The Benasque Valley ride

Pristine mountain lakes, untouched alpine meadows and the stunning scenery of the Spanish Pyrenees all await on this centre-based riding holiday. The Benasque Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys of this remote mountain range, surrounded by many of the most well-known peaks of the Pyrenees including the mighty Aneto, standing at 3404 m. Based out of a comfortable hotel, this equestrian holiday is a fantastic option for intermediate to advanced riders looking for a scenic riding adventure, without sacrificing levels of comfort.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Centre based holidays
8 days (6 days riding)
From £1,160

Itinerary

Highlights

- Explore a truly gorgeous part of the Spanish Pyrenees on horseback, with landscapes reminiscent of the Rocky Mountains!
- Stay in a comfortable rural hotel, without having to unpack and repack every day.
- Discover beautiful medieval villages such as Ansils, Cerler or Sahún and learn about their history and architecture.
- Over 100 miles (160 km) of unspoiled adventure to reconnect with nature and the great outdoors.
  • Day 1 1: ARRIVAL TOULOUSE OR BARCELONA - ANCILES

    Hotel Turpi
    Fly to Toulouse in France, or Barcelona in Spain. Transfer or self-drive to Anciles (approx. 3hrs) where you will meet your guide and the rest of your fellow companions. Settle in your hotel for the night, ready for your first day in the saddle tomorrow.

    Please note that flights are not included but can be booked for you upon request. Transfers are also not included but can also be arranged for an extra cost – see dates and prices.
  • Day 2 2 : ANCILES – CERLES - ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    Today is your first day on horseback in the Benasque Valley. You will be transferred to the stables in Anciles where you will meet the horses and get ready for the ride. Your morning horseback adventures take you through a forest of ash trees, birches, oaks, red pines, wild cherry trees… before you reach the village of Cerler. Standing at 1540m, this is the highest village in the Pyrenees. In the afternoon the scenery changes slightly and black pines and fir trees replace deciduous trees. In this high mountain environment you could meet the rare wood grouse and endangered species such as the bearded vulture. You arrive at an alpine meadow at 2000m with beautiful sweeping views before being transferred by car to your hotel. Your horses stay there for the night.
  • Day 3 3 : ANCILES – EL SOLANO – ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    “El Solano” (“sunny area”) in the southern part of the valley is your destination today. You head up a ski slope until you can see the southern side of the Aneto (3404m), the highest peak in the Pyrenees, and the Maladeta massif. Carefully lead your horses down a scree path – the landscape is truly spectacular, and you will see how glaciers chiselled and eroded the mountains over the years, creating the Benasque valley millions of years ago! From there you change direction and the massif of Turbón is now ahead. Before you end your ride today, you will cross a Roman bridge and the first villages of the Solano: Liri and Ramastué, two small towns with Roman churches.
  • Day 4 4 : ANCILES – CERLES - ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    Ready for another day on horseback in the Pyrenees! Today you will discover different villages and the unique architecture of the Benasque valley, riding along traditional tracks linking the villages.

    You cross the Esera river and then have a chance to witness the best Romanic hermitage of the valley - Virgen de la Gracia. This Lombard-style building, whose construction originated in Lombardy, Italy, was built in the 12th century and rose up to shelter the pilgrims on the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. This is an area with a rich history.
  • Day 5 5 : ANCILES – BARBARISA LAKE - ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    El Collado de Sahún is a mountain pass standing at 2025m. It connects two valleys of the Pyrenees, Benasque and Plan. In the midst of a great alpine meadow you can enjoy the silence, breath the fresh mountain air and take in the incredible landscapes all around. A great surprise awaits: two magnificent waterfalls into Barbarisa lake where you can rest and cool off. You then follow a long narrow path that leads to Sahún, which is known for its traditional passage of fire torches "Las Fallas" (celebrating the summer solstice as a pre-Christian festivity). At the end of the day you cross the Esera river again to reach Anciles.
  • Day 6 6 : ANCILES – BENASQUE - ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    Today’s ride is to the village of Benasque which gives the valley its name. After a few miles you will find remains from the civil war. Within the Benasque valley there are several other valleys created by glaciers 40 million years ago. One of them is the Estos valley. Within this valley, farmers drive their cattle from the high meadows, to their winter or summer pastures (a process called the transhumance). The cattle graze freely in large areas of meadows and forests bathed by the river Estos. The peak of El Perdiguero, one of the most beautiful and unknown in the Pyrenees (3222m) makes for a stunning background as you follow horseback trails through the Estos valley.
  • Day 7 7 : ANCILES – MALADETA - ANCILES - 5-6 hours riding

    Hotel Turpi
    Your final day in the saddle. You ride to the bottom of the valley under the massif of the Maladeta, the highest range of the Pyrenees with the spectacular summit of Aneto always in sight. You then follow the trail to Portillon de Benasque at 2444m and the gateway to France. This is one of the most iconic places in the valley, renowned for its beauty and history - for many years and under extreme conditions, the inhabitants of the Benasque valley used the portillon to trade with the French village of Luchon. Continue your trail ride through the heart of the Natural Park of Postes Maladeta. Transfer back to your hotel for one last night with your fellow riders.
  • Day 8 8 : DEPARTURE

    Departure after breakfast and transfer to the airport for those who require it. Please remember that transfers to Barcelona or Toulouse are around 3hrs in duration, so please book a flight departing in the early afternoon at the earliest.

Dates & prices

Price details

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

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

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 riders and a maximum of 8 international riders, plus guides.

