Riding the Silver Coast
– exploring the Costa de Prata on horseback
Horse-riding has always figured prominently in Portuguese culture and it goes back a long, long way. Cave paintings from 20,000 years ago show forerunners of the famous Lusitano horse galloping wild across the Iberian Peninsula, and by 800 BC the Portuguese had mastered the riding of them to such an extent they are said to be the source of the original myth of the centaurs.
Riding is as popular today as it ever was and there is plenty of opportunity for riders of all abilities to climb into the saddle and enjoy the experience of exploring the countryside and beaches of the Silver Coast on horseback. It’s a great place to ride, whether you’re threading your way through forested river valleys or cantering across the wide empty sands of beaches that stretch for miles. The landscape is gentle and beautiful, with forests, green fields and great views across the countryside and the unspoiled Atlantic coast. Thanks to the mild climate it is also a pleasure to ride here all year round.
There are numerous companies offering guided rides in the Costa de Prata region. If you don’t find one near you on the list below ask at your local tourist office or do a google search for ‘passeios equestres‘ followed by the name of the area you are staying in. Below is a selection of just some of the rides on offer, from Aveiro in the north of the Silver Coast to Torres Vedras in the south.
Near Aveiro: Abrigo D’Aventura has a wide range of riding experiences with something for all ages, abilities and occasions. They have riverside rides, mountain village rides and a ride along the course of an historic railway line. For special occasions there is a romantic ride for two with picnic lunch included and for children they provide rides on horses that have been specially trained to be calm and gentle with their young riders.
Near Leiria: Quinta do Pinheiro Manso offer guided rides in a variety of locations from beaches to a nature reserve in the mountains. They have horses to suit riders of all abilities, including children and those with no experience at all. If you prefer to sit back and take in the scenery they also organise horse drawn carriage rides for groups of up to six people at a time.
Between Caldas da Rainha and São Martinho do Porto: The Centro Equestre Internacional de Alfeizerão (CEIA) offers escorted rides in the surrounding countryside to riders with some experience. Lessons are available for learners.
Near Lourinhã: The Quinta do Rol wine estate has recently opened an equestrian centre which offers guided rides and lessons for riders of all abilities through its vineyards or across the nearby beaches of the Silver Coast.
Near Torres Vedras: The equestrian centre at the Dolce Camporeal Lisboa resort offers both lessons and guided hacking through the countryside and vineyards of the Silver Coast.
For some incredible displays of horsemanship, not to mention some of the finest Lusitano horses in the country, don’t miss the annual Golegã horse fair near Santarem. The Feira Nacional do Cavalo is held over a week in November each year and is an unmissable event for anyone interested in horses. Other smaller events are held throughout the Silver Coast region during the year, including the Lusitano festival held in Caldas da Rainha in May, and there is a full schedule of showjumping and dressage competition at centres such as CEIA, listed above.
Please note: Details on horse rides are for information only and were correct when this page was published (18 Febuary 2016). Please check all details with the centre concerned before making any arrangements.