Menorca Binigaus Vell

Enjoying one of the best preserved and unique natural environments in the Mediterranean, the island of Menorca has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The island is a genuine natural paradise of spectacular ravines, underwater and land caves, where wild birds, animals and plants may be observed in their natural habitat. The perfect way to explore all this, and its outstanding beaches, is by horseback! Several different riding programmes are offered which because of the lovely warm climate are held throughout the year: A week-long programme with 5 full day riding excursions, a short programme of 4 nights with 3 half-day riding excursions, and a program for beginners which will consist of 2 days of riding lessons and a short half-day excursion.

The hotel

offers 6 double rooms, 9 superior rooms each with its own terrace, and 5 junior suites, also with their own terraces. The hotel is owned and run by the Triay Barber family who, together with their staff, will take utmost care of you. They will happily advise you on sea trips, hiking, aquatic sports, adventure activities, as well as for other sports. Also bike hire and Information on cultural visits and itineraries, events, traditional and craft markets, and gastronomical itineraries ...You also might like to rent a car one day - just ask at the reception and they will arrange it all for you! There are many hiking paths in the farm estate's surrounding area which are ideal for walking, strolling and relaxing. The hotel offer a picnic service and also a babysitting service.

The Riding

The horses are from their own stud, the Yeguada de San Adeodato and they breed Menorcan, Spanish Thoroughbred and crossbreed horses. The Menorcan horse has a black coat and is known for for its peaceful and obedient character as well as being robust and energetic. There are trips offered of 5 days (4 nights with 3 full days riding) and also of 8 days (7 nights and 5 full days riding) from February to November on certain days each month or at other times if you are a group of 3 or more riders. Riders must be over twelve years old, comfortable at walk, trot and canter, with a medium level and be physically fit. It is possible that during some specific periods, weeks for beginners will be organized, with a suitable program. The island has ancient paths specifically for horseriding called the 'trail of the horses' or “cami de cavalls” which run the perimeter of the island and which used to be part of the defense system. The rides also visit the beautiful beaches and some lovely natural features such as gorges and ravines.

Short Riding Break: 5 days, 4 nights with 3 horse rides (3-4 hours each with picnic lunches)

DAY 1. ARRIVAL AND WELCOME. Transfer from the airport to the hotel. Check in and accommodation in the rooms. Dinner at the hotel’s Restaurant

DAY 2. FIRST CONTACT: Visit to the stables and horses assignment. Short ride around the farm. Visit to the hotel's stud of San Adeodato, where we will learn more about Menorcan horses. Afterwards, we will be assigned a horse according to the rider’s skills and then go on a short ride around the farm. At lunch, we will taste typical Menorcan products and enjoy a typical Spanish Paella. In the afternoon the ride will tour the inside of the Cami de Cavalls, visiting the farm of Sa Torre with its old lime kiln.On the way back we will cross the Barranc de Son Fideu (ravine), a famous ravine that houses one of the highest and most impressive caves of Menorca: Sa Cova d’es Coloms, which is also known as “the Cathedral”. On the way back to the stables of the Hotel rural Binigaus Vell, we will detour to visit the prehistoric village of Sant Agustí.

DAY 3 THE TRAIL OF THE RAVINES. San Adeodato-Binigaus-Escorxada-Fustam-Trebalúger-MitjanaThe meeting point will be the stables of Hotel rural Binigaus Vell. On the journey we will pass through the major ravines of the island: Algendar, Trebalúger and Albranca, with water that flows all year through them. The picturesque streams have cut deep ravines which means that we need to leave the coast to venture inland during many stretches of the path. Then we will ride to the most beautiful beaches, wilder and more difficult to reach: Escorxada, Fustam y Trebalúger. After visit Cala Mitjana, we will come back to the stables.

DAY 4 THE WINDING SOUTH Binigaus Vell-Sant Tomàs-Son Bou-Cala en PorterOn our last ride, we will ride through the Camí de Cavalls, visiting the East side of Menorca. We will visit the beach of Binigaus, where we will take the Camí de Cavall direction Sant Tomàs. From Sant Tomàs, we will ride through the gully of Sa Vall and its wetland and pass in front of Talis farm. After Talis, we will ride along the path surrounding El Prat de Son Bou: an important wetland which represents the rich biodiversity on Menorca. This is another ideal spot for bird watching. After this important wetland, we will arrive to Son Bou. This beach, with its 3 km of sand is one of the best places to do beach riding. At the beach’s edge of Son Bou we find an interesting Christian basilica dated from the 400 a.C. After crossing the urbanization of Son Bou the path runs far away from the coast until arriving to Cala en Porter. Before that, we will leave the main path once again to visit one of the most important prehistoric sites, which better represents the talaiotic culture: Torre d’en Gaumés. After visiting the beach of Cala en Porter, we will take the way back where it all began: the stud of San Adeodato.

