Portugal

Dolphin Trail

A circular trail ride starting in the lush, green coastal mountains of Grandola, rich with pine and cork forests, to the inviting turquoise waters and beaches of the coast. Explore the beautiful and wild Alentejo region in Portugal on horseback, enjoying exhilarating canters along the sandy beaches of the "Costa Azul"! A boat trip to discover dolphins in the estuary is included and accommodation is in traditional farmhouses and comfortable hotels.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days / 6 days riding
From £1,240

From the horse’s mouth

  • Dolphin Trail
    June 2018 Elena aged 33
    Not an holiday, an experience ! EPICO, the best and sweetest horse ever. strong and reliable
  • Dolphin Trail
    June 2018 Francesca Alessandra aged 40
    Very nice place to ride, the horses are amazing and the guides very gentle. Also the accommodations were very nice and comfortable. Had a very nice group and we had a lot of fun. I rode Ulisses a very nice horse and very good trained
  • Cantering on the beach in Portugal
    Cantering on the seashores of Portugal
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    Dolphin riding trail in Portugal
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    Riding on the clear beaches of Portugal
  • boat trip to discover the dolphins in Portugal
    Meeting the dolphins in the estuary
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    Riding in the flowered meadows of Portugal
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    Horseback trail ride in Portugal on Lusitano horses
  • Cantering on the beach in Portugal
    A fun and exhilarating ride in Portugal

Itinerary

Highlights

- Beautifully well-schooled Lusitano and Lusitano cross horses
- The chance to canter/gallop down a deserted beach (please note that in the summer months, this may be at dawn)
- Convivial and friendly guide
- The chance to view dolphins in their natural environment on a boat trip in the estuary
- Comfortable and unique accommodation - converted farmhouses and quality hotels
  • Day 1 1: LONDON - LISBON - GRANDOLA - No riding

    Barradas Da Serra
    Your flight to Lisbon should arrive by 16:30 to allow time for you to collect your luggage.

    At 17:30 you will be transferred south c. 100km to Barradas de Serra. Here you stay in a rural house with typical Alentejana architecture. This pleasant herdade has charming staff and a relaxed atmosphere where you can swim in the pool or rest in the comfortable rooms before your first day of riding.

    Dinner and overnight at Herdade das Barradas da Serra.
  • Day 2 2: GRANDOLA - SANTIAGO DO CACEM - 4 hours riding

    Monte Xisto
    Your first day of riding takes you through hilly landscapes to Santiago do Cacem. After your first few canters you will notice how characterful and sure-footed your Lusitano horse is.

    You will stop for lunch in the shade where a picnic with grilled meat or fish, salad, bread and wine will be prepared for you.

    In the afternoon you continue riding through forests of pine and cork trees until reaching Quinta da Ortiga where the horses will be stabled. You are transferred a short distance to your hotel, Minte Xisto Here you have dinner and spend the night.
  • Day 3 3: MONTE XISTO - 4-6 hours riding

    Monte Xisto
    Today you traverse forests of eucalyptus, with their distinctive perfume as the horses' hooves crunch through the fallen leaves.

    Stop for lunch near Morgavel's reservoir where there is time for a short siesta!

    In the afternoon there are opportunities for some fast canters along the sandy tracks as you return to your hotel for a second night.
  • Day 4 4: MONTE XISTO - SANTO ANDRE - 3-4 hours riding

    Vila Park
    Today, either in the morning or the afternoon, you wil be transferred c. 30mins to the Sado River where you will join a 2hr boat trip into the estuary to look for dolphins. Dolphin sightings can not be guaranteed but are very likely. Please note that the boat trip is subject to weather conditions.

    For your half day ride you will explore sandy trails through fields and forests, allowing for several canters. You ride past Santa Andre lagoon where you may see flamingoes and storks. Continue past rice fields, which in summer are an astonishing shade of green, until reaching your hotel - the Vila Park.
  • Day 5 5: BEACH RIDE - 4-6 hours riding

    Vila Park
    Today you ride from your hotel to the beach. Between June and September this ride is at dawn to avoid holiday makers on the beach - it's a beautiful ride as the sun rises over the dunes. There should be opportunities for beach canters (tides permitting) before reaching your picnic spot amongst the pine forests. There may be a chance to swim in the sea before riding back through the dunes to your hotel.

    Diner will likely be in a local restaurant tonight.
  • Day 6 6: MELIDES - GRANDOLA - 4-6 hours riding

    Barradas Da Serra
    Todays ride takes you from the coast towards Grandola. There are many opportunities for faster riding today as you pass through the pine forests. Red paths alternate with sandy paths and you may encounter herds of sheep or cows being tended by their owners.

    Return to Herdade das Barradas da Serra where there may be time for a refreshing swim before dinner.
  • Day 7 7: GRANDOLA - 4-6 hours riding

    Barradas Da Serra
    Your final day of riding is through the Sierra of Grandola - a rolling landscape dotted with picturesque villages. Stop for a final picnic lunch and siesta before continuing your circuit back to Barradas da Serra for a farewell dinner.
  • Day 8 8: GRANDOLA - LISBON - LONDON - No riding

    After breakfast you will be transferred back to Lisbon airport for your flight, which should depart after midday.

    Please note that if your flight departs before midday then you will have to pay c. 140 Euro for a private transfer to the airport.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights are not included

- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 3 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
If there are 3 riders, the supplement is 25%, and 10% if there are 4 riders.

