Day 1: Border-crossing mountain and coast trail
We start our Catalonia trail in the foreland of the Pyrenees, 150 km north of the capital Barcelona.
When arriving at the horse riding farm, we can rest after our travels. At dinner, we meet our guide who tells us about the horses and the trail.
Day 2: Trail to the Mountains
We get to know our horses and set off. The path soon gets lost in a thick forest. Mind your head! Some branches are pretty low here in the ‘Catalan jungle’.
The foreland of the Pyrenees with its vast extent is a wonderful destination for our trip in the saddle. The trail moves in loops through the hills, circling fields and leading us to lovely villages built of natural stone.
The crossing of a river turns our ride into an adventure!
In a cosy schoolhouse, Clara’s and Jordi’s family await us. They offer us a lovely accommodation with a pool.
Day 3: Garrotxa – the impassable Highland
Mountains of the Garrotxa: The trail changes from rocky and steep to downhill and soft. Next to freshwater is a perfect place for a break. The water runs like silver-coloured fibres, flowing over the marginal flat rocks where we can sit down. We jump in this natural pool. The ‘pool bar’ is open!
We enter a silent mountain landscape. After a steep descent, we reach a medieval village. Our friend and ‘gourmet chef de cuisine’ welcomes us in his little hostel at the river.
Day 4: Catalonia Trail between France and Spain
Durmast oaks and cork oaks determine the vegetation on our ride to the lake. The climb is serene, but we are rewarded at the lake!
Just one more gallop, until we discover the picnic.
Every hoof print brings us closer to France. A rustic path takes us over the border. This pass was used as an escape route both by the outlaws and the Catalan Republicans in the Spanish Civil War in the 19th century. A thick forest of beech trees and chestnuts cover the mountains.
The Hostal de Trabucaires was once a meeting point for the outlaws. Today we stay in this simple but cozy hospice.
Day 5: The Albera Mountains – a transnational natural park
At 2,700 m above sea level, the Canigo massif is the highest point in the North. The peak of Canigo is considered sacred in Catalonia.
With the calming sound of the horses’ hooves, we pass the Albera Mountains and return to Spain. Between mountains and valleys covered with woods, a powerful castle rises from inside the natural park. Even today the former use of the castle remains a mystery. Mesmerised we feel as if we are in the land of knights while we have lunch in a rustic restaurant.
At the foot of the Albera mountains, the lowlands of the Emporda open up. From the African-like grasslands, we glance to impressive rocks of sandstone until we catch sight of the Mediterranean coast with its shiny, blue water.
After a very long riding day, our horses look forward to their delicious food.
Day 6: The Emporda – lowlands between Mountains and Sea
With our horses, we trek through a landscape of grasslands. Later, large estates and rich medieval villages built of natural stone are waiting for us. Goods originating here were often stolen during transportation to France by the Trabucaires in the 19th century.
Further south, we get to a wetland. With a jaunty gallop through the paddy fields, we reach the coast. We find cosy accommodation for the night at the country house of Anna and Miguel close to the sea, as well as ‘good Catalan cuisine’.
Day 7: Trail riding on the beach! (*)
We just can’t get up early enough today to go to the beach on horseback. With the first rays of sunlight we get to the sea. The surf crashes on the fine sandy beach and we let our horses fall into a wonderful gallop. Miles of sandy beach are ahead of us!
The back country awaits us with a lovely landscape of hills and fields. Impressive ‘Castillos’ and villages of natural stone line our path back to the horse riding farm, the starting point of our journey.
Day 8: Adéu France and Catalonia
After breakfast, our stay in Catalonia comes to an end – but the memories of this adventurous trail will stay in our minds for a long time!
Transfer to Barcelona or Girona.