Probably you saw lots of pictures showing a runway through a gorge at Spanish mountains entitled Caminito del Rey but, what is this exactly? How do you get there? Keep reading and get all the facts.​

What is Caminito del Rey?


Caminito del Rey is a path for the workers of an Electrical Company built at early 20th century and restored recently as a touristic attraction. Is located in Málaga, Andalusia, South Spain.


First of all, a small Spanish lesson: Caminito del Rey means King’s Little Pathway. But why? Was a kind of secret passage for royalty? Far from it, was the name given to this little pathway after a visit of Spanish king Alfonso XII to the region. To know a little bit more, let’s discover Caminito del Rey’s story.


How and Why Caminito del Rey was built


In the late 19th century electricity became a brand new, clean and prosper kind of energy that can solve many problems of daily life. Engineer Rafael Benjumea soon saw this possibility and in 1903 built the Salto Hidroeléctrico de El Chorro (Hydroelectrical Precipice of El Chorro) to provide electricity to Málaga city, the first Andalusia city with electrical energy. 


This Precipice took advantage of unevenness in Guadalhorce River which, on its way through Desfiladero de los Gaitanes (Gaitanes Gorge), an impressive canyon carved by the river millennia ago, could be used to generate electric power. The profit made with this work helped Mr. Benjumea to invest into the construction of a huge reservoir to control the river flow of the Guadalhorce, assure a frequent water flow to the Precipice and to water wide the surrounding territory. This reservoir was known as Pantano de El Chorro (El Chorro Reservoir).


Was then when a shortcut was needed to connect faster these two great areas: El Chorro Reservoir in the North and the Hydroelectrical Precipice of El Chorro in the South. The solution was to build a very functional path following the Guadalhorce river’s channel through Gaitanes Gorge. This path, used for the Hydroelectrical company and the Reservoir workers to carry material and to maintaining the areas, was used on march 1921 by king Alfonso XIII on his visit to Málaga to inaugurate the new reservoir. From then on, this maintenance path has been known as Caminito del Rey: the King’s Little Pathway.


Where is Caminito del Rey

Okay. Now we know Caminito del Rey is at Gaitanes Gorge and near El Chorro Reservoir but where are all these places exactly located? We must travel to South Spain and at the region of Andalusia. Near the Mediterranean we find the Province of Málaga, known for other important places as Nerja, Ronda or Marbella. It’s really important not to mistake the Province of Málaga with Málaga city. Málaga city is the capital of the Province of Málaga, but there are more cities as the previously named.

Two cities inland the Province of Málaga share the owning of Gaitanes Gorge and, therefore, Caminito del Rey: Ardales and Álora. The Caminito starts at Ardales area and finishes at Álora area. Since nowadays Caminito is only accessible from the North we will always start our journey from the northern access at Ardales area, where is located El Chorro Reservoir, too. When we finish Caminito we arrive at Álora area, next to El Chorro hamlet and the Hydroelectrical Precipice of El Chorro.

Another important fact to avoid mistakes is to make a difference between El Chorro Reservoir and El Chorro hamlet:


El Chorro Reservoir: you will find it at the North, at the beginning of Caminito but be careful because this is the popular name you will hear from any malaguenian. Nowadays this place is officially known as Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce (Guadalhorce’s Count Dam), in honor of Mr. Benjumea, named Count by Alfonso XIII when he inaugurated the reservoir. This will save you a headache when you Google it.

El Chorro hamlet is at the South, once you finished Caminito, and it’s near the Hydroelectrical Precipice because this hamlet was created for the Precipice workers families. If you decide to get to Caminito del Rey by train, here is where you will arrive.   


How to get to Caminito del Rey

Now you know where Caminito is located it’s only left to know how to get there. First you must arrive to Málaga but, don’t worry, is a very touristic city and there are direct flights from many countries. Check on Málaga’s Airport Website main connections. If there is not a direct flight to Málaga from your country you can always take a direct flight to Madrid, the capital of Spain, and then taking the high speed train (called AVE) to Málaga.

Once you are in Málaga we advice you to stay at the city of Málaga itself or at nearby cities like Torremolinos or Benalmádena. These places are full of comfort hotels and apartments and connections to Caminito by public transport or road are easier. Great! Now you’re closer! Let’s find out the different ways you can get to Caminito del Rey.


By public bus: don’t even try it. Closest public buses to Caminito arrive to Álora town. From there, you must take another bus to El Chorro and then the shuttle bus to Caminito northern entrance. This is an option only if you are staying at Álora. If not, it’s really a waste of time because malaguenian public buses times are not really trustables.


By train: the most comfortable way if you don’t want to drive yourself or going on an organized trip. If you’re staying at Málaga city, just take the MD (Media Distancia, Medium Distance) train to El Chorro and from there, the Caminito del Rey shuttle bus to northern entrance. If you’re staying at Torremolinos or Benalmádena, you can get to Málaga main train station (called María Zambrano) by local train line called C-1 (route Málaga-Fuengirola). If it’s too complicated, don’t panic! Soon we will do a step by step guide for those who chose this option. Click here to get your Caminito del Rey tickets or e-mail us to ask for our Train + Tickets combo.


By car: if you decided to Rent a Car you will get from Benalmádena, Torremolinos or Málaga city to Caminito in less than an hour. If you are coming from Benalmádena or Torremolinos, use the A-7 highway to get to A-357 road. From Málaga you can take directly this road and go on passing Cártama. Near Ardales town, take road MA-5403 to Caminito del Rey northern entrance. Once you finish Caminito it’s only left to take the shuttle bus to arrive again to your car. Click here to get your Caminito del Rey tickets , Rent a Car or e-mail us to ask for our Rent a Car + Tickets combo.