- There is a single supplement of £450 (€510) if you end up in a single room. This is refunded if we find a sharer for you.

- Transfers are provided as long as you arrive before 16:30 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.
Please Note
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.

Price includes

Support Team

1 english speaking horse guide

Logistic

1 cook
1 assistant cook
1 support vehicle
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle

Inland transports

Private bus
Airport transfers if arriving at set times

Accommodation

Double room in hotel standard 3/4*

Meals

Full board from first diner D1 to last breakfast D8. Water, wine and soft drinks are included at lunch. Drinks with the exception of water are not included at dinner.

Extra equipment

First aid kit

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverage and personal extra

Transports

Airport transfers at others schedules
International flights bookable on request

Extra

Tips to local team
Small group supplement (between 2-4 riders)

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement £190 HS/£165 LS
  • September - October 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    27/09/2020 04/10/2020 £1,240 Full
    04/10/2020 11/10/2020 £1,240 Full
    18/10/2020 25/10/2020 £1,240 Full
    25/10/2020 01/11/2020 £1,240 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • March - April 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    07/03/2021 14/03/2021 £1,240 Open Book now
    21/03/2021 28/03/2021 £1,240 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

You ride the beautiful and calm Lusitano and Lusitano cross-bred horses which are bred in Portugal. They are well-schooled and a pleasure to ride. There are calm and quiet horses for intermediate riders and more spirited mounts for experienced riders. You ride in English style tack with comfortable sheepskin covered saddles.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be at least an intermediate rider, capable of riding a sensible horse at all paces in the outdoors. There are more spirited horses available for experienced riders.

There is a rider weight limit of 85kgs/13.3 st/187 lb

Pace

The pace is varied to include trots, canters and possible gallops. Some of the canters can be long and across varied terrain so you need to be secure in the saddle.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be asked to assist with grooming, tacking and un-tacking your horse.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You should have experience riding outdoors on trails and be confident riding in open spaces. You need to be fit enough for some long canters in the sometimes hot Portugese sun.

Equestrian equipment

English tack
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.

Travel info

Comfort

You stay in renovated farmhouses or local hotels. Some of the hotels are of a high standard and level of comfort. The rooms are double/twin and have en-suite bathrooms. Most of the hotels have swimming pools.

Meals

Lunches are picnic - usually BBQ meats or fish with salads and bread. Red wine is provided.
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.

Climate

Portugal has a pleasant climate with mild temperatures all year round:
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

Your guide is Miguel and he has been guiding in this area for many years and helped discover the routes you ride. He was a prestigious dressage instructor before choosing to guide trails instead and speaks fantastic English. He is supported by a back-up vehicle driver who meets you for lunch each day and transports your luggage.

Tips

Tips are appreciated but not expected. You should give what you feel is appropriate and you feel comfortable with.

Packing list

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own 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

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts to provide protection from the sun
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.

Legs
- 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

Nightwear
- Pyjamas etc

Our Recommendations
- 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

Medical kit
- 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

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

Passport validity
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.

Visas
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.
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
    75116 PARIS
    Tél. : 01.47.27.35.29
    Fax :
    mailto@embaixada-portugal-fr.org
  • Ambassade de France
    Rua Santos-o-Velho 5
    LISBONNE
    Tél. : +351 21 393 9100
    Fax :
    contact@ambafrance-pt.org

Health

Make sure you take your EHIC card with you.
You will be treated on the same basis as a Portuguese resident, but you might have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care. If you have to make such a payment, you may be able to seek reimbursement for this cost when you are back in the UK if you are not able to do so in Portugal. It is important that you ensure you are treated by a state healthcare provider, as you will not be covered for private healthcare. You should be particularly careful if the healthcare arrangements have been made by a hotel or travel representative. 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.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Continental two-pin plugs are in use.

Budget and money

Portugal has adopted the Euro (EUR, symbol: €) as its official currency. One Euro is divided into 100 cents, which is sometimes referred to as eurocents, especially when distinguishing them with the US cents.
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 dialling code for Portugal is +351

The time zone is GMT +1

Did you know?

Did you know?

Portugal produces more than 50% of all cork in the world and the best quality cork is produced in the south of Portugal - the Algarve and Alentejo.

Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree and you will ride through forests of cork oak on this trail ride in Portugal. The outer layer of bark is harvested every 9-10 years in late spring and summer, and is still harvested by hand. The men who harvest the oak cork are among the highest paid agricultural workers in the world, which reflects their level of skill.

The average cork tree yields one tonne of cork in its lifetime - that's equivalent to 65,000 stoppers, and 340,000 tonnes of cork stoppers are produced each year. A natural cork is able to maintain its full sealing capacity for more than 100 years owing to its elasticity and the waxes and fatty acids in its composition.

It is not uncommon to see dead cork oak trees standing within a forest (or montados) as it is illegal for a landowner to cut down a cork oak tree in Portugal, regardless of whether it's dead or alive!

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Elena aged 33 Milano 2 trips
    June 2018
    Not an holiday, an experience ! EPICO, the best and sweetest horse ever. strong and reliable
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide
  • Francesca Alessandra aged 40 milano 2 trips
    June 2018
    Very nice place to ride, the horses are amazing and the guides very gentle. Also the accommodations were very nice and comfortable. Had a very nice group and we had a lot of fun. I rode Ulisses a very nice horse and very good trained
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide