Ok so there’s a few things you should know about the Caminito del Rey. First off, this used to be known as the most dangerous walk in the world before it was renovated. But hey, today it’s perfectly safe . . . and very beautiful.
This is one place you don’t want to miss out on, whether or not you do the official walk.
What is the Caminito del Rey?
The Caminito del Rey is a beautiful walk through the mountains, although predominantly only gently sloping, following a path that was started to be built in 1900 and finished in 1905. It was constructed for ease of access of workers for the workers of El Chorro hydro electric plant.
In 1921 the dam was finished and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII who walked the path for the official opening. From then on, the path became known as Camino del Rey (King’s Walk) or Caminito del Rey (Little Walk of the King).
The original path was an amazing thing to see. A narrow concrete walkway, jutting out of sheer rock face. Over the years it became more and more damaged until it really was dangerous to try and pass it. There were large gaps which you had to navigate across with a hundred metre drop to your side!
Not only had the path deteriorated but also the handrail had gone so you were left clinging to rock face with the path vanishing before you. Sensible people would only attempt the old path if they were hooked on with climbing equipment. But the lure of adrenalin drew people to the path, fascinated to try and reach the bridge.
I myself set out to ‘walk’ to the bridge back then in the 90’s and I’ve never felt so scared of heights in my life! The path just had these huge holes in it, something totally surreal and impossible to describe unless you’ve been there and seen it!
In the latter years of the 90s there were several fatalities which led to the decision to close the walk. The Junta de Andalucia removed the first block of the path so that nobody could play the game of walking the most dangerous path anymore. In truth, there was no other option and I am only surprised that it wasn’t closed sooner.
The good news is that the Junta de Andalusia and Malaga County Council did a great job of renovating the path so that you can still see the original path below you in most areas of the walk.
Visiting the Caminito
If you want to do the walk of the Caminito, you’ll need to buy tickets in advance and go at a specific time. One thing I really didn’t like when I first walked the new path was that you have to set off with about 50 people all at the same time.
You also have to wear helmets for safety, something I found a bit exaggerated . . . but who knows, maybe it’s necessary. Whether it is or whether it isn’t, you’ll have to keep your helmet on until you finish the walk, as it is a strict requirement.
As for starting off with other people, I have a perfect solution. You simply stop and look at the beautiful countryside for about 10 minutes while everybody sets off walking. Let the whole crowd vanish from sight and then you can start off yourself, in peace and solitude!
The walk is a one-way walk. You start off at the most northern point and walk the 7.7 km and when you finish, there’s a bus that will take you back to the starting point for a small fee, or sometimes included in your ticket.
Once you’ve parked your car, somewhere in the region of the Kiosk restaurant, you’ll need to walk back up the road until you find a small tunnel. You stoop down and walk through this dark tunnel to get to the start of the Camino, which is about 2.7 kms from the entrance to the official Camino.
The actual walk is then only 2.9 kms, but when you leave the walk and the helmet behind, you have another 2.1 kms to go, making the total a walk of 7.7 kms.
Other Information of Interest
If the wind gets up, the walkway will be closed because of the hanging bridge.
The bridge is 105 metres high and the feeling of heights could make you feel vertigo if you suffer from any form of fear of heights.
I did the walk with someone who felt a bit uncomfortable crossing the bridge, but it was do-able for her, just. I felt no apprehension at all, so I guess it just depends on you, and knowing how you feel with heights.
You should allow yourself extra time so that you can look around a bit. It isn’t only the walk that’s beautiful!
The Whole Area of El Chorro
The whole area of El Chorro is stunning, not just the walk which has brought fame to the area. The reservoirs are called the Embalses del Guadalhorce (Guadalhorce Reservoirs), and the part where the hanging bridge is, is El Chorro. Prior to the renovations of the Camino del Rey, most local people referred to the area as El Chorro.
Apart from driving around and admiring the scenery, I recommend you walk over the historic bridge/dam, a beautiful construction where you can almost always see huge fish swimming around.
By car you can visit the small village of Ardarles. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing spectacular about Ardarles, but it’s a genuine little Spanish village and you can have a traditional lunch here without feeling like you’re in tourist-land.
And if you like swimming, you can go for a swim in the bright blue waters of the lakes, or hire a pedalo and pedal out to the middle of the reservoir. There are two restaurants right on the water’s side: El Kiosko and Restaurante el Mirador.
If you love visiting national parks with stunning scenery, don’t miss out on El Torcal National Park
Don’t forget, if you want to visit Andalusia, we will create your holiday for you. We believe it’s about YOU.
If you like this post, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you asap!