January 2017. The jaw-dropping beauty of El Caminito Del Rey, located in Malaga province, is one Spain’s most stunning beauty spots. This 3km wooden walkway is dramatically pinned to the face of El Chorro gorge, a hundred meters or so above The Guadalhorce River. Driving over from Malaga City with my homie Hasan, we knew we were in for something special the moment we negotiated the first stretch of boardwalk. First constructed in 1905, by the mid 1990’s it had fallen into such a miserable state of disrepair that many referred to it as “the most dangerous path in the world”. The new, tourist-friendly walkway opened in March 2015. In this photo you can see the remains of the old path underneath. Not in a month of….
January 2017. Before you can gain access to the boardwalk, you have to pick up a helmet from the ticket office. “ALWAYS keep your helmet on”, they tell you, “NEVER take it off”. A mandatory safety warning you might think, but these guys aren’t messing around! This seems fair enough while you’re traversing the cliff sections, where tumbling rocks are a conceivable concern. But when the path eventually opens out into a forest trail, the helmet feels unnecessary, not to mention uncomfortable and restrictive. But no sooner had I taken it off for a photo and a security officer jumped out from behind a nearby rock to yell at me. “Taking your helmet off is not allowed!” Hardcore.
January 2017. The views that morning were simply stunning! And with just fifty people permitted to enter the route per hour, you often get whole stretches of the way to yourself. With the sun out in full force, some of the contrast in light between different sections of the path made for some dramatic albeit challenging photo opportunities. Sunglasses are essential, as you’ll often turn a corner and find yourself literally blinded by the light.
January 2017. There are some cool stops, sights and quirky points of interest along the route. Look out for the old abandoned house down in the valley and for the improbable sight of a train whooshing through the gorge as it ferries people back and forth from El Chorro’s little train station. This cool hanging bridge meanwhile can be found towards the end of the route, a fifteen-minute walk from the southern exit.
January 2017. Having descended the final section of boardwalk, all that’s left to do is mosey on down to the southern office to drop off your helmets. The views are equally stunning as you look back at the receding form of the gorge, which includes a secluded little beach nestled on the banks of the river. You’ll no doubt build up quite an appetite during the hike and happily there are half a dozen or so little cafes peppering the roadside, with choice views across the surrounding countryside. I wholeheartedly recommend the amazing Bar El Pilar, where the food was delicious, the staff super friendly and we were charged a head-scratching fifteen Euros for ten tapas dishes, four beers and four generous slabs of strawberry-banana cheesecake. Cheers to that!
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