Doñana National Park is a natural reserve in Andalusia, southern Spain, in the provinces of Huelva, Cádiz and Seville. Covering 125,000 hectares the biosphere consists of marshes, shallow streams interspersed with native pine forests, sand dunes, beaches and spectacular cliffs has biodiversity that is unique in Europe. The park features a great variety of ecosystems and shelters wildlife including thousands of European and African migratory birds, fallow deer, Spanish red deer, wild boars, European badgers, Egyptian mongooses, and endangered species such as the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx. All this ends in miles of beautiful and pristine white sand beaches stretching between Matalascanas and the mouth of the Guadalquivir river.
It is a paradise for horses and horse-lovers as within the park boundary, there are still over a thousand wild horses living free – the native Marismeña breed; the ancient ancestor of the horses first taken to the new world by Spanish conquistadors, as well as being one of the founding breeds of the modern Andalucian horse.
The equestrian centre is located just on the outskirts of El Rocio. This beautiful Spanish town, steeped in history and rich cultural traditions, is a like no other. We are reminded of a different era, a time when horse power was still central to our lives. All the roads are made of sand to suit horses instead of cars and everything in this charming town is in fact completely geared towards horses and riders. Drinking and eating is even done astride if you so wish. Each year pilgrims travel from all over Spain in late May or early June to honor and celebrate “Romeria of El Rocio”, the festival of the Virgin of El Rocio and one of the largest pilgrimages in Spain and boasts the largest number of horses per square meter in the world!
Seville Airport, Spain
A beautiful route through the protected area of Doñana National Park awaits you. You will explore the different ecosystems on horseback – the marsh, forest, dunes and beach.
You will ride for about 6 hours every day and return to your comfortable accommodation every night to relax. Your horse will be taken care of at the end of the day’s trail and you will return to your mount after breakfast to continue the trail.
Each day will be different but you start and finish at the finca. Breakfast will be at 8 and you will start the day’s trail between 9.30-10.00. You will ride until its time for your picnic at around 2.00 pm. Perhaps you may take a nap before you get back in the saddle for another two hours trail ride. You will leave your horse at the end of the ride and you will be taken back to the finca for relaxation and a delicious dinner at around 9.00 pm.
Please note that the trail typically last for 6 nights with 5 days of riding. Some dates have been extended to include an additional night and opportunity to visit the Royal Riding school in Seville as well as take in some of the sights of the city.
The accommodation here is new and built in typical Spanish style. The entrance leads you into a very spacious room which is open plan. It is furnished with very comfortable sofas with a dining area and every facility you need for a relaxing stay. There are four double bedrooms upstairs that each have a fabulous well thought out bathroom. From the second floor you can look down on the beautiful room below. There is wifi.
A master chef prepares the meals offsite using local quality ingredients. You are also offered excellent wine to accompany your lunch and dinner. You will enjoy home grown tomatoes, freshly squeezed orange juice and eggs from the farm’s chickens.
Breakfast will consist of coffee, tea, freshly squeezed orange juice, bread, eggs and yoghurt. Lunch at home is always a three course meal and dinner will be lighter. On the trails lunches may be a picnic en route.
Arrival at the Doñana Dressage facilities in the afternoon. You will have plenty of time to rest up or saunter around the property.
Dinner at the farm will be served using fresh, organic products and made up of traditional local dishes. The gastronomic culture of this region will be an important highlight during our journey through Doñana.
After breakfast at around 8h30 the adventure begins.
The horses will be assigned to the riders and will start our journey by heading towards the northern area of the Doñana National Park. The tack we use is handmade traditional Spanish “Vaquera”, and each guest will have their own saddlebag attached to it. We will start our ride by discovering the village of El Rocío, its marshes and its Hermitage.
We will stop for lunch near the emblematic Palacio del Rey, where both the guests and horses will enjoy a well-deserved rest.
After lunch we will continue our journey until we reach our final stop for the day, near Villamanrique de la Condesa.
Our vehicle will take us back to Doñana Dressage where dinner will be served.
After breakfast our vehicle will take us back to the location where we finished our journey the day before to reunite with our horses. Once back in the saddle, we will visit marshes and rice fields, learning about the agricultural influence on Doñana’s environment, and enjoying the diverse landscapes and wildlife sightings.
Lunch will be taken in an open field after full we will continue our journey until we reach our final stop for the day near Villamanrique de la Countess. Our vehicle will meet us here and take us take us back to Doñana Dressage where we will have Dinner.
After breakfast our vehicle will take us back to the location where we finished our journey the day before to reunite with our horses. The changing landscape will take us through the pine forests of Hinojos, as we will journey through some areas where we might be lucky to spot the Iberian lynx, one of the emblematic species of the Doñana National Park.
After our lunch we will continue our journey until we reach Doñana Dressage, completing a full loop.
Dinner at Doñana Dressage.
After breakfast we will start our journey from El Rocío towards the southern area of the Doñana National Park. We will use the path used by the brotherhoods arriving from Huelva during their annual pilgrimmage, and will walk through the
forests and some of the ancient villages that existed in Doñana.
We will alternate between riverside areas, and denser forests where the day turns into night, and we will learn about the indigenous cow breeds of Doñana, the “mostrenca” cow.
After our lunch and rest we will continue our journey until we reach our final destination for the day.
Our vehicle will take us back to Doñana Dressage where we will have dinner.
After breakfast our vehicle will take us back to the location where we finished our journey the day before. Once back in the saddle, we will head towards the coastine until we reach the Doñana camping area around noon. Lunch in the open field.
In he afternoon we will start our journey on the unspoiled beaches of Doñana, all the way until Matalascañas.
We will return to Doñana Dressage in the early evening by vehicle after loading the horses in our
trucks. Dinner and farewell party that evening.