Donkey trekking for grown-ups, 8 days
Trekking in the company of these willing animals while traversing beautiful and unknown landscapes of Central Spain is an unforgettable experience.
From 538 € per person
Duration:7 nights, 8 days
Dates:April to 31st October
Start:Any day of the week
Predominantly flat route with a few small ascents each day.
Average daily distance:8 miles (13 km)
Live your own adventure on this unique walking holiday along the foothills of the Guadarrama National Park (Segovia, Central Spain), in the company of an adorable donkey.
- A very special walking tour tailored for grown-ups looking for an unforgettable experience!
- Start with a visit the Unesco World Heritage city of Segovia, an enchanting city full of architectural jewels: its beautifully preserved Roman aqueduct, the ornate fairy-tale ‘El Alcazar’ castle and the impressive cathedral situated on the historic ‘plaza mayor’….
- Then, 5 days of walking along hand-picked routes, following ancient drove roads in the footsteps of Castilian shepherds and through an idyllic pastoral setting.
- Well-trained, docile donkeys accustomed to walking distances and carrying light loads. You’ll fall in love with your equine friend and won’t want to say goodbye to him!
- Carefully selected rural hotels along your route with an obliging field nearby for your donkey to rest in each night.
- Picnic lunch provided for you to pack into the panniers along with the rest of your luggage. Let your loveable friend carry your load while you enjoy the adventure!
- Look out for deer, wild-boar and even the elusive iberian wolf as eagles, kites and rare black vultures spiral overhead in this protected haven for wildlife.
- Discover quaint rustic villages and medieval market towns with narrow cobbled streets and the timeless beauty of Romanesque churches and Moorish castles along the way.
Day 1: Arrival to SegoviaThis walking tour begins in the monumental city of Segovia. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, you will spend the first night in the city and have a chance to explore its many historic jewels. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a cool drink in the Plaza Mayor at night and absorb the atmosphere of this stunning city.
Day 2: Casla to Arcones
Distance: 8 miles (13 km)This morning you will have a private transfer to the little village of Casla, nestled in a forest of juniper trees. You’ll meet your donkey and be shown how to load the luggage and look after your new friend (we’ll take your suitcase), then you set off along the foothills of the Guadarrama National Park to the tiny village of Arcones. Your adventure begins ...
Day 3: Arcones to Navafría
Distance: 6 miles (10 km)After giving breakfast to your donkey and getting him ready, you'll head along a track through an aromatic forest of juniper and pine on the northern slopes of the Sierra. You'll enjoy getting to know your donkey and finding your pace as you head to the mountain village of Navafria. Give your donkey his dinner and take a dip in the natural river pool in the village, then enjoy a cool drink in the shade of the pines beside the river ... heaven!
Day 4: Navafria to Requijada
Distance: 9 miles (15 km)After saying good morning to your four-legged friend pack your picnic into your panniers and set off towards the picturesque village of Valle de San Pedro. There'll be lots of pretty picnic possibilities along the way! You pass the ancient church of San Justo y Pastor and from here an old drovers’ trail will lead you along a very picturesque route into Requijada. Your donkey will spend the night in the grounds of the hotel an you can have a dip in the pool before dinner.
Day 5: Requijada to Pedraza
Distance: 9 miles (14 km)A tiny country lane takes you across the river valley and up into the hills towards the hill-top village of Pedraza, with its honey-coloured city walls and medieval castle. As you enter this beautifully preserved monumental village through its ancient stone archway, you’ll be transported back in time to a by gone era of knights and maidens! With a donkey as your trusty steed!!
Day 6: Pedraza to Gallegos
Distance: 7 miles (12 km)After giving your donkey some breakfast in his little enclosure beside the hotel, it will be time to set off on the next step of your adventure. Leaving Pedraza, you will pass an ancient monastery and quaint limestone villages where you can enjoy a snack and a cold drink in the terrace of one of the local bar/restaurants. When you reach your destination, the tiny hamlet of Gallegos, you probably want to relax in the shade with a chilled drink in hand!
