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Hikers on the Caminito del Rey, Malaga.

Caminito del Rey: once the world's most dangerous footpath

Málaga

Until recently, this almost 8-kilometre path near Malaga (Andalusia) was considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Today the entire route has been carefully restored, earning it the Europa Nostra Award for heritage conservation, and although it's now much safer, one thing hasn't changed - the unique experience of strolling along walkways hanging over 100 metres up on a sheer cliff face. Take one of the best selfies ever. You'll never forget the views!

If you decide to take this path, there are probably some things you would like to know. It's located in the south of Spain, and you can get there from the municipalities of Ardales or Álora (ask for tourist information when you arrive). The path goes through the beautiful natural area of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, which is 700 metres deep. The Guadalhorce River flows through this area. The panoramic view of this natural canyon sculpted by the river will captivate you.The route is 8 kilometres, of which 4.8 are access paths and 2.9 are walkways. There is also a tunnel running parallel to the walkways of the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, which is an alternative to the aerial path on days when the wind and rain could cause mudslides. The tunnel is 300 metres long, of which 285 are inside and 15 are outside in the Hoyo Valley.There are many plant and animal species living in this area (mountain birds such as the Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture and golden eagle; Spanish ibex, foxes, dormice, etc.). If you're in luck, you might be able to spot some of them.

Caminito del Rey, Málaga

Why visit the Caminito del Rey?

In the early 20th century, a canal was planned from the northern reservoirs to El Chorro, so a hydroelectric power station could make the most of the uneven land. This meant that there had to be a path to maintain this canal, and it was known as ‘Caminito del Rey’ because the works were officially opened by King Alfonso XIII.However, humans have been living in this natural area since prehistoric times, as we can see from the large amount of Neolithic sites.

Hiker on the Caminito del Rey, Malaga.

How long does it take to walk the path?

The Caminito's route is one-way, not circular, and descends from the north (Ardales) to the south (El Chorro). More specifically, it consists of a linear route of 7.7km (approximately 2 and a half hours).After finishing the route, there is a shuttle bus to take you back to the parking situated in the North Zone. 

Do I have to buy tickets? How do I get there?

You do need to buy tickets - you can book them online via the official website. This site also has useful tips for your walk and information on official opening times and how to get there (as well as by car you can come by train, because El Chorro station is close to the Caminito and there are trains from Malaga, Seville and Ronda).In addition to a general visit completed at your own leisure, there is also the option of a guided tour to learn more about the region’s history, geography and biodiversity.

Caminito del Rey

And what can I do once I finish the Caminito?

You can make the most of your visit and explore the districts of Guadalteba, Antequera and Guadalhorce Valley.If you fancy even more active tourism, there are many companies that organise water activities in the reservoirs nearby, or you can walk part of the Gran Senda de Málaga path. But if you prefer something more urban and cultural (or a dip in the sea, depending on the time of year), don't forget that the city of Malaga is less than 50 kilometres away.

Pantano de Guadalhorce, Malaga