The Costa Azul is as long and beautiful as the famous Algarve (Portugal’s south coast), but while the Algarve is teeming with tourists all year round, it’s here that you’ll find peaceful, deserted beaches and pristine countryside, all discovered from the back of a proud pure-bred Lusitano (or cross-bred Lusitano). The reputation of this ride amongst equestrian travellers is what originally drew us like a magnet to this itinerary. And who doesn’t want to explore quaint fishing villages, deserted beaches and flourishing cork forests on a horse?
A true highlight to this Globetrotting experience is becoming intimate with the Lusitano breed over your six day riding itinerary. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the Lusitano was the darling of the royal courts of Europe. Lusitanos are known as powerful horses, noted for their intelligence and willing nature. The breed’s gaits are agile and elevated, but generally comfortable to ride. You’ll love the point-to-point nature of this ride where you’ll leap-frog from village to village, soaking up the atmosphere, varying landscapes, history, regional fare and wine. Pretty much, savouring life slowly is a Portuguese passion, and that will be your main aim – a perfect Globetrotting experience.
- Horse Breed:A mixture of pure-bred 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 85kg / 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 5 and a maximum 10 riders
- 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 a historic pousada (a traditional manor house), 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.
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 card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all credit 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.
Known as the Blue Coast, your riding holiday in Portugal will take you along the southern stretch of the country’s west coast, Costa Azul. It’s here that you’ll find peaceful, deserted beaches and pristine countryside, all discovered from the back of a proud pure-bred Lusitano.
You’ll need to arrive in Lisbon today and will be met at the airport at 5.30pm by your hosts, who will drive you south (approximately 100km) to Barradas da Serra. This drive will be your first chance to glimpse the lush green coastal mountains of the Grândola, overgrown with pine and cork-oak forests.
You’ll be staying tonight in a beautiful country house of typical ‘Alentejana’ architectural style situated in the foothill of the Grândola Mountain Range – Herdade das Barradas da Serra. This working farm of close to two thousand acres has been in the same family for five generations. Equipped with all the comforts of a modern hotel including a pool, the special touch here are the charming staff, who will go out of their way to ensure you’re enjoying your stay in their elegant establishment. You’ll have the chance to enjoy a dip in the pool or relax in the comfortable rooms before dinner, which will start with an aperitif, followed by a three course meal. Be sure to loosen your belt buckle Globetrotters and try each one of the hearty Portuguese specialties on offer because this is one riding holiday where you won’t be going hungry! From bacalhau (cod fish) to caldo verde (soup) to feijoada trasmontana (a hearty meat stew), you’re going to eat AND ride your way around the country!
This morning, after indulging in a delicious breakfast (freshly baked pastries, fresh fruits, traditional bread of Grândola and local honey or homemade jam), you’ll meet the Lusitano horses. Well schooled, responsive and with a naturally proud head carriage, you’ll feel like kings and queens astride your powerful equine companions as you ride through the hills in the direction of your first destination of Santiago do Cacém. A blend of maritime coast, pine forest and Alentejan inspiration, it’s here where you’ll have to pinch yourselves as the stunning countryside of Portugal stretches out before you. There will be opportunities to trot and canter and you’ll notice how sure footed the Lusitano’s are.
After working up an appetite, a tasty picnic spread is on offer for lunch (think: something delicious grilled with fresh salads). Full and well rested after lunch, you’ll continue on, riding through the forests of pines and cork oaks.
Today’s ride will finish at Quinta da Ortiga where you’ll stable the horses and catch a short transfer (approx. 30mins) to the hotel, Quinta de Malmedra. With its personal charm and modern luxuries (yes, there’s a pool), settle in globetrotters as you’ll be staying here for the next two evenings.
After another stomach-filling breakfast to start the day, you’ll be transferred back to the horses who have enjoyed a peaceful evening at their stables. Today you’ll cross forests of eucalyptus, their distinct smell clearing your noses and the sound of the leaves cracking under the shoes of the horses. You’ll stop for a picnic lunch and a siesta near Morgavel’s Water Reservoir.
After lunch and a well-earned rest, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some fast canters on the sandy trails that cross the Portuguese countryside, before heading back to the hotel where you might have time to enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool before dinner. You’ll enjoy another peaceful night in your slice of Portuguese paradise.
Today’s ride will see you travel over sandy trails through fields and forests, with several fast canters thrown in for good measure and fun! You’ll ride past the Santo Andre Lagoon where, if you’re lucky, you might get the opportunity to see some flamingos and storks wading in the water. In the afternoon, the horses get a rest while you have the opportunity to visit wild dolphins in their natural habitat, in the Sado River near the town of Setúbal. The estuary of the River Sado is home to a community of about 27 bottlenose dolphins and to observe these elegant, playful creatures in their own habitat will be a sight to behold.
*Please be advised, depending on the weather, the program can also be changed where you visit the dolphins in the morning and ride in the afternoon. If unfavourable weather conditions prohibit you from using the boat, you’ll spend the time further exploring the region.
Tonight you’ll be staying in Vila Nova de Santo André, a gorgeous town known for its Blue Flag beaches and a brilliant nature reserve with an unbelievable diversity of birdlife.
You ride on in direction of Portugal’s beaches today globetrotters, and it’s here that you’ll finally get to experience some exhilarating long canters along the beach. It promises to be a beautiful ride at first light as the sun rises over the dunes. With birds soaring overhead and the green of the pine forests on the shore, you’ll feel a wonderful sensation of peace and tranquility. You’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the pine forest and will have time for a refreshing swim in the salty sea, before riding back to Santo André for the evening.
You’ll be riding towards Grândola today Globetrotters and there will be plenty of opportunities for some good fast canters – woo hoo! A small Alentejan town, Grândola is set amidst plains of crops and vast gatherings of cork trees. While it might be hot and dusty in the summer months, it has somehow managed to capture the feeling of a place where people work hard but don’t take life too seriously and enjoy it at a slower pace. Red earth paths alternate with those of sand and we might even come across herds of cows or sheep being tended to by shepherds. You’re making your way back to the hotel you stayed at on night one of the ride, so after you’ve tended to the horses, there might be time to have a refreshing swim in the pool before enjoying dinner.
Today will see you riding past the Sierra de Grândola (the mountain range of Grândola) through a rolling landscape and picturesque villages, where curious inhabitants, attracted by the noise of the horses’ hooves on the paths, will come out of their houses to greet you. As usual, you’ll pause for your last picnic and siesta, before continuing on to the forests of cork oaks.
It will then be time to say farewell to your faithful Lusitano steeds before you head back to the hotel (the same as the previous night) and enjoy your final dinner together in Portugal, topped off with a tipple of port.
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Lisbon airport for onward travel. Please don’t book departing flights until after 12 midday.
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.
‘Portugal and the Costa Azul will win your heart effortlessly. The friendliness of the Portuguese people, stunning scenery, beautiful food, and of course the gorgeous horses are a winning combination. I loved the peace and serenity of riding through the beautiful cork trees, along the beach with the waves from the Atlantic crashing on the shore or just meandering along the hills, enjoying the vista beyond. The Costa Azul ride in Portugal was a balm to my soul after the frenetic pace of Europe.’