From the horse’s mouth
Wild North Portugal Trail
- Chance to encounter herds of wild horses
- Typical Portuguese meals, including local wines
- Possibility to view wildlife such as deer, wild boar, fox, or rarely, wolves
- Discover Portuguese heritage and ancient mountain villages
Day 1 1: EUROPE - PORTO - ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - No ridingValdevez InnFly from the Europe to Porto. You should aim to arrive before 4pm if possible to allow time to settle in before dinner. It is also possible to arrive into the Spanish airport of Vigo if you prefer.
On arrival at Porto you will be met and transferred c. 1 hour to the equestrian centre in Arcos de Valdevez. You will be shown around the stables and the horses and will have time to freshen up before dinner in a local restaurant with your guide and the group.
Day 2 2: ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - PENEDA-GERES NATIONAL PARK - 5 hours ridingValdevez InnAfter breakfast at 8am, head to the stables and saddle up for your adventure, aiming to depart at 10am.
You start by riding through the medieval town of Arcos de Valdevez towards the national park of Peneda-Geres. Wild horses live on these mountain pastures and you will likely spot some during your week. You pass through traditional stone mountain villages and on trails through gorse and broom, which are bright with yellow flowers during the spring.
After lunch in a local tavern, continue riding along sandy trails past the pre-historical remains of ancient civilisations until reaching the Information centre for the national park. Here the horses will stay overnight in forestry nursery fields whilst you are transferred back to the quinta to overnight. Dinner is taken in a typical Portugese restaurant in town.
Day 3 3: PENEDA-GERES NATIONAL PARK - FERREIROS - 5 hours ridingValdevez InnAfter breakfast at 8am you are transferred back to the horses to saddle up. Ride uphill through the woods of the national park and out onto the open plains. As well as the wild horses, the park is also home to deer, wild boar and wolves.
Todays trails are at an altitude of c. 1,000m and offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. After lunch beside a mountain lake, you drop downhill on an ancient track known as the "Trail of the Deceased" - so called because mountain village inhabitants used this trail to access cemetaries in the valleys.
On arrival at the village of Ferreiros you leave the horses at a farmhouse and transfer back to the quinta for the night and another dinner in Arcos de Veldevez.
Day 4 4: FERREIROS - ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - 5 hours ridingValdevez InnTransfer back to the horses and at 10am start riding along the typical valley countryside of farm pastures and oak forests. Follow the shore of the Vez river, passing fishermen and take lunch beside the river.
If water levels are low enough you will cross the river on horseback; if water levels are high then you will make a short detour to a bridge. Ride through the town of Arcos de Valdevez, clattering along 17th century roads and admiring the historical architecture before arriving at the quinta and equestrian centre.
Dinner in town and overnight at the quinta.
Day 5 5: ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - CORNO DE BICO - 5 hours ridingCasa das CerejasSet out from the equestrian centre in the opposite direction and into the woods of Corno de Bico - a protected landscape. The forest trails are full of wildlife - foxes, deer, mountain cows, wild horses, wild boar and wolves. Lunch is taken in a local tavern in the heart of a small village with only 6 houses and 16 inhabitants!
After lunch continue riding uphill to a lookout where on a clear day you can see the Atlantic ocean. Today you are mostly riding through ancient forest and the trails are ideal for canters.
Descending from the forest, you follow a trail to a village on the edge of the park and an ancient manor horse where you and the horses spend two nights. Dinner is taken in the nearby town of Paredes de Coura where there is the possibility to taste the famous Coura Trout.
Day 6 6: PAREDES DE COURA - CORNO BICO - PAREDES DE COURA - 5 hours ridingCasa das CerejasToday you have the option of riding or resting by the pool of the manor house.
For those who wish to ride, the trails within the protected area of Corno de Bico allow for plenty of exploration in search of wild horses. Lunch is carried in your saddlebags today so you can venture deep into the wilderness.
At the end of the day, ride back to the manor house where your hosts will have prepared a hearty, traditional Portugese meal and will join you for dinner.
Day 7 7: CORNO DE BICO - ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - 5 hours ridingValdevez InnRide away from the manor house and along an old forestry trails, discovering man-made shelters for the wild horses - groups of 50-60 trees planted in a way to protect the animals in harsh winters and hot summers. Leave the mountain pastures behind and ride downhill to the mountain village of Grijo where lunch will be brought to you by the support vehicle.
