Caminito del Rey is a protected natural area near Malaga which you can visit easily from the city or from Costa del Sol. If you are in this part of Andalusia you might be wondering: is the Caminito del Rey worth visiting? We’ll help you figure it out in this guide!
Generally speaking, we highly recommend the Caminito del Rey to anyone who is in the area. It’s a beautiful natural wonder and quite an exciting path as an extra. It’s close to Malaga and it’s a great place to go if you’ve already had enough of the beach.
However, while most travelers will appreciate the Caminito del Rey it may be not worth it for some. So let’s take a look at the top reasons to visit this beautiful hiking trail and let’s see when you should think twice about visiting.
What is the Caminito del Rey?
In short, the Caminito del Rey is a small path in Gaitanes’ gorge. It is a hiking trail that features striking sections where you cross the gorge on a suspended path. The trail offers spectacular views and there is a famous bridge at the end of the trail where you will cross the gorge and have an opportunity to feel the height of this suspended path.
The suspended path goes quite high along the gorge. Usually, you are between 50 to 70 meters high in the air but sometimes the path goes as high as 100 meters above the small river running between the rock walls. It really is a spectacle and although today it’s a safe environment, it will definitely get some adrenaline going.
Caminito del Rey had a bad reputation in the past for being extremely dangerous. It was true until 2015. The old path of the Caminito was merely a maintenance path built in 1901! It was abandoned for a long time but people came here to enjoy the views, however, this old maintenance path was very dangerous.
Luckily in 2015, the whole area was renovated and a new pathway was constructed. This new pathway is 100% safe and there isn’t really a moment during hiking the Caminito where you are in danger.
We have some tips for you for visiting Caminito del Rey if you want to learn more.
6 Reasons to Visit Caminito del Rey
Now we’ve taken a look at what this famous trail is, let’s take a look at why we think Caminito del Rey is totally worth the visit.
1. It’s a unique attraction
There are many gorge trails across Europe but Caminito del Rey is definitely among the most striking. Most gorge trails run near the bottom meanwhile the Caminito del Rey runs quite high up on the suspended path.
This means that the route is pretty unique in its design. It’s also rare to have the old path right below your feet. That’s right, this new hanging path was built just above the old one so you get catch a glimpse of the Caminito’s history.
2. It has a rich history
This path has existed since 1901. However, the geological history is much older. The stories and geological wonders that are present in Caminito del Rey are exciting. This is why we highly recommend the official guided tour. It’s definitely worth the extra 8 euros above the general ticket price.
If you only take into account the history from 1901 to today there are already so many stories to tell. The construction of the path, the King’s visit, the people who lived on the trail, and much more.
Go back further and you can look at the rock wall which tells stories of a million years. At one part of the Caminito del Rey, you will even come across a real fossil. That’s right, straight out of your history textbook.
3. A nice change of scenery
When you are in Malaga or Costa del Sol chances are you are spending a lot of time on the beach. Especially if you visit during the summer. However, you can’t ignore the mountains that are looming in the background everywhere you are in Andalusia.
You must embrace the local mountainside and the Caminito del Rey offers an excellent opportunity to get out of your way and explore a different side of Andalusia. You may even stop in a small mountain town like Ardales which is a really beautiful place.
4. It’s exciting
The trail is definitely more exciting to some people than others. Some people are perfectly fine with heights and they will just shrug it off but if you are amused by heights even by the slightest then the Caminito del Rey will definitely get the adrenaline flowing.
Remember you are walking 50 to 70 meters above the bottom of the gorge where the small river runs. At times the distance is even as high as 100 meters to the ground. If this doesn’t sound exciting then maybe the bridge will.
At the very end of Caminito del Rey, you cross from one side of the gorge to the other. You do this on a modern suspension bridge but this is definitely the most exciting part. Although the new bridge is safe this area is very windy.
This means the bridge is made flexible so as you walk across you will feel the bridge moving around to your steps and moving around to the wind. It’s not necessarily scary as I’m bad with heights but I could walk across, however, I definitely didn’t feel like stopping and taking some pictures.
5. We have a free audio guide
In case you don’t like guided tours and like to explore at your own pace you might miss out on some of the history of the area. We’ve created a free Caminito del Rey audio guide just for you. Of course, this is not a real replacement for the official guided tour which is excellent, but it will give you a glimpse into what this trail has to offer and it’s a nice companion for your self-guided tour.
6. You don’t need to be fit to do it
Their official website puts the hike of the Caminito del Rey at medium difficulty. We feel that’s a bit of an overstatement. Your biggest problem here should be heat. During summer it gets really really hot.
In reality, the trail is quite easy. There are some steps here and there but we didn’t feel that anyone need to be at a high fitness level to do the Caminito del Rey. Someone who is totally average and has not seen a fitness machine in a long time could do it.
Really, take care of the heat and bring water – as much as 2 liters if you need to. There is no place inside the Caminito to get water so you need to bring your own or buy some at the entrance.
Who should skip Caminito del Rey?
Okay, so we’ve definitely of the opinion that Caminito del Rey is worth visiting. We’ve also given you some good reasons to visit. So, who should think twice about the visit as Caminito might not be for them?
- You didn’t buy your ticket in advance
- If you are thinking about going tomorrow but don’t have a ticket – you might be out of luck. Tickets should be bought at least a week in advance, preferably earlier.
- You don’t have time
- Caminito del Rey is roughly a half-day activity including getting there and getting back home. If you don’t have the time to spare then maybe do it next time you are in Andalusia.
- You are far away
- Caminito del Rey is mainly an attraction for Malaga and the surrounding area of Costa del Sol like Benalmadena. If you are in a city like Granada then the driving is 2 hours there and 2 hours home. You might want to look around your own town first for interesting attractions than committing to such a long drive.
- You have vertigo
- Look, we think that vertigo is not necessarily a reason for skipping Caminito del Rey. However, every people feel differently about heights. What we can tell you is that there is no place on the trail where we felt unsafe. The bridge at the end is a tad scary but you may be able to do it with clenched teeth. We think you will be fine but the decision rests with you. We recommend looking at some pictures of the trail. Also, the middle section of the trail is not on a hanging path so there is a chance to recharge before the hanging bridge at the end.
So is it worth visiting the Caminito del Rey?
Yes, totally! It’s a unique spectacle with beautiful views and epic pathways. The guided tour they offer is excellent and will give you so much information. We definitely consider Caminito del Rey among the top attractions near Malaga and if you have the time you should consider the visit.