In this post, you learn how you can do El Caminito del Rey by train or with a tour. El Caminito del Rey was said to be the most dangerous hike in Europe. However, this was before the trails were renovated and secured. While you still have steep drops next to you the whole way, it’s all secured by fences now. In case heights don’t give you vertigo, El Caminito del Rey will fill your holiday with an amazing adventure full of spectacular views. You will remember them for a long time after having been there. Also, keep an eye out for vultures along the hike. We saw several of them spreading their wide wings.
El Caminito del Rey by car
The entry point to El Caminito del Rey is the restaurant El Kiosko. By car, you can reach it from Malaga in 1 hour by taking the A-357 heading toward Campillos. At Ardales you take a right onto MA-5403 until you reach the restaurant.
El Caminito del Rey by train
To reach El Caminito del Rey by train, you take a train from Malaga to El Chorro-Alora. This takes about 50 minutes. From there, you need to take the shuttle bus to El Kiosko for 1.50 EUR. The ending point of the hike is at El Chorro train station again and so you can take the train directly back from there, without having to go to El Kiosko. Unfortunately, there are only about two train departures every day. Therefore, you have to book your hike well in advance, in order to be able to book a time slot that fits your train schedule.
You should arrive at El Chorro train station about 2 hours before the hike. This will give you enough time to take the shuttle bus to El Kiosko and then hike the 20 minutes to the entry gate. Once you enter the entry gate, the actual hike only takes 1.5 to 2 hours. So, you see, doing El Caminito del Rey by train is entirely doable. However, you have to organize your hike early enough.
Book your hiking spot in advance
This is a big tourist attraction and you need to pre-book tickets online, a few weeks in advance.
On their website, you can even take a virtual tour.
It costs 10 EUR to do the hike including a rental helmet. It’s worth paying the extra 1.50 EUR to take a shuttle bus from the end of the hike to the parking lot. You can do the hike in only one direction. Otherwise would need to find your own way back through the gorge which would be at least another 8 km. So, after already having completed El Caminito del Rey you can really reward yourself by riding back on the shuttle bus.
Wear good shoes and comfortable clothes. Hiking poles and big backpacks are forbidden.
The order of the hike
Be aware that El Kiosko is not the start of the hike. 200 m from the restaurant back along the road, you need to access a tunnel and walk 20 minutes (1.5 km) to the entry gate (15 minutes if you walk quickly). At first, it’s a little uphill and after that downhill again. You have to be at the entry gate 30 minutes before the time your hike starts. There, you will receive a helmet and they will check your footwear and whether you brought any forbidden objects like selfie sticks. They are very strict and take the protection of the gorge seriously. So, read the rules when you buy the ticket, in order not to be disappointed.
Then, you can start the 7.7 km hike with the other people from your time slot. However, you can walk at your own pace. Take in the picturesque views. A big part of the hike also leads through a normal pine forest, where you have shade from the sun and can take a break.
Once the trail is finished, you have to walk 2 more kilometers to get to the town of El Chorro. There you will hand back your helmet. Then, it’s another 5 minutes to reach the train station (past all the tour busses) from where you can take the shuttle bus back to the parking lot at El Kiosko (or the train back to Malaga).
My tour with Visitanddo Andalusia
Since I was too late to get a time slot that would have worked out with the train schedule I was very glad that I could book a tour to Caminito del Rey with Visitanddo.com.
They picked me up at my hotel in the morning. Already during the bus ride, our great guide Shirley told us many stories about the area and the hike. After a quick stop in the beautiful white village of Ardales, we arrived at the starting point of the Hike at El Kiosko. 20 minutes and one tunnel crossing plus many stunning lake views later, we reached the entry area. There we were handed a mandatory helmet.
Guided tour of El Caminito del Rey
A knowledgeable guide was included in the tour price. We learned many interesting facts along the route. Yet, you could also choose to walk on your own at your preferred speed. The hike through the gorge only takes about 1.5 hours and isn’t really physically challenging. The only things that take your breath away are the stunning views across the gorge and the milky green water. And perhaps the heat or winds can be tough on your body. In the end, I nevertheless was glad to reach the finishing point, where I handed back my helmet. Then, I had the opportunity to buy ice cream at one of the cute stands at the picnic area there. The price of the food and fresh fruit juices they offered was very fair. Hence, you don’t necessarily need to bring a lot of snacks on your hike.
Afterward, it was nice to just lean back on our comfortable bus and be transported to the hotel in Malaga.
If you’d like to book El Caminito del Rey with Visitanddo you can do it through one of the following links:
(By using one of those links you would support me with a small commission. At the same time you don’t have to worry about train schedules or driving on the narrow roads.)
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More tips for your journey in Andalucia
If you plan a whole vacation in Andalucia, check out my “I love Andalucia” travel guide online.