Covid has opened humanity’s eyes to the beauty of slow travel. We’ve realised the importance of valuing the quality of our experiences far more than the quantity. Multi-ride vacations are a growing trend. And horse riding holidays are the ultimate form of low, slow travel: they’re immersive, sustainable, deeply rewarding AND if you plan your trip right, you can hop from one ride to the next! Happily, there is no easier place to travel ‘low’ than Europe. Border crossings are a breeze and transportation is well-managed and efficient.
With this in mind, we thought we’d spark your imagination! Here are some low, slow European globetrotting itineraries spanning France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland and England.
Fly into Paris and explore the City of Love before catching the train to Montrichard for the heavenly Loire Valley & Castles Ride.
Alternatively, you could fly directly to Bordeaux and embark on the week-long Bordeaux Wine Trail. If you’re visiting in Autumn, why not hire a car and drive east for The Camargue Ride? There’s plenty to see and do along the way, so we’d recommend embracing the spirit of slow travel and booking a B&B or three en route.
From France, you could catch a train to the Italian Alps for The Dolomites Ride, or cross the Pyrenees (allowing plenty of time to absorb the mountains’ majesty!) to discover…
Begin your journey in Catalonia, where you’ll have no less than four point-to-point holidays to choose from. If you’re feeling seriously intrepid and want to tick a few more countries off your list, the Andorra Trail will take you from Catalonia through the French Pyrenees all the way to Andorra! Otherwise, there’s the Catalonia Ride, the Catalan Coast Trail and the Bandit Trail. Afterwards, be sure to visit bustling, balmy Barcelona – here’s our city guide.
Continuing south, you’ll reach the heartland of the Spanish horse, Andalusia, where you can experience the Dressage Ride. Then, having honed your skills in the arena, you might like to explore the region more deeply on our eight-day trail ride in Andalusia.
And from Spain, it’s all to easy to reach…
Portugal is perhaps the ultimate slow travel destination: the locals have perfected the art of relaxation and there is never any hurry. The Kingdom of the Lusitano is the perfect introduction to Portuguese horse culture, after which you’ll be perfectly located to jump straight into our ride through the ‘Blue Coast’, Costa Azul, or our ride along the equally beautiful Alentejo Coast. You’ll be totally and utterly recharged by the time you head for home. Oh and if you’re visiting in November, you can’t miss the legendary Golegã Horse Fair.
Fly into Dublin and spend a day or two soaking up this colourful city. Then travel west for Cross Country in County Tipperary or north for our Castle & Estate Ride in County Monaghan. These two vacations are highly complementary and if you can, it’s well worth doing them back-to-back. It’s only a three-and-a-half hour drive from one ride to the other. That said, in the spirit of slow travel, we’d recommend exploring the vibrant city of Galway and some of Ireland’s gorgeous villages along the way, not to mention Connemara National Park.
From Ireland, take the ferry across the pond, where a plethora of horse riding holidays awaits in…
What better way to explore the UK than on horseback?! Make the most of Britain’s extensive rail network to reach the magnificent Peak District for the week-long English Peaks Ride, or the Peak District Weekender.
From here, it’s a very scenic drive to the Scottish Borders. Be sure to explore the Yorkshire Dales, the Forest of Bowland and the Lake District on your way up! In Scotland, experienced riders will LOVE The Scottish Borders Ride. For beginner and intermediate riders, The Thirlestane Castle Ride is an equally spectacular experience. And you absolutely MUST visit Edinburgh, one of the most enchanting cities in the world.
What would your dream European multi-ride holiday look like? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to contact us to start planning your next trip!