Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey is one of the most spectacular places in Malaga. So much so that, since its restoration, it has become one of main tourist attractions of the province and the whole of Andalucia. Without a doubt, its grandiosity, breathtaking scenery and its history are the main factors which explain its success.
From Holiday2Malaga we organise trips to introduce you to El Caminito del Rey so, if you are interested, you will have found a great opportunity. But beforehand, so you know what wonders to expect, we would like to explain what you should know about it.
Caminito del Rey: its past history
In 1901, the Hydroelectric Society of El Chorro, which was the owner of El Salto del Gaitanejo (dam), needed an access by which its maintenance operators could cross El Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (gorge) without the need to walk around for hours. A project was founded which ended in 1905 and was a technical wonder of the time. The construction of several metres of walkways, which in some cases were more than 100 metres above the ground and situated against completely vertical walls, was a great architectural achievement.
Nevertheless, it was not until 1921 that the official opening took place. The impact of the construction of the path was so great that King Alfonso XIII attended the site in person, which is the reason why from then on it was called El Caminito del Rey (The King’s walkway). As time went on and road infrastructure improved, along with the danger of the walkway, use of it was stopped and it was abandoned.
At the beginning of the 90s it was in a state of terrible repair. However, it became renowned amongst hikers and adventurers, which made the brave and daring want to go and cross it. Unfortunately, between 1999 and 2000 there were four deaths from falling, which forced the Junta de Andalucia to close its access. Nevertheless, in 2005 the idea of restoring it occurred with all the pertinent security measures, which finally happened in 2015.
Features of El Caminito del Rey
El Caminito del Rey is defined as a hiking route of medium-high difficulty, not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo. In total the route is 7.7 kilometres, 2.9 being walkways and the rest accesses. These accesses cross spectacular and breathtaking places, so do not think that the walkways above El Chorro are going to be a short walk. In total it takes between 3 and 4 hours to complete the whole route.
All the walkways which make up the path boast the pertinent security measures with safety handrails, for children also. Additionally, because there is always a small risk of rock falls, at the entrance you are provided with an authorised helmet which is obligatory to cross the gorge. Proof of its safety is there have not been any accidents during the time it has been opened to the public, so do not have any fears.
To help understand the dangers that the pathway entailed for workers at the beginning of the century and for adventurers who attempted to cross once it had closed its doors, underneath the walkways you can still see fragments which survived from the original construction. We assure you that when you see them you will be astonished at the courage these people had.
The natural surroundings of El Caminito del Rey
Regarding its surroundings, you should know that the animal and plant species you will find here are completely protected in Caminito del Rey, so it is forbidden to interfere with them. The best advice we can give you is that you enjoy their singular beauty. Even though it may seem incredible, it would not be a surprise if you saw an Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture or a golden eagle as these birds use the corners of the gorge to build their nests. There are very few left but it is possible to see them because they are very concentrated in the area.
On the other hand, the flora of the pathway is the same flora which features in all of El Chorro in Malaga. Stone pines, evergreen oak, Aleppo pine and eucalyptus abound. All of these accompanied by junipers, fan palms, brooms, rockroses and savins, plus some poplars and willows.
Points to take into consideration for Caminito del Rey
El Desfiladero de los Gaitanes and El Chorro are protected areas because of their diverse flora and fauna, therefore accesses to El Caminito del Rey are limited. In fact, entry must be gained via the North side. Access is found next to Restaurant El Kiosko, from where you must walk 2.7 kilometres to get to the point where tickets are checked and you are provided with the necessary equipment to cross the pathways. Please take into account that El Caminito del Rey is a lineal pathway, not circular. In other words, when you finish the route you will not return to the starting point, so you will need to find a way to get back there. However, you do not need to worry as every 15 minutes there is a bus from here to Restaurant El Kiosko at a price of 1.55 euros.
You do not need to have great physical skills to complete the Caminito del Rey, but it is recommended to be fit because some walkways require a lot of walking. In fact, some of the walkways are less than 1 metre wide. People who suffer from vertigo must also be careful as some stretches are more than 100 metres high. Once you have started the route there is no going back. Without a doubt, Caminito del Rey is one of the most exciting attractions in this area of natural interest.
How to get to El Caminito del Rey
If you book a trip with us which will take you from your town to Caminito del Rey, you do not need to worry about anything. However, if you prefer to just buy the ticket and once you are there start with the guided tour, you must take a few things into account.
The gorge where El Caminito del Rey is located is situated between the towns of Alora, Ardales and Antequera. The access roads are the A-357 and MA-444, where you must continue in the direction of Ardales, town in which Restaurant El Kiosko is located.
You should know that on occasions parking can be a problem if you are travelling by car. In fact parking spaces are limited so if you have booked on a day where there is a large number of visitors, it is possible that you may not get there on time because you may need to leave you car a distance away. Therefore we recommend you go on a trip which includes a bus ride because buses always their own designated areas to stop.