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El Caminito del Rey Tour from Malaga: Review & What to Expect

Thinking of doing a Caminito del Rey tour from Malaga? Here's everything you need to know including a review of my personal experience.

By Liza S. | Updated 24 Apr 2024 | Málaga | Walking | Login to add to YOUR Favourites Favourites Icon or Read Later

This article has been visited 182 times

Thinking of booking a Caminito del Rey tour but not sure about what to expect? You’re in the right place!

Caminito del Rey has been on my Andalucia bucket list for a while and I’m so pleased that I finally found the opportunity to do it. (Spoiler alert: it’s beautiful!)

In this article, I share my firsthand experience of a tour of Caminito del Rey from Malaga and offer practical tips and honest insights to help you plan your visit. From securing your spot on the tour to what you should bring, learn everything you need to know for a breathtaking day out along the Caminito del Rey.

Quick Answer: Caminito del Rey Tour from Malaga

Booking a Caminito del Rey Tour is an easy, hassle-free way to do the hike without having to worry about logistical details.

A tour of Caminito del Rey may also be your only option if entry tickets are unavailable for your visit day.

What I love about a Caminito del Rey guided tour:

  • Enjoy a stress-free day out in nature
  • Learn more about the history of the Caminito and about the geography and biodiversity in the area from your expert guide
  • The walk is done at an easy pace that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels
  • Total time to walk Caminito del Rey with a guided tour: 3 to 4 hours
  • Total time for excursion (with transportation, waiting time etc): 8 hours

Ready to book? I recommend:

Read on for my full review and what to expect from a guided tour of Caminito del Rey.

Getting There from Malaga

For a guided tour of Caminito del Rey from Malaga, there are two options.

Option 1: Guided Tour with Round-trip Transportation

For those who prefer a 100% hassle-free experience, booking a guided tour that includes transportation from Malaga is the most convenient option.

My recommended tour of Caminito del Rey offers pick-up and drop-off services in central Malaga, as well as various spots along Costa del Sol (Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola). This not only takes all the stress out of navigating but also provides the comfort of travelling with a group and a guide who can offer insights during the drive.

Option 2: Guided Tour Only

In this option, you’ll have to make your own way to El Chorro or Ardales (the two towns nearest to where Caminito del Rey is located.

This Caminito tour option is ideal if you have a car and can make your own way there. The drive from Malaga to the Caminito del Rey takes about an hour, depending on traffic. There is parking available near the North Entrance (Ardales) and the South Entrance (El Chorro), but spaces can fill up quickly during peak tourist season, so arriving early is advisable.

No car? You can travel by train from Malaga central to El Chorro in about one hour. However, there are limited trains and the train timings may not perfectly line up with the tour timings so you’ll have to check these before booking.

If you choose the public transportation route, it’s a good idea to check the Renfe website for the latest train timings. The train station for Caminito del Rey is called “El Chorro”.

The tour of Caminito del Rey that I took was this Tour-Only option, with the starting point near the El Chorro train station. I made my way to El Chorro from Malaga by train and did the return journey independently by train as well.

In my opinion, this is the best option in terms of starting point, if you’re planning to take the train from Malaga. However, do note that there is limited train service between El Chorro and Malaga. As such, I had about a 2-hour gap between the end of my tour and my train back to Malaga.

Which Tour Option is Better?

Having done the Tour-Only option with public transportation, in hindsight, I wish that I had taken the option with round-trip transportation.

Having to plan my own train journeys took some time and research, and honestly, the train timings aren’t ideal. Depending on what start time you select, there may not even be a train that aligns with that timing. So there’s some planning needed there.

And by the end of the day, I was pretty tired. Having transportation included would’ve been a much more relaxing end to the excursion!

That said, what I did like about the Tour-Only is that it’s very convenient. The meeting point is just by the train station, and the shuttle bus to the Caminito North Entrance is included in the tour.

If you have a car, the Tour-Only is more cost-effective and gives you more flexibility over your day than a full tour.

For a completely stress-free experience, I suggest going for the full tour to Caminito del Rey with transportation from Costa del Sol.

