The Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Pathway)
“The most dangerous pathway in the world” now restored
A bridge over the Sierra Huma River, hanging from vertical rocks from the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Gaitanes Gorge), a pathway that seems to come from a dream and not from the common need to join two power plans by the shortest way possible. A special engineering that turned fishermen, who were used to hanging from the rigging of their ships, into inland construction workers.
Measures taken by the Caminito for reopening after the Coronavirus
After several months, Spain and the rest of the world begin to return to normal. Aware that the virus is still with us and we must be very careful, to visit the Caminito del Rey you will have to take into account and follow the recommendations of the health authorities. Consult these preventive measures in front of the Covid-19.
Caminito del Rey Tickets + Hotel
El Caminito del Rey is located in El Chorro, a village belonging to the municipality of Alora, near the Guadalhorce Valley region, located next to a reservoir on the Guadalhorce River, near Ardales in the province of Malaga.
It is one of the main rock climbing centres in Europe due to its location next to the Gaitanes Gorge. At the edge of this gorge runs the Caminito del Rey, this amazing route and its dizzying footbridges trace a route between the canyons that run along the river Guadalhorce.
Its recently remodelled platform allows anyone to walk the Caminito del Rey in complete safety.
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Where is The Caminito del Rey
Do you know the history of the Caminito del Rey?
The Caminito del Rey used to be a hanging pathway of about a meter wide in the narrowest parts, and about three kilometers long. It runs along the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, hanging perpendicular over the river and held onto the vertical walls, with an average height of 100 meters above the river.
The Camino del Rey was built between 1901 and 1905 to connect the Chorro and Gaitanejo waterfalls belonging to El Chorro Power Plant. The pathway started at El Chorro Train Station next to the railroads, and opened the way from one waterfall to the other for the construction workers and materials, allowing for a better watch over the plant.
The problems when building the pathway had to be many, specially at that time. The construction workers had to work hanging from the emptiness, wrapped around ropes tied at the higher part of the cliff. People believe that such work must have been done by prisoners, even death row inmates, the only ones willing to risk their lives in exchange of a reduction in their sentence, or so they say.
However, the only thing we know for sure is that this and other works at the dam where done by sailors from Malaga, trained to hang from their ship ropes.
When the Conde de Guadalhorce Dam was under construction (1914-1921), visits to the area were very common. The construction site was visited by Rafael Benjumea Burín’s friends and family, engineers, and people interested in the industrial progress of Malaga.
The views that could be appreciated from the different parts of the pathway were breathtaking. Benjumea, a nature lover, wanted the pathway to be as comfortable as possible, considering the area’s limitations. Once Rafael Benjumea had decided to improve the pathway, he renovated the bridge between both sides of the gorge. Road engineer Eugenio Rivera designed it.
This small bridge is visible from the road that goes from Alora to the Conde del Guadalhorce Dam, and the view of the two stony faces connected by the so called Balconcillo de los Gaitanes (Gaitanes Balcony) is one of the most popular in the province.
Like all places that captivate us, there is also a legend about the Balconcillo. Any local resident can tell a visitor the story about the tragic death of a young blond English girl who jumped over the cliff riding her white horse when her life became unbearable. The truth is that despite everyone knowing about the story, no one has witnessed the accident or has been able to date it.
It is just another legend to add more color to an already colorful place. King Alfonso XIII walked along the entire pathway on May 21, 1921 while celebrating his visit to the opening of El Chorro Dam, later to be called Conde de Guadalhorce Dam. Since then, the pathway carries its current name.
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In the book called ‘El Chorro, cien años de Historia’ (El Chorro, a hundred years of history) written by Sebastián Lara Centella, the Royal visit is described as follows:
It started out as a cloudy day, with a series of rain showers that spoiled the inauguration celebrations and made the visit more tedious. It already involved a journey by train and road. Still, the King was pleasant and good humored, and happily listened to all the explanations given by Benjumea about the plant. He wanted to know every detail. Lunch for a party of over two hundred was served. Leading figures, authorities, engineers, and the media were invited. For dessert, the Minister of Development gave a speech where he highlighted the importance of public works and the example that El Chorro Dam represented for the Nation, for balancing the industrial and agricultural industries. After lunch and under the heavy rain, the King placed the last stone. A table and a chair made of the same stone used in the construction were placed for the King to sign the official inauguration document. The official document signed by King Alfonso XIII reads as follows: The Catholic Kingdom of His Majesty Alfonso XIII, on May 21, 1921, all works at El Chorro Dam have been completed and the last stone placed by the magnificent hand of the Spanish Monarch, whose supporters were honored to set their hand after His Majesty. After the ceremony, the King and his companions visited the Gaitanejo Dam and walked through the Balcon de los Gaitanes, decorated with a garland held by four dissected eagles and read: ‘To the King’. Alfonso XIII was so impressed by the view that he asked to be taken a photograph to perpetuate his visiting to the place.
Current state of the Caminito del Rey
The passing of the years and the lack of maintenance meant that, in recent years, the King’s Little Way was not passable. In several areas the floor had disappeared, leaving only the beam that supported it. The holes in the pavement, the collapsed railings and, in general, the lack of safety along the road, attracted many hikers who saw danger as another incentive to walk the road.
Several fatal accidents in 1999 and 2000 led the Junta de Andalucía to close the accesses and demolish the initial section to prevent the passage of the hikers along the Caminito del Rey.
The Town Councils of Alora and Ardales, as well as numerous associations (neighbours, climbers, ecologists, etc.) insistently demanded the recovery of the path. In 2007 the preliminary studies and projects necessary for its complete restoration began, and it was not until 2014 that the contracts related to the restoration work began to be awarded. At the end of March 2015 we were finally able to enjoy the King’s Little Way again, this time completely restored and conditioned to live an exciting experience, now totally safe.
Make the virtual visit of the caminito del rey with Google Street View
Make the virtual visit with us clicking on the signs that appear “at your feet”.
It’s worth stopping during your visit and admire the beautiful landscape.
Live this unforgettable experience at first hand
We hope that after going through it click by click, you will feel even more like coming to cross the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. From La Garganta El Balcón del Caminito del Rey we will be at your disposal to help you in everything you need.
We answer the most frequent questions of the visitors before doing the Caminito
We recommend you
Parking in the south area
If you come by car, the ideal is to park in the south area and take the shuttle bus to the North Access in the morning, next to La Garganta. This way you will save long queues in the afternoon waiting for the bus to come back.
Booking the best hours
The best time to book in winter is at 12:00 because you will find fewer crowds of visitors. However, in summer we suggest you book at the last minute to enjoy the largest stretch of the tour in the shade.
How to reach the Caminito del Rey
You can come by train and stop at the train station of the Chorro (Álora stop) and then take the bus.
You can also go by car, park in the southern zone and take the shuttle to reach the entrance of the caminito in the northern zone.
To take the shuttle we recommend you to look at the schedule but we can say that during the winter it’s from 9:00 AM at 6:00 PM and during the summer it’s from 9:00 AM at 8 PM.
Turn your visit to the Caminito del Rey into an UNFORGETTABLE experience
We’ll help you get your ticket and plan your visit so you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying yourself to the fullest.
And in addition…
Did you know that the Caminito del Rey and its surroundings have been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
We at The Throat are joining the candidacy. And you? Surely you want the Caminito and its surroundings to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, join this candidacy and let’s make it happen.
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