“El Caminito del Rey:” Dare to walk Spain’s most scary footpath in person (or do it online)

A relatively short drive inland from the Costa del Sol and all its glorious beaches and resort towns, an adrenaline adventure of a lifetime awaits. While probably not the best thing for those with a fear of heights, “El Caminito del Rey” is definitely a must-see for the brave.

El Caminito del Rey - Spain most daring walkway

El Caminito del Rey – Spain most daring walkway – photo courtesy MichiNerja

When you’ve settled comfortably into your holiday home in Mijas or the surrounding areas and feel like doing something a little more than just lying on the beach, this is an adventure worth trying. For those in your party with a fear of heights, the surroundings are amazingly scenic with plenty more to see and do.

However, for those with adventure in their soul, the walkway awaits. Pinned along the sheer walls of a gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga province, “El Caminito del Rey” (or the King’s little pathway) is a daring walk, high above the river which flows below. This narrow wooden footpath is a maximum of one metre wide and runs for 7.7km, rising in some parts to over 100 metres in height.

Ironically it wasn’t always an adventure walkway, as it was originally built to give workers at the hydroelectric power plants at Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls a means of access. Construction on the walkway started in 1901 and it was completed in 1905. It was in 1921 when King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway for the inauguration of the Conde del Guadalhorce dam that it received its current name.

The footpath fell into disrepair some years ago and after five travellers died in 1999 and 2000 it was closed, many thought forever. As you can see from the photo below, some daredevils still continued taking the walkway, but this was entirely at their own risk.

El Caminito del Rey path shown broken and in need of repair in 2006

El Caminito del Rey path shown broken and in need of repair in 2006 – photo courtesy Gabirulo

It was eventually decided that extensive repairs were the order of the day and the walkway reopened in March 2015, much to the delight of daredevils and adrenaline-junkies alike. Even better, tickets to experience the walk of a lifetime are free, but please note that you do need to book in advance – this is a popular experience and there can’t be too many people doing the walk at the same time.

Caminito del Rey path from a far

Caminito del Rey path from a far – photo by Manolo Fernández

If the photos alone make you feel dizzy, however, Google Street View, who have promised to add all of Spain’s major attractions to their system, now have “El Caminito del Rey” on board. Imagine sitting at the keyboard and taking this incredible walk in the safety of your own home. If you chicken out halfway, no problem! To visit “El Caminito del Rey” in all its splendour online, click on the image below to virtually walk the path!

While normally Google uses one of its familiar street cars to capture all the images along the way, they had to do something a little different with this project. Instead of a car they used what is called “the trekker,” which is basically a backpack with the camera system perched on top, allowing the camera operator to move freely through small and confined (and often dizzying!) spaces that can only be accessed on foot. Now anyone, anywhere in the world can experience the excitement and views of “El Caminito del Rey.”

Whether you experience online or in person, enjoy the wonderful scenery in areas surrounding “El Caminito del Rey” on your Spanish holiday. You won’t regret it!

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