DAY 5. End of activities. Breakfast and transfer from the Hotel to the Airport.

Week Riding Trip 8 days, 7 nights with 5 full day horse rides (around 5 hours riding each day, with picnic lunch break).

DAY 1. ARRIVAL AND WELCOME. Transfer from the airport to the hotel. Check in and settle into your room. Relax by the pool. Dinner at the hotel’s Restaurant

DAY 2. FIRST CONTACT: Visit to the stud of San Adeodato just next to the hotel. Allocation of the horses and a short ride around the Estate. At lunch, we will sit round the table andlearn about the Menorcan breed of horse, whilst tasting typical Menorcan products and enjoy a typical Spanish Paella. In the afternoon the ride will tour the inside of the Cami de Cavalls route visiting the farm of Sa Torre with its old lime kiln. On the way back we will cross the Barranc de Son Fideu, a famous ravine that houses one of the highest and most impressive caves of Menorca: Sa Cova d’es Coloms, which is also known as “the Cathedral”. On the way back to the stables we will detour to visit the prehistoric village of Sant Agustí.

DAY 3 THE TRAIL OF THE RAVINES. San Adeodato-Binigaus-Escorxada-Fustam-Trebalúger-Mitjana The meeting point will be the stables of Binigaus Vell. On the ride we will pass through the major ravines of the island: Algendar, Trebalúger and Albranca, with water that flows all year round. The streams have gouged deep ravines which means that in many stretches of the path we need to leave the coast to venture inland. In the morning, we are going to ride to the most beautiful beaches, wilder and more difficult to reach: Escorxada, Fustam y Trebalúger. Later on, we will reach the beach of Cala Mitjana, which is well prepared with wooden benches and tables for having lunch. After a short rest we will come back to the stables of San Adeodatos Farm taking the original path of the Camí de Cavalls.

DAY 4. DAY OFF. An excursion (not included in the price) will be organized to discover more about Menorca. Lunch on your own (not included in the price) and dinner at the Hotel. There are lots of other activities available. See below for suggestions.

DAY 5. NATURAL RESERVE OF S’ALBUFERA D’ES GRAU. Es Grau-Favaritx-Port d’Addaia. This path runs entirely inside the limits of the Natural Reserve of S’Albufera (marsh) d’Es Grau (the center of the Biosphere Reserve) and it covers some of the most impressive cliffs of the island. During the route, we will find several wetlands (Tamarells Cove, Sa Torreta creek, Arenal de Morella) and also some of the Watch Towers which, in the past, safeguarded Menorca from several attacks and sieges. We may also leave the path for a while to find the megalithic settlement of Sa Torreta. This stretch will lead us to one of the seven Lighthouses which surround Menorca’s coastline: Favàritx Lighthouse. Here is where we take the opportunity to serve a succulent picnic, while we all get our strength back. On its second part, the route meanders between farming and wild landscapes, with areas with an interesting ecological value such as Pou d’en Caldés, where there are many beautiful endemic plants. We will pass as well through the ancient military installations of Favàritx. During the ascent through Sa Marina de Mongofra Vell we will observe spectacular rock formations like: Es Capell de Ferro.

At the end of the day, the trail passes through a new ecosystem: the Port of Addaia Wetlands, combining saline marsh and aquatic vegetation. Both in autumn and spring, this is a good place for bird watching.

DAY 6 THE IMPRESSIVE WILD NORTH COASTLINE Binimel.là-Cala del Pilar- Algaiarens- Cala Morell

Today we ride through one of the most unspoilt, hidden and beautiful stretches along the north coastline. The starting point is the beach of Binimel.là. The path through the dunes takes us to Cala Pregonda, where we will discover a unique and astonishing landscape. Going around the coast, we will ride in parallel journey to the Menorca´s Marine Reserve, created in 1999, with an area of 5.199 marine hectares. We will ride several cliffs up to reach Ets Alocs, where we will have a well-deserved break to eat and to have a rest.

