Wife: “For my birthday, I want to walk the Caminito del Rey.”
Me: “Wait. Isn’t that the deadliest hike in Spain?”
Wife: “Yeah, but it’s been renovated and just reopened.”
Me: “But I’m scared of heights.”
Wife: “Suck it up, buttercup.”
That Was Then
The Caminito del Rey is a pathway that cantilevers out from the vertical walls of a narrow gorge about 100 meters above the river below.
The King’s little walkway was built over a hundred years ago to provide a means to travel between and maintain two hydroelectric power plants. King Alfonso XIII crossed it at the inauguration of the nearby dam in 1921, hence the name.
Since then, it had slowly fallen into decay and at the same rate attracted thrill seekers from around the world willing to test their mettle, even claiming the lives of a few.
The original concrete platforms crumbled away leaving gigantic holes and in some areas, nothing but the bare supporting steel beams from which to cross.
Local government officially closed the caminito in 2000 after a rash of deaths. A decade later, someone had the idea to renovate the boardwalk and turn it into a tourist destination.
This Is Now
And what a good decision that was. The award-winning linear hike is a great way to spend an afternoon. Tickets include one-way bus service so you can park at either the start or the finish and know that they will shuttle you back to your car.
The official path is about 3km in length. About 2km of it being on the boardwalk. That doesn’t include an additional 2km at the outset and another 2km at the end just getting to the official starting point where they dole out the sweet headgear.
You start out in a pine forest walking along the river and emerald blue reservoir built up from the nearby dam. At a leisurely pace, most folks complete it in 3-4 hours.
Everything culminates at the 105-meter high hanging footbridge that is represented in the logo. It’s sure to blow wind up your skirt.
It’s a fun outing for nearly all ages. They don’t allow children under the age of 8 or so. It was perfect for our 11-year olds as long as we had enough water. You will most definitely be disappointed if you ever considered doing the route *prior* to the renovation.
I’m still not sure why they make you wear a helmet – probably to safeguard against falling rocks or vulture poop. It makes a great day trip to a very scenic part of Málaga province.
Tickets are limited to a certain number each day so it’s important to book ahead.
Have you done the Caminito? Pre- or post-renovation? What was your impression?