With the Caminito del Rey closed due to bad weather conditions just two days before the date I had my permit I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to walk the famous (infamous) and newly restored footpath through the Gaitanejo gorge. It was pouring with rain in Grazalema but I set off anyway in the hope that the weather would change in my favor. (And it did 🙂 )
My permission was to enter from the Ardales side (where the reservoirs are) at 12pm, so I headed for there and parked up by the Kiosko Bar/restaurant and still had time for breakfast. Instructions are to be at the checkpoint 30 minutes before your allotted time and It took me 20 minutes to get there at 11:15 via the signposted footpath that goes through the tunnel to the right of Kiosko bar.
There were just a few people waiting at the checkpoint and it was interesting to see that people with permits for 11:30am, 12pm and 1pm all entered at the same time of 11:40am. (The guy checking permit said this was happening a lot.) We were issued with hair nets and helmets and off we went.
The Caminito can really be divided into 3 parts, two boardwalks and a woodland trail. The first boardwalk gently eases you into the Gaitanejo gorge and is not so high, then there is the woodland part that gets you to the second boardwalk that is higher and passes by the transparent platform so you can stand and look down at the river below. The highlights for vertigo is the suspension bridge built by the side of the old “bridge” and the transparent floor…The woodland part has plenty of places to sit and enjoy the stunning scenery or have a picnic.
I walked as far as the suspension bridge then turned around and came back the same way. Remember if you want to return by walking DON’T pass the second checkpoint or you would need another permit to get back on the Camino.
All in all a great experience but as a person who has walked and climbed this path before the restoration it has definitely lost some of it’s appeal (for me anyway). That said, if you have never been here before then I can highly recommend the experience.
As a special treat I had lunch with the family in the Posada del Conde restaurant and stayed the night in this lovely hotel. I always get the room with the jaccuzi bath! 🙂
Full instructions on how to get a permit here… But be quick as places are filling very fast and soon there won’t be any available until October 2015.