Caminito del Rey, El Chorro

Exploring the Caminito del Rey: A Guide for Visitors

Nestled in the heart of Andalusia, Spain, the Caminito del Rey is one of the most thrilling and scenic walking trails in Andalucia. Spanning approximately 7 kilometers through the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge, this path offers breathtaking views, a rich history, and an unforgettable adventure for all who visit.

This guide provides all the essential information you need to plan your visit to the Caminito del Rey, including details on the trail, ticketing, access, hotels, restaurants and some of the surrounding attractions.

You can also jump straight to booking a guided tour over at Get Your Guide here.

Visit to the Caminito del Rey 2015
Visit the Caminito del Rey. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in one of Spain’s most spectacular landscapes. Whether you are an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or a history buff, the Caminito del Rey has something for everyone.

The Caminito del Rey is more than just a hiking trail; it is an adventure that combines natural beauty, historical intrigue, and thrilling heights. Whether you are seeking a peaceful walk through nature, a journey through history, or an adrenaline-pumping experience, the Caminito del Rey delivers on all fronts.

The Origin of Caminito del Rey

The Caminito del Rey was originally constructed in the early 20th century to facilitate the movement of workers between the Chorro Falls and the Gaitanejo Falls during the construction of a hydroelectric power plant. The path was built along the steep walls of a narrow gorge, making it an engineering marvel of its time.

The Kings Path - Photo Credit Diputacion de Malaga
The trail gained its name, “The King’s Little Pathway,” after King Alfonso XIII walked it in 1921 during the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce Dam
Restoration and Reopening

Due to its dilapidated state, the trail was closed for several years following a series of fatal accidents. However, extensive restoration work began in 2011, and the path was reopened to the public in 2015. The modern Caminito del Rey features reinforced walkways, safety railings, and stunning suspension bridges, making it both safe and accessible while retaining its historic charm​ (El Caminito del Rey)​.

Camino del rey or kings path in el chorro
The Camino del Rey before the renovation project.
The Trail Experience – Route and Highlights

The Caminito del Rey stretches 7 kilometers from the northern entrance at Ardales to the southern entrance near El Chorro. The walk typically takes between 3 to 4 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make to soak in the views.

Key Sections of the Trail
  • Gaitanejo Gorge: The trail begins with the dramatic Gaitanejo Gorge, a narrow passage that sets the tone for the adventure ahead.
  • Tajo de las Palomas Canyon: This section offers stunning views and the first encounter with the sheer cliffs that characterize the path.
  • Hoyo Valley: A brief respite from the narrow gorges, this valley provides lush scenery and a chance to spot diverse flora and fauna.
  • Gaitanes Gorge: The final and most thrilling part of the trail, featuring a suspended walkway that clings to the vertical walls of the gorge, offering unparalleled views of the canyon below​.
Flora and Fauna
A griffon vulture at the Caminito del Rey

The Caminito del Rey is located within a protected natural area, home to a wide variety of plant and animal species.

Bird watchers will be delighted by sightings of griffon vultures, golden eagles, and other avian species.

The flora includes oleanders, reeds, and a variety of fruit trees that have adapted to the rocky habitat​.

Planning Your Visit – Ticketing Information

Tickets for the Caminito del Rey can be purchased online, and it is highly recommended to book in advance due to the trail’s popularity.

Full instructions for buying your tickets for the Caminito del Rey are here.

Or for a guided tour go straight to Get Your Guide here.

There are two main types of tickets available:

caminito del rey tickets 2021
Caminito del Rey tickets and guided tours can be bought online or at Get Your Guide or Viator.
Access and Transportation – There are two primary access points to the Caminito del Rey.
  • Northern Access (Ardales): Visitors can park near the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir (Visitor Centre.)
  • Southern Access (El Chorro): Parking is available near the El Chorro railway station, with shuttle buses available to the trail’s entrance.

Full instructions on getting to El Chorro, the Guadalhorce lakes and the Caminito del rey can be found here.

It is advisable to arrive early, especially during peak seasons, to secure parking and avoid crowds. The trail is open from Tuesday to Sunday, with specific opening hours that vary depending on the season​​.

Visitor Reception Center

A Visitor Reception Center offers various amenities to enhance the visitor experience. This center includes parking facilities and informational exhibits on the history, geology, and archaeology of the area. It serves as an excellent starting point for your adventure.

Read more about the Caminito del Rey visitor centre here.

Safety Guidelines

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, visitors must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Wear Appropriate Attire: Comfortable hiking shoes, hats, and sun protection are recommended.
  • Follow The Trail Rules: No food consumption is allowed on the walkways, and there are restrictions on the use of selfie sticks, large ruck sacks and drones.
  • Safety Gear: Safety Helmets are provided and must be worn at all times​.

Read more about the rules and regulations at the Caminito del Rey here.

Accommodation and Dining

The area surrounding the Caminito del Rey offers a range of accommodation options, from boutique hotels to guest houses and rental cottages. Some recommended places to stay include:

  • Hotel La Posada del Conde: Located near the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir, offering comfortable rooms and beautiful views.
  • La Garganta Hotel and Restaurant: Situated in El Chorro, this hotel provides easy access to the trail and a restaurant serving local cuisine​ (El Caminito del Rey)​.

For dining, visitors can enjoy local Andalusian cuisine at various restaurants in the area. The Kiosko and Mirador bars near the northern entrance and by the lake is a popular spot for a quick meal before or after your hike.

El Kiosko on the guadalhorce reservoir
El Kiosko restaurant on the Guadalhorce reservoir
Other Attractions

In addition to the Caminito del Rey, the region boasts several other attractions worth exploring:

  • Guadalhorce Reservoirs: Ideal for kayaking, fishing, and picnicking, these reservoirs offer a tranquil escape surrounded by nature.
  • Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Natural Park: A protected area that provides additional hiking trails and opportunities for wildlife spotting.
  • Historical Sites: There are many other places to visit in the area surrounding the Caminito del Rey.

Read more about other places to visit close to the Caminito del Rey here.

Tips for an Enjoyable Visit – Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Caminito del Rey is during the cooler months of spring and autumn. Summers can be extremely hot, making the hike more challenging, while winter weather can be unpredictable.

Preparation and Packing
  • Hydration and Snacks: While food is not allowed on the walkways, it is important to stay hydrated. Carry water and snacks for before and after your hike.
  • Camera: Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning views and memorable moments along the trail.
  • Tickets and ID: Ensure you have your tickets and identification ready for entry.

The Caminito del Rey is a protected area, and it is essential to respect the environment. Stay on designated paths, avoid disturbing wildlife, and take all your trash with you.

Embark on your journey to the Caminito del Rey and discover why this path continues to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world. Don’t forget to check out the local accommodations, dining options, and nearby attractions to make the most of your visit. Safe travels and happy hiking!

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