Horses have played a strong role in Andalusian life for centuries and were famously used as war horses, as well as being the favoured breed of Spanish nobility. Today, there are a multitude of different horse riding experiences that will allow you to discover the majesty of the Andalusian, also known as the Pure Spanish Horse. From taking dressage lessons in Seville to riding through the Serranía de Ronda, an area renowned for its beauty and dotted with whitewashed villages.
If you’re looking for a more rugged adventure then horse riding in the Pyrenees in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain is ideal. This kind of holiday is aimed at experienced riders who don’t mind long days in the saddle. Choose between high altitude rides through the peaks and a mixture of mountain and coastal riding along the Mediterranean. Just north of Barcelona you can explore the incredible volcanic landscape of the Garrotxa Volcanic National Park.
Channel your inner Clint Eastwood and ride through the expanse of dramatic rocky outcrops that is Tabernas, Europe’s only desert. The area, in the region of Almería, south-east Spain, was the setting for Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy of Westerns and has been a popular filming location since the 1960s.
There is no better way to discover the natural highlights of Tenerife – from the Teide National Park, home to the volcano Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak, to the vast beaches – than on horseback. Canary Island horses tend to be a mixture of Spanish and Arab breeds and are strong and secure. Horse riding in the Canary Islands is a great activity for all the family, as trails tend to be gentle, and there are a vast array of pony trekking companies on the islands.
Camino de Santiago
While most pilgrims walk the famous Way of St James pilgrimage route across northern Spain, some do opt for other modes of transport, whether by bike or on horseback. While it might seem like a bit of a cheat to ride the trail, the legendary path has been associated with horses for centuries, from the famous depictions of St James on a white steed to the first pilgrims who, it is said, made the journey on horseback. The route will take you through lush woodland, small villages and over rolling hills before arriving in the magnificent Santiago de Compostela.
Explore the stunning natural beauty of the Balearic Island of Mallorca from the elevated position on top of your own Spanish horse. It might be more famous for its beach holidays, but Mallorca is also home to the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, a rocky outcrop that runs along the north-west of the island, an ideal place for horse riding. Alternatively, you can gallop along pristine beaches and take in the sunset on a coastal ride.
Sierra de Gredos
If you want to combine horse riding with culture and history, then the Sierra de Gredos could be the perfect destination. Located in Castile and León, west of Madrid, the Sierra covers the provinces of Ávila, Toledo and Salamanca, among others. Trails take you through pine and oak forests to valleys and high hillsides with spectacular views across the mountain range. By evening, you can explore cities like Toledo, where three cultures famously lived in harmony, leaving the city with an incredible cultural inheritance.