Visiting Caminito del Rey might look like a daunting task at first, but we are here to help. There are many options from guided tours to official tickets. There is also the question of getting to the Caminito and parking. So we’ve put together this guide to help you with everything.
When first visiting Caminito del Rey I was a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t find too much info on how early I should get there and what are the best options really. This guide is created exactly to answer these questions. If you follow this guide your visit to Caminito del Rey will be effortless.
Before we being there is just one thing we must say: Caminito del Rey is an attraction that you should definitely see. It’s one of the most beautiful places around Malaga and it has a rich history. If you have the time to make the trip then we definitely suggest you visit.
Please note that this is a pretty big writeup so use the table of contents to quickly jump to sections you are interested in.
Types of visits to Caminito del Rey
First, let’s take a look at all the options available for your Caminito del Rey visit. We will start with what we think is the best option and then take every other possibility into account. It’s important to note that Caminito del Rey has a limited number of tickets for each day.
Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance. Two to three weeks in advance should be enough.
Official Guided Tour – Best Option
We believe that the best option for your visit is the official guided tour. You can grab tickets on Caminito del Rey’s official website. The tickets are separated into timeslots so you’ll need to pick a time and be there when your timeslot comes.
Usually a week in advance only a few times are available but something like three weeks in advance should give you plenty of options.
As far as we know this guided tour is available in Spanish or English. Not sure about the other languages. Groups are around 30 people and you will receive everything you need.
Once you check in your will get your helmet, your radio, and a set of brand-new headphones that you get to keep (mind you these are cheap but they are unopened for sanitary reasons).
The tour itself is excellent. Official guides know a lot about the path and they will keep talking all the way to the end. This is the best way to enjoy a visit if you want to learn all about the different stories and history of the area.
Tickets are 18 EUR at this time which is a very reasonable price. The shuttle bus (2.5 EUR) and parking (2 EUR) are not included in this though.
Grab your tickets on the official site: https://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/tickets/buy
Self-Paced Tour – With our Free Audio Guide
Sticking with the official tours we got one more option which is the general visit. A general visit is totally self-paced. You’ll get a helmet and a safety demo but then you are left to your own devices to explore Caminito del Rey as you wish.
It’s a great option if you really dislike guided tours. We think the guided tour is definitely worth it but the general ticket is cheaper coming in at 10 EUR.
Free Audio Guide: Lucky for you we’ve got a free Caminito del Rey Audio Guide. You don’t need to register or anything just follow the link and enjoy the free guide. It’s definitely not as great as the official guide but it’s a great addition to a self-paced tour.
Once again self-paced tickets are also separated into timeslots and you will need to be at the entry office when your time is next. Usually, general tickets go quickly so you need to buy them at least two weeks in advance but preferably even earlier.
Grab your tickets on the official site: https://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/tickets/buy
Guided tour with transport
Now there is a third option that falls outside of the official tickets. These are guided tours on websites like GetYourGuide. Truth to be told we’ve not taken any of these tours so it’s hard to judge them.
However, we do find it a bit weird that for example, a guided tour WITHOUT transport costs 29 EUR. That is 11 EUR more for essentially the same experience. Official guides are great so it’s unclear what something like this can offer above the 18 EUR official tour.
Then there are guided tours that do contain transport from Malaga. These can be good if you don’t rent a car and don’t want to depend on the train to El Chorro. These can be quite pricey but if you are lucky and get the tickets on sale they can present great value as you won’t have to worry about transport.
Once again, look for guided tours that include transportation from your town whether it’s Malaga or somewhere along the Costa del Sol. Tours without transport? We would skip it due to the price difference from the official offering which is pretty good already.
Getting to Caminito del Rey
Important: You have to be at the entrance of Caminito del Rey at the indicated time on your ticket. It is advised to arrive around 1 hour earlier in the parking lot.
Hiking to the entrance
Getting to the start of Caminito del Rey is always a question. First up let’s clear up one confusion: the tours and the entrance is not accessible via car. Yep, almost all the tours start at the North Access point which is still a 1,5 km (or 2,7 km if you take the long way) hike from where you can park.
What you must remember is ‘El Kiosko’ restaurant. This restaurant is always used as a reference point. All the buses drop you off at El Kiosko so it’s a really great reference point. There is also parking near this restaurant which many people opt for.
There is a trail starting right next to the restaurant. You’ll see a sign with an arrow pointing toward the entrance of El Caminito del Rey. The distance is 2,7 kilometers from here. However, there is a shorter way.
To find the shorter way you must walk back on the side of the road. There is a pedestrian pathway next to the cliff wall, follow it, and you will find the sign that points to the entrance and marks the distance as 1.5 kilometers.
This path takes you through a long tunnel which saves quite a lot of time. Definitely, the one to take if you are in a hurry. Don’t worry about the tunnel, it is illuminated from the inside and you can see both ends from any place inside. Here’s the google maps link for the start of the tunnel: https://goo.gl/maps/JznhTZPBfk7uiUCBA
If you take the tunnel, it’s about 20 minutes to get to the entrance from El Kiosko.
Getting to El Kiosko by car
Now we’ve cleared up the fact that you will always need to walk the last part. Getting to the parking lot is quite easy as there is a main road from Malaga. The trip is roughly one hour.
There are three parking lots and a bus service that runs between these parking lots. Note that the Caminito is a linear path. This means you will end up at a totally different place than where you begin. You’ll need to take the bus back to your parking lot.
