The ultimate guide to Caminito del Rey hiking

Caminito del Rey - Bridge

The “Caminito del Rey” (meaning ‘the king’s little pathway’) is one of the most famous hikes in Spain and it is considered one the best things you must do while you are in Andalucia (if you are not afraid of the heights of course 🙂 ). Caminito del Ray hiking is known as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world, with a history of accidents and deaths. Despite its reputation, the Caminito del Rey has become a popular tourist destination for adventurous travelers who are looking for an adrenaline rush. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Gaitanes Gorge and the surrounding mountains.



The Caminito del Rey hike is a 7.7 km (4.8 miles) trail that takes you along the Gaitanes Gorge, crossing over bridges and walkways that are built into the side of the cliff. While you are walking on the trail you will be able to enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and the El Chorro reservoir below. The hike is challenging, with steep inclines and narrow walkways, but it is well worth the effort.


Quick Facts

  • Location: Andalusia, Spain
  • Length: 7.7 km (4.8 miles)
  • Estimated Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Trail Type: Out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 600 meters (1968 feet)
  • Entrance Fee: €10


History of Caminito del Ray

The trail was originally built in 1905 as a way for workers to access hydroelectric power plants along the Gaitanes Gorge. The name “Caminito del Rey” means “King’s Little Path” and is said to have been named after King Alfonso XIII, who visited the area in 1921.

Over time, the trail fell into disrepair and became known as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. In 2000, the local government decided to close the trail to the public due to safety concerns.

In 2015, the trail was reopened after undergoing a major renovation. The trail was completely reconstructed and made safer, with new bridges and walkways added. In our humble opinion, the trail is a must-see attraction in Andalucia because it offers a unique combination of history and natural beauty, offering the scenery is amazing and it is one of the most unique experiences you will ever have.


Is The Caminito Del Rey Dangerous?

The Caminito del Rey has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. In the past, the trail had narrow, unstable walkways and railings that were in poor condition, making it extremely dangerous to traverse. However, in recent years the trail has been renovated and is now much safer, with wider walkways and sturdy railings. Additionally, nowadays only 1100 visitors are allowed per day and they are required to book their visit in advance. This way it is overcrowded and of course much safer. Nevertheless, the Caminito del Rey is still a challenging hike, and hikers should be prepared for steep inclines and narrow sections. 



If you suffer from vertigo, or you are afraid of heights you should reconsider before going as the walkway is 100 meters (328 feet) above the ground.

How long is the Caminito del Rey hike?

Caminito del Rey - Gorge

That depends on your preference and how much time you want to spend there. If you choose to walk the trail on your own without stops typically you will complete it in about 1.5 – 2 hours (the trail is about 8km long). If you choose a guided tour it will take you about 3 hours to complete the route. We suggest you take your time there, enjoy the beautiful scenery and why not take a picnic.

Please note that the trail is linear and it has only one direction to do it, from North (Ardales) to the South (Alora)


How to get to the Caminito del Rey

The Caminito del Rey is located in the province of Málaga. The trail can be accessed from two entrances: the northern entrance at the Lake (Embalse del Gaitanejo) or the southern entrance in the town of El Chorro. Driving is the best way to get to El Caminito del Rey. Still, getting there by train is simple, and getting there by bus from Malaga is an option. Here’s everything you need to know about taking public transportation from Malaga to El Caminito del Rey and other destinations.

By car

Getting to El Caminito Del Rey by car from Málaga is as straightforward as taking the A-357 towards Ardales. This is a rather large road that winds across some breathtaking scenery. When you get to Ardales, exit the main road and take a right turn toward Los Embalses and El Chorro. Continue on this beautiful, winding route until you reach a massive roundabout.

Continue straight, following the signs for ‘Caminito Del Rey Acceso Norte’ (North Entrance). Follow the picturesque route until you reach the official North Car Park, or save time by parking at Restaurante El Kiosko. The trailhead tunnel is immediately close to the restaurant.

Please note that the parking slots near the Restaurante El Kiosko are limited and they get occupied quickly, especially in the summer months and on weekends when people from all over Andalucia come to enjoy the lakes. So you need to get there early. Otherwise, the North Car Park is about a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. If both the parking and the parking slots in the Restaurant are occupied, you can park at the side of the road but please be careful that all wheels are outside the road because a lot of buses come into the area. Parking costs 2 EUR, and you can stay for the entire day.

By Train

Getting there by train is a little trickier, but it can be done. You need to take a train from Málaga to the village of El Chorro. The train to El Chorro departs twice a day from Málaga-María Zambrano station and costs around €5. Málaga-María Zambrano to El Chorro starts at 09:05 am and 13:22 and it takes around 40 minutes to get to El Chorro.

There are 2 trains from El Chorro to Málaga-María Zambrano a day, the first is at 10:47 am, but it is too early to complete the hike in time. The second train only leaves at 21.14. Both services also cost €5.

From El Chorro train station, there’s a Caminito Del Rey shuttle bus station just outside. Jump on the shuttle that will take you to the north entrance, where you can begin the hike.

By Bus

From Malaga, you can take the bus to Alora and then change there to reach El Chorro. You can check bus times from Malaga here. The travel time is about an hour. Check bus times from Alora to El Chorro here. The travel time is nearly half an hour. We don’t recommend you take the bus from Malaga because it’s more hassle than the train or the car.

Get to the entrace of the Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey - Tunnel

In order to get to the start of the trail you need to pass through the tunnel which is located next to the Restaurante El Kiosko. After the tunnel, follow the road for another 10 minutes until you reach the entrance point. The walk to the entrance is about 15 minutes in total.

