Camino El Cid on Horseback
From the medieval town of Covarrubias, ride the historic trail of El Cid on a wonderful Spanish horse. Your host-guide has a full back up team to care for riders and horses. The hospitality is excellent and the ride passes through stunning landscapes.
Castilla Leon province (north of Madrid) has its roots deep in the history of the Spanish civilisation and consequently could be regarded as being at the heart of the national culture and identity.
Since the Early Middle Ages until nowadays, Castilla León has thrived on its rich history, architecture, landscapes and cuisine.
This region marked with countless castles is the homeland of Spanish hero El Cid, famous medieval knight and the military leader.
Ride along the banishment route taken by El Cid as in the times of the Moorish occupation, when he was exiled from his home territories by the King.
Explore the spectacular scenery riding on magnificent Spanish horses, the pride and joy of their owner.
Excellent point to point trail horse riding holiday in Spain.
This riding holiday is highly recommended for good riders wanting to experience true Spanish culture in comfort.
You will have the chance to learn about the history of El Cid, a medieval Castilian hero in the fight against the Moorish occupation of 10th century Spain. On this horse riding holiday, we follow in his footsteps and the dramatic events of those times, visiting the monasteries and villages he did 1000 years ago.
- Day 1 Arrival at Covarrubias,
- Day 2 Covarrubias - Covarrubias, 27 km
- Day 3 Covarrubias - Santo Domingo de Silos, 25 km
- Day 4 Santo Domingo de Silos - Navas del Pinar, 35 km
- Day 5 Navas del Pinar - San Leonardo de Yague, 37 km
- Day 6 San Leonardo de Yagüe - Quintanar de la Sierra, 32km
- Day 7 Quintanar de la Sierra - Birth of the Arlanza River, 20 km
- Day 8 Departure from Covarrubias
Horses of Arlanza have a smart stable yard with open terrain where they are regularly turned out. These are very good facilities for ensuring the excellent welfare, care and health of the horses.
The staff are first class horsemen and women who manage all aspects of animal husbandry, schooling and dressage directly.
The horses are all Pure Spanish (PRE) and Spanish mix, forward-going and very responsive, sure-footed and experienced in difficult terrain, ridden in Spanish style saddles.
You will be riding in a Spanish saddle - the "Vaquero". It is deep and comfortable with a soft sheepskin cover and large stirrups. These horses are ridden with a light touch on the reins, so just a very easy and relaxed style of riding is needed. The horses are very sure-footed and experienced on this trail - you can enjoy the views and the company of the other riders and horses.
This Spanish horse riding holiday will appeal to intermediate riders who are interested in a combination of scenery and culture with comfortable hotels, good company and beautiful horses. There is a lot of walking, but there are also opportunities for a gallop or a canter.
We have had first-time trail riders on this tour - so as long as you are fairly fit and can sit in the saddle for 4-6 hours, it is not too challenging.
The team will match you to the right horse - according to your physique, experience and personality.
Strict weight limit of 100 kg.
The Ride to Santo Domingo de los Silos
Ride along El Cid's banishment route, crossing the Arlanza river near Covarrubias and following the road to Retuerta.
A delicious picnic lunch in the countryside.
The ride on to Contreras, also known as the "town of the one hundred fountains". Finally reaching Santo Domingo de Los Silos, site of the 11th-century Romanesque Monastery and one of the most beautiful in all Spain.
Ride the Rio Lobos Canyon
Ride through the spectacular Parque Natural del Cañón de Río Lobos, a protected landscape and a sanctuary for birds.
This is a 16 km canyon, made by the Ríiver Lobos - Wolves River - that runs through the provinces of Burgos and Soria, surrounded by steep cliffs on sides, lush vegetation underfoot and ancient trees and poplars. There are also many caves and wells.
Food & Drink
Lunchtime on the Trail
A lovely aspect of this tour is the lunch stop.
At times you will stop at a village restaurant for lunch, but you are just as likely to be served a freshly cooked menu, sitting under a tree in a beautiful country location.
