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Riding in the Sierra de Gredos

Listed under Horse Riding in Castille-Leon, Spain.

  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
  • Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
Photo of Riding in the Sierra de Gredos
Photo by flickr user "S de Santi"
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If you prize leisurely riding amongst stunning mountain vistas varied with a glimpse of rural village scenes followed by evenings dining on tasty local foods cooked to perfection, accompanied by wines from the region's grapes and a comfortable bed, then this area of that lies between Madrid and the Portuguese border may be your idea of paradise.

Remote and off the trail of any but Spanish weekend, hill-walking tourists, the foothills and valleys of the Sierra de Gredos offer riders an ever changing backdrop of broadleaf, pine and oak holm forests, meadows filled with wild flowers, rocky peaks and working farms. Meandering along forest tracks, cattle trails and in places old pilgrims routes you circumnavigate the higher peaks and follow ancient paths between tiny isolated communities. You'll find yourself sometimes cantering sometimes trotting, sometimes walking and sometimes leading your horse.

This area is remote and if you want to ride you will need to join an escorted trip. However virtually no-one other than your guide will speak English, so unless you are fluent in Spanish, a guided tour is probably best for walkers too..

I chose a 6-day round trip starting in the magnicent Parador de Gredos, an ancient parador sympathetically converted in to a four star hotel. After spending the first day touring the local area on the horses newly and carefully matched to our abilities we spent the following few nights in guest houses, or county house hotels, all of a good standard. The food on the trip was excellent, there was plenty of choice from local producers; for our first dinner we were brought an aperitif of local sherry perfectly chilled with out menus and on our first morning coming down to breakfast we were greeted with a huge buffet with an option of the local sparkling wine. All this added to the feeling of being looked after and getting the most out of the region.

The trip is suitable for riders a little out of shape or for those who are looking for their first longer riding tour, as well as for more experienced riders looking for a more relaxing experience. And although you need to be competent over varied terrain, Maria Elena is great at helping nervous riders build confidence. The horses are excellent, well schooled and forward going, and the tack well maintained and comfortable (with seatsavers provided).

The days are leisurely with late starts (nine thirty to tenish), breaks for aperitifs, and long lunches with time for a siesta or a dip in a mountain stream afterwards. This trip is different from a lot of the other rides in Spain because of the attention to detail that had gone into our comfort and the standard of the accommodation, cuisine and horses.

Written by  Fran Griffith.

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