The Contraviesa mountain range lies between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Mediterranean sea. Due to the proximity of the coast the climate during the spring and late autumn is very mild, rarely dropping below 15 C and during May reaching the mid 20C.
The main industry of the area is the cultivation of almonds, figs and vineyards. Little has changed here over the centuries; on many small holdings the mule and ox still pull the plough and the horse and mule still provide the transport.
The early winter months are another lovely time to visit this area and are rarely cold. This ride offers an extraordinary range of scenery, vegetation and climate.
On the Contraviesa and the lower slopes of the Alpujarra spring can start as early as February with the wild flowers blooming right through to May.
We follow old Roman and Moorish bridle paths, dirt tracks and dried-up riverbeds. Here you can literally ride from winter to spring and spring to summer and back again in a week.
The pace of the ride is determined by the terrain: on days 3 and 7 the paths are narrow and there is a lot of climbing, on the other days there are opportunities to trot and canter. Where the paths are steep it is necessary to dismount and lead the horses.
Transfer from Malaga airport to the village of Bubion at designated time.
While in Bubion you will be staying in the charming Casa la Sevillana. A comfortable 19th Century town house, 7 bedrooms with private shower-rooms, large patio, sitting room, breakfast room.
Located in the heart of the village within minutes walk from the local restaurants and cafes.
Dinner with the rest of the riders and a briefing on the following days activities.
Approximately 6 hours
After breakfast you will be collected and driven to the stables situated 5 kilometres from the village of Bubion at an altitude of 1.650 meters.
Today is a day ride local to the stables enabling you to acclimatise slightly to the area and the altitude. Also acquainting you with your horse prior to setting out for the week.
Leaving the stables we take a small path up through summer pastures to join the main forestry track into the National Park, where there are opportunities to canter.
We will follow the track to approximately 2.300 metres where it joins a bridle path. Following this path through the pine woods we come out on the ridge of Barranco Habali at approximately 2,100 metres.
Here we will stop for a picnic lunch. On a clear day fantastic views can be had down the valley across to the Contraviesa, the Mediterranean and finally Africa!
After lunch the route descends through oak woods and open pasture lands to meet the main forestry track leading back to the stables.
Overnight in the Casa Sevillana Bubion and a Set dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Approximately 6 hours
Today we head east to the village of Trevelez. At 1,486 metres the highest municipality in Spain that is not a ski resort.
During the morning we gradually descend (approx. 350 metres) on forestry tracks and bridle paths. The path passes through orchards and small terraces as it skirts the villages of Capilerilla, Pitres and Portugos.
There are a few sections where it is necessary to lead the horses on some of the steeper descents. Leaving the village of Portugos below we start the 600 metre climb to our picnic spot in the shade of the pine woods.
After lunch we join the main forestry track to Trevelez. This track maintains pretty much the same altitude as it winds its way through woodlands and small mountain farms. There are some good opportunities for a nice canter.
At the end of the day there is approximately a 15 minute walk down an old stone path into the village.
Over night and dinner in the comfortable Hotel Fragua situated in the old Berber quarter of Trevelez. Use of pool June to September.
Approx. 6 hours
The route continues east to the village of Berchules. After a 10 minute walk through the streets of Trevelez we water the horses at one of the many springs, mount up and head down to the river.
Once across the river the many centuries old bridle path follows first the Moorish irrigation channel and then works its way up through evergreen Holm oak and pine forests to the open pasture lands of the Sierra of Juviles.
Descending across the open hillside we have great views towards the coast of Almeria and the Contraviesa mountains. We climb again before stopping for our picnic in the oak woods. After lunch we join a dirt track leading us to the village of Berchules.
The final descent into the village is on foot, followed by a 15 minute walk through the streets to the stables and our hotel.
Overnight and diner in the comfortable Hotel Berchules. Pool June to end September.
Approximately 6 to 7 hours.
Today we do a circular ride dropping down to the Contraviesa foothills riding through very different and rapidly changing terrain.
The morning starts with approximately a 15 walk down to the riverbed where we will mount up and ride through small cultivated terraces and orchards to the tiny village of Narila.
After a steep climb out of the village the terrain becomes much more arid and eroded, green cultivated land giving way to wild rosemary, thyme, almonds and fig trees. Ten minutes on a small secondary road will take us to the village of Golgo, where we will join the path leading us to the bottom of the valley.
After an early lunch by the stream in the shade of tall poplar trees the path climbs steeply through the deeply eroded hills to join a dirt track which will take us down to the valley of Yator.
Late afternoon we join one of the dry river beds which offers opportunities for some great canters and short gallops.
The end of the day we cross and recross the river of Cadiar, passing through orchards and small holdings to rejoin the bridle path leading back to the village of Berchules.
Second night in the charming hotel Berchules.
Pool June to late September.
Approximately 5 hours riding.
Today is a slightly shorter ride heading down to the Contraviesa range.
The trail will take us down to the river Cadiar which we follow for about 20 minutes before starting the steep climb through almond and fig farms.
On the higher slopes we pass through vineyards reaching an altitude of approximately 1,500 metres. From where there are wonderfull views of the Alpujarras and the high peaks of Sierra Nevada.
Picnic lunch in the almond groves. To-night we stay in the attractive hotel Alqueria de Morayma situated in the orchards above the river Cadiar.