After that, we will go to Cala Pilar, to its red dyed walls, following the path we have Arenal d’Alfurí: another spot which concentrates important endemic plants and floral species. We will admire Es Pla de Mar and its fantastic pebble cove, afterwards we go deep into Sa Muntanya Mala area to finally reach Algaiarens beach. From now we will be riding in the the dry heartland of Menorca: forest practically disappears and the coast vegetation adapts itself to the strong Tramuntana (north wind) influence. This land is rich in plants such as the Rosemary or the appreciated Menorcan Camomile. Upon arriving at the end of the route, Cala Morell, we will visit a necropolis from the megalithic age (1.500-1300 a. C), consisting of caves dug out of the rock.

DAY 7 THE WINDING SOUTH Es Canutells –Cala en Porter-Son Bou-Sant Tomàs-San Adeodato

On our last journey, we will ride through the Camí de Cavalls from East to West. It starts gently but finishes covering the most rugged landscape that the southern gullies form along the central coast. Es Canutells is our meeting point, which surprises because its elm grove. We are going off course the original path to visit Cales Coves: an ancient necropolis from the Iron Age which has more than 90 caves. After crossing the urbanization of Cala en Porter the path runs far away from the coast until arriving to Son Bou. Before that, we leave the original way once again to visit one of the most important prehistoric sites, which better represents the talaiotic culture: Torre d’en Gaumés. At the beach’s edge of Son Bou (the longest beach on the island, nearly 1.9 miles) we find an interesting Christian basilica dated from the 400 a.C. Here in Son Bou we will savour a delicious picnic. Once we have eaten and relaxed, we will start marching again through the path surrounding El Prat de Son Bou: an important wetland which represents the rich biodiversity on Menorca. This is another ideal spot for bird watching. Soon after we will cover the gully of Sa Vall and its wetland, we will pass in front of Talis farm from where we will follow the cliffs that lead us to our final destination: Sant Tomàs and San Adeodato. Son Bou is one of the best places to do beach riding.

DAY 8. END OF THE ACTIVITIES. Breakfast and transfer from the Hotel to the Airport.

See what our clients thought about riding at Binigaus Vell:

It was a lovely experience,couldn't fault it. Binigaus Vell was immaculate,the service the same,they were all so friendly and it is in a wonderful position. Special thanks to Frederick the "Interpreter" who came out with us on the horses as Matiz,the horseman, doesn't speak English-he gave us so much info on the places, history etc. and couldn't do enough for us, plenty of help tacking up or getting on if needed, and Matiz's demonstration of the stallions going through their paces was awe-inspiring!!

The horses were magnificent,in very good condition, and we were able to ride to deserted beaches through the lovely scenery and swim in the sea too (they brought our towels & stuff to us)-the picnic lunch was 3-course,another day there was a huge paella, and another a lunch in the Beachside cafe at St. Tomas- just about got on the horses to ride back! Some of the terrain might be difficult for novice or nervous riders,as the inclines were pretty steep and rocky at times, but the horses were used to it,so no problem for us. Very peaceful place,rest of the world seemed a long way away-can't wait to go back!

Jan G: October 2011

I had a fantastic time in menorca, the people, weather, food and not to forget the horses were all wonderful. I enjoyed my time there so much that i would like to book again for next year.

Sarah W: October 2011

What else can you do in Menorca?

SPORT ACTIVITIES:-SCUBA DIVING: there is a wide range of Scuba diving centres spread along the coast, offering different activities and services (qualified instructors, equipment rentals and sales, oxygen tank refields) . The courses range from the beginner’s course to various qualification level courses. Including, of course, in case you already have the required qualification, submerging yourself in some of the best Menorca’s underwater landscapes, inside or outside the Marine reserve with the numerous companies dedicated to it on the island.

-SNORKELLING: you can take part in a motorboat trip along the north coast until reaching inaccessible corners where to explore the fauna and flora marine species.

-KAYAK: introductory and advanced courses. Routes trough the Natural Park of S’Albufera d’Es Grau (North coast) belonging to the Biosphere Reserve declared by the UNESCO in 1993. And also guided excursions from Cala Galdana in a 3 hour route visiting the coves along the south coast of Menorca, where you will enjoy white sand and turquoise water caves.

-WATERSKIING AND WAKEBOARD: learning or improving your level with the help of professional instructors. Menorca has a large selection of places where these activities can be practised.-WINDSURF AND SAILING INITATION: The Port of Mahón and the Bay of Fornells, the perfect places where to start practising the light sailing and windsurf because they have a constant see breeze, they both are wide aquatic areas but, at the same time, protected from the open sea. There are several Light Sail and Windsurf schools, it is a perfect place to initiate or to improve your skill. There is as well the option of renting light sail boats or windsurf and practising on your own.

