Horse riding routes are without doubt one of the most natural ways of discovering the many areas of natural beauty in catalonia. Valleys, mountains, volcanoes and beaches are seen from a different outlook when you're sitting on a horse. Equestrian tourism offers an opportunity to rediscover that feeling of harmony with nature. Most of the area that
In Catalonia, horse riding is an emerging sector that, beyond its stockbreeding activity, has been able to develop a comprehensive business network linked with tourism, leis-ure, sport and equestrian infrastructures. Equestrian tourism has opened up a whole new field for employment and, in 1994, a pioneering training tool - and the only one of its kind in Spain - was opened in Catalonia: the Catalan School of Agricultural and Equestrian Training, which offers specialized courses for tamers, riders and equestrian tourism guides.
A whole new phenomenon based on the appreciation of the strong, light horse able to take its rider to undreamt-of places. Beautiful animals in perfect physical condition, ready to help us discover the many different equestrian tourism routes that cross Catalonia.
The Pyrenees on horseback
In mountain areas, such as the Alt Urgell or Val d'Aran, it is easy to find excursions with different levels of difficulty. In Pallars Jussà, there is the route of the valley of Vultures, a 31-km itinerary offering a complete circuit of the Terreta valley and where you can see large carrion-eating birds such as the vulture or the lammergeyer. The Ripollés is the land of horses in freedom and Romanesque monuments. This county has valleys such as that of Camprodon, which has a riding school and stables, and the valley of Ribes, connected by a centuries-old route over the Collada Verda. Pure enjoyment for all the senses.
From volcanoes to the sea
For dramatic scenery changes, you couldn't do better than choose the province of Gerona and the route that links the volcanoes with the sea.
Discover the Natural Park of the Volcanic Area of Garrotxa, the ridge of Rocacorba, the lake of Banyoles, the medieval villages and, finally - following the course of the River Ter - reach the beach of Pals, galloping on the back of the best horses in the county...
The magic of Barcelona
To ride through the lunar scenery of the Garraf, the verdant forests of Montseny or the rolling hills of Castelltallat are some of the options offered by the province of Barcelona, where most of the saddle horses in Catalonia are concentrated.
Another excellent option is the Camí dels Bons Homes, GR-107, the route that connects the town of Berga (Barcelona) with Montsegur (Ariège, France) following a route used by the Cathars in the 12th and 13th Centuries. Four days on horseback separate Berga from Prullans and another six days will take you from Prullans to Montsegur. Two hundred long kilometres for those who fled from the crusades and the Inquisition and a rare pleasure for the leisurely riders of today.
The cistercian order
In the county of Conca de Barberà, in the province of Tarragona, is the Monastery of Poblet, an architectural jewel of religious art, pantheon of the kings and queens of the crown of Catalonia and Aragon, and the largest inhabited abbey in Europe. To explore on horseback the woods, vineyards and mountains that make up the area of natural interest of Poblet or follow the Cistercian Route to Santes Creus or Vallbona de les Monges, are some of the proposals that are possible starting from this monastery, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.
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