Soñando Sunday: Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey (Ardales, Málaga)
From where can I plan this day trip? Málaga, Antequera, Ronda, Sevilla, and the like
What is it? Previously known as the most dangerous hike in Spain (and perhaps the world), today the Caminito del Rey is open to and safe for the average day-tripper. In 2015, the national park was closed down and a new, secure path was installed just above the old narrow walkway, located roughly 100 meters (350ft) above the Guadalhorce river. Nowadays anyone in good health can experience the beauty of this park from above, while taking in the old pathway―which remains ‘intact’ but crumbling sporadically―and getting awestruck by the fact that past adventurers have really taken on that feat. Read more about some successful and fatal experiences to get yourself psyched!
How should I prepare ahead of time? The number of people allowed to walk the Caminito del Rey each day is limited and so it is recommended to purchase a ticket in advance. You can do so online here. However, don’t worry if there aren’t any available at the day/time you want. There are many more tickets sold by hotels and other travel businesses (only 10% are sold to individuals through the online portal) or you can also wing it and buy them at the entrance. This is generally not a problem and the only inconvenience is that you may need to wait an hour or so as entrance is regulated.
Pro-Tip: I personally recommend the general admission with bus included (10€ + 1.55€). Unless you have someone to pick you up or transport is provided for you otherwise, you will end up paying for the bus anyways as the pathway can only be walked in one direction and you will need to get back to the entrance somehow. The guided tour (18€ + bus) may provide interesting information but it will require you to stay in a big group rather than walking the trail at your own pace, stopping to take it in and snap great photos sans crowd.
How do I get there? Train + Shuttle Bus or Car
It is possible to reach El Chorro (the village where the Caminito del Rey ends) by train from Málaga or Sevilla, however the number of trains are currently limited and you will need to use the shuttle bus as well to reach the entrance. The best option is probably to go by car. You can find further details here. Of course, if you organize your trip through a hotel or travel agency they tend to provide transportation in the package so you should be covered.
Pro-Tip: If you are going by car, be sure to look for the north (norte) entrance as there will be two options for “Caminito del Rey” however you can only enter from the north and this is not clearly marked on road signs. Additionally, plan to arrive about 30 minutes before your reservation as you will need that time to walk from the parking (2€ in the lot) to the entrance.
Recommended time of year to visit: Keep in mind that summers in Andalucía get HOT. In order to enjoy this hike in the sunshine but bearable temperatures, I recommend spring or fall. Our trip last week (November 21st) had perfect conditions!
Pro-Tip: It’s also essential that there are not high winds (the park will close down, allowing you to reschedule within a month) so you may want to check the forecast ahead of time.