Vilafreser – Besalú – Oix – Beget – Espinavell – Camprodon
Vilafreser – Besalú – Oix – Beget – Espinavell – Camprodon
21-28 Apr, 23-30 June, 15-22 Sep, 29 Sep-6 Oct
You will climb into the famous Massif of Bassegoda. Forget everything you think you know about mountain riding. The Pyrenees trail will bring you to discover one of the loveliest regions of Catalonia, a trip in the Romanic Catalan culture. This is the heartland of the region where the four red and yellow lines flag flies proudly on this breathtaking trail. You can taste different local Catalan dishes and you will discover three distinct landscapes: the fertile prairies near the river Fluvià, the warm wooded hills of the Garrotxa and the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees. This trail is an interesting mixture for riders that know how to measure their horse and at times leading them on foot.
In the evening upon your arrival at Masia Can Grau, a special equestrian farmhouse located in the Empordà region near Girona, you will meet the Catalonia Horse Trails team. After a homemade dinner we will go over the week’s program, and you will be told about the special characteristics of our Spanish and Arab crossbred horses for this trail, a combination of the best of each breed. At desert, you will have the opportunity for a one-to-one conversation designed to find every rider their perfect horse.
The peaks of the Alta Garrotxa are all around us. The air is poignant with the smell of wild herbs and Mediterranean fragrances. Later than any nice canters, enjoying beautiful views of the Fluvia river, we have our picnic at lunch time in an oak forest. In the far distance we can make out the medieval village of Besalú. It is a jewel of a Romanesque city, with its bridge over the two rivers and Jewish past, with its old neighborhood almost intact. The ride is upbeat. The strong and well-trained horses are still full of strength. Their trots are long and rhythmic along the small climbing paths between country cottages with amazing views of the Pyrenees. We will then spend the night at Besalú where we will discover this medieval town at sunset.
Today is a long and lovely day in the saddle. Having tacked up we set off down into the valley of the river Fluviá, Girona´s largest river. We will cross the antic village of Algelaguer, and following a gushing stream we canter across the Vall de Llierca plains. This is the beginning of a historic smuggling trail between France and Spain. We stop for our picnic next to a big river pool, underneath an impressive Romanesque bridge. Excellent for a refreshing activity after lunch. This spectacular scenery is the gateway to the region of the Alta Garrotxa, one of the region’s most beautiful natural parks. Our accommodation today is a charming hotel, a Catalan farmhouse in Oix village.
After an excellent breakfast, we leave for a more relaxed day to discover the amazing Hormollier valley. It is certainly the wildest and most pristine place of the region where we can appreciate a large biodiversity of fauna and flora. After a walk down into the next valley we eat a delicious picnic next to a little river. This is an ideal spot to swim with your horse (depending on the season). We will follow then along the GR11, the famous pedestrian path between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coasts. In the afternoon, we arrive at Beget, a beautiful small mountain village, nestled amidst the gentle mountain scenery. This village maintains all its original charm, famous for its Romanesque church, original tower and its Black Madonna, a gem of Romanesque architecture. Our hotel for the night is El Forn, it was the village bakery and now it is a well know restaurant in the region. Famous for its local Catalan dishes and the excellent local mountain wine, even Richard Gere got lost here…
Today after a good breakfast and saddle our horses, we continue our journey riding through beech forests, meadows carpeted in wildflowers. The local farmhouses are huge constructions build by the local aristocracy and wealthy Barcelona merchants in the 16th century. Again, Catalonians Romanesque architecture is ever present in the arches, doors, windows, and churches of this region, making for wonderful photography.
Our destination is the village of Espinavell, another small smuggler village untouched by the passing of time, just 5 kilometers from the French border. We stay in a family run mountain hotel with the beautiful presence of “La Costa Bona” mountain in the background. The specialty of this restaurant is its delicious “vadella” with mushroom, wild boar civet and Ratafia, the home-made liquor.
Today we will be riding up into the highest mountains of our journey, the Costabona mountain. After an early start we begin to climb a winding track alongside a river. Soon we leave the track as up here it is only rolling mountain meadows and wildflowers where we enjoy some very nice canters and gallops. The views are immense and breathtaking; the light is that of the Pyrenees. We pass herds of cows and savage horses grazing up here for the summer. Up here it is very common to see eagles, vultures and herds of wild goats and deer. After days of riding in the countryside it is nice to arrive at Camprodon, a lively market town, favored by the Catalan aristocracy in the past. The hotel is situated right in the center, a great opportunity to do some shopping and visit the local bars.
Today we leave Camprodon village, in the direction of the La Moixa farm for the narrow valley of the Feitus. We will climb again through a beautiful path between forests, ascending smoothly but maintained until the green hill, at 1600 meters. Galloping through its immense meadows, we cross the fence that separates Abella and Pardines terms and we ascend gently up to the mountains. There we will enjoy a splendid view over the Catalan Girona province, at our back the Serra Caballera and deep in the background Montserrat, trimmed on the horizon, to the north, the highest peak of the region, the Puigmal, which with its 2,913 meters dominates the horizon. In the steep descent we will picnic next to our horses in a nearby watering hole. Our descent through paths and forests will take us again in Camprodon valley near Sant Pau de Seguries, where we will leave the horses for transfer back at home. Finally, friendly “byby” with Catalan cava and the team before transfer to the hotel in Camprodon where we spent night yesterday.
Breakfast and departure and we hope to see each other again soon!
NOTE: The itinerary can be modified in case of incidents due to climate change (high temperatures, tempest, fire, dryness, etc…).