The opening of the newly built Caminito del Rey to the public in 2015 has been one of the most anticipated events in Spain in recent years. The breathtaking pathway has been making headlines across the world, with Lonely Planet nominating a walk along the Caminito as one of the hottest things to do and The Sunday Times and other UK newspapers promoting it as an exciting new travel destination.
The walk takes you through the most spectacular scenery. There are incredible views of the gorge, of the stunning surroundings and of unique flora and fauna as you make your way around the wooden walkway. There are often squadrons of Griffon Vultures circling overhead to add to the drama of the occasion.
The El Chorro Gorge (La Garganta del Chorro) is an amazing place, with huge walls of rock as high as 400 metres along its three kilometre length. “El Chorro” can be translated as "the spurt," which is exactly what the water would have done as it travelled through the gorge’s narrow ravine. The height difference between the two man-made reservoirs at either end of the gorge provided a unique opportunity to develop hydroelectric energy which was an almost revolutionary concept at the end of the 19th century when the local power station was built.
The original Caminito was built between 1901 and 1905 and was used to transport material and people between the two power stations that were situated either side of the gorge. It wasn't until the early 1920s that it was officially opened by King Alfonso XIII who walked its whole length and gave it its name.
Since that time, the Caminito has become one of the wonders of Spain and has attracted many visitors and climbers from around the world. As it fell into disrepair and became unsafe over the years, it became notorious within adventurous and thrill-seeking climbing circles as a climb for adrenalin-junkies. There are plenty of You Tube clips that show the excitement and danger faced by climbers enjoying the old, crumbling (and illegal) pathway.
Now that a new, safe and family-friendly pathway has been built above the original one, the remarkable views and spectacular natural environment of El Chorro can be enjoyed by everyone.