Caminito Del Rey - Everything You Need to Know about it

Situated close to Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain, lies a hidden gem that promises not just a hike but an unforgettable adventure—El Caminito del Rey. Known as the once most dangerous hike in the world, this trail has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers and history enthusiasts alike.

Unveiling the Past:

El Caminito Del Rey, which translates to The King’s Little Path, is a testament to human ingenuity, a makeshift path constructed from steel and concrete, pinned into a vertical cliff face, navigating a deep gorge. The path, built between 1901 and 1905, served as a vital route for workers accessing hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls for inspections and maintenance work. In a daring tribute to its origins, King Alfonso XIII inaugurated the access points between the Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs in 1921. Thus, the 1-meter-wide, 100-meter-high walkway became known as the King’s Pathway (Caminito Del Rey).

Caminito del Rey: A Journey Through Time

Over the years, the walkway succumbed to the elements, and access was closed off. The path eroded, leaving behind bare steel structures as huge chunks of concrete fell into the valley below. Despite being off-limits for over a decade, thrill-seekers sought the thrill, risking their lives. Tragically, between 1999 and 2000, the notorious hike claimed five lives.

Following these events, the site underwent extensive renovations, transforming it into a tourist destination. In 2015, El Caminito del Rey officially reopened with added safety measures—fences, barriers, gates, handrails, and mandatory hard hats. While the safety measures may have diminished some of its exhilarating allure, the path retained its captivating charm.

Evolution of Caminito del Rey Trail

El Caminito del Rey has evolved into a 7.7 km journey that spans the breathtaking landscapes near Ardales in Malaga. The path consists of accesses and walkways. The access area covers a distance of 4.8 km, while the walkways (the most renowned part) stretch over a distance of 2.9 km.

Picture this: a trail etched into history, once used for daily chores like buying groceries and even kids commuting to school —yes, you read that right! Today, it stands as a testament to the daring spirit of the locals who once navigated its paths.

el caminito del rey malaga

Starting the Caminito del Rey Adventure

Setting foot on El Caminito del Rey is like stepping into a living history book. If you choose the Northern access, park near the tunnel entrance, about 200 meters from Restaurante El Kiosko. From here, embark on a 1.5 km walk to the control booth where visitor groups form. For Southern access, park in El Chorro and catch a shuttle bus departing every 30 minutes.

Thrills Await:

As you traverse the path, be prepared for a thrilling experience. The 2-3 hour journey will take you through dizzying heights and stunning vistas. The entire trail, spanning approximately 8.1 km from the reservoir to El Chorro, takes around 3-4 hours, depending on the pace of the walker and whether you opt for a guided tour.

As you embark on the Caminito del Rey, remnants of its perilous history surround you. The hike offers stunning views and photo opportunities, and some sections induce a sense of dizziness due to steep drops. Although not as heart-stopping as it once was, it remains a unique and entertaining experience. 

The Grand Caminito del Rey Finale:

The final section of the hike presents a hair-raising challenge—a suspension bridge across the gorge. It might be a little scary, but crossing this bridge adds an exciting touch to your journey through history, nature, and human determination. 

A favourite pic spot for many is at the Balconcillo de los Gaitanes. A 30m long steel suspension bridge that sways left and right in the high winds and wobbles up and down while walking across.

caminito del rey
Suspension bridge across the gorge - El Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey Finish line

Completing the Caminito del Rey is an achievement in itself. After returning the provided protective helmet, take a leisurely 20-minute stroll to the seating area for a quick bite. Conveniently located just 300 meters from the shuttle bus stop, it’s a pleasant pause before you bid adieu to this mesmerizing trail. 

If time permits, consider having a delightful lunch at one of our favorites—the scenic gem, “La Garganta” restaurant. Renowned for having one of the best views in Spain, it’s conveniently situated near both the shuttle stop and train station.

Recommendations for doing the Caminito del Rey

1. Getting to Caminito del Rey: Your journey begins as you drive through the scenic A-357 and A-343 roads from Malaga. Choose between two parking options—North access point (Ardales) or South access point (El Chorro, Álora).

2. Public Transport to Caminito del Rey: You can also opt for the RENFE train from Malaga to El Chorro, followed by a shuttle bus ride to the Caminito del Rey. The 15-20 minute bus journey will be a prelude to the adventure that awaits.

3. Caminito del Rey tickets sold out? No Problem! – So, you’ve visited the official website to book your tickets for the Caminito del Rey, and alas, the dates you desire are sold out. No problem! There is a great alternative. You can secure your spot by booking tickets through GetYourGuide, offering a hassle-free solution for your adventure. 

4. Plan your trip to Caminitol del Rey in advance: Try to get there as early as possible for morning entries, especially on weekends or holidays, as it tends to get  busy. If you find yourself waiting at the entrance (control booth), take in the picturesque scenery. To ensure a smooth experience, it is recommended to book your tickets in advance, as this is a popular hike area in Spain and tends to attract a significant number of visitors.

5. Starting Your Journey: Remember that the entrance for the Caminito del Rey is near the Restaurante el Kiosko side—the north access. Walk  approx. 1.5km/25 min from the tunnel entrance to reach the control booth. Note that starting the walk from the El Chorro (south) side is not possible; instead, you’ll need to take a shuttle bus, which departs every 30 minutes. Plan accordingly to avoid any confusion.

6. Pack light with essentials in your backpack: sunscreen, sufficient water, and snacks like energy bars, fruit or nuts. The journey has no designated meal stops, but do not worry—there’s a seating area at the end of El Chorro for a quick bite. 

7. Clothing for Caminito del Rey: clothing appropriate to the season, wear comfortable clothes and shoes without heels, flip-flops are not allowed .

8. Toilet Situation in Caminito del Rey: One common concern revolves around the availability of toilets along the route. It’s essential to note that there are no toilets along the walkway itself. Facilities are only available at the beginning of the walk, located at the control booth, and at the end, so it’s advisable to use them before starting your journey. The walkway typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, depending on your walking speed. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly.

El Caminito del Rey Awaits

El Caminito del Rey isn’t just a hike; it’s an immersive journey through time and nature. Every step is a brushstroke painting a picture of Spain’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes. So, gear up, adventurers! 

El Caminito del Rey awaits, promising an experience that transcends ordinary hikes—a truly extraordinary adventure.

Thank you for reading: El Caminito del Rey: One of the Best Hikes in Spain for Thrill-Seekers (Perfect Day Trip)


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