-SAIL BOAT DAY CHARTER: One of the most recommended activities by us is spending a whole day aboard a sailboat , visiting some of the most beautiful caves and beaches from the south coast: Trebalúger, Escorxada, Fustam, Macarella....No rush at all but the pleasure of sailing and discovering some of the Menorca’s marine hidden corners. Stopping for a swim, having an appetizer before lunch, snorkelling, sun bathing, fishing and... if you’re in luck, eating fresh fish at lunch time as well. Experienced and charismatic local skipper.

-AQUA CENTER, AQUA ROCK: in the nearby of Ciutadella: Cala en Blanes and Cala en Bosch, are found the two aquatic parks on the island. Karting area also available inside the same resort.

-CYCLING ROUTES: You can choose between several options. From hiring a bike and discover the paths by yourself, to taking part in one of the several organized excursions around the island. You can go cycling on the hotel path that connects with the town (800meters) and with the beach (3.5km) or covering some of the itineraries belonging to “Camí de Cavalls”, the coastal path surrounding the island. This horse track is one of the best ways to discover Menorca’s best landscapes for your eyes, for your ears and also for your heart. It has been recently reopened and signposted. It is nearly 200km long and it has been divided in 20 routes. In general those paths are quite flat and easy, but there are also technical stretches for experienced cyclist. At the reception you can consult any of them. You can visit this web site which gives you further information about it and also about the flora and fauna and the prehistoric monuments www.visitmenorca.com and also www.menorcamonumental.org/menorca monumental eng.htm. Cycling through the main road and even along the B roads is not advisable (especially in July and August).In Ciutadella, the old capital city situated in the west, cycling is very common and there are cycleways all around the city and also along some of the B roads leading to the north. , If you are interested in hiring a bike, its price per day is 10€., just let us know.

GOLF: even for beginners but also for expert, just 15 minutes drive from the hotel: www.golfsonparc.com

ES MIGJORN GRAN SPORTS CENTER: situated just half mile from the hotel, with basketball, tennis and badmington courts and also fitness room.TREKKING: as a way of discovering Menorca’s inland and coastline landscapes we specially advise it , following the itineraries of “Camí de cavalls” you’ll only find people, horses and cyclist. You can discover it by yourselves or taking part in one of the several activities organized by some of the companies dedicated to sports activities.

Getting there: Lots of budget airlines fly to Menorca

Monarch from Luton, Thomson and Easyjet fly from Gatwick. Easyjet also fly from Manchester. Fly Thomas Cook fly from Briston and Stansted. Do get in touch if you would like any assistance with organising your flights. We do not sell flights - leaving you the freedom to pick airlines and dates which suit you and your budget. However we can arrange transfers from any flights - just forward your flight details at the time of booking.

REQUIRED RIDING LEVEL

The rider must be in control of the horse in all gaits (walk, trot and canter) with a medium level. It is advisable to be physically fit. It is possible that during some specific periods, weeks for beginners will be organized, with a diverse program suitable to beginners.

THE GUIDES

Our expert riding guide speaks good English and knows the trails thoroughly. He will provide the necessary security and set the pace and tempo of the route. He is also First Aid trained.

NOTES: The riding routes can be changed due to security reasons, bad weather or for reasons beyond our control such as natural disasters, local events, local strikes… The staff will provide all the means and resources to provide the best solution, even modifying the route if is necessary or offering alternatives.

*Legal equipment required by law : Helmets!

CLIMATE

Menorca climate is typically Mediterranean, with mild average temperatures and seasonal rainfall, dry season coinciding with the warm summer. Average annual temperatures are between 16 and 18 º C but 25 º C is the very pleasant norm. The strongest wind to the island is the North (Tramuntana), which in winter often reaches 100 km / hour. In summer, thermal winds usually blow on the coast. Most of the rain is concentrated in a few days, heavy or very heavy rainfall in autumn and the rest of the year of low intensity.

CAMI DE CAVALLS - the military horse riding trail

Despite the impossibility to establish its origin with accuracy, in the oldest documentation kept it is said that throughout the 18th century the Camí de Cavalls was basically used as a perimeter track around all of Menorca used to defend the island and allow the military or governmental authorities adequate surveillance of the coastline and an effective channel of communication and service to watchtowers, military units and other fortifications.

Beyond this military use, documentation shows that the Camí de Cavalls was also built as an easement when necessary as well as for public use. It followed the entire Menorcan coastline and occasionally crossed private farms. The Camí de Cavalls is a singular feature of the landscape of the Island territory that favours a complex approach to the land while on foot within different areas of great morphologic and dynamic diversity.