- 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. €70/£60/$85. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date.

- Transfers are not included. You can choose to arrive in Barcelona airport (Spain) or Toulouse airport (France) - both are 3hrs away from the Benasque Valley. The cost is €300 each way, divided by the number of riders using the transfer service. Alternatively an option is to rent a car and make your own way to the Benasque Valley.

- Rider weight limit: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 15 st

- Accompanied minors are welcome from 12 yo, provided they match the riding requirements.
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 horse equipped with saddle and bridle
1 vehicle and driver to drive you back to the hotel in evening

Accommodation

Double or twin room in a hotel (standard 2**)

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extra

Transport

International flights

Extra

Tips to the local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement - see dates and prices

Transport

Airport transfers - see dates and prices
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    29/05/2022 05/06/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    05/06/2022 12/06/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Full
    12/06/2022 19/06/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Full
    19/06/2022 26/06/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    26/06/2022 03/07/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    03/07/2022 10/07/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    10/07/2022 17/07/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    17/07/2022 24/07/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    24/07/2022 31/07/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    31/07/2022 07/08/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    07/08/2022 14/08/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Full
    14/08/2022 21/08/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Full
    21/08/2022 28/08/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    28/08/2022 04/09/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/09/2022 11/09/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    11/09/2022 18/09/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    18/09/2022 25/09/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    25/09/2022 02/10/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    02/10/2022 09/10/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    09/10/2022 16/10/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    16/10/2022 23/10/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now
    23/10/2022 30/10/2022 £1,160 €1,366 $1,589 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

Your guide Alvar owns a stable of around 17 horses, used for riding lessons in the low season. Most of them are Spanish (Andalucians) or Spanish crosses (15-16hh). They are kept out all year-round and are very well-used to the area’s mountainous environment.

Rider weight limit: 95kg / 210 lbs / 15 st

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider, capable of riding at all paces in the outdoors, over steep and technical paths. Previous trail riding experience is recommended.

Rider weight limit: 95kg / 210 lbs / 15 st

Pace

The main pace is the walk, with trots and canters possible when the terrain allows it. Some of the riding is across varied terrain so you need to be secure in the saddle. There are some technical paths and steep hills where you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot (please make sure to wear appropriate footwear). The horses are sure-footed, make sure to trust their judgement!

Tacking ability and participation

You will be requested to assist with the care and preparation of your horse although help is on hand if required.

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 this trail and cope with up to 6 hours in the saddle. On some occasions you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot over steep hills and rocky terrain so you must be in good physical condition.

After each ride, the horses will stay put for the night whilst the riders will be transferred back to the hotel (max distance 27 km). You will rejoin with the horses in the morning and pick up the trail where you left off.

Equestrian equipment

English tack (endurance-style).
Saddlebags are provided.

Helmets are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Some helmets available on location.

Travel info

Comfort

This is a centre-based riding holiday, meaning that you will be based at the same hotel throughout the ride. Hotel Turpi is a lovely rural hotel (standard 2*) set in a remote location, at the bottom of the valley overlooking a mountain stream. The rooms are simple but clean and comfortable.

Meals

Meals are hearty and inspired by Mediterranean or mountain tradition cooking, with delicious locally sourced meats.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Your picnic will be carried in your saddlebag.

Climate

In the mountains the summers can be hot, up to 25°C during the day. However the nights will be much cooler. You must be prepared for dramatic weather variations as the mountain storms can roll in quickly in the summer.

Guide and local team

Your guides are Àlvar and Raúl. They are friendly guides with an open personality and have been operating rides in the Benasque valley for the past 6 years. They know the local area and its history extremely well.

Tips

Tips are not mandatory but very welcome if you are pleased with the service provided.

Packing list

Head
- A riding helmet is mandatory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Rain jacket – the rains can be hard to predict and it can be cold when it rains in the mountains.

Lower body
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend half-chaps with sturdy riding boots (or even hiking boots as you may need to walk over steep trails)
- Lightweight shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Night
- Pyjamas

Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Toiletries
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- 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!
- Keep a copy of your passport and insurance details with you.


Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

Visas - The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel 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 Spain and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days

At Spanish border control, it is likely you will need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit unless you can demonstrate that you are resident of Spain and are returning to your place of residence.

Passport validity
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/spain/entry-requirements

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris | Ambassade d’Espagne
    22, avenue Marceau
    75381 Paris Cédex 08
    Tél. : 01.44.43.18.00
    Fax :
    emb.paris@maec.es
  • Ambassade de France en Espagne
    Calle Salustiano Olozaga 9
    28001 Madrid
    Tél. : +34 91 423 89 00

    Fax :
    presse.madrid-amba@diplomatie.gouv.fr

Health

UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC 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 no vaccinations legally required to travel to Spain.

The health system in Spain is good. It's not exceptional, but certainly not bad. People who work in Spain are insured through a social security plan, which covers most of their needs. The only thing that is not included are dental treatments. There is also the possibility for a private insurance.
Pharmacies can be found in every town, and in bigger cities almost every street has one. Even at night it should not take you a long time to find a pharmacy that is open. Remember that more drugs are prescribed in Spain than any other country.

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. Round two-pin plugs are in use.

Budget and money

Spain has adopted the Euro (EUR, symbol: €) as its official currency. One Euro is divided into 100 (euro)cents, which are sometimes referred to as eurocents, especially when distinguishing them from the US cents.
Euro banknotes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €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 laws which require 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 international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

Time zone GMT +1