Day 7: Transfer Gallegos to Segovia and city walksPrivate transfer from Gallegos to Segovia for another chance to enjoy this veritable marvel of a city only last century. Take time to enjoy a chilled glass of wine in the exquisite 'Plaza Mayor' while contemplating the magnificent cathedral, then take a stroll to the fairytale, ornate Alcazar, where queen Isabel sent Christopher Columbus on his exploration of the Americas.
Day 8: Departure or extra nights in Segovia or MadridWhy not treat yourself to an extra night or two to really get to know Segovia or to visit the nearby palaces of RioFrio and San Ildefonso. Alternatively, visit Madrid and get to know our capital city!
- Which airport should I fly to?
- Madrid International Airport.
- How do I get to the Starting Point?
- Catch an AVE (High Speed Train) from Madrid to Segovia (12,20€, takes 30 mins). From here there are regular buses to the city and hotel.
- How do I get back?
- Catch an AVE (High Speed Train) back into Madrid (12,20€, takes 30mins).Transfers to and from the walking area. We will provide free private transfers for you to the start of the walking area and from the end point too.
One, very centrally located 3 star city hotel, 1 modest 2 star hotel and four high quality small rural hotels (3 or 4 stars equivalent).
Nights 1 and 7: Segovia
Situated in the very heart of Segovia, next to the Main Square and the Cathedral. This 15th century building was turned into a Hotel & Spa in 2005 incorporating many arqueological remains to up-to-date comfort.
Night 2: Arcones
A family-run small rural hotel with traditional style castilian home-cooking by Toñi, real genuine local! A warm welcome awaits you hotel and restaurant popular with the locals.
Night 3: Navafría
A mountain village house renovated in rustic style. 14 cosy bedrooms traditionally decorated. Restaurant, garden, a comfortable living room, run by a local family. Nearby natural swimming pool in the river Cega.
Night 4: Requijada
Traditional building in an isolated village of great beauty. Only four double rooms with all the creature comforts and decorated to a high standard. In-house restaurant and small outdoor swimming pool.
Night 5: Pedraza
Located in the beautifully preserved medieval town of Pedraza, this rural hotel combines comfort with old Castilian rustic style. Ten very comfortable rooms and dining room, beautiful inner courtyard and bar.
Night 6: Gallegos
Small rural hotel full of character. Eleven comfortable bedrooms, imaginatively decorated. Common areas include dining room, living room, terrace and garden. Small outdoor swimming pool.
Our donkeys are very experienced trekking companions who live in the Guadarrama Mountains to the south of Segovia.
They are tall donkeys of a Spanish race called Zamorano: docile, tranquil animals of a rare and surprising intelligence!
You will be pleased at how well they keep a good pace without complaint!
Galindo, Ligoncete, Marina, Gordito and Madrileño are their names.
Per person in double room538 €
- 7 nights' accommodation. 7 breakfasts.
- 5 Picnic lunches for each walking day.
- Free transfers between Segovia and the walking area.
- We take your empty suitcases for a few days and give them back to you at the last hotel. The donkey will carry your things in large panniers.
- Detailed maps with your trail clearly marked.
- Itinerary description, full of recommendations for things to do and places to visit, advice and suggestions and information about your accommodation, etc.
- Emergency support.
- Activity insurance.
Single room supplement182 €
Solo traveller supplement241 €
Half board (dinners)140 €
Donkey hire (6 days)175 €
Other options:(Prices on request)
Extra night(s) in Segovia
Extra night(s) in Madrid
If interested, please contact us with your plans, requirements and queries,
or simply use the "Get a quote" section, which we would recommend.
Get a quote
- If one of us disappeared from his sight en route he would hee-haw
If you want to sit on a polluting ship with thousands of others, sleeping in a little cabin, or if you want to fry on a hot beach or even sip G & Ts by a chlorinated hotel poolside with a few dozen strangers, then an 'Away From the Crowds' experience is not for you. However if you think you could fall in love with a donkey, would love to walk with him or her, your partner and/or kids in the open countryside with all the flora and animal wildlife you might encounter then it certainly is. You can go a whole day from breakfast until your destination without seeing anyone but the wildlife and yourselves. You can also feel good about supporting the local Spanish economy, staying in small to medium sized rural hotels and posada's and meeting the locals. It is helpful to have a few words of Spanish though especially if you pop into a village bar when you arrive in the afternoon as we did in Gallegos; you'll find the locals very friendly, interested and welcoming.
