It’s a glorious sunny day for A) the hubby’s birthday and B) some bucket listing!
We’re off to walk the Caminito del Rey – the King’s Walkway. Something the high octane one has wanted to do ever since he clapped eyes on it about seven years ago during a previous visit!
The total route runs from the town of Ardales to its exit in Álora, about eight kilometres away.
After booking online to take part in a guided walk (the only option available to us – much to his anti social disappointment) we arrive in good time – AKA too early for our time slot – so get to enjoy some cake and coffee at the quaint Mirador Restaurant that can be found at the start of the walk.
The Spanish love Halloween and all things autumnal- check out all these seasonal squashes!
Then we’re off – opting to take the slightly shorter 1.5km route to the official start of the walk that takes you through a dark tunnel – exciting!
There is another, longer route that is around 2.7km long but doesn’t involve a tunnel (so therefore inferior on two counts in my mind)The route runs from the town of Ardales to its exit in Álora, about eight kilometres away.
You emerge from the darkness blinking into the sunlight and get your first glimpses of some of the wonderful scenery on route.
The official start of the route is actually at the route’s control cabin where you meet your guide, pick up a hard hat and a radio.
The control cabin is approximately 25 minute’s walk from the tunnel entrance at Gaitanejo dam.
The caminito was opened in 1921, by King Alfonso XIII – hence its name The Kings Walkway.
This almost 8-kilometre path was once considered one of the most dangerous in the world but was made safe, and reopened about seven years ago.
The old walkway was originally built between the waterfalls of Gaitanejo and El Chorro to bring materials and maintenance workers to the local hydroelectric dam
Th first phase of the walk takes us into Gaitanejo Gorge before we approach the leafy woodlands of the Hoyo valley.
The walk takes three to four hours to complete from start to finish – depending on how many pictures you stop to take of course . .
Looking across to the other side of the valley you can see the railway line supported on large stone structures between the tunnels.
Incredibly this railway linking Cordoba to Malaga was constructed between 1860 and 1866.
We’re heading into the spectacular Balconcillo de los Gaitanes gorge now.
Here the walkways cling to the cliff face, a dizzying 100 metres above the river bed.
Below you can clearly see the remnants of the original 1921 walkway and it becomes very clear why it was once considered the most dangerous route in the world!
And again below, the crumbling remains of the original vertigo inducing pathway.
A few awkward poses from yours truly . . . #hurryupandtakethephoto
One of the most iconic, and jaw dropping sights is The Puente Colgante – the hanging bridge.
The 30m-long galvanized steel suspension bridge is suspended high above the river and has a limited amount of people allowed on at any one time.
After the wobbly bridge we’re onto the last leg – the baking Southern cliff side where the heat smacks you squarely in the face!
The final section of the walk is encased in a metal cage in order to protect the railway below.
And that’s it! Caminito completed! Hard to believe that we were mincing along that tiny walkway. Clinging to a sheer rock face. 100 metres above the river . . . #gulp
All that is left to do is hop on the little shuttle bus that takes us back to the start of the walk to pick up our car.