With five deaths between 1999 and 2000, Malaga’s Caminito del Rey was once known as the world’s most dangerous walkway. But after four years of extensive renovations and repairs, the trek reopened in 2015 and is now perfectly safe. There are no crumbling pathways or dangerous leaps, but this iconic walk still provides a unique experience for thrill seekers.
History of Malaga’s Caminito del Rey
Caminito del Rey means “King’s Little Walkway.” It got its name in 1921 when King Alfonso XIII crossed it during the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce dam in Malaga. The walkway provided hydroelectric power plant workers a way to get to their work stations and transport materials.
The original path was made primarily of concrete poured on steel rails, supported by poles in the rock face. The concrete deteriorated terribly over time. Workers had to navigate huge spaces filled only by narrow steel beams a few centimetres wide.
Malaga’s Caminito del Rey today
Thankfully, walkers today face no such dangers. A lot of the route is made up of nature trails (think relatively flat, dusty surfaces with minimal rubble underfoot). The walkways are remarkably safe and sturdy, with handrails providing additional support for anyone who needs it.
The walk takes you through the beautiful area of Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, which is 700m deep into a ravine. Some parts of the walk guide you along the very bottom. The path parallels a gushing river that’s a gorgeous shade of aquamarine, while sandy cliffs tower above. Other sections see you climbing robust wooden staircases that transform into slender walkways. They hug the side of the cliff face, giving you incredible views of the gorge.
Most people complete the trek in three to four hours. There are plenty of shady spots along the way to stop for a picnic and enjoy the views. Take food and drinks with you, as there aren’t any to buy until you’re almost at the end of the hike.
For many, the highlight of Malaga’s Caminito del Rey is the designated photo spot. Here you can stand on a glass panel, with the incredible ravine visible behind and below you in photos. Because of insurance reasons, the staff aren’t able to take photos with the public’s cameras. So be ready to snap a selfie or ask a friendly fellow walker to take your photo.
Tips for visiting Malaga’s Caminito del Rey
- Buy your tickets online in advance. You’ll save money and won’t have to queue up when you arrive.
- Malaga’s Caminito del Rey is 8km in total. You must cover 1.5km before you arrive at the entrance where you show your ticket. Take this into consideration and set off 30 minutes before the time on your ticket; otherwise you might be too late when you get to the starting point and not allowed to complete the walk!
- Temperatures can drop close to 0°C and feel even colder when the wind is blowing. Bring plenty of warm clothing with you if you’re planning on doing the trek outside the summer season.
- Selfie sticks aren’t permitted, so make sure you leave them at home.