The catering van rendezvous with horses and riders, stocked with tables, chairs, portable kitchen and the fresh ingredients to prepare a delicious lunch - and a glass of wine too. The custom is to then take a short siesta, while the horses also enjoy some saddle-free rest time.
Once you are roused, it's time to re-mount and hit the trail with the second half of the day's riding ahead of you
Overnight accommodation on this ride is in very comfortable hotels. The riding, food and wine are all above average.
Listed below are some reviews from other customers who have already undertaken this tour with Walk the Camino.
- Review by BerniceIt was one of the best holidays I have experienced. On 1 -10. I would say a 10. Our hotels were very comfortable. Given that we were in rural areas, I feel they were great. The food was fantastic. The information pack is one of the best I have seen. The Camino team were a great help during the trip and answered the phone immediately when we had questions.
The instructions for finding our reserved seats in the Cathedral for the Botafumeiro were unclear. We did find our seats but it was not easy. Our names were on the seats, Walk the Camino was on the back of the pew not on the seat where we sat. It would be handy if a card was printed in Spanish that could be shown inside the Cathedral.
WTC RESPONSE - it is always challenging finding your way in the Cathedral, especially when so many pilgrims are in attendance. Your idea about supplying a card in Spanish to make yourself known to officials is a great idea. We will do that in future. Glad to know you found them in time.
- Review by Debbie, UKAn amazing 6 day tour in rural Spain, every day it feels the scenery gets more and more spectacular. There is a horse to suit every riding ability and before the end of day one I guarantee you feel that special bond between horse and rider. I have ridden this route three times and every time as enjoyable as the last, there is no better way to see Spain, make new friends and enjoy thegreat food and wine that is prepared for you along the way
- Review by Colleen, USAWe enjoyed our Camino trip. It was very well run. Hotel Plaza Mayor and Grand Hotel Los Abetos were the best. The hotel Pilar just OK. The food was outstanding. We enjoyed every meal. We enjoyed our Camino trip. But we would not recommend the horse trip to anyone that is not an excellent rider. The terrain is difficult and the horses climb up trails where the walkers follow a much lower path.
COMMENT:- FOR THE MOST PART THE HORSES DO FOLLOW THE SAME TRAIL AS THE WALKERS. THE GUIDE MAY DEVIATE FOR SHORT SECTIONS, IF THE PATH IS WET OR THERE ARE A LOT OF WALKERS ON IT.
Jesus (The Guide / Host) was very nice and helpful but we feel he lost confidence with us after a few days of riding because of our riding ability. My friend fell and hurt her shoulder at one of the restaurants on the fourth day, so we took a day off. It was a great group of people and we enjoyed ourselves. Overall we had a good time.
COMMENT:- RIDING CAN BE STRENUOUS, SO YOU NEED DECENT STAMINA TO RIDE FOR 6 HOURS EACH DAY. SOME EXPERIENCE OF HORSE-RIDING IS REQUIRED, BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT RIDER, AS THE HORSES ARE HIGHLY SCHOOLED AND KNOW THE PATHS WELL.
- Review by Barbara, USAThe route is an astounding variation of trails along and across creeks, rivers, gorges, through cherry tree orchards and farmland, beautiful pine and redwood forests, wild west scenery and medieval villages with narrow alleyways, old churches and monasteries. Storks nesting on chimneys, vultures circling the skies.
Long and fast gallops, beautiful and sensitive, untiring and surefooted horses! And Jose, the owner and guide, is an experienced, humorous and prudent man. Accompanied by Ula from Poland, who is the translator and woman for ‘everything’, caring for all, loveable, merry, very fine rider, finding solutions for the most unthought-of situations.
The week was marvellous. I wish I could be back this year, will definitely come again next year
- Review by MaryBest vacation ever! I enjoyed the trip very much and the organisation was outstanding. The accommodation was so much better than I expected. The food was just fantastic. The baggage went well and I rate your information pack.
