Imagine yourself ridding the noble Portuguese horse and watch the wild horses Garranos in their natural habitat, the mountains in Peneda-Gerês National Park, going up the hills with incredible views and enjoying the landscape like you are on the top of the world.
The Garrano, or Minho horse, is a breed of small equine species who were ancestors of the Galician pony and Andalusian horse, which mostly live in the wild, but are a gentle breed with no significant fear of humans. For a long time these horses permeated the farms of Vilarinho das Furnas, a now underwater village inundated with the dam's construction, but later began to freely move between the portuguese spanish border after 1979.
Ride through the Peneda-Gerês National Park and see why it is considered World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
The Gerês mountains are an inhospitable place, the oldest signs of human presence date only from 6000 BC to 3000 BC. Dolmens and other megalithic tombs remain interspersed within the region among the rich fauna and flora.
Mountain cows, foxes, wild boars and even deers and wolves can be part of the sightseeing while riding.
The first and last days you will stay in a beautifull farm where you can eXperience the true meaning of the word Peace. Enjoy the sun by the pool or get yourself it playing tennis at the farm's court.
The farm is situated on the hillside of the river Vez's valley. Below the valley lays the historical town Arcos de Valdevez.
The rest of the nights you will stay in local farms where the owners are your hosts and friends, and will receive you in the most friendly way. Along the trail you will try the very famous homemade traditional portuguese gastronomy at the farms and typical restaurants and see by yourself why it's considered one the best in the world.
Where the words Nature and Peace stick together!
Your guides will be the perfect companions of your Northern Portugal horseback eXperience. They are both natural from the region and live there for more than 36 years ago. They speak fluent English and Spanish and are also able to deal with blacksmith work during the journeys.
8 days | 7 nights
6 Riders | 940 Euro
4 Riders | 970 Euro
1 Rider | 1030 Euro
All Year Round
Day 1 Saturday
Welcome at the airport and then transfer by Car/Minibus from Oporto (Portugal) or Vigo (Spain) to Arcos de Valdevez. After one hour travelling you will arrive at the farm and have a tour along the stables and meet all the horses. At dinner time the horse/rider team pairs will be decided.
Day 2 Sunday
The day starts early and breakfast is served at 8.00 AM, after that follows horse preparation and starting the adventure trip at 10:00 AM. Starting just above the medieval town of Arcos de Valdevez, your journey routes in the direction of the Peneda-Gerês National Park riding through the town of Arcos de Valdevez. Castles mountain plains were wild horses live and amazing landscapes of old traditional stone mountain villages are the scenery of this day. Lunch at local Mountain Tavern, followed by a horse riding trail that leads to pre-historical remains of old civilizations. Afterwards you will take direction to the National Park Interpretation Center, were all the information about the park can be seen and discovered. This location is also the place to leave the horses resting overnight, in the old forestry nursery fields. Following a transfer back to the farm lodging were afterwards you leave to have dinner at Typical Portuguese Restaurant in Arcos de Valdevez, town returning after to the farm to rest.
Day 3 Monday
Breakfast at lodging at 8.00 Am, following transfer to horse mount location, prepare the horses and depart into the woods of the national park, going uphill to plains of old pasture fields and home of wild horses and all the wildlife of Penêda-Gers National Park.
Journey develops along this scenery all day and you ride through old commerce trails between mountain villages, at 1000 meters of altitude were all the horizon is free from any human presence. Lunch takes place near a mountain lake. Afte you will ride to the ancient Trail of the Deceased (used in ancient times to take the mountain people back down to the bottom of the valley cemeteries, near the main mountain villages). Arrival to the Village of Ferreiros, stable the horses in the old farmers houses and transfer back to the farm lodging. Dinner at another typical portuguese restaurant in Arcos de Valdevez and return to the farm to rest afterwards.
Day 4 Tuesday
Wake up and breakfast at 8.00Am. Transfer to Ferreiros Stables, prepare the horses and at 10:00Am start the journey along the valley countryside farming fields and oak tree forests, arriving to the Vez river shores and following at his side through fisherman trails back down to the Historical Town of Arcos. The lunch takes place by the river side and, depending the river level, the journey can take the horses to cross the river or make a detour to the nearest old bridge.
Arriving to Arcos de Valdevez, you will eXperience a tour through the old town through the 17th century roads and all their story, spirit and arquitecture.
Leaving afterwards to the farm where the horses will rest and prepare to evening dinner.
Day 5 Wednesday
After breakfast and horse preparations, the journey starts in the direction of the woods above the farm. In the protected landscape of Corno de Bico, the trails are full of forest wildlife, were wild horses, mountain cows, foxes, wild boars and even deers and wolves can be part of the sightseeing during your journey. The lunch happens in a local tavern in the heart of a small and wonderful village with only 6 houses and 16 habitants. Afterwards the journey continues uphill to a place were, if the sky is clear, the seashore of the Atlantic coast is part of your horse riding scenery. Next destination is the core of the protected landscape of Corno de Bico and a quick stop in the sightseeing post of the old forestry guard, that once served for surveillance in this wonderful protected nature landscape.
Descending from the forest scenery, you will take a trail that leads to the old villages in the vicinity of this Forest Park. There you will leave the horses in the fields of an ancient manor house where you will stay overnight. Dinner happens in the Town of Paredes de Coura and clients will have the possibility to taste the famous River Coura Trout. After dinner you will return to the manor house to rest.
Day 6 Thursday
Surrounding the manor house, the landscape is full of amazing places. This day is mainly a Free Ride Day Tour, here all options are available, even if clients wish to enjoy the amenities of the resting house and leave their ride rest.
For all those that wish to discover the landscape, the tour will happen inside of the Protected Area of Corno de Bico, were trails are so many and so full of contrasts that the eXperience of discovering them and go in search of the herds of wild horses is without any doubt a memorable one. Due to the natural territory and the absence of human presence, the meals are carried in your saddle bag and enjoyed during the adventure inside of the forest landscape.
In the evening the journey heads back to the manor house, were the owners will provide a traditional Portuguese homemade dinner joining you at the table.
Day 7 Friday
Wake up and breakfast, prepare the horses and around 10:00 AM youleave the manor house heading to another wonderful landscape, though the old forestry guards trail, that will show all the beauties that they once preserved and cared. You will see the natural wild horses' shelters, made of groups of 50 to 60 trees planted in the woods in a way that protect the wildlife in harsh winters and hot summers.
Along the way the meeting with the wild horses is inevitable and from their pasture grounds you will head down the mountain to the little mountain village called Grijó, were lunch is provided.
After lunch the journey develops through rural landscape and the woods and forests that are spread in between them, creating a natural balance between wildlife and the human presence in the mountain landscape.
The journey will also pass though an old Castle built on top of a granit stone settlement, served in the 15th century as a watch-post for preventing incoming invasions from the spain border. From there you will continue down, descending through the hillside in the direction of the farm were it all started seven days ago.
Day 8 Saturday
Waking up and after breakfast, say goodbye to the horses and place all luggage in the transfer vehicle. Head to Oporto (Portugal) or Vigo (Spain) Airport, both of them only 100kms away from the farm.
Transfers available from Oporto Airport (OPO) and Vigo Airport (VGO) 100 Euro payable locally
Coffee and tea are available at discretion at the cottages. Additional beverages are paid separately