After lunch, continue riding through a mixture of forest and rural farmland - a balance of wildlife and human presence in the mountains. Pass an ancient castle built on top of a granite stone settlement - in the 15th century this served as a watch-post for incoming invaders from Spain.
After riding downhill you eventually reach the equestrian centre in Arcos de Valdevez where you say goodbye to your horse. A final dinner is taken in a restaurant in town.
Day 8 8: ARCOS DE VALDEVEZ - PORTO - EUROPE - No ridingAfter breakfast you are transferred to Porto airport for your flight home. Flights are not included, but we can book them on request. Please note that the road transfer is c. 1 hour so very early flight departures are best avoided if possible.
It is also possible to depart from the Spanish airport of Vigo if preferred, which is also c. 1 hour away by road.
Dates & prices
- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room;
- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 8 riders.
- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 2 to 4 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €75/£70 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it. On certain dates it may be possible to guarantee the ride with just one rider with the payment of a bigger supplement, please contact us.
- There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a room with another guest of the same sex. To guarantee your own room there is a single supplement of €260/£230.
- Porto Airport transfers are €145 (approx. £130) each way, divided by the number of riders, and are payable locally on arrival
- Children from 15 years of age are accepted, provided they are accompanied by an adult
- Non-riders are welcome and benefit from a 20% discount.
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 doesn't include
March - April 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 07/03/2020 14/03/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 21/03/2020 28/03/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 04/04/2020 11/04/2020 £1,080 Guaranteed departure Book now 18/04/2020 25/04/2020 £1,080 Open Book now
May - June 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 02/05/2020 09/05/2020 £1,080 Guaranteed departure Book now 16/05/2020 23/05/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 30/05/2020 06/06/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 13/06/2020 20/06/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 27/06/2020 04/07/2020 £1,080 Open Book now
July - August 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 11/07/2020 18/07/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 25/07/2020 01/08/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 22/08/2020 29/08/2020 £1,080 Open Book now
September - October 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 05/09/2020 12/09/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 19/09/2020 26/09/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 03/10/2020 10/10/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 17/10/2020 24/10/2020 £1,080 Open Book now 31/10/2020 07/11/2020 £1,080 Open Book now
November - December 2020
Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status 14/11/2020 21/11/2020 £1,080 Open Book now
The tack is English style GP saddles with snaffle or short-shanked English bridles. The horses are used to being ridden on a loose rein whilst walking.
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
There is a rider weight limit of 110kgs/17.3 st/242 lbs.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Previous experience on a trail ride is preferred but is not essential.
Helmets are mandatory. We recommend all our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Nights on days 5 and 6 are spent at an old manor house in double rooms with private bathrooms. It is possible to pay a single supplement, subject to availability, otherwise you will be required to share a double bed with one of your riding companions (of the same sex).
Lunches are usually taken in a local taverna (salads, meats, cheese etc) or carried in your saddle bags (sandwiches)
Dinners are taken in local restaurants where there is often a choice. One night you have dinner with a local Portugese family.
Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.
Typical temperatures throughout the year are:
Winter: 12 - 15c
Spring: 20 - 25c
Summer: 30 - 35c
Autumn: 15 - 20c
Guide and local team
- You will be expected to wear a riding helmet and we recommend 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
- Thermal long-sleeved tops are a lightweight way of providing extra warmth, particularly in spring/autumn
- 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)
- Thermal leggings
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
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
In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- 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, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad 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!
Visa & Health
Nationals not referred to above are advised to contact their embassy for visa requirements.
BREXIT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The UK is leaving the European Union. The rules for passports, entry requirements, driving, EHIC cards and more may change after Brexit.
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
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.
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?
On this horseback trail in Portugal you may be lucky enough to view wild herds of Garrano horses.
The Garrano horse is an ancient breed from Galicia and northern Portugal. The breed has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years, but is endangered due to predation by wolves and the fact it is no longer popular for agricultural work.
Although the breed are usually used for agricultural work or as pack horses, it is generally considered that the Garrano is one of the ancestors of the Andalucian. They are sure-footed and can traverse difficult, steep and wooded terrain easily. They are strong and hardy with good temperaments and are of pony size, standing 10 - 14 hands high, with small ears, lively, large eyes and a long neck. They are deep and wide through the chest with short, strong legs and very hard hooves.