Pool late May to late September.
Approximately 8 hours
Our final day of the trek we return to the village of Bubion, a long climb for the horses.
Crossing the river Guadalefao we follow a steep bridle path west to the villages Lobras and Timar. From here the route follows a small local road for approximately 7 kilometres before beginning the descent into the spectacular gorge of Trevelez.
This descent is on an ancient Roman path cut into the sides of the gorge and must be made on foot leading the horses. It is approximately a 30 minute walk down to the bridge from which we will ride up past the pretty village of Busquistar and on to Portugos for a well earned lunch.
In the late afternoon we continue north west along paths and dirt tracks to Bubion.
Overnight in Casa la Sevillana and farewell dinner.
Transfer to Malaga.
Prices and Details
Single Supplement: 175 Euros (Payable on arrival in Spain)
6 days riding.
7 nights accommodation with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Guide, backup vehicle for luggage.
Transfer to and from Malaga at pre-arranged time.
Personal and medical insurance.
Book Your Place on the La Contraviesa Ride
Our Clients Say
Joining El Marquesado Trail In June. Fantastic ride in the mountains wih breathtaking views all week. Riding up to almost 3000 meters. Absolutely stunning 🙂 Such well trained and beautiful horses.
Niceaccommodations along the way as well as the food. A real pleasure to ride with Dallas and her brother. Highly recommended! Looking so much forward to my next trail
Just back from another perfect week with Dallas and her wonderful horses. This is the second time my mum and I have come to Bubion (first time for the La Alpujarra Ride and this time for El Marquesado) and it couldn’t have been better.
Beautifullyschooled horses; delicious food and brilliant hotels; fantastic company and the most spectacular scenery in the world, and what a way to see it! For anyone thinking about a riding holiday, an absolute must! Thank you dallas, Mordecai and Jeanette, and not forgetting your beautiful horses. We will be back!
Dallas’s new ride was spectacuar. For me it retraced parts of both of my previous rides with Dallas – The Contravesia and El Marquesado however the 2 new days were wild and at altitude in the Northern Slopes of the Sierra Nevada – nothing but space and no one but us and the bird and wildlife of the area – ibex and eagles seen every day.
Well schooled horesAs always, through good schooling, the horses were well mannered and sure footed – knowing and enjoying their job and the terrain well. Max a true gentleman as always!
The accommodationwas comfortable throughout with plentiful, good food and for me the opportunity to swim after a day in the saddle was bliss! Dallas’s lunches continue to be legendary! We were all return riders so thank you again to Dallas, Mordecai and Jeanette for yet another wonderful week of great riding, great company and always a lot of laughter – my plan is to return again in the Spring.
Hi Dallas, I guess by now you will be back from your second Marquesdao ride – my goodness I do admire your stamina! I notice on the weather forecast this evening that southern Spain is getting some rain (which we are having in abundance here), so I do hope that includes the Sierra Nevada. I haven’t been touch until now because I think it’s good to let the dust settle a bit before thinking about trips away and how they really went.
Dallasit was a wonderful adventure, a huge thank you to you and Mordacai for your efforts to give us all a memorable and spectacular trip on wonderful horses – and you did – in spades!
Adventure HolidayI’ve been telling people it was more of an adventure than a holiday – we were happily exhausted when we returned (not helped by Sleazyjet’s broken plane which led to a five hour delay at Malaga. Amazing really, as SJ said, good to know people like her are in charge of our national businesses!). And we wished we had a couple of days to collapse afterwards at some nice local hotel. But oh my goodness, I will not forget my friend Jeleo (how to spell?) who looked after me so well and was such fun to ride too.
Alsothe epic scenery, the spring flowers, the mountain streams, pine groves, cattle and their calves – with bells on – and the great company. Us pathetic Brits aren’t used to that heat but that was all part of the Spanish experience – as was the Paella which you kindly arranged for me.
EpicThere was a feeling that we were on a journey rather than just pottering around in Andalucia, which gave us all a focus and a sense of achievement when we rode back into the stables at the end. I know the Fiesta and the WONDERFUL village band were vexing for you, but we really adored that snapshot of the locals partying.
FabulousIt really was a fabulous trip and I would love to come again and try the Alpujara ride – we are doing things in reverse I know! Best wishes for the rest of the summer and thank you so much.
I just wanted to say a very big thank you for giving me the most special week. I can honestly say that you gave us all a truly memorable experience of wonderful horses in the most stunning countryside.
The TrailsAll the routes and tracks you led us were beyond my expectations and your choice of hotels and menus were all spot on. How you managed to effortlessly produce lunch for us all out of nowhere was quite beyond my comprehension.
Fantastically RunYou run a fantastically thoughtful and professional enterprise and I will definitely be returning hopefully next year for another experience with you. With love and best wishes
“If you want to ride a wonderfully well mannered horse through some simply stunning mountains then this is the trip for you. The high mountains of the Sierra Nevada are magnificent and the whole experience is one of fun, beauty and enjoyment. I would not hesitate in recommending this ride”
The scenery was spectacular particularly at the highest points in the mountains, and we saw some wonderful sights such as that group of vultures taking off when we rounded a corner.You and Julio obviously have a very wide knowledge of the areas we were passing through which showed during the week, as was your attention to detail and regard to safety.