- Review by Meg, USAAbsolutely! Very memorable. A fabulous way to see Northern Spain. Fit, well-mannered horses. Great accommodations. Good food. Great people in our group!
Jesus and his team did a very good job with all of us, and 8-10 horses every day. They had the sidesaddle for Kate and took great pains with her comfort and safety. Six hours a day in the saddle was taxing - I have ridden for 50 years and knew it would be very challenging.
Because of the language barrier or cultural differences, the 5 Americans on the trip were often left waiting. A few sentences here and there would have been much nicer.
Every night was very different. We liked them all. Had a series of great experiences. It would have been helpful to know in advance which hotels offered laundry services, etc.
The food was all good. Some meals were excellent. They were mindful that I was a vegetarian and I was well taken care of.
The wrangler, Peter, was exceptional. Took care of the horses, and the support vehicle, and the two older ladies who had to stop riding, and Kate when her foot was swollen and she couldn’t ride. A huge asset to her comfort and everyone’s well being. He had a great sense of humour and kept everyone smiling.
- Review by Laura, UKThis route happened to be my first trail ride ever and I could not have made a better choice. I got a great horse which carried me safely through this amazing 6 days.
I’m fascinated by how the horses, on one hand, have great strength, endurance and a strong character, but on the other hand are very sensitive, caring and obedient to their rider.
Furthermore, I’m still astonished by the landscape we were riding through. Every day I was fascinated again! Because of the continuously changing landscape, one will never get bored of the sight.
Starting with trails next to cherry trees, wide fields and trough little (nearly uninhabited) villages, our way led us further through juniper forests, into the mountains and pine forests, past and necropolis and ended at a wonderful and beautiful place where the river Arlanza has its origin. The most beautiful day was the 5th day when we rode through the national park "Cañon del Río de Los Lobos".
Last but not least I want to mention that this ride would have been to that outstanding experience without the great guidance of Joseph with support from Ula.
Thank you very much. I will return next year for another route.
- Review by Patricia, USAIt was totally amazing! I was the only American in group of Espanoles-from different parts of Spain. Every day was totally fulfilling. I was so glad I could speak the language and fit in. Doing the Camino a Caballo was a dream come true. Jesus and his team are amazing . It was a first class trip. Riding onto the Plaza Obradorio was very emotional and special. And I would add the others in my group- we became life long friends!
Everything was as expected. There was minor confusion as to the Porto start in that no one else showed up at the Porto hotel...it was only used as a pick up point. If I had known that, I would have stayed extra day in Lisbon..then to Porto overnight, for pick up @ noon. But all is good.Jesus runs a well organized trip.
Every hotel was perfect and well chosen. Some had an adjacent area for the horses (like Vigo area, and the winery place). The last stop in Lavacolla- Los Abetos, was over the top--2 floors each hotel room. Being in Pontevedra for Dia de Santiago Jul 25, was fun..the fireworks at night were right outside my window. Of course, I had Tarta de Santiago that night for dessert!.
OMG..there are not enough words to say about all the great food! Fresh seafood, many courses lunch & dinner..for hours ea! Wine! Red White..we wanted for nothing! Breakfast was at hotel ea morning. Everything lovely. Jesus always made sure we had plenty. "Gracias, no mas" didn’t mean anything!
We either ordered from menu, or the food just started coming!
I would have liked more detailed info about the Riding Clothes, including Riding Boots, especially for " English saddle "...Many in our group are formal riders..like almost professional ...the Spanish take riding seriously...they all wore very formal and stylish riding clothes, etc.. We even had a horse riding club, a Polo Club, from Barcelona join our initial group, and they were well dressed/prepared etc.
I would suggest travellers have smartphones, with GPS...very valuable for being on your own (like Lisbon, Porto, & Santiago de Compostela), I used it all the time.
Also, please stress that this Camino requires basic horse riding...walking, trotting, sometimes gallop...plus the elevation changes are varied.
Plus the days are long !! We were all tired out every day. But all worth it! I earned the name: " Patricia, Peregrina Autentica y Chica Fuerte"
And that will be with me forever!!