Official Parking Lot
Out of the three parking lots only one is maintained by the Caminito del Rey offices. This is the visitors center and it’s the spot that has the nicest toilet of all the parking lots. This is important especially as El Kisoko’s toilet is rather disappointing.
Now this parking lot we marked as the Official Parking lot on the map. You can pre-purchase a spot here along with your ticket. We highly recommend that you do this as you can take the bus to El Kiosko anyway. The bus costs 2.5 euros per person and the tickets are for ‘unlimited’ rides. So you can take the bus to El Kiosko, keep your ticket, present it at the end of the Caminito, and get back to the parking lot with the very same ticket. Nice!
El Kiosko Parking
There is also parking near El Kiosko. This is one of the most convenient parking spots as you only need to take the bus once. It costs 2 euros as well but you can’t reserve a spot. If you go in the morning or in the evening it’s probably fine but if you go midday you might not find a free spot here.
For this reason, we recommend the Official Parking Lot as you need to take the bus anyway at least once and the ticket is reusable.
El Chorro Parking
Finally, there is parking at El Chorro. This is the endpoint of the trial. It’s a good option as it’s free but spots are definitely not guaranteed. However, if you can grab a spot here it’s nice as you take the bus only on the way to the entrance and when you finish the trail you can get into your car and drive away.
Getting to El Kiosko via Public Transport
If you don’t rent a car there is another option: public transport. What we recommend is the train. There is a train that runs from Malaga to El Chorro which is the endpoint of the trial. Once you arrive in El Chorro you can take the bus to El Kiosko and start your journey from there.
The downside of Public Transport is definitely the timetable. As you need to be at the entrance at the time indicated on your ticket you might have some ‘downtime’ if the train schedule does not perfectly match your ticket schedule.
What to bring to Caminito del Rey?
Now let’s go over the most important things you must bring when you are visiting Caminito del Rey.
- Your ID
- This is probably the most important. You need your identification document that will be checked upon entry
- During the hot summer season, at least 1,5 or 2 liters of water is recommended per person. Do not skimp on this as it can get really hot.
- If you don’t bring it then apply it beforehand. Although you are inside a gorge for the most part of your trip the sun will still find ways to reach you. You are pretty exposed here so it’s best to apply sunscreen before taking on the trail
- Comfortable Shoes
- It’s around 2 hours to complete the trail. You need some comfortable walking shoes for that. There is no real hiking here so you don’t need any special equipment. A nice pair of shoes will do just fine.
- Your tickets on your phone or printed
- We saw multiple people with printed tickets. Do note that you do not need to print the tickets and you can present them on your phone.
- Pair of headphones
- You will be given a pair of brand-new headphones for the guided tour but if you don’t want to generate extra e-waste then you can bring your own and simply give back the unopened ones at the beginning.
- Our free audio guide
- Time for some shameless self-advertising. If you are doing an unguided visit then you can use our free audio guide to enhance your experience.
- Cash for the bus
- You can’t pay with a card on the bus so have some cash on hand. Currently, tickets are 2,5 EUR per person.
- A small backpack
- We found that it’s best to have one small backpack per two people. That way you can store your water and it’s more comfortable than walking with the bottle in hand.
How hard is the trail and how much time does it take?
Finally, you should know what you can expect from a usual visit. It is recommended to arrive one hour before your timeslot at the car park. From the parking place you will be at the entrance in around 45 minutes where you will wait for your time to enter.
From the official entrance, it is around 1,5-2 hours to walk Caminito del Rey. After you have completed the trail you will walk some distance to the exit and to the bus afterwards. This is a similar distance to what you’ve done at the beginning before the entrance and it will take around 30-45 minutes.
Then depending on where you park you have to take the bus back to your parking lot which is an additional 10-30 minutes.
All in all a full visit should take roughly 3,5-4 hours without the actual driving here. We consider this a ‘half-day’ activity.
The difficulty of Caminito del Rey
Their official website puts the trail at medium difficulty but we think it’s not actually that hard. You will be walking on the hanging pathway and dirt mountain trails. There are some steps but it’s never too much. A person with an average physique will have no problem completing the Caminito del Rey.
Most of the problem comes from the heat. During summer it gets super hot in the gorge so make sure you are hydrated and bring some chocolates or power bars for extra energy. In pleasant weather, the trip is completely fine without any extra food.
Can you go if you have Vertigo?
It’s a hard question. Something you must decide. The hanging trail is not at all scary and we think even people with Vertigo will be fine. However, the suspension bridge at the end will get on the nerves of some people. It’s a steel suspension bridge spanning the gorge and it definitely moves around as you make your way through. It’s not extra scary but for people with Vertigo, this is the hardest part.
Visiting Caminito del Rey – FAQ
Yes, definitely. This is not one of the places where you can just show up. You need a ticket in advance. The best place to buy is their official site: https://www.caminitodelrey.info/en/tickets/buy
Yes, there are a total of three parking lots. We recommend the official Visitor’s Center Parking lot. It has the best toilets.
Yes, it’s possible that the trail is closed. If it happens due to weather you will be able to redeem your unused tickets and get your money back.
Water, yes you can and you should. Food, nothing serious, just bring chocolate or power bars.
There is limited cell service. If you are using our free audio guide we recommend that you start each recording to have them preloaded.
No! Once you enter the closed area of Caminito del Rey there are no more toilets until the end. There are toilets near the entrance if you need them.
Yes, everyone gets a helmet at the entrance. In some places the rock wall is low and there is also the possibility of small rocks falling. This is protection against that.