Hiking Caminito Del Rey: The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain

By mzaxazm

Looking down, it was a good 200 meters to the canyon floor; above, a flock of vultures circled in the rising heat of the day.

I observed as one bird gracefully descended into the narrow valley, hovering just 30 meters above the walkway and skimming the cliffside as it glided towards me. It was the closest encounter I’ve ever had with a griffon vulture, and it was truly impressive, with its massive two and a half meter wingspan and finger-like tips.

As it passed overhead, its head swiveled from side to side in search of prey. This is just one special moment while hiking Caminito Del Ray.

Related read: The Best Places to Visit in Andalucía

Vultures at the Caminito Del Rey - The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.
Vultures at the Caminito Del Rey – The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.

Toro Blanco’s Senior Guide Paul wrote a fantastic travel tip about hiking Caminito Del Rey. This canyon is also featured on their guided cycling tour in Andalusia all year round.

Get a unique insight into this amazing day trip!

The King’s Road

The Caminito Del Rey, also known as the Kings Road, is an 8km pathway through a canyon in Andalucia, Spain. Along much of the trail, hikers traverse the cliff side on a walkway fixed halfway between the valley floor and the top, taking approximately 2 hours to complete.

As a guide for Toro Blanco Active Holidays, I led a group on a week-long cycling and walking adventure in this beautiful region of Spain. While I’m not an expert on El Caminito, we were fortunate to have a specialist guide with us to share its history.

As we put on our hard hats near the entrance, our guide Isa joined us. “The original path was constructed in 1901 to provide access for workers at the El Chorro hydroelectric power station here in Andalucia,” Isa explained. “It was inaugurated in 1921 when King Alfonso XIII officially walked the trail. The initial path was made of concrete and metal poles drilled into the cliff, attracting adventurous hikers over the years. However, as the concrete deteriorated and gaps appeared, the path transformed into more of a climbing route and was eventually closed in 2000,” she elaborated.

Following a major reconstruction effort, the path reopened in 2015. It has since become a must-visit for adventurous travelers in Spain, making it a natural choice for Toro Blanco to include on the cycling holidays.

Related read: Tips for Active Holidays

At the bottom of the Caminito Del Rey - The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.
At the bottom of the Caminito Del Rey – The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.

With a secure walkway and handrails along the cliff, all you need now to enjoy the breathtaking views is a head for heights.

The initial part of the path winds through a wide wooded valley, though the river remains far below. As you progress, the canyon walls narrow, and the real adventure begins as you meet your guide.

The cliffs gradually draw closer, and the walkway unfolds. The route is mostly flat, with some undulating sections that turn into steps. After a few more kilometers, the canyon widens, revealing a wooded valley with the river flowing below.

View into the Caminito Del Rey - The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.
View into the Caminito Del Rey – The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.

Further along, you’ll return to the walkway, where the canyon walls almost meet at one point. Eventually, a bridge leads you to the opposite wall and more boardwalk.

Throughout the walk, remnants of the old route can be seen below, with crumbling concrete and precarious bridges.

Caminito Del Rey - The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.
Caminito Del Rey – The King’s Walk in Andalucia, Spain.

The views along the entire trail are breathtaking as you navigate the cliffside, passing by a house that was inhabited until just a few decades ago in a remote location.

Upon completing the walk, especially on a hot day, there are plenty of spots to grab a beer or your favorite Spanish drink, along with cafes and bars for food.

A bus is available for the return trip to the starting point, but with Toro Blanco, you’ll be met by car and taken back to your hotel.

Toro Blanco
Active Holidays in Spain

You’ll kick off your journey from the coastal area near Malaga, meandering through the orange groves and up the hills adorned with sun-drenched olive trees.

As you pass through the charming ancient towns and villages, each boasting its own breathtaking view, you’ll appreciate the joy of discovering these hidden gems, some of which may be unfamiliar to you.

Andalucía is commonly known as the fruit basket of Europe among Spaniards, thanks to the diverse array of fruits cultivated in the region.

Book this tour and contact the tour operator directly via the form below:

Good to Know About Hiking Caminito del Rey

The Caminito del Rey route is absolutely breathtaking from start to finish, winding its way through cliffs, canyons, and a sprawling valley. It cuts through the stunning landscapes of Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, a gorge carved by the Guadalhorce River, with towering walls reaching 700 meters high.

The entire trail is nearly 8 kilometers long and used to be known as one of the most treacherous in the world. Nowadays, it has been meticulously renovated and is much safer.

The trail features stunning walkways and bridges suspended high between tall cliffs, sure to thrill even the bravest hiker. It is not recommended for those afraid of heights!

The gorge Caminito del Rey in Andalucia, Spain.
The gorge Caminito del Rey in Andalucia, Spain.

The suspended walkway section, stretching 2.9 kilometers between the north and south control cabins, offers a unique experience. The rest of the trail winds through mountain paths and forest tracks connecting the control cabins and the entrance/exit points.

The staff gives visitors a hard hat at the control booth and checks that their shoes are appropriate.

An alternative to the aerial path is a 300-meter tunnel running parallel to the walkways of Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. This tunnel, mostly inside the Hoyo Valley, provides a safe route on windy or rainy days to avoid potential mudslides.

This area is teeming with a diverse range of plant and animal species; if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of majestic birds like Egyptian vultures, griffon vultures, or golden eagles, as well as mammals such as wild boar and Iberian ibex.

Originally constructed between the cascades of Gaitanejo and El Chorro to facilitate the transport of materials and maintenance workers to the nearby hydroelectric dam, the path was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1921. Ever since it has been affectionately referred to as “the King’s little walk” – Caminito del Rey.

Don’t forget to pack water, snacks like chocolate, nuts, fruit, or a sandwich for your hike.

Related read: Tips to Prevent Injuries on Active Holidays

Tickets for Caminito del Rey

Kids under 8 can’t go to Caminito del Rey. For those 8 and older, bring your ID or Family Book (just in case) to confirm your age.

Regular ticket: $10
Explore Caminito at your own pace. Max of 10 tickets per purchase.

Guided tour: $18
Join a group of up to 30 people led by a certified guide. Tours available in Spanish and English.

Shuttle Bus: $2.50
Cash only when buying it at the bus.

Parking: $2

For Your Return Trip

Since the trail is one-way, plan for an hour to return to your starting point.

If you travel with Toro Blanco, they will pick you up by car and take you back to your hotel.

If you drove, park in designated areas and take the shuttle bus back. If you prefer to walk, be mindful of light and weather conditions on the narrow road.

If you arrive by train, take the shuttle bus from El Chorro-Caminito del Rey station to the trail’s northern end. Account for this extra travel time. When you finish the hike, simply hop back on the train.

To Get There by Yourself

Ardales and El Chorro stations are accessible by car from Málaga (about 50 minutes), Ronda (60 km away), or Antequera (55 km). El Chorro-Caminito del Rey railway station on the Málaga-Seville line offers connections to towns like Ronda.

Visit the official website for route suggestions, opening hours, and directions.

  • Toro Blanco Active Holidays

    We offer tailor made active cycling and walking vacations. We use our experience and expertise to help you achieve your cycling and walking vacation goals. We remain true to our ideology that a healthy body equals a healthy mind and that the two are inseparable.

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