UN DIA EN… – Hiking the Caminito del Rey, Andalucía, Spain
!Hola! ?Qué tal? Yes, chicos and chicas, I just got back from enjoying la playa and the sun in Andalucía for 6 weeks! I’m not even gonna pretend I was there for anything else than fun and relaxing… But as long as I share the good times with you, I’m sure you don’t mind! Right?! Alright, so let’s start with the Caminito del Rey!
Because of course making trips was a big part of the fun! And as I stayed in one place 5 weeks out of 6 and mostly did day trips, I’ve decided to make a little series called ‘un día en’ – ‘a day in’… to give you lots of ideas for visiting this amazing region. I won’t be covering the famous places everybody already knows like Córdoba or Sevilla, but help you discover the lesser-known spots, the off-the-beaten-path(ish) places that you won’t have to share with thousands of other people and maybe a few that might be quite well-known, but are still definitely worth a visit. Let’s go!
The Caminito del Rey definitely falls into the last category. Most people have probably heard about it, and plenty of people visit, but with the daily number of visitors being limited, you never get the feeling it’s packed with people. On the contrary, most of the time I had the feeling it was just me and my dad.
This also means that if you want to visit, you might need to book well in advance, especially during holidays. But keep reading, I’ll give you more practical details right away!
Once known as one of the most dangerous walkways in the world, the Caminito del Rey (‘the king’s pathway’) is located in the village of El Chorro in the province of Málaga. It was originally built around 1900 to connect two power plants. The path was only 1 meter large and was built against the walls of a gorge, about 100 meters above ground level.
It got its name in 1921, when King Alfonso XIII walked on it for the inauguration of a nearby dam. Throughout the years, the original path deteriorated and at several points only the steel rails that once supported the concrete path remained. Adventurers however kept using it, resulting in several deaths, even after the path had been officially closed in 2000.
In 2015 the Caminito del Rey reopened, after a full renovation. They built a new wooden path on top of the old one, allowing visitors to see what it looked like before. It’s now an easy hike of 6 km in total, of which roughly 3 km take you right along the side of the gorge.
Of course the adventurous side of this hike has completely disappeared with the renovation, and you can basically not even call it a hike anymore. It’s a walk. A stroll with a view. A few steps aside, the path is flat, making it accessible to almost everybody in normal shape. The unguided visit takes about 2 hours if you stop regularly for pictures and to take in the scenery.
The views, however, are still there. They’re stunning.
My conclusion? If adventure is your middle name and you need to be balancing on a rusty steel bar or hanging on the side of a cliff to be happy, then nope, the Caminito del Rey will probably not do it for you. But if you’re a sucker for a good view and a nice little walk, then get your ass over there right now!
Feeling adventurous and want to see what hiking the Caminito del Rey looked like before the restaurations? Then check out this video!
The Caminito del Rey is located near Ardales, in the province of Málaga. It’s a one hour drive from Málaga capital or Ronda and less than 2 hours from Seville, Granada or Córdoba. The Caminito is also accessible by train.
The Caminito is linear and not circular, and the entrance (north) and exit (south) are quite far from each other. The visit starts at the northern entrance – acceso norte, and you’ll walk towards the southern exit on the trail. Public busses assure the connection every 30 minutes, which takes about 20 to 25 minutes and cost € 1,50 at the time of my visit. Parking lots are available both near the entrance and the exit, so you can either take the bus before or after your visit. The train station is located near the southern exit.
Tickets should be bought in advance on the official website. They’re always for a specific time. Keep in mind the actual entrance is located almost 3 km from the parking and the bus stop! You have to walk these 3 km before the time indicated on your ticket. You have 2 options for your visit: an unguided visit or a guided one. Unguided tickets cost € 10 and should be ordered well in advance. They are often sold out more than 1 or 2 months in advance. Last-minute tickets can sometimes be obtained during low season (I got mine just 4 days in advance in March), so if you can’t plan far ahead it’s worth checking but don’t count on it! The guided tour will cost you € 18 and tickets are generally a bit easier to obtain.
The Caminito is generally open Thuesday to Sunday but there are exceptions. Check the website for more details.
OK, I think you have all the information you need now and are good to go! Here’s a few more things just in case you’re wondering!
- Vertigo? No worries! I basically pee my pants standing on a chair, but I wasn’t afraid at the Caminito del Rey.
- The Caminito, or parts of it, might be closed due to bad weather, so check the website before going.
- Walking the Caminito del Rey in itself takes about 2 hours. Count at least 4 hours for the total experience, including getting to the entrance and the bus ride.
- Safety: flipflops, heels, smoking and a bunch of other things are not allowed (check the website!). Wearing a helmet, however, is obligated. Yyyyyyep, another not so glamorous moment on the road, just for you! 😉
See you in the comment section!!
* All the information given above was correct during my visit in March 2017. Please check the official website for updates, the link is mentioned above in the article. This visit was fully paid for by yours truly. All opinions are my own and straight from the heart, as usual!