Updated: May 28, 2024

Portugal is known for many things, dazzling coastlines, top surf spots, incredible gastronomy, jaw-dropping landscapes, and buzzing cities. But you may not know that this charming country nestled on the Iberian Peninsula is also a firm favorite with horse riding lovers from across the world.

With a pleasant climate throughout the year and a variety of terrains, from sandy beaches to forests, Portugal is a dream for horse riders of all levels, whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner. And, from classical dressage to long, cross-country routes, there are a wide array of options. You’ll also find the Lusitano horse here, which originates from Portugal and is the oldest saddle horse in the world, having been ridden for more than five hundred years.

Here we’re going to delve into the best locations to go horse riding in Portugal. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and you will find excellent trails in other parts of Portugal, including Madeira and São Miguel island, the largest island in the Azores.

The Algarve 

horse ridingAs a hotspot for expats and as the epicenter of tourism in Portugal, the Algarve provides a wide range of English-speaking equestrian centers, whether you are an experienced rider or just starting out.

The Algarve may have become famous thanks to its wonderful beaches, and you will be able to ride along the coastline, but the terrain of southern Portugal is much broader than this. In parts of the Algarve, you’ll find forests, springy green hills adorned with bright, colorful flowers, and gorgeous natural parks.

Should you be looking to combine horse riding with other activities, such as surfing, waters sports, yoga, or mediation, there are several activity centers that offer a range of combined activities.

You’ll find horse riding schools across the Algarve region and what could be a better wa yto explore Portugal than by horseback? Albufeira, Vilamoura, Tavira, and Silves are good locations for horse riding in the Algarve, particularly for beginners.

For more experienced riders, Aljezur, in the Western Algarve, provides slightly more difficult terrain. Lining the southwest coast of the county, you’ll find quaint Portuguese towns here off the beaten track where you can marvel at the rich Portuguese landscapes in peace. From sand dunes, rivers, beaches, and forests, you’ll find a nice mix of terrains here. Further north still, Costa Vicentina also provides more tricky terrain to navigate. For experienced riders, you’ll find the unspoiled Costa Vicentina Natural Park to be one of the most stunning parts of Portugal.

If you are looking for a central base, then Faro, the capital of the region, can be a good option as you can smoothly get around the Algarve region and Faro airport makes international travel easy.


Lisbon offers a wide range of horse stables within a 30 minutes or an hour’s drive from the city center. While being close to the Portuguese capital, you’ll find yourself in the midst of nature, where you can ride through grasslands and forests, and pass by olive groves, vineyards, and cork trees.

Longer excursions further from the capital city can lead you to discover traditional Portuguese towns. The Dolphin trail, to the south of Lisbon on the coast is also a top location for coastal rides.

Lisbon airport makes it easy for travelers looking to explore the rich history of the capital, while also being able to enjoy laidback horseback riding holidays. The stunning Costa Azul (Blue Coast), to the south of the Portuguese capital is also a tremendous location to enjoy some of the best views of the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal.

Northern Portugal

horse ridingWith stunning, largely untouched landscapes, Northern Portugal is a place of true beauty and is one of the best kept secrets of the country. With the Douro Valley, Peneda-Geres National Park – the only national park in the country – and a riveting coastline, nature lovers will be in their element.  With many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Northern Portugal, such as the Alto Douro Wine Region, you’ll be swept away by the beauty of this relatively unexplored region of Portugal.

You can take a ride through the Peneda-Geres National Park, where you can discover wild horses – the famous Garrano horses – and unique local wildlife, crossing forests, heathland, and open pastures. Or opt to discover the stunning scenery of Viana do Castelo, to the north of Porto, you’ll be swept away by the captivating natural landscapes, beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, and charming smaller towns.

The Alentejo

Known as the breadbasket of Portugal, the Alentejo region, just north of the Algarve stretches across one third of Portugal from the Atlantic coastline in the east to the Spanish border in the west. Here you’ll find undiscovered areas, unique landscapes, and secret beaches. In the Alentejo, you can still find the ancient Lusitano horses, one of the oldest saddle horses in the world and which is still bred in these areas.

While tourists tend to head to the Algarve, the locals will spend their free time enjoying the wonderful nature of the Alentejo and the Alentejo Coast, which includes some of the best local produce in the country. You’ll find plenty of options to discover this region from the back of a horse, where you can meander through vineyards, olive groves and even have the chance to ride Lustiano horses. You will also be able to enjoy riding down the Alentejan coast, a much quieter stretch of coastline than the Algarve, and will be able to absorb the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Central Portugal

Central Portugal, strategically located between Lisbon and Porto, offers incredible scenery, where you can find that local life takes center stage. From the quaint towns each with their unique traditions to the incredible landforms and pristine beaches on the Silver Coast, there is much to discover here.

You will find plenty of horse-riding schools in the area, whether you are looking to enjoy green rolling hills, large pastures, or soak up the views of the Atlantic.

Portugal Horseback Riding: Equestrian Properties

You’ll find a wide range of horseback riding options, including classical dressage, cross country, or if you are looking for a linear trail to enjoy the beautiful Portuguese countryside. Not only does Portugal have stunning locations to enjoy horse riding holidays, but you’ll also find a wide selection of Portuguese equestrian properties. From the north to south of the country, you’ll find an array of options, whether you are looking for a small property with stables or a large spacious country home with acres of land. Compared to equivalent properties in other countries in the European Union, you’ll find property prices to be very reasonable and that your money goes a lot further.

Luxury properties

You will also find a selection of luxury equestrian properties in Portugal with grand architecture and modern interiors, where you will be able to enjoy mile after mile of green hills, lush forests, and outrageous ocean views.

Goldcrest is the first buyer’s agent in Portugal, focused on securing the perfect property for our clients at the best price possible. If you are looking to explore your options, we are here to assist you. From scouting out the perfect property tailored to your exact needs to guiding you through the buying process.

Take a look at our guide to buying property in the Portugal to kickstart your journey!

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