This adventure vacations travel guide is not just for those who are merely seeking an adrenaline hit on vacation, but also for those simply seeking some fun. Be it on the water, climbing mountains, close to home or on the other side of the world. Adventure is for everyone – whether you want to climb mountains, sail the seven seas or cycle every European byway and highway.
Horse riding map & highlights
Besides your initial travel and transfer, once you’ve reached your chosen horse riding destination, you’ll be getting around on horseback. Some vacations are much more of an epic adventure where you’ll leave point A on your trusty steed and ride daily, for up to 40km, to point B – camping as you go. You’ll end up full circle back where you started and there may be the odd short stint by vehicle on shorter riding days. Other trips, particularly those in France and Spain, combine a few hours’ riding daily, along marked routes, or to places of interest and back, with opportunities to cycle, hike, or simply relax locally too.
France is a dichotomy of riding experiences. Where rural western France is idyllic and all about trotting through the glorious countryside admiring the birds, butterflies and wild flowers, a trek through the Mercantour National Park is an altogether more rough and ready vacation requiring you to don your hats and chaps and relish every exhilarating moment of ancient, rocky terrain.
Despite the fact that Genghis Khan won an entire empire on horseback, which in our minds, pretty much says it all, Mongolia’s unadulterated wilderness and pure beauty – characterised by huge skies and rolling steppe against a collision of mountains and sand dunes – simply screams freedom. If you love riding in the great outdoors, this is a chance to truly immerse yourself in nature at its wildest.
Horse riding in Morocco is not for novices: the country’s tradition of horsemanship stretches back centuries and the Moroccan Barb horse is renowned for its courage, surefootedness and vigour. If you think you can stay in the saddle of a stallion, you can ride for six straight days along a beach-to-beach trail, staying in traditional Berber-style tents and cooking round a campfire as you go.
Horse riding is part of Rajasthan’s heritage, with the famous Marwari having been bred here for over nine centuries. So, not only will you get a chance to gallop across the Thar Desert or go trekking through the Aravalli Hills, you do so on an exquisite equine. Riding has also long been a prestigious pastime of Rajasthani royals, in particular Pratap Singh, son of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Yes, of the trouser (and city) fame.
5. South Africa
South Africa is brilliant for family horse riding vacations because you can bundle together a bit of culture in the shape of traditional homesteads; a smidge of history; horseback games like ‘polocrosse’ (polo + lacrosse, see?); wilderness riding through animal-packed bush; and then, when saddle-soreness hits, opt for a wilderness safari or a game drive through one of the many Big Five reserves.
Spain is vast and with that comes choice. Head south to Granada and you can learn Spanish during the morning, filling your afternoons with guided riding among the mountains and lakes of the Sierra Nevada National Park. Opt for the north and you can get your confidence up with post-breakfast lessons followed by a day spent countryside trekking, and learning dressage, or even western style riding.
Framed by the crescent of the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania is home to some truly outstanding trail-riding. The terrain is quiet and unspoiled, and the way of life there is still massively traditional, so horses play their part in logistics and transport among the locals; a horse riding vacation here is as much about a fascinating age-old culture as it is about riding.
Our Horse riding Vacations
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