payable locally IN CASH at the first dinner; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; coffee/tea at dinner, drinks/food in bars; and staff tips (these are expected, the amount can be decided at your discretion).

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

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WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes twin share accommodation; 11 riding days with half board only (breakfast and picnic lunch, including wine), arrival day dinner & departure day breakfast, tax on stays in tourist establishments, and local transfers during the trail.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international or regional flights and travel insurance (compulsory); airport transfers on arrival and departure days; restaurant & catering services during the ride (all dinners apart from arrival day) – a board fee of €200 payable locally IN CASH at the first dinner; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; coffee/tea at dinner, drinks/food in bars; and staff tips (these are expected, the amount can be decided at your discretion).

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments. Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.

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.

Itinerary

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*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.

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  • Day 1

    Bienvenido a España, globetrotters! Welcome to Spain, and welcome to day 1 of what will quite possibly be one of the most exciting, immersive holidays of your life! You’ll arrive in Barcelona today and be transferred to a beautiful hotel on the Mediterranean coast with views across the glittering sea. There will be time to duck down to the shore for a swim if you’d like, or you can sit back and relax at the hotel.

    As your riding group gets acquainted, you’ll dine on a wonderful al fresco Spanish meal (think tapas – delicious!) but please be advised this won’t be served until approximately 9pm. The afternoon ‘siesta’ is one of the most famous aspects of Spanish life – that dead period in the late afternoon when everything shuts down. Because of this, dinner is eaten later at night, so we definitely recommend eating a rather large lunch before you are picked up, so you can make it to 9pm without your stomach grumbling like a bear!

  • Day 2

    The holiday begins in earnest this morning with a long, lavish breakfast. Then it’s time to meet the beautiful Andalusian who will carry you across the Pyrenees! Once everyone is comfortable in the saddle, your guides will lead you away from the sea, towards the Albera Mountains. As you climb, the rugged coastline of the Costa Brava will act as your compass, stretching away to the horizon where the ocean merges with the sky.

    A picnic lunch of Catalan delicacies will be waiting for you under a grove of trees, whose dappled shade will lull you into an afternoon siesta. Then, back in the saddle, the views expand even further across the coast of Catalonia and France. Ahead, an imposing mountain range frames an enormous, idyllic plain. There will be opportunities to let your horse stretch out into a canter across the fields.

    Tonight’s accommodation is absolutely epic: an ancient castle in a tiny alpine village. You’ll head out to a local bar to dine on delicious Catalan cuisine and sip on ‘vino tinto’ from a nearby bodega (wine cellar). Then it’s time to rest up for another big day in the saddle!

  • Day 3

    A hearty breakfast will be served in the castle before you duck down to a nearby river gorge, where a natural silver pool invites you to savour its refreshing, crystal clear waters.

    The ride today takes you inland through Alt Emporda, a region that somehow has an African vibe despite its orderly rows of grapevines. Cork oak forests with sandy soil provide the perfect setting for an exhilarating canter before the trees part to reveal a shimmering turquoise lake. Before sitting down to lunch on the shore, you’ll have the chance to take your Andalusian for a swim – a real ‘pinch yourself’ moment! There are few things that equal the breathtaking feeling of swimming with your horse on a hot summer’s day – that power you experience as they surge forward through the water is uniquely exhilarating.

    This afternoon your horses will stride confidently along the edge of the lake and up through the forested hills of the lower Pyrenees. Arriving at the ‘Hostal del Aigua’ in the evening, you’ll be met with a hot shower and a sumptuous dinner prepared by your chef de cuisine, David.

  • Day 4

    This morning you’ll set off a little earlier, following the river upstream. Riding along the mountain tracks, you’ll be able to give your horse its head on some long, relaxed canters. At lunchtime you’ll dismount in a gorgeous valley for a ‘cowboy picnic’ beside the river. Then, after diving into the water for another heavenly swim, it’s siesta time.

    The afternoon’s ride takes you via the ‘jungle trail’ into the Garrotxa Mountains, where time seems to stand still. Dismounting at a beautiful, atmospheric stone chapel, you’ll set up camp for the night. Before tucking into dinner inside the chapel, be sure to take a moment to sit and watch the horses grazing peacefully against a backdrop of panoramic peaks and valleys.

  • Day 5

    Brush up on your French, globetrotters, because today’s path takes you across the border! Riding away from the deep valleys, craggy rock faces and dense oak forests of the Garrotxa region, you’ll reach a small, high plateau and just like that, you’re in France. A few fast canters across the red, volcanic landscape will bring you to a typical French Pyrenean village, where a Roman bridge will shade your midday meal (and of course, siesta). Winding in and out of groves of beech trees, you’ll be treated to spectacular mountain views before arriving at tonight’s campsite. A hot shower, crackling campfire and dinner in a cosy alpine refuge top off the day.

