Castilla region near Madrid is in the heart of Spain. This trail rides along the nature reserve of high peaks of the Sierra de la Demanda while not neglecting to visit the many historic and cultural highlights en-route. There is much wildlife to be seen on this horse riding holiday in Spain: Wolves, deers, otters, royal eagle, falcon and a lot more. We will go over Vía Verde (literally, “gree-way”), the old disused railway line that have been recovered and reconditioned for public use. Exploring this abandoned rail way is a different, enjoyable and environmentally friendly way of getting to know Spain, its culture and its landscapes. When the trains stopped rolling over these tracks once and for all, they fell into disrepair and were forgotten. The old lines have now lost their rails, and what was once the domain of wagons and locomotives is the realm of cyclists, walkers and riders. There are 2,400 kilometres of Vía Verde all over Spain. They are easy to get to, and being flat and even, provide no technical difficulties.
The horses are beautiful Pure Spanish and Arab mix, very experienced and a pleasure to ride. Overnight accommodation is in a variety of character full small hotels. Two nights are spent in an ancient monastery where you will dine with the monks.
Llegada a Quintanar de la Sierra
Arrival in Madrid and transfer to first nights hotel in Quintanar de la Sierra . Dinner and lodging in Posada las Mayas or Casa Ramón or similar.
Quintanar de la Sierra – Neila
From Quintanar de la Sierra we climb a hill, winding through dense pinewoods to Neila. Depending on the weather we may be able to visit the spectacular string of glacial lagoons called – Laguna Negra. These are 10,000 years old and are excellent examples of the power of glaciers and their ability to erode and modify the landscape. In Neila, the most important logging centre of the region, there are fine noble houses to admire. Dinner and lodging in Hotel Villa de Neila or similar.
Neila – Huerta de Arriba
Riding through the immense woods of pines, beeches and oaks make our way along the Green Mountain Trail. This is particularly impressive in autumn when the trees turn various shades of gold. Between the trees we can see (if we are lucky!) the wolf, wild boar, otter, royal eagle, goshawk and falcon that thrive in this area. In Monterrubio de la Demanda we can see the local church that represents one of the oldest works of the Romanesque Burgales. Dinner and lodging in Centro de Turismo Rural Virgen de la Vega or similar.
Huerta de Arriba – Pineda de la Sierra
Moving along the Green Mountain Trail and across the valleys and trenches we go towards Barbadillo de Herreras, across the túnel Ferrerias and then on to Pineda, en route descending the pass of El Manquillo. This trail is built on the remnants of the railway that carried minerals from the mines of the Sierra de la Demanda to Pais Vasco’s Blust Furnace. The railroad was dismantled in the Civil War. Dinner and lodging in Casa Rural el Hayedo or similar.
Pineda de la Sierra – Arlanzón (visita Atapuerca)
We leave Pineda, the town of beautiful country houses, and immediately ride along the border of Arlanzon’s dam to get to Arlanzón. Depending on the time of year of the year, we may be able to visit the Sierra de Atapuerca’s prehistoric sites, designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in November 2000. The Atapuerca’s archaeological site was found by accident when the railroad was constructed in 1902. This site has allowed us to improve our understanding of human evolution and determine a new human species, the Homo Antecessor. Tonight we lodge in a working monastery and dine with the monks – the Monasterio Cisterciense de San Pedro de Cardeña.
Arlanzón – Monasterio de San Pedro Cardeña.
Today we go to Burgos and then to San Pedro Cardeña’s Monastery where El Cid, the famous Spanish hero, left his wife and daughter to walk into exile and fight the Moors. Today we may have the chance to visit Burgos, the programme is open according season of the year and clients’ preferences. Dinner and lodging in hospederia del Monasterio Cisterciense de San Pedro de Cárdena as above or hotel in Covarrubias.
Monasterio de San Pedro Cardeña – Covarrubias
We leave the Monastery by a Royal Road that El Cid used in his exile, and ride across the Castilian land towards Sierra de las Mamblas, crossing the Sierra and finishing in Covarrubias, the birthplace of Fernan Gonzalez’s, Castillas’s founder and home to your horses! At the end of the route we visit Covarrubias and finish with a marvellous dinner a wonderful end to your horse riding holiday. Dinner and lodging in Hotel Nuevo Arlanza or Doña Sancha or similar.
Salida de Covarrubias
Departure and transfer to Madrid after breakfast.