When you reach the ticket office, have your tickets ready to show and there you will get a helmet and earbuds if you booked a guided tour. You must wear your helmet during the entire hike.


This is the last stop where you can find toilets so make sure to use them if you want because there will be no bathrooms for the duration of the Caminito del Rey!

Hiking the Caminito del Rey

Caminito del Rey - Bridge

Hiking El Caminito del Rey is one of the best things to do in Andalucia and definitely a unique experience. The trail is not difficult (unless you have vertigo) – the trail is in general flat.

The first thing you will notice after the control cabin is the ancient hydroelectric plant. The majority of the trail is made up of boardwalks fixed into the gorge’s side. However, you will also walk in the forest and in some green hills between these regions. If you want to stop for a rest or have a picnic, this is the best place to do it.

The view from these wooden boardwalks is stunning and breathtaking. While you walk there, you are able to see the depth of the gorge and the river at the bottom. Beyond that, you can also enjoy the beautiful views of the valley and mountain ranges. There’s also an abandoned house on the trail, there is even an abandoned house where a family was living in the past. There are also vultures in the area, so make sure to look up 🙂

The best part of the hiking is at the end. In the last part of the trail, you walk again on the wooden boardwalks and from there you can see the original path beneath the one you’re on. Knowing the situation of things should put you at ease. When you reach the finish, you will see the iconic bridge, and how the original walkway looked because you have the wall in front of you.

The highlight of the hike is the suspension bridge where you need to cross the gorge vertically. Following the bridge, there is a short boardwalk before returning to solid ground for the final 10 minutes to the control center, where there are some buckets to leave your helmet. Continue straight for another 10-15 minutes and you’ll arrive at El Chorro train station, where the shuttle bus will take you back to El Kiosko Restaurant.


The Caminito del Rey Shuttle bus

Since the Caminito Del Rey is a linear hike, and can only be walked from north to south. You have two different options if you are visiting the Caminito del Rey by car. You can either park at the south (El Chorro train station) and get the shuttle bus to the south (Restaurant el Torro) or park on the south and after the hike get the Caminitio del Rey shuttle bus to take you to your car. If you arrive by train at the south exit of the trail, you’ll need to get to the north entrance to start the hike. 

The shuttle bus operates every day that El Caminito Del Rey is open for business. Typically, the shuttles run every 30 minutes or so from 08:30 am until 17:30 in winter, and 20:00 during the summer season.

The shuttle service costs €1.50 one-way and generally operates on a first-come-first basis.


Buy tickets to Caminito del Rey

You can buy tickets to the Caminito del Rey at the gate but we don’t recommend it because it sells only 50 tickets per day for those who buy them at the gate. So, you should come early if you want to get in! You can buy tickets online through the official website of Caminito del Rey or use our favorite GetYourGuide. You can book a self-guided or guided tour. The cost of the self-guided tour is €10 and the guided visit €18. We don’t think that a guided tour is really necessary but maybe you can find an organized tour from Malaga which include also the transportation which will make your life easier, especially if you don’t have a car.


Caminito del Rey - Tickets

Caminito Del Rey Tickets

There are lot of ticket options available for visiting Caminito del Rey, depending on your preferences. Self-guides, guided visit or even organised tour from Malaga.

Caminito del Rey Opening Hours

The Caminito del Rey is open every day except Mondays all through the year from 9 AM – 3.30 PM. It closed only on the 25th of December and 1st of January and in case of heavy rain and heavy winds. So please make sure to be informed before your visit.


Where to eat In Caminito Del Rey

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area for lunch. There are two restaurants at the start of the trail but we don’t recommend them. You’d better get with you snacks and a lot of water – especially int he summer months.

Where to stay in Caminito del Rey

We recommend staying in Malaga or in Ronda which are very nice. You can also stay in one of the many beautiful villages of Andalucia known as Pueblos Blancos. If you are fun of camping, there’s a camping in the area where you can stay at night and enjoy the landscape. There’s also a lake nearby where you can swim in the summer months.

Caminito del Rey - Tickets


A nice district near Caminito del Rey is Ronda. There are a lot of Hotels, Guest rooms, and Hostels in the area to choose from.

What to bring to Caminito del Rey

You should consider taking the following with you for a better experience before visiting the Caminito del Ray:

  • Appropriate hiking shoes with good grip
  • Enough water and snacks
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Light jacket (in case of changing weather)


Caminito del Rey, is it woth it?

We are going to tell you our honest opinion of this. We read a lot of articles and saw a lot of videos before visiting the Caminito del Ray and we were thrilled about it. The truth is that we like it a lot! The trail is one of the most scenic and stunning hikes we’ve ever done until now. We definitely suggest you take the hike since it is a unique experience that you will remember for years. 


The best time to visit Caminito del Rey

We advise you to visit Caminito del Ray in early Summer (June) or early Autumn (September-October). This period will be less crowdy and the summer is mild without high temperatures. In general, the whole area is dry so it will be fine to visit it in the winter too. 


Tips for visiting Caminito del Rey

  • Arrive early to avoid crowds and ensure you have enough time to complete the hike
  • Wear appropriate hiking shoes with good grip
  • Stay on the designated path at all times
  • Take breaks when necessary
  • Respect the environment and leave no trace
  • Go to the toilet at the entrance, as this will be the last available bathroom before the hike. 
  • Smoking is prohibited
  •  Always wear your helmet
  • Don’t bring kids younger than 7 years old and dogs.
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