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El Caminito del Rey was originally built in the early 1900’s as a way of getting between two power stations on either side of the El Chorro Gorge. The pathways fell into disrepair and evolved into the “world’s most dangerous hike”, attracting adrenaline junkies and naïve hikers alike. Restored in 2015, this historic walkway is now a well-constructed, albeit challenging, walk.
Listed as one of the most amazing European national park hikes, it’s well worth a visit if you are in southern Spain.
Here are a few things to know before you go:
You can buy tickets online for €10 per person but you need to book them early. The limit of 400 people walking the Caminito at any one time mean tickets are often sold out. Ideally book them months in advance, particularly if you hope to walk over the summer months.
Hiring a car is the easiest way to get to Caminito del Rey from Malaga. It is only an hour’s drive away but takes over two and a half by public transport. There are also excursions from Malaga every Friday that could offer an alternative way to get there.
Rumours about how the walk was built vary from theories of sailors who were used on ropes at perilous heights doing the bulk of the construction, to prisoners who were condemned to death carrying out the most dangerous aspects of its assembly.
‘El Caminito del Rey’ translates as ‘the little path of the King’, named after King Alfonso xiii who crossed the path in 1921 at the inauguration of the newly built dam.
Following years of dereliction, the trail was closed to the public as the concrete path disintegrated. While this didn’t stop people from attempting the hike, they did so at enormous risk.
It is thought there were at least 5 deaths on the Caminito del Rey before its renovation, the last person died in 2000.
The renovation of the path took four years and cost €2.7m. The previously crumbling pathway was redesigned into a solid wooden path with guardrails and leads to clip into. Safety is key on the new hiking path.
The el Camino del Rey hike is 7.7km with a dizzying bridge 105 metres high.
Those with a fear of heights, beware. This hike isn’t for the faint hearted. Though the rock face of the canyon around you will draw your attention, peeking between your feet might give you a sense of vertigo.
If you are an adrenaline junkie, this may be the hike for you. Offering great views, spectacular scenery and the opportunity to spot a range of wildlife from a height, it is a walk you will never forget.