  • Day 6

    Riding high above the clouds, you’ll cross back into Catalonia this morning, passing through green mountain pastures and shady forests. The urge to channel your inner actor and start singing ‘The Sound of Music’ will be hard to resist when you reach the alpine meadows! A postcard-worthy mountain village will offer a chance to pause and enjoy a refreshing drink before the climb continues into the High Pyrenees. Here, open meadows dotted with cattle and horses allow for some uphill canters. Finally, an isolated track on a long mountain ridge leads you to the small town of Camprodon. After setting up camp, an evening stroll through the town could very well end at a local bar…

  • Day 7

    Today brings more unbelievably scenic riding through the High Pyrenees, with alpine meadows stretching to the jagged horizon. You’ll see large herds of mountain horses and cattle living semi-wild on the slopes, and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll spot vultures and eagles, too. The sense of remoteness here is staggering – it feels more like Mongolia than Catalonia! And yet you’ll find another tiny alpine town appearing ahead just in time for lunch, which will be enjoyed at a restaurant.

    In the afternoon, moss-covered forests will muffle the horses’ hooves as you climb ever higher in serene stillness. A shepherds’ refuge provides a space in which to get a campfire going tonight and cook a well-deserved barbecue.

  • Day 8

    After filling up on another hearty camp breakfast, you and your majestic Andalusian will journey onwards through the forest before emerging once again onto the open meadows. If you’re lucky, you might see chamois (a species of goat-antelope) leaping nimbly across the cliff faces. A series of uphill trots and canters culminate in a thrilling gallop to the top of a ridge, where the views are absolutely breathtaking.

    Arriving at a guest house in the evening, you’ll get to luxuriate in a hot shower and a Pyrenean meal prepared by the innkeepers. Finally, tired but oh so content, you’ll retire to your cosy bed in a dormitory shared with your fellow globetrotters.

  • Day 9

    This morning you’ll have an early start, leaving the guest house before sunrise to saddle up the horses and ride into the forest. The magic of the pine trees in the first light of day will transport you to another realm.

    Emerging from the forest into the stunning Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, you’ll pause at a retreat for morning tea. Beyond this point, the path slopes downwards, with another windswept gallop bringing you to your picnic spot overlooking the idyllic Plains of Cerdanya. In the afternoon, the trail brings you to a village built entirely of local stone, where a beautifully-appointed farmhouse awaits. After settling into your cosy rooms and savouring a hot shower, your group will rendezvous in the garden for dinner.

  • Day 10

    The fertile Plains of Cerdanya await on this morning’s ride. You’ll trot and canter your way to the River Ter, where the horses will forge powerfully through the strong current.

    The land you cross today was once inhabited by the Cathars, and your guides will explain their history as you ride past ruined castles. A pristine alpine valley serves as tonight’s campsite, with turquoise pools within the wild river inviting you to wash off the day’s dust. As the horses graze happily on green meadowgrass, you’ll sit back and watch evening fall softly over the forested hilltops. With the campfire smoke billowing towards the glittering stars, your cosy tent beckons.

  • Day 11

    This morning you’ll be buzzing with excitement as you pack everything you’ll need for the next two days on your trusty horse, leaving your support crew and venturing deep into the wilderness! The ride begins with a short but challenging climb into Andorra, where you’ll be rewarded by the sight of a lake that wouldn’t seem out of place on a tropical island. This is it, globetrotters – you’ve reached the promised beach, way up here in the clouds! Letting your horses enjoy the fresh pasture, you’ll relax on the ‘beach’ with a picnic before having a siesta, or maybe even another swim. You’ve earned it, riding through three countries in 10 days!

    The afternoon ride is good fun, with pure alpine streams to splash through and views across the remarkable principality of Andorra. Arriving at a magnificent campsite in the middle of the High Pyrenees, you’ll unsaddle your horses and pitch in to set up camp. You’ll be able to bathe in the nearby river if you like, then everyone will help conjure up a simple but hearty meal using the contents of their saddlebags. The camaraderie will be next level after tonight, globetrotters! Finally, bellies full, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the soft sound of cow bells.

  • Day 12

    After packing up camp this morning, you’ll ride through spectacular alpine meadows and river valleys, keeping an eye out for marmots and their burrows. There will be a few tricky climbs as you ascend to your lunch spot, a hidden lake that shimmers enticingly in the midday sun. If you’re not tempted by a siesta after lunch, swimming is definitely an option.

    Back in the saddle, the ascent continues until you reach the highest point of the entire route: 2,600 metres, or around 8,500 feet! The views from this point will make you gape, with the Serra de Cadi and the Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, seemingly at eye-level. From here, your horse will pick out a path down to another gorgeous alpine lake, and guess what? You’re back in Catalonia!

    At a nearby guesthouse, your globetrotting group will savour hot showers and a farewell dinner, reminiscing over the unforgettable journey you’ve all shared.

  • Day 13

    After breakfast, you’ll say farewell to your beloved horse and your amazing guides and support crew, then take a transfer back to Barcelona for your onward travels.

  • Transfer Information

    A collective airport transfer service is available at Barcelona Airport on arrival and departure days only for €150 per person round trip. Please note, the price is payable in cash direct upon arrival.

    Pick up time is 5.30pm on arrival day (please ensure your flight arrives no later than 4.45pm for T1 and 4.15pm for T2). Please meet in Terminal 1 at the Group Meeting Point North in front of the CAFE LA TRAMOIA, which is situated opposite the ‘Oficina de Turisme’ (tourism office) – on your right after you clear customs. If you land at Terminal 2, there’s a free shuttle bus departing every 5 minutes that will bring you to Terminal 1.

    Departing flights on the final day can be booked from 2.30pm onwards.

    Due to the large distance between trail starting and ending point, self drive with own car is NOT an option.

STORIES FROM THE SADDLE

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