Horseback riders in Portugal with Raides Vicentinos

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 £1,487

From the horse’s mouth

  • Dolphin Trail
    March 2023 Jane aged 55
    I would highly recommend this trip. The guide is fabulous and very friendly and informative. Santo was a fantastic horse. He was well trained, happy in his work and fast! Great horse.
  • 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
  • Group of riders on a horseback vacation riding on the beach in Portugal
    This trail ride offers riders the chance to ride on the beach
  • Horseback riders cantering down a sandy track in Portugal
    Trail riding in the Alentejo, Portugal
  • Rider riding her horse into the sea in the Alentejo
    Fun, splashy beach canters!
  • Watching dolphins during a riding holiday in Portugal
    You will have the chance to view dolphins in their natural environment
  • Horseback riders in Portugal with Raides Vicentinos
    The Dolphin Trail in Portugal
  • Horseback riders on the beach in Portugal
    Ride lovely Lusitano and Lusitano crosses
  • Riders having a picnic break on the Dolphin Trail in Portugal
    Enjoy lovely picnics and Portuguese food
  • Groups of riders riding in the Alentejo, with cork oaks in the background
    Explore the beautiful Alentejo region in the saddle
  • Guests on a horse vacation in Portugal (Alentejo), the Dolphin trail
    Horseback riding in the Alentejo

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: HOME - LISBON - GRANDOLA - No riding

    Monte Das Faias
    Your flight to Lisbon should arrive by 16:30 to allow time for you to collect your luggage. Transfer at 17:30.

    You will travel south to Monte das Faias, approximately 100km. Your accommodation is a rural house – a typical ‘Alentejana’ architecture which is located in the region of Grândola.

  • Day 2 2: GRANDOLA - SANTIAGO DO CACEM - 4 hours riding

    Quinta de Malmedra
    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, Quinta de Malmedra, a modern, luxury hotel, where you have dinner and spend the night.
  • Day 3 3: QUINTA DE MALMEDRA - 4-6 hours riding

    Quinta de Malmedra
    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: QUINTA DE MALMEDRA - 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

    Monte Das Faias
    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 Monte das Faias where there may be time for a refreshing swim before dinner.
  • Day 7 7: GRANDOLA - 4-6 hours riding

    Monte Das Faias
    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 Monte das Faias for a farewell dinner.
  • Day 8 8: GRANDOLA - LISBON - HOME - 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, we can organise a private transfer at an additional cost (please contact us).

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights or transportation to your destination are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a double or twin room.

- Rides are confirmed for a minimum of 5 riders and a usual maximum of 10 riders, plus your guide

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3-4 riders on payment of a supplement. This is 25% of the rate for 3 riders, 10% for 4 riders. Once the group has reached 5 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. €560/$600/£480. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date.

- Transfers payable locally (€100 per person, in cash) as long as you arrive before 16:30 (on time for your 5:30 pm transfer) and depart after midday. If you wish to book flights outside of these times then a private transfer may be arranged (on request) 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. The rate for a non-rider is €1160/£1020/$1290 (high season) or €1060/£935/$1170 (low season)
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

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 outside of scheduled times
International flights bookable on request
Return airport transfers

Extra

Tips to local team
Small group supplement (between 3-4 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 - see above
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    23/06/2024 30/06/2024 £1,643 €1,890 $2,037
    Full
    Contact an advisor
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    07/07/2024 14/07/2024 £1,643 €1,890 $2,037
    Full
    18/08/2024 25/08/2024 £1,643 €1,890 $2,037
    Full
    25/08/2024 01/09/2024 £1,643 €1,890 $2,037
    Full
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    20/10/2024 27/10/2024 £1,487 €1,710 $1,844
    Full
    27/10/2024 03/11/2024 £1,487 €1,710 $1,844
    Full
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    10/11/2024 17/11/2024 £1,487 €1,710 $1,844
    Full

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.

Guide & 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.

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.

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


Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

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.
  • Jane aged 55 ANSTEY 2 trips
    March 2023
    I would highly recommend this trip. The guide is fabulous and very friendly and informative. Santo was a fantastic horse. He was well trained, happy in his work and fast! Great horse.
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide
  • 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