- A linear trail so you end in a different place to where you began!
- The trail runs in both directions so you can choose whether to ride south to north or north to south
- The chance to canter/gallop down a deserted beach (please note that in September this may be at dawn)
- Convivial and friendly guide
- Comfortable and unique accommodation - converted farmhouses and quality hotels
Day 1 1: LONDON - LISBON - MELIDES - No ridingVila ParkYour flight to Lisbon should arrive by 16:30 to allow time for you to collect your luggage. Flights are not included but we can book them for you on request.
At 17:30 you will be transferred south c. 135km to the town of Santo Andre, and the hotel where you will spend the night.
Have dinner with your guide and the rest of the group.
Day 2 2: BEACH RIDE - 5 hours ridingVila ParkToday you will meet your horse and ride towards the beach. In September, this ride will likely be at dawn to avoid the holiday makers on the beach. If everyone is comfortable and secure on their horses, then there is the possibility of a gallop or canter on the beach before reaching a lovely picnic spot in the pine forest where your horses rest while you may swim in the sea and later have lunch.
Lunch is a picnic prepared with grilled meats or fish accompanied by salad, fresh bread and local wine.
After lunch, ride through the dunes and return to your hotel. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
NB. This ride also runs in reverse. Less confident riders are advised to choose the reverse itinerary where the beach ride is on the final day - this gives you the opportunity to get to know your horse before riding on the beach.
Day 3 3: SANTO ANDRE LAGOON - QUINTA DA MALMEDRA - 5 hours ridingToday you ride in the direction of Santiago do Cacém, past the Santo André Lagoon, where you may see flamingos and storks. Ride past the rice fields of the area, which in late summer prior to harvest are an astonishing colour of green. Stop for a picnic in the pine tree forest.
After lunch, continue riding towards the Quinta da Ortiga where you stable the horses for the night. A short transfer of takes you to your hotel, Quinta da Malmedra, where you have dinner and spend the night.
Day 4 4: CERCAL - 5 hours ridingToday you continue to ride southwards towards Cercal, always with the sea in sight. Climbing the mountain through the ‘montados’ you ride through one of the last unexploited regions of Portugal.
In the afternoon you arrive at your accommodation at Casas Verdemar. This is a beautifully renovated tavern with individual rooms and cottages around the gardens. There is a pool, fruit trees and plenty of places to relax and enjoy the countryside. Take your meals either on the veranda or inside in the dining room. Your hosts are Christine Nijhoff, a specialist in antiques restoration and Nuno Vilas Boas Lebreiro, artist and cook.
Day 5 5: CERCAL - VILA NOVA DE MILFONTES - 2,5 hours ridingToday you have a morning ride exploring the fields around the farm and trails into the mountains of Cercal.
The afternoon is free to visit the fishing village of Vila Nova de Milfontes which is a popular seaside resort in the summer months. There is time for shopping, sightseeing or relaxing on the beach.
Dinner and overnight at Casas Verdemar.
Day 6 6: CERCAL - CAMPILHAS - 5 hours ridingAfter breakfast you set off into the mountains of Cercal, close to the dam of Campilhas where you have lunch. The scenery is varied and interesting and after some trots and canters you return to Casas Verdemar. Relax and enjoy the quiet of a typical ‘monte alentejano’ after a dip in the pool.
Dinner and night at Casas Verdemar.
Day 7 7: CERCAL - NOSSA SENHORA DAS NEVES - 4-6 hours ridingFor your last day’s ride you continue exploring the mountains of Cercal. You will ride to the chapel of Nossa Senhora das Neves from where you have a splendid view of the surrounding area.
After lunch, you return to Casas Verdemar.
Farewell dinner and overnight at Casas Verdemar.
Day 8 8 : LISBON - UK - No ridingIn the morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Your flight should leave after noon.
If you decide to book an earlier flight, a private transfer can be organised (payable locally, €140 - c. £120).
Dates & prices
- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 2 riders and a usual maximum of 10 riders, plus your guide
- IMPORTANT - there is a small group supplement payable if the group size is fewer than five riders
For 3 riders, this is 25% of the price, and for 4 riders it is 10% of the price.
