Caminito del Rey, all you need to know

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caminito del rey

The Caminito del Rey is by far the biggest inland tourist attraction in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. You can find this popular hiking trail an hour’s drive from the city of Málaga. We tell you here what you need to know to visit this path.

The once perilous path is far from the hustle and bustle of the coast. The landscape is rugged with gray rocks protruding from dense slopes and in between, there are turquoise reservoirs that glow. A visit to the Caminito del Rey is a wonderful experience in itself. However, the unparalleled beautiful surroundings are the crowning glory. The walk takes you through a beautiful, untouched nature reserve and through the deep gorge of Los Gaitanes.

Valle de Hoyo

Spectacular without danger

After a very extensive restoration, the path re-opened in 2015. Before that, it was dangerous to enter. Moreover, after a dozen fatal accidents in recent decades, it was off-limits. Daredevils repeatedly ignored the ban. And tragically fell from a great height over the remains of what was once a path to their doom. Fortunately, the authorities were aware of the trail’s enormous tourist potential. The route was made safe in a very aesthetically pleasing manner and now has more than a thousand visitors daily.

The path remains spectacular even though the danger is no longer. The 7 kilometre-hike takes between three and four hours. Therefore it can be perfectly combined with lunch in one of the local restaurants. El Mirador, El Kiosko, or La Posada del Conde to name a few. Or combine it with a visit to the beautiful village of Alora, to the cave of Ardales, or a walk to the ruins of the Moorish fortress Bobastro. From Parque Ardales you can practise various water sports in the summer on the nearby reservoir or take a pleasant walk around it along the banks.

The stroll

The route can only be walked in one direction. At the end, a shuttle service will take you back to the departure point at the parking lot. At the entrance of the path, you receive a helmet, information and off you go. From there the normal forest path soon changes into a path of wooden decking. Further on you can still see the original path next to and below you. Very fascinating because it immediately becomes clear to you where the life-threatening reputation comes from. The water of the river Guadalhorce winds its way to the left of the route.  And later right below you, rippling a road from the reservoir Gaitanejo through the gorge towards the reservoir Tajo de la Encantada near the town of El Chorro.

caminto del rey

Transparent plateau

The route takes you through the scenic Valle del Hoyo valley. The valley gets narrower and ends up at the dramatically opposed cliffs of the Los Gaitanes gorge. Further up, everything looks more and more impressive. Deep below you can see the river sparkling in the sun through the cracks in the planks. It becomes breathtaking on the transparent plateau attached to the rock wall at a height of eighty metres. People with a fear of heights should just walk past this. The fact that there is a memorial plaque nearby for three people in their 20s who died here 17 years ago does not immediately reassure. The rusty cable car across the gorge couldn’t hold their weight, and the boys plunged nearly a 100 yards.

see through caminito

Suspension bridge

A bit further you will see the most famous image of the Caminito: the suspension bridge with behind it the steel-blue sky and the blue-green water of the reservoir of El Chorro. In the rock face, a fossil of a prehistoric sea creature proves that these rocks formed the seabed millions of years ago. The bridge wobbles in the wind and the steel grid provides an amazing view of the depth below. You will see that the bridge is a popular place for taking selfies. This modern custom even causes some waiting time on normal days before you can make the spectacular crossing. After that, the most beautiful spectacle is over. Then you walk towards the exit where you wait for the bus to take you back to your car.  This takes around 15 minutes.

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bridge caminito del rey

King’s road

At the beginning of the last century, the path was constructed on this seemingly impossible place to transport items. These were necessary for the construction of the Conde Del Guadalhorce dam and the hydroelectric power stations. In 1921, King Alfonso XIII opened the path, after which it was christened “the king’s path”. It fell into disuse from the 1950s and continued to decline. However, the route gained a lot of appeal among heroic athletes or overconfident youths. Walking safely along the new path, it seems unimaginable that someone wishes to risk his life on just a few protruding steel beams with here and there a dying connecting plank.

Caminito del Rey practical

You can book tickets up to three months in advance via Caminitodelrey.info. Here you can also read about the current corona measures. Book as soon as possible, as countless people already missed out due to the enormous popularity of the path. Entry is €10 per person or €18 including a guide. The path is accessible to children from 8 years of age. You can also book a bus ticket online for €1.55.

Related post: New hiking trail from Málaga to Caminito del Rey in the works

Near the restaurant, El Mirador is the official car park. Ensure you are here 45 minutes before the actual starting time. From here it is a mile walk to the entrance, where you have to report half an hour in advance. On presentation of your admission ticket and ID, you will receive a helmet and an explanation of all the do’s and don’ts of the path 

The Caminito del Rey is closed on Mondays. Note, the path also closes in bad weather. Therefore, always check the website or the Facebook page on the day itself for current news and updates.

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