ALENTEJO COASTAL RIDE
The Alentejo is a region of unparalleled beauty with varying, compelling scenery—wheat fields, miles of nearly deserted white beaches, walled hilltop towns with castles and Roman ruins, hills dotted with cork and holm oak trees, olive trees and vineyards.
This week-long exploratory ride on beautiful and sure-footed Portuguese Lusitano horses takes us through the untouched scenery of the Serra de Grândola overlooking the last unspoiled stretch of Atlantic Ocean coast in all of southern Europe.
May 30 - June 06, 2020
(8 days, 7 nights, 5 days riding, 1 rest/site-seeing day)
1650 € /person (based on 4 or more riders)
Single supplement room: 250€
Transfer/Arrival: On Saturday at 17:30 from Lisbon airport.
Transfer/Departure: On Saturday at 10:30 to Lisbon airport.
The "Meeting Point" at LISBON AIRPORT is on the right after collecting your luggage and exiting into the main arrival hall of the airport - there is a large sign. Your guide will meet you there.
- "house" wine at lunch included
- meals on rest/site-seeing day not included and payable locally
- other wines at dinner
Our guide and host, Luís, is a young veterinary surgeon and experienced endurance rider who decided to turn to horse-trekking in this beautiful and unspoilt coast of the Alentejo where his family hails from.
The horses are calm and well trained Lusitano and Lusitano mixed breed horses. The tack consists of Portugese military saddles with comfortable sheepskin seats and English style bridles.
The ride is at all paces and riders need to be of intermediate level, comfortable controlling a horse at the canter in open country.
Please note that whilst riding on the beach is always possible, cantering is dependent on tides as the sand is very deep. If one cannot canter on the beach, there are still plenty of opportunities near the lagoon, through the sand dunes and in the woods.
Riding days are between 5 and 5 1/2 hours each day with one day off for rest/site-seeing midweek.
In the day off there is a possibility of visiting either the beautiful town of Alcácer do Sal on the Sado River where we can visit a traditional saddler and leather worker. There is also the chance to seek out dolphins here. Alternatively, we could go to Santiago to Cacém to visit the Roman ruins or venture to the coastal town of Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Mira river estuary a little further south.
About the Ride:
This ride is an exploratory ride taking us into the untouched countryside of Serra the Grândola overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This is a region that is largely devoid of human settlement, with vast beaches and a few small hamlets. We ride in a different direction each day and in the first half of the week explore the hills of the Serra de Grândola where cork and holm oak trees have grown for centuries and where eucalyptus and pine forests thrive. The second half of the week will take you towards the ocean along sandy tracks, through forests and sand dunes onto the beaches and the Melides lagoon. This combination of hills with vigorous walking and the long, sandy tracks and beaches allows for some lovely long canters.
Accommodation is in two different comfortable, 'agriturismo' rural guest houses. Both have a swimming pool. Lunches are usually picnic lunches which include grilled fish or meat with fresh salads and breads. Portuguese wine is included with lunch. Dinners are served in local restaurants which serve Alentejo and general Portuguese cuisine. There will be plenty of opportunities to taste the fine seafood and Alentejo specialities.
Arrival in Lisbon and transfer at 17:30 pm from the meeting point at arrivals in Lisbon International Airport. You will travel south, for approximately 120km, to your accommodation in a rural comfortable house, called Uva do Monte/Serenada, located near Grândola, 1.5km from the sea. This charming house has a very relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy the tranquil garden, swim in the pool or rest in the comfortable rooms before your first day on horseback. Dinner at the hotel.
Today you will be taken by car to Passeios a Cavalo Melides, where the horses are stabled. We will start from here to go through the hills of Grândola where we will enjoy beautiful cork tree landscapes. After the first few canters, you will notice the horses' wonderful characters and sure-footedness. For lunch, a picnic prepared with typical Portuguese food, accompanied by fresh bread and good wine. You will rest for a while after lunch, and we will ride back through the woods. We will reach Coudelaria Quinta do Almargem where the horses are stabled. A short transfer of 10 min by car takes you back to your hotel, Uva do Monte/Serenada, where you can refresh and prepare for dinner at the Fadista restaurant in Melides.
Today you will ride through eucalyptus and cork oak woodlands with their distinctive fragrance and hear the sound of the bark under the horses’ hooves. We will stop for lunch at one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the area by an old chapel ruin. After picnic we can have a siesta. Afterwards we have the opportunity for some fast canters on the sandy trails that cross these parts. Dinner at Quinta do Lourenço and overnight stay at our hotel, Uva do Monte/Serenada.
Today we will ride from Uva do Monte/Serenada to the beach. It’s a beautiful ride at first light with the rising sun. There is the possibility of a beach canter before reaching a lovely picnic spot in the pine forest where your horses rest while you can swim in the sea. After lunch we will ride through the dunes, and reach the beach stables where the horses will rest. After riding a short transfer to the hotel, Uva do Monte/Serenada.
Rest day. After breakfast you will pack your bags and be transferred to the new hotel. Nômade/Pinhal da Coutada is a small countryside resort were you can walk along the pine trees, ride a bike or just relax in the biological pool. Visits can be organised at your request to the old village of Alcácer do Sal visiting one of the oldest saddle-maker's in Portugal. Alternatively, we could go to Santiago to Cacém to visit the Roman ruins or venture south to Vila Nova de Milfontes. Dinner and overnight stay in the hotel.
June 04 :
Today we will ride from Nômade/Pinhal da Coutada to the beach of Comporta through pine forest and vineyards. It’s a beautiful ride at first light. There is the possibility of a beach canter before reaching a lovely picnic spot in the forest area where your horses rest while you can swim in the two natural lagoons. After lunch we ride through the forest to the vineyards of the Brejinho da Costa winery. Nômade/Pinhal da Coutada, were we stay overnight. Dinner at a good local restaurant.
Today we ride from Brejinho da Costa winery to the Sado River. Many opportunities for faster riding occur today. Our horses will carry us through rice fields. We will seek out sandy paths where we can ride with the sound of the sea in the distance. On our return, we can enjoy a swim before arriving in Nômade/Pinhal da Coutada. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Nômade/Pinhal da Coutada.
After breakfast, transfer back to Lisbon International Airport and departure.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding.