The Caminito del Rey is the jewel in the crown of rural tourism in Malaga.
Pinned to the side of the Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes gorge, towering approximately 105 meters above the Guadalhorce river, this path has earned the nickname ‘The Daredevil’s Walkway’ due to its historic unsuitability for the faint-hearted.
Stretching across a breathtaking three kilometres, the linear route is now completely safe (albeit mostly unsuitable for individuals with a fear of heights). Nevertheless, the reward is immeasurable, offering awe-inspiring vistas of the valley and the river below and an immersion into the beautiful Andalusian countryside.
History of the Caminito del Rey
Originally constructed as an access route for workers at the El Chorro hydroelectric power station, the walkway was a rudimentary and somewhat perilous path, measuring just one metre in width in certain sections.
It was given the name ‘Walkway of the King’ in 1921 when Alfonso XIII visited the area en route to inaugurate the nearby reservoirs.
By the middle of the 20th century, it had fallen into a state of disrepair, with several sections missing. Despite it being closed to the public, this led to it becoming a popular attraction for thrill-seekers, some of whom met their fate.
However, in 2014, extensive renovations were undertaken to transform the walkway into a safe and accessible path for visitors, including those with limited hiking experience. Now, it’s one of the most-visited attractions in all of Andalucía.
Is the Caminito del Rey difficult?
The full length of the Caminito del Rey is 7.7 km (including access paths). Therefore, the route takes between two and three hours to complete, taking into account time to admire the views.
The Caminito del Rey is mostly flat. Anyone with an average level of fitness will be able to complete it easily.
Anyone who requires walking aids cannot enter, nor can children under 8 years old.
You should also bear in mind that there are no toilets along the route.
Tickets for the Caminito del Rey
To embark on the Caminito del Rey adventure, you have to purchase tickets in advance.
During the peak tourist season (June to August) and holidays (around Semana Santa especially), it’s advisable to book several weeks or even months ahead to ensure availability and avoid disappointment.
Visitors should also check the weather conditions before travelling to Ardales because on particularly windy or wet days, the Caminito del Rey is closed to protect visitor safety.
How to get to the Caminito del Rey from Malaga
The Caminito del Rey is situated in the quaint town of Ardales, approximately an hour’s drive from Malaga city.
Because the Caminito del Rey route is linear (starting at the Northern Access in Ardales and ending at the Southern Access, not far from the train station in Álora), be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
If driving, you can park at the Reception Centre and take the shuttle bus to the start of the walkway. A different bus can return you there after you’ve finished.
Alternatively, you can take a train from Malaga María Zambrano to El Chorro – Caminito del Rey (Álora) and then catch a shuttle bus, although careful planning is required due to infrequent service.
Daryl is the co-founder of Malaga Guru. He is a copywriter, editor and translator who moved to Malaga a decade ago having first fallen in love with the city on his Erasmus year. After working for many years at local expat newspaper SUR in English, Daryl gained expert knowledge in life from the perspective of foreign residents and decided to co-found this site in 2016.