Caminito del Rey – the most dangerous hike in the world?
Frightening heights, a narrow valley with sheer rock walls, a small wooden path, … to some this might sound terrifying, to me it sounds challenging. And that’s the reason why I chose to travel to Spain once more and revisit Andalusia.
Not only National Geographic and The Washington Post loved and wrote about it, but also Lonely Planet dedicated an article to the Caminito del Rey. Most of the titles look something like this:
Caminito del Rey, Spain: one of the world’s scariest hikes to reopen
Caminito Del Rey, World’s Most Dangerous Walkway, Set To Reopen Next Week
World’s deadliest pathway reopens to the public
El Caminito del Rey: World’s scariest pathway, to reopen
But how is it really and is it still so dangerous?
About the Caminito del Rey
In the province of Malaga, near Ardales, the Caminito del Rey – the little path of the King – is famous for adrenaline rush and extreme heights. It was opened by King Alfonso VIII in 1921 and was considered the most dangerous hike – I mean look at this:
But it had to be closed due to security reasons in 2001 – adrenaline is fun as long as it is safe, right? This is the reason why the Spanish Government invested a lot of money in building a new experience:
The new Caminito del Rey
Only last year it was reopened and over 30,000 people signed up to visit the Caminito del Rey in the first few months – and I was one of them!
Let me take you on a wonderful hike in the mountains of Andalusia, leave your daily routine and come along:
Pack a small backpack, put on some hiking shoes (runners will do it too) and start a wonderful day in Ardales. I got a warm welcome by the guards as the checked my printed registration and ID. Helmets were handed to us and after a short safety introduction everyone went off to explore the path. Between 50 and 60 people are allowed in every 30 minutes, but no worries: this might seem a lot but the people spread fast and if you want to have it all to yourself stay behind and take it all in.
The wooden path runs along the steep rocky walls of the valley. Try not to look down as the wooden boards of the path allow a view down into the valley.
As you walk enjoy the landscape, listen to the birds sing and stop thinking about anything else that usually occupies your mind. Be present. Consciously take step by step, touch the wall, stop for a few minutes and look around. What do you see?
Towards the end of the Caminito del Rey a suspension bridge connects the valley.
I wait for a bit so I can cross it alone – again, step by step. The wind slightly caresses it and I keep on walking. My fear of height has gotten so much better. I wouldn’t have been able to walk here a couple of years ago, but now, although I am still a little tense, it is more exhilarating than frightening.
It is really that dangerous?
The old path was undoubtedly dangerous and was a death trap to some, but that has changed. The old path is not accessible anymore. The new Caminito del Rey has been built to ensure a save hike through the valley. It is really more like an extended walk than a real hike – which doesn’t make it any less interesting.
Tips and Information
- This is not recommended if you are afraid of heights (!!!)
- The total length of the hike is 7.7 km – the path along the bridges/board walks is 2.9 km
- It is not necessary to get a guide, because the Caminito del Rey can be enjoyed on your own or of course with friends
- You must book a time slot online (the booking page is under construction at the moment)
- Book well ahead of time
- Print the voucher and bring an ID with you
- The voucher will also be your insurance for your time on the Caminito del Rey
- Be at the entrance 30 mins before your booked time slot
- The Caminito del Rey was free when I visited, but starting April 2016 there will be a fee of maximum 10€
- The Caminito del Rey used to be open in both directions, now it is a one-way path
- Don’t wear flip-flops or high heels (please!)
- At the end of the path you’ll find several small restaurants to enjoy some local food
- Selfie sticks and large backpacks are prohibited
- find more information here
- Have fun!
How to get to the Caminito del Rey
Rent a car and park either at the beginning or the end of the Caminito del Rey. On both sides are parking lots and a shuttle bus operates frequently – check timetable below. More details here.
Trains from Malaga and Seville stop at the train station El Chorro (South of the Caminito del Rey) once a day.
Shuttle Bus Schedule
Shuttle busses are available every 30 mins on the weekend to get you to the entrance or the end of the Caminito del Rey for 1.50€
South (El Chorro) – North (Ardales)
8.45, 9.30, 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 13.00, 13.30, 14.00, 14.30, 15.00, 15.30, 16.30, 17.30
Saturday and Sunday
Every 30 minutes starting 9.00, last bus 17.30
North (Ardales) – South (El Chorro)
9.10, 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 13.30, 14.00, 14.30, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00
Saturday and Sunday
Every 30 minutes starting 9.30, last bus 17.30
10am to 2pm: October 25th to March 26th
10am to 5pm: March 27th to October 24th
!! Closed on Mondays !!
Have you been to the region? Did you dare? How was your experience on the once most dangerous hiking path?
Keep on travelling,
Note: Mil gracias to the Spanish Tourism Board and Costa del Sol for the lovely time in Andalusia.