El Caminito del Rey is one of those magical places that Andalucia offers. A place where you feel bird and rock, flight and abyss, stone and water.
In the heart of the Sierra Malagueña, the River Guadalhorce dug the gorge of the Gaitanes, which was used to build a reservoir inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1921. A hydroelectric station was built taking advantage of the inclination of the terrain but to move around the area they had to build a footbridges directly located in the wall of the rock.
In 2014, after years of abandonment and deterioration, the Junta de Andalucía has rebuilt these three kilometres of footbridge over the steep abyss of the gorge.
A place where you feel like a bird or a rock.
Suitable for those who do not have vertigo, or dominate…
Since access to visitors is restricted, tickets must be purchased as soon as possible. And get ready to invest about 5 or 6 hours in the eight kilometers of the tour.
The road goes in one direction, so there are two areas to leave the car. You always walk from the North Access (gorge of the Gaitanejo) and you exit to the South access. There are almost-free buses to access the parking lot where you left your car.
A beautiful forest welcomes you in the almost three kilometres of travel before reaching the entrance to the gorge. A path curdled with small blue lagoons, the river running calmly, a transparent air and the thousands of birds that now in February begin to prepare the nests.
Already at the entrance door begins the most beautiful part of the road and also the least solitary. The tour is accompanied by a guide of the path that explains all the details of the route. His information is interesting, but if you read the guide, you document on how it was built, the reasons for the path, the milestones and peculiarities, you can enjoy a little more solitude.
The groups with their guides leave every 20 minutes from the access door. They are groups of 20 people, driving along a narrow and winding road. Something crowded the walkers.
I decided to slow down a bit about the group (despite the insistence of the guide to stay together) to enjoy in solitude the captivating and unique landscape.
To be able to observe the lizards walking the rocks, the ants passing the scarce spaces of earth and grass, the flight of the birds crossing tirelessly the abyss that opens to your feet and the wind whistling between the walls of rock.
In some sections the catwalk hanging over the abyss produces vertigo, despite being tremendously safe, well anchored to the rocks and with steel wires bordering the abyss. In the silence of the path you imagine the men who built the original footbridges and feel admiration for them.
The river a bird’s eye view
All the way, hanging over the abyss, you can see the river, a radiant blue, down, very low.
In some sections, as you can see in this picture, both paths, the old and the new, run parallel to the rock wall.
Here’s a map of the Caminito.
In my rearview mirror, the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation.
Some poems by María Victoria Atencia
It’s all in season. I feel made,
I know woman and nail to the ground
Deep root, and I tend in flight
The branch, certain in you, of its harvest.
How the branch grows and what right!
Everything is today in my trunk a single yearning
To live and live: To tend to heaven,
Upright, like the arrow
That is thrown into the cloud. So upright
That your voice has learned the skill
of opening it smiling and flourishing.
I’m shaking your voice. For her I feel
That the warped branch straightens out
And the fruit of my voice grows in the wind.
Under my bed are shells, algae, sands:
start your cold where my sheets end.
Would graze a seine with unhooking arms
and his network would tend to the mast-top
of this floating bed between coffin and Tina.
When I close my eyes, they cover me with scales.
When I close my eyes, the wind of the Strait
It puts Guinea smell on wet clothes,
put salt in a basket of flowers and bunches
of green and black grapes on top of my pillow,
it puts swelling insomnia, and in a stringer then
I feel with my dream to see the water pass by.
Epitaph for a Girl
Because you were denied the time of bliss
your heart rests so oblivious to the roses.
Your blood and flesh were your richest dress
and the earth did not know the firmness of your passage.
Here begins your sowing and ends together
-such is buried with a vanquished at the end of the bout-,
where the water in November is your tenderness
and the bark of a dog has a voice of omen.
Still your life all to the touch of death,
that the seeds can and curtails the buds,
you stayed in unopened cocoon, and you never
You’ll know the spring floral burst.