El Caminito del Rey (The Little King’s Path), Spain
During a trip to Spain a few months back I had the pleasure of walking the El Caminito del Rey, which is located about an hour from Malaga in the south of Spain. Once known as the “world’s most dangerous walkway,” the path is perched along the steep stone walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro.
The original walkway construction began in 1901 to accommodate workers at the hydroelectric power plants and was completed in 1905. King Alfonso XIII crossed the walkway in 1921 for the inauguration of the dam. Rumor has it the king was not fond of heights.
The King’s Bridge
After falling into disrepair, it was partially closed for more than a decade. Following the deaths of several thrill-seekers who sneaked in to walk the closed trail, the path was rebuilt above the old one and reopened in 2015. It is now a popular tourist attraction.
Although no longer dangerous to walk, those sensitive to heights may balk at the trail’s 330-foot perch above the river. For those that can brave the heights, spectacular views await. Remnants of the old path can be viewed along the way, so you can see why it was so perilous.
Many companies offer guided hikes (which I highly recommend). Guides provide the rich history of the trail, as well as information about the flora and fauna along the way.
The walk is not strenuous but is approximately four miles and takes three to four hours to complete. There are some stairs at the very end, but otherwise the trail is pretty flat. There is a suspension bridge to cross near the end.
You will encounter groups of hikers along the way, but there’s a reason for that. It’s spectacular.