I love to do walks whenever I am somewhere. Especially gorges! They are just so beautiful and as I like to walk, why not combine them? When I heard about the Caminito del Rey in Andalusia, I was sold. I was going to walk this gorge!
What is the Caminito del Rey?
The name Caminito del Rey means ‘the king’s little path’ as it is a small walkway along the side of the gorge. It is located in El Chorro, close to Malaga. It has been known as the ‘worlds most dangerous walkway’ in the past for the five deaths that happened in 1999 and 2000. Nice start of the story right?
The accidents made sure the walkway was closed for over a decade, although the walkway also fell apart. After 4 years of repairs, the gorge reopened in 2015.
The construction of the walkway started in 1901 and was finished in 1905. It was built to provide the workers at the power plants with materials and a fast way to cross. King Alfonso XII crossed the walkway in 1921 to open the dam Conde Del Guadalhorce.
The path is 1 meter in width and rises over 100 meters above the river. You can imagine the not everyone likes the walk.
The original path was made of concrete and deteriorated over the years. There were are a lot of parts that had gaps bridged by steel beams or other supports. A safety wire ran the length of the path, as there were almost no handrails.
After the two fatal accidents happened in 1999 and 2000 the entrances were closed by the government. Still, people went in to walk it and another four people died.
In 2015 the new wooden walkway opened and Lonely Planet named it one of the best attractions of 2015. Nowadays you have to book in advance as only so many persons can go at the same time.
The route crosses two gorges, canyons, and a large valley. You walk from A to B and there is no other way out. The path a linear from North to South. The route is almost 8 kilometers long and takes 3 to 4 hours to walk.
Parts of the route:
- Visitor reception and shuttle bus stop.
- two access areas: The path and Gaitanejo way. 2.7 km or 1.5 km depending on your choice.
- Visitor reception center and Gaitanejo Reservoir
- First Canyon: Gaitanejo Gorge (2.9 km long)
- Second Canyon: Las Palomas Cliff
- Hoyo Valley
- Third Canyon: Gaitanes Gorge
- Last boardwalk to the exit
- A downward path to the known world again (2.1 km long)
It is possible to walk in on your own, but it is not easy. You can park your car down by the end and take the shuttle bus to the beginning. There you will have to wait until a group is formed. You always walk with a group and a guide.
I recommend joining an excursion for this walk. It is way easier as you get dropped off at the beginning, are already with a group and get picked up at the end.
As it is quite hard to get tickets, an excursion might be the way to get them. You have to book a couple weeks before you want to go or just a few days with an excursion company.
As I was a travel guide in Torremolinos, I had to go on the excursion so I would know what I was selling. (Yes a horrible punishment, I know). All I knew was that I wanted to do this excursion rather dan a few others and I was lucky!
I went with a colleague who was afraid of height, so that was fun. I spent a lot of time telling her it was okay. We drove to the start and the guide started telling us things about El Chorro and the environment here.
The walk was not hard at all and breathtaking. I really loved it and want to walk it again. Just to see those views again. After the walk, we had some time at the lakes to swim or eat something. Also a beautiful place by the way.
So I would definitely recommend walking the Caminito del Rey. Who does not want to walk a walkway from 1 meter wide and hundred meters high?
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What is your favorite walk in the world?