By an organized trip: the most comfortable way, no doubt. Nowadays most tour operators have a Caminito del Rey Tour on their programmes and pick up in most hotels along Costa del Sol, so you will be picked up at your hotel at Benalmádena, Torremolinos or Málaga by a bus with an escort guide and visit Caminito on a half-day trip. There are two kinds of Caminito organized trip:


Caminito del Rey with specialized guide: accompanied by your escort guide you will get to Caminito del Rey and meet your specialized guide. Once you finish the route, the bus will pick you up again to spend some free time at El Chorro reservoir area, with lunch option if desired. Click here to book your Caminito del Rey + Reservoir trip.


Caminito del Rey without specialized guide: a cheaper option, an specialized guide won’t explain you Caminito’s story or facts, but the escort guide on the bus will join you all the way. Moreover, typical Spanish breakfast is included before Caminito. Click here to book your Caminito del Rey trip.


Where do I get my Caminito del Rey tickets?

From its re-inauguration in March 2015, Caminito del Rey has become a world-wide known touristic attraction. The result? It’s always crowded, and tickets are almost as difficult to get as the Alhambra palace ones.


Caminito del Rey tickets from Official Website: to buy the tickets from the Official Website, you’ll need to purchase them at least two months in advance. You can choose from Monday to Sunday, but you must choose a day and the exact hour you will enter Caminito and if whatever you can’t go there is no refund, just the option of date change. There are three options: Standard ticket, Ticket + shuttle bus or Ticket + Guided Visit. Click here to get to Caminito del Rey tickets Official Website.


Caminito del Rey tickets from Bética Travel: on our website will be easier to find free tickets than on the Official Website. Days available are from Tuesday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays. You must choose the day you want to go but not the exact hour if you go for the Standard ticket option, unless you chosed the guided tour. If you must cancel your trip due to bad weather conditions and you can’t change the date, you will have a money refund. There are two options: Standard ticket or Ticket + Guided Visit. Click here to get to Betica Travel Caminito del Rey tickets.


Caminito del Rey organized tour: again, this is the most comfortable option to get to the place and to have the tickets. As we previously described, you can book in our website two options:


Caminito del Rey + Reservoir trip, with a specialized guide and free time at El Chorro reservoir.

Caminito del Rey trip, without specialized guide but with breakfast included.


How long is Caminito del Rey?

Caminito del Rey can be a total of 8 km. Caminito itself is about 3 km long, with 1,5 km of boardwalks and 1,5 km of forest trails. Depending of the access you choose, entering and exiting from Caminito will be 4 or 5 km long. It will take you between 3 or 4 hours to completely fulfil it. Click here to download Caminito del Rey Official Map.


Is Caminito del Rey for me?

If you love nature and stunning views, this is your trip. Caminito has become one of the main touristic attractions in Andalusia, and it’s a must-see if you’re visiting Málaga and Costa del Sol.

There are only three cases in which is not recommended to do Caminito del Rey:


Don’t do Caminito del Rey if you’re afraid of heights: boardwalks are the most famous part of the Caminito, but they are only 1,5 km of total route, which is about 7 km. If you’re really afraid of heights, these boardwalks are about 100 m upon river Guadalhorce, so we don’t suggest you to do Caminito. If you suffer a little bit of vertigo you will be fine, because boardwalks are so firm that you don’t notice you’re hanging 100 m over the floor. Anyway, keep in mind the last part of the Caminito, the hanging bridge always will move a little bit for the fact of being hanged and being at the end of the canyon, where wind blows harder.


Don’t do Caminito del Rey if you can’t walk for a long time: if you’ve got any mobility problems or you’re not used to walk a lot, maybe is not a good idea to do Caminito. Keep in mind it’s a total of 7 km non-stop walking, with no benches or other places to sit down. Moreover, if you’re on an organized trip, the rest of the group can’t wait long for you. Caminito del Rey is a low difficulty hiking tour, but it is a hiking tour, with forest trails, steep areas and steps. 


Don’t do Caminito del Rey if you go with children under 8: children under 8 are not allowed to visit Caminito del Rey, so if you’re thinking to go with your children under this age maybe it’s a better idea to wait some years. Anyway, there are other stunning places or hiking routes to do with kids at Málaga. Check them here.


How to enjoy Caminito del Rey

Great! Now you’ve decided nobody will stop you and you will live this amazing experience. How to fully enjoy it?


Check the weather forecast: choose the best day to enjoy and, why not? For taking the best pictures. If it’s too windy, too rainy or too warm, Caminito will close for your safety and give you the option to change the day of your visit. 


Bring some water and snacks: although there is an automatic machine at the beginning of the path you never know if it’s going to be broken. Bring with you some water (you will need it) and some snacks because probably you will finish later than your regular lunch time.


Yes, you must wear a helmet! You will be provided with a helmet at the beginning of the path for your safety (sometimes there are small landslides) Honestly? It’s not really cool, but it’s a distinction feature: when your friends look at your pictures, everybody will know immediately you were at Caminito del Rey!


Wear closed shoes, not sandals! Yes, we know Málaga can be really warm in Spring and Summer, and there are hiking sandals, but Caminito del Rey’s boardwalks are made of wooden strips, and your sandals’ shoe sole can get stuck between the gaps. So, it’s forbidden to visit Caminito with sandals, remember to add to your luggage a pair of snickers or closed hiking shoes.


A century ago, this path was only used for few families on this small part of the World. Now it’s open to everybody and it’s waiting for you to enjoy it. What are you still doing on this page? Go right now and book your experience at Caminito del Rey!   

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