Autumn is arguably the most beautiful time of year. When the world is repainted in golden hues – with trees turning from green to russet red – nature becomes an even more stunning spectacle… especially when you’re experiencing it on horseback.
In our opinion, riding is one of the most freeing activities there is, and astride a gorgeous steed, you’re bound to enjoy the fruits of fall even more. Check out these four equestrian travel destinations and start planning your getaway this season.
Even without the horse riding element, Merano is a beautiful part of the world to encounter. An Alpine town in Italy’s South Tyrol region, it’s crammed full of natural spas, staggering mountains and art nouveau buildings that both catch the eye and captivate the spirit.
Fortunately, there are plenty of brilliant riding activities to do as well, making it a great horse-focused holiday pick. Sample a slice of rustic life at the riding farm, Obermichelerhof, where you can trot by paddocks, meadows and chalets during your own private lesson or as part of a group. Further, more ambitious riders can opt for guided or day tours, where they can explore the stunning sights of Verano across a period of two to five hours.
For one of our more historic equestrian travel destinations, we’d recommend Reiterhof Sulfner. One of the original breeding establishments for the Haflinger horse, this institution has been around since 1874 – and its decades of experience shows. This expert facility offers a huge range of horse-related activities, such as carriage rides, riding lessons, long and short treks by horseback across the diverse countryside or guided laps around the facility. New and seasoned riders alike are sure to love it.
Where to stay: Combine your trip away with an Italian castle stay at Hotel Castel Rundegg. Surrounded by lush Mediterranean parkland and offering thirty, elegantly-furnished rooms and a spa, it’s the epitome of decadence. On a more horse-y note – if you’d like to get out of the saddle and play spectator for a day – there’s also a racecourse nearby which hosts events year-round.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Sitting in a horse-drawn carriage under a sky overflowing with stars… if that sounds like your definition of heaven, Sils-Engadin’s equine offering is for you. Explore Switzerland’s astonishing Fex Valley – an expanse of land decorated by meadows, woodland and trails – in a carriage steered by a skilled guide, and revel in the fruits of nature in the most magical way. You can book your trip at nearly any time of day or night, too, and in the colder months, can even swap your carriage out for a sleigh!
Where to stay: Add to the enchanting element of your Swiss trip by booking a room at Hotel Waldhaus: a legendary forest lodge that’s been owned by the same family since 1908. Oozing old-world grandeur and based in one of the most stunning natural locations across Europe, it’s impossible not to fall under its spell.
Düsseldorf and its surrounding areas are home to many of the continent’s best equestrian travel destinations. Of special note is Bergerhof, located directly on the Rhine. A family business, this equestrian centre prides itself on its warm, friendly and efficient service. As with many of the other facilities we’ve mentioned, there are lots of activities to choose from here, as well: including arena riding, getting fast and furious on a galloping track and meandering around pastures. There’s even a riding shop here if you want to buy a unique souvenir for a horse lover back home!
If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, Equi-Art Reitkunst GmbH is also a great centre to take note of. With some flexible riding lessons to choose from – like group lessons with up to three riders or an hour-long session (which includes fifteen minutes of tailored feedback) – there are multiple ways to refine your skills in the saddle. In addition, lessons are offered in German, English and Portugese, making them even more accessible for travellers around the globe.
Where to stay: As Germany’s only inhabitable castle, you’re guaranteed a unique night or two at Schloss Hertefeld. Their most special rooms include a historic Tower Suite and “Heaven’s Room”, which has two opulent bathtubs and a rooftop for stargazing. In driving distance from over a dozen horse riding centres in Düsseldorf, it’s in a prime spot for equine and history lovers.
Sitting high in the Dublin Mountains is The Paddocks Riding Centre – an amazing riding facility with flexibility and fun at its heart. Whether you’re travelling solo or planning an event (such as a wedding or family get-together), this centre can accommodate you. Ride across 3,000 acres (after a champagne reception, if you book as part of a group over ten), take part in guided lessons and experience a range of equine events throughout the year.
Irish National Stud and Gardens, based in Kildare, is also one to watch. Home to some of Ireland’s most impressive horses, it’s one of the country’s prime equestrian travel destinations. Get to know world-class thoroughbreds and learn about some decorated stallions at this unmissable locale.
Where to stay: The words “luxury”, “cosy” and “historic” go hand-in-hand with Barberstown Castle. Relax next to crackling fires in traditional lounges, savour gourmet dining, taste fine wines and kick back in a bespoke bedroom at this 700 year-old property.
Four amazing equestrian travel destinations – where will you go?
From the dramatic mountains of Switzerland to the sweeping plains of Ireland are some incredible equestrian travel destinations to choose from, fit for riders of every skill level and travel parties of every size. Coupled with our historic hotels across the continent, you have all the information you need to start planning an unforgettable, horse-centric holiday. Ready to ride into autumn?
Keep up to date with the latest historic travel news over on our Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter account.