Our day trip to Cadiz was part of our New Years trip to Seville and as Cadiz was only a train ride away we decided to visit. Our trip to Cadiz was inspired by Rick Stein and his Long Weekends TV series.
Hike the El Caminito del Rey | A fantastic Andalusian walk
What is the El Caminito del Rey ?
El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Path) is a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name derives from the original name of Camino del Rey (King’s Pathway), abbreviated locally to el caminito. The walkway had fallen into disrepair and was partially closed for over a decade. After four years of extensive repairs and renovations, the walkway re-opened in 2015. The walkway was originally created for the workers of the hydroelectric plant to offer them and their materials passage through some dangerous terrain.
What’s the best way to get there?
We were travelling from Seville as that’s where we were based for our Andalusian adventure and we travelled to El Chorro by train. El Chorro is the town near where the hike starts and its on the main Seville – Malaga line and has a twice a day service to El Chorro. Train tickets can be bought from the ticket machines in any main station or you can buy online in advance Here as this option is usually cheaper than buying on the day and the trains fill quickly.
You can also drive and the trip from Seville to El Chorro takes around 2hrs and you can find directions Here. Whether on the train or the bus the views once you near El Chorro are spectacular. We travelled by train the day before and the conductor pointed out walkers on the trail from the window of the train. The next day we looked up to the train tracks from that very spot.
Where did we stay at El Chorro?
We chose the Hotel Garganta as it was right next to the train station and within a few mins walk to where we had to catch the bus for the start of the hike. We didn’t book ahead as it was off season but had we not been able to secure a room there are other hotels in El Chorro a km or so away that we could have chosen.
The hotel was previously an old flour mill and had been converted into a modern hotel but some of the existing features still remained, especially from the outside. This site was chosen for the mill due to the proximity to the river and the railway.
The Hotel Facilities:
- Good, clean, comfortable room
- Good bathroom with hot water in the shower
- Free wifi in most areas
- Outdoor terrace bar and restaurant
- Indoor restaurant
- Swimming pool (for warmer weather)
The El Caminito del Rey Hike
What does it cost?
The cost for hiking the route is €10 per person with €1 required for the shuttle bus. There are guided tours available in a variety of languages at an additional charge of €8 but you can also hike alone. The paths are clear and there are staff dotted around should you require assistance.
The authorities only let a certain amount of people access the site at any one time so you need to prebook your ticket so that you can reserve your spot. The official website is in Spanish and English and has a handy calendar showing which dates are available. Tickets are not available on the day so best to reserve beforehand online here.
There is a shuttle bus that takes you from El Chorro to the start of the walk. At the reception area there is a small cafe where you can stock up on water and snacks for the hike and grab a coffee before you go. There is an approx 2km walk though the initial stages of the gorges which leads you to the entrance gates to the El Caminito del Rey.
At the entrance gates your tickets and allocated times are checked and you’re given a hard hat as there are several areas along the route where the rock leans overhead and bits may fall so its best to be prepared. Once we’re all kitted out we head through the gates onto the walk.
There is approximately 5km of gorge walks, high level walks, lower boardwalks taking you through the canyons and gorges of the El Caminito. If you look up you’ll see a flock of very large birds circulating and swooping into the cliffs and we found out these are Griffon Vultures and there are loads of them so it must be good hunting ground.
Towards the end of the hike there is a rope metal bridge to walk over with a glass panel in the floor so you can see the vast drop and its quite exciting to walk over. The route then snakes round past the rialwayline we’d seen the day before back to the El Chorro train station which was fortunate as our train was due in an hour to take us back to Seville. Fantastic walk and I would encourage anyone visiting this area to get a ticket and do the El Caminito del Rey.
Other information that may be helpful:
- Wear good walking boots as some of the terrain is rocky and sandy and its good to be sure of your footing
- Wear layers and take a waterproof as weather can be changeable and can be quite chilly in the canyon
- Take lots of pictures and look up whilst going through the gorges as the Griffin Vultures fly in flocks
- Take plenty water and snacks with you as there are no facilities on the walk
- Make sure you make a visit to the toilet before entering the park as there’s no facilities on the route
- And remember to reserve your ticket beforehand as they only allocate so many tickets per day
- Most of all enjoy, take your time, and have a wonderful day.
As part of our Andalusian New Year adventure that would take us to Seville, Cadiz, El Chorro we also wanted to visit the city of Cordoba as its historical centre is listed as a world UNESCO heritage site and its got some fantastic buildings.
Seville is the capital of the Andalusia area and seemed to offer all the thinsgs Chris and I love in an adventure. Food, culture, good local transport links and of course Seville is the setting for Chris’s favourite opera, Carmen. It was perfect and absolutely lived up to its reputation.