- There is a single supplement if you end up in a single room (c. £460/€530). This is refunded if we find a sharer for you
- Transfers are provided as long as you arrive before 17:00 and depart after midday. If you wish to book flights outside of these times then a private transfer can be arranged but is a taxi at your own cost.
- Competent children aged 10 and over can join the ride as long as they are comfortable riding horses (there are no ponies) and are accompanied by an adult. There is no discount for children
- Non-riders are welcome but no activities are provided - they can travel in the support vehicle and meet the group for lunch, or relax at the hotels. There is a discount for an accompanying non-rider. Please contact us.
- All meals are included as well as drinks during picnic lunches. All evening drinks are payable locally to the hotels/restaurants. It is usual that those who wish to drink wine will split the bill - this will be discussed with your guide on day one.
- Please note that this trail also runs in reverse. Some dates start in the north and heads south, whereas other dates start in the south and returns north. Less confident riders are advised to choose the trail which starts in the south and heads north so that they have an opportunity to get used to their horse before riding on the beach
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
1 assistant cook
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle
Price doesn't include
Free meals on day 1 and 8 depending on your flights
Tips to local team
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
There is a rider weight limit of 85kgs/13.3 st/187 lb
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Saddlebags are not provided.
We recommend all our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Evening meals are in the hotel and usually the dish of the day - typical Portugese cuisine and all fresh and locally produced. Drinks are payable locally.
Winter: 12 - 15c
Spring: 20 - 25c
Summer: 30 - 35c
Autumn: 15 - 20c
There is rarely rain during the summer months, but rain is common in winter and can occur in spring also.
Guide and local team
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend take your own helmet to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun and dust
- Long sleeved shirts to provide protection from the sun
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps or long boots.
- Lightweight shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding
- Pyjamas etc
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a waistcoat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
Other useful items
- Swimsuit - there are pools on some nights
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Swiss army knife or equivalent
In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
Visa & Health
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Portugal.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
- if you are travelling to Portugal and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- The 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in Portugal or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.
At border control for Portugal, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal
Addresses of consulates
- Ambassade du Portugal
3, rue de Noisiel
Tél. : 01.47.27.35.29
- Ambassade de France
Rua Santos-o-Velho 5
Tél. : +351 21 393 9100
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.
There are state health centres throughout the country (generally open from 0800 to 2000) where you can receive treatment for minor ailments and injuries, and major emergency hospitals in large towns which remain open throughout the night.
Even though pharmacies are well stocked, take a decent supply of medication with you, and be aware pharmacies are usually closed for two hours over lunchtime. Carry a legible prescription with you to show that you legally use the medication. If you wear glasses, take a spare pair and your prescription just in case you need to get new glasses made up quickly.
Vaccination against hepatitis B is sometimes recommended.
Budget and money
Euro banknotes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. The highest three denominations are rarely used in everyday transactions. All Euro banknotes have a common design for each denomination on both sides throughout the Eurozone.
The Euro coins are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1 and €2. Some countries in the Eurozone have law which requires cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. All Euro coins have a common design on the denomination (value) side, while the opposite side may have a different image from one country to another. Although the image side may be different, all Euro coins remain legal tender throughout the Eurozone.
Telephone and jetlag
The time zone is GMT +1
Did you know?
Did you know?
Port wine (Vinho do Porto) or more simply "Port" is a Portugese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro valley in northern Portugal.
Traditionally a sweet red wine which is often served after dinner, there are actually many varities, including white port which is usually served chilled before a meal and is more similar to sherry.
Port, like wine, is made from grapes, but is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit called aguardente which stops the fermentation process, leaving a higher sugar and alcohol content. The spirit is stored and aged in barrels:
Ruby Port - the most well known and widely produced is stored in concrete or stainless steel barrels to prevent oxidisation and retain the rich red colour.
Tawny Port is aged in wood barrels to allow oxidation - this mellows the colour to golden-brown and adds a nutty flavour.
White Port is made from white grapes rather than red, but storage in wood barrels can darken the colour so that it's difficult to tell it apart from a tawny!
It is likely that you will be able to try port whilst on your riding holiday in Portugal, and you can buy really good quality ports for a fraction of the price you can find them in the UK. Your guide will advise you if you are keen to take some bottles home...