Hiking El Caminito del Rey

Hiking El Caminito del Rey: the most astonishing landscapes in Málaga

Once known as the most dangerous walk in the world, el “Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes” is a canyon dug by the river Guadalhorce, in the municipality of Álora. Located in the center of the province of Málaga, it is one of the most astonishing landscapes in this area. Its steep walls and considerable height amaze the thousands of visitors that come every year. That’s why tickets for hiking el Caminito del Rey must be bought in advance.

Iron bridge in El Caminito del Rey

Runways, bridges, and tunnels guide you into the gorges.

If you make this walk in the summer season, you can enjoy a bath in one of the four lakes that River Guadalhorce leaves in its wake: the reservoirs of Conde de Guadalhorce, Gaitanejo, El Chorro, and Guadalteba. Closed to this one, there is a wonderful route that we propose to walk in the spring season, the Necropolis of “las Aguilillas”.

A channel construction to take water from the North reservoirs to El Chorro to benefit from the slope in a hydroelectric plant involved the building of a path, known as El Caminito del Rey, as it was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII. This 3-kilometers path, which sometimes reaches 10 meters width and 700 meters depth, was until a few years the only access by train to Málaga.

Hanging bridges and gangways guides you in between amazing gorges.

 

How to arrive to El Caminito

The best way to arrive is by car. Nevertheless, it’s easy to arrive by train or even by bus from Málaga city. Here you are all you need to know about how to arrive from Málaga either by train or by bus.

Train to El Caminito del Rey

From Málaga, take the train to El Chorro at the Maria Zambrano train station, and then walk to the restaurant “El Kiosko”, where the starting point is.

Alternatively, from other cities like Seville or Granada, you can take the train to Antequera-Santa Ana, and then change to the train to El Chorro. You can check tickets and prices in the train web.

Trip by bus

We don’t recommend the trip by bus as you’ll have to get off at Álora and continue then with another bus to El Chorro. Anyway, it is a good option if you are staying at Álora.

How to drive to El Caminito del Rey

Driving to El Caminito del Rey is without a doubt the easiest way to arrive at El Caminito del Rey. Despite the frequency of trains, they stop at the end of the walk so you have to plan the time left to arrive in time to the control cabin.

Writing “El Kiosko Restaurant Ardales” on your GPS will guide you easily. Just be sure to be in Ardales / El Chorro when you choose it, as there are many restaurants in Andalusia with this name.

Approximate time to arrive to El Caminito del Rey from different towns:

    • Málaga: 1 hour.
    • Seville: 1 hour 45 min.
    • Granada: 1 hour 30 min.
    • Córdoba: 1 hour 40 min.
    • Nerja: 1 hour 45 min.
    • Ronda: 50 min.

There are parking lots at El Chorro and also close to the restaurant “El Kiosko”. As mentioned before, we hardly recommend this one as you will be at the beginning of the route.

How to arrive at the control cabin from the Restaurant El Kiosko

From the restaurant, you have two ways to follow. The first one lasts 50 minutes, and the other, 20 minutes, and you have to be there between 15 and 30 minutes before. When you show your ticket, you’ll be given a required helmet. The longest walk begins in a wide tunnel closed to the restaurant, whereas the shortest one starts from a narrow tunnel located 200 meters from the restaurant.

 

Best time of the year to hike El Caminito del Rey and what to bring

You can hike this trail all the year, but try to avoid the hotter months, from June to September. The rest of the year has great temperatures for walking, you just need to dress accordingly. Early winter mornings especially, can get frosty.

When you hike El Caminito del Rey you’re not allowed big backpacks, so a small day pack will do with water and layers of clothes if you go in the colder seasons.

Note that selfie sticks are NOT allowed on Caminito del Rey, neither are hiking poles.

The walk is only a couple of hours and there are only places to stop to have a snack once you pass the first boardwalk. If you go in the warmer months, you can combine your hike with a swim at the lakes afterward, where you can have a picnic.

As an alternative, it’s a good option to either eat at El Kiosko Restaurant or at any restaurant or bar in El Chorro, where the trail ends. Remember to bring cash for your bus ticket, 1,55 Euros.

 

Where to stay when hiking El Caminito del Rey

When hiking El Caminito del Rey, it’s absolutely best to stay in El Chorro or Ardales. There is a campground right at the lakes too which is fairly close to El Kiosko Restaurant.

But if you’re staying farther away, Malaga is the best option for anyone that doesn’t have access to a car. Here are a few options for accommodation.

Where to stay in El Chorro

Complejo Turístico La Garganta

Complejo Turístico La Garganta is a good hotel to stay in El Chorro with an outdoor pool and it’s pet-friendly too in case you plan on doing more hikes in El Chorro with your furry friend.

The hotel has free parking but also an airport shuttle if you don’t drive, which saves you the hassle of getting there.

 

Apartamentos Parque Ardales

Apartamentos Parque Ardales has both apartments and a campground for tents and caravans. It’s situated right by El Chorro Lakes and only a few minutes drive from El Kiosko Restaurant/the start of the trail to the control cabin. You can also walk there in about 20 minutes so you don’t have to worry about parking.

 

A real hiking experience

In El Caminito, the iron runways are a big part of the restored path. Anyway, the amazing walls of the canyon, the clear and glittering water above you, and the vultures flying up in the sky involve you in nature.

From this runway, the old path can be watched above. You can also see people climbing the walls.

To sum up, El Caminito del Rey hike, even though it is a controlled and paying trail, is a real hiking experience. And it’s worth it if you come to Andalusia!

Gorge in El Caminito del Rey

One of the amazing gorges in El Caminito del Rey

You can also hike in the same area:

    • Necropolis of Las Aguilillas trail.
    • Huma peak climbing tour.

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