All stay-overs are of a surprisingly good quality although interestingly different from village to village. They are expecting you and have food and water ready for your donkey, a field or place for him/her to stay overnight and cerveza, una habitación, comida y unos desayuno para ustedes. The route you take has been carefully selected and well documented for you. Once or twice we did have to scratch our heads and use a bit of initiative en route so as not to go the wrong way but AFTC have never lost any of their travellers yet. In any case you have an emergency phone number if you should need it but we never did, despite managing to turn up at the wrong hostel in Arcones on our first day ! Hostel La Cerca is on the right as you approach the village; we went to the one on the left !
And we did fall in love with Azabache, our donkey and he with us ! If one of us disappeared from his sight en route he would hee-haw, prefering us to remain together as a team – and that's what we were. He also did it when we were about 30m from his little paddock when we were on our balcony in Pedraza; he could hear us talking and wanted to be with us – and us with him, but we kept our voices down after that, not to distress him. You can imagine what it was like when we finally had to say goodbye in Gallegos.
We are 70 and 71 but are talking about repeating the exercise next year, God and our osteoarthritis permitting. And we'll ask for Azabache; we know he will remember us.
Peter Davies, UK
- the holiday felt so tailor-made and untouristy
Thank you to the team at Away from the Crowds for arranging our fantastic donkey trekking holiday in the Sierra de Guadarrama. It was such a unique experience - beautiful countryside, lovely local guesthouses and our own donkey, Galindo, to look after (or maybe he looking after us). Everything was really well organised, but the holiday felt so tailor-made and untouristy. Absolutely loved it and we want to adopt Galindo!
The walking on its own would have been great, especially the Canada Real, but doing it with our faithful Galindo made it something really special. What a character! He was hard-working and uncomplaining (when he got going!) but a real softie and a little bit cheeky - we absolutely fell in love with him!
- clearly Galindo, who was so good natured. It was a privilege to be allowed to look after him and it’s a real selling point for the holiday (everyone I’ve mentioned it to thinks it’s a brilliant idea)
- the holiday was a lovely way to get away from everything - the countryside was so peaceful and we only saw the odd cyclist and walker
- the book with directions and suggestions was comprehensive and really useful - we didn’t need to look at the maps and it felt so tailor-made. The extra info and history were great too.- a range of lovely guesthouses to stay in - it was nice that they were so different and all felt very local
- tasty picnics
- the Canada Real and the views of the plain
- stick and wire fences and deciding whether a track is ‘main’ or ’side’! :)
- swimming in the river in Navafria
- the walk into Pedraza
- the lovely guesthouse with the pool in Gallegos - very welcoming and comfortable with great food
- the fact that all the villages where we stayed felt very local and untouristy
- people calling out “Burro!"
Anecdotes? Well, we did decide to take Galindo for an evening stroll in Requijada on a lead - it was like having a very big Labrador with us! He seemed very happy, especially as it was another opportunity to munch on tasty plants along the way. Lots of people wanted to stop us and find out where we came from and what we were doing with our donkey. Luckily Eduardo speaks much better Spanish than me :)
Jane Hyde, UK.
- We really enjoyed our holiday
We really enjoyed our holiday. All of the locations we stayed in were lovely and it was great to know we could contact Senderos at any time for support.
As you likely know, we walked for 5 days with the donkeys during the heat wave. The temperature was a bit hotter than we were hoping for but that is just luck!
We did have a sick donkey on our third day and I really appreciated how responsive Jaime was to our calls and concern for the donkeys.
Nina Fancy, Canada.
CO₂ footprint offsetting
This holiday produces a carbon footprint of 0,3446 tonnes of CO₂. This includes taxis, luggage transfers and accommodation for every traveller.
We will compensate the CO₂ footprint for each booking through tropical reforestation projects in collaboration with the CeroCO₂ platform.
Additionally, you can also offset your own flight emissions by visiting myclimate. See the link below.