ÁLORA – Anyone who has visited the Caminito del Rey in Andalucia in recent years has probably noticed: a beautiful wooden building with a huge parking lot in front of it on the way to the entrance of the famous hiking trail through the gorge is abandoned.
The complex, which was completed in 2018, was finally opened on Thursday 20 October.
- Built along the road MA-5403 Ardales-El Chorro (km 5.5) on a plot of 25,000m2
- Has a lookout point over the azure reservoir behind it
- An interpretation centre with information about the gorge walk and flora and fauna in the area
- 240 parking spaces covered with solar panels to make the building self-sufficient.
Inauguration of the new building
To promote sustainable mobility, visitors to the Caminito del Rey can park their car here and be transported by the transfer bus to the path entrance.
The President of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, inaugurated the building amid great interest. He did this alongside the President of Málaga Province, Francisco Salado and the Mayor of Ardales, Juan Alberto Naranjo.
The 500-square-metre building was designed by Luis Machuca. This is the same architect involved in the restoration of the Caminito del Rey in 2015.
Information and transferbus
The visitor centre gives information about the following;
- surrounding municipalities
- history of the Caminito del Rey
- nature reserve Desfiladero
- nearby Guadalhorce reservoirs
The shuttle bus that connects the entrance and exit also has a stop at this visitor centre. Therefore, whoever visits the Caminito can also park their car here.
By train to the Caminito del Rey
Furthermore, the Cercanías train from Málaga will soon arrive at the El Chorro station. That means an addition to the current medium-distance train from Málaga to Seville, which also stops in El Chorro. Also, the municipalities on the Costa del Sol are better connected to the Caminito del Rey.
2.5 million visitors since opening in 2015
Since its opening, more than 2.5 million people have walked through the Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes via the Caminito del Rey. “It has become an international icon of the province of Málaga and Andalucia and a major draw for inland tourism. Almost half of the visitors are foreigners and we have already registered more than a hundred different nationalities,” said the president of the Diputación during the opening.
Thanks to this tourist attraction, the number of tourist accommodations and other businesses has increased from 210 to 474 with 5,600 beds. The annual economic impact of the Caminito del Rey is approximately €25 million and contributes to the creation of approximately 550 jobs.
World Heritage List
The next goal of the local and regional authorities is to have the Caminito del Rey added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. With the candidacy, they focus on the importance of recognizing the uniqueness of the surrounding industrial heritage, such as the original walkways themselves, the train station and bridges and the Gaitanejo dam.