What to Expect on a Caminito del Rey Tour

Beginning your Caminito del Rey adventure is an exciting moment, filled with anticipation for the fun ahead. Here’s what you can expect when you book a tour of Caminito del Rey.

Meeting Points

Most guided tours of Caminito del Rey from Malaga have designated meeting points where you will gather.

For the tours with transportation, there are designated pick-up points along Costa del Sol set by the tour operator. Ensure you have the exact location and be there at the specified time, as tours adhere to a strict schedule to coincide with entry times allotted to each group.

For the tour-only option, you’ll have to make your own way to El Chorro where the Caminito is located. If you book the tour I took, the meeting point is near the El Chorro train station and includes the shuttle bus to the North Entrance where the Caminito starts.

Other tours may have a different starting point, so check that information when you book.

Starting the Hike

Upon arrival at the Caminito del Rey, your guide will typically handle the check-in process.

At the entrance of Caminito del Rey, all visitors are provided with helmets. Make sure your helmet fits well and is securely fastened before you begin the walk.

There will also be a safety briefing. The Caminito del Rey is much safer than it once was, thanks to extensive renovations, but it’s still important to listen to and follow all safety instructions provided by the staff and your guide.

Safety is a priority on the Caminito del Rey, and the path is regularly maintained to ensure it meets high safety standards. As mentioned, helmets are mandatory and must be worn throughout the tour.

The Route

The Caminito del Rey path stretches approximately 7.7km, including access areas. The boardwalks themselves, which are the main attraction, are about 3km long. These are built against the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro.

The path is one-way, starting from the North Entrance (Ardales) and exiting through the South Entrance (El Chorro), and it is generally flat and stable, thanks to extensive safety renovations.

As you traverse the boardwalks, you'll be treated to dramatic panoramas of the gorge, the river below, and the surrounding natural landscape.

Highlights include crossing the suspension bridge that offers vertigo-inducing views down into the gorge, and various viewpoints where you can pause and take photos. The geological formations, flora, and fauna along the route also add to the rich experience of the tour.

Duration of the Walk

The walking time can vary depending on the group’s pace, but on average, it takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete the route. This includes several stops for your guide to explain the environmental, historical, and technical aspects of the Caminito del Rey.

Fitness Requirements

The walk is not overly strenuous, but it does require a basic level of fitness. The path is narrow in places and can be a little challenging for those with a fear of heights. However, the walkways are secure, with handrails in place throughout.

While the trail is family-friendly, do note that kids under the age of 8 are not admitted.

My Caminito Del Rey Tour Review

As I’ve mentioned, I chose the Tour-Only option for my Caminito del Rey guided tour. (I did this so that I could make my own way from Malaga to Caminito del Rey by train for research purposes.)

There are several start times for this tour option. I booked quite last minute (just a few days in advance) so my options were limited. Luckily, I got a booking for the 10.30am start which lined up pretty well with the limited train options from Malaga to El Chorro.

The train journey from Malaga Maria Z station to the El Chorro station takes about 45 minutes, and the meeting point for the tour, Hotel La Garganta, is just a few minutes walk from the station which is very convenient.

There is some buffer time between the stated meeting time and when the tour actually starts so don’t worry if the train arrives late.

At the meeting point, I signed in at the desk and received an entry bracelet for the tour as well as a bottle of water. There are also toilets on the premises - be sure to go before the tour begins as there are absolutely no toilet facilities on the Caminito del Rey hike.

Just to give you a sense of the timing: my train arrived at about 10.35am and after checking in for my tour, I had time to go to the bathroom and then it was perhaps another 5 minutes or so before the tour group gathered.

We had a warm welcome from one of our guides, Pablo, who warmed up the group, took roll call, and shared what we can expect from the excursion. After that, we were ushered to our private shuttle bus that would take us to the north access of the Caminito.

The bus journey took about 15-20 minutes. We got off, walked through a tunnel, and arrived in the natural park. Here, our large group was split in two. My group had both English and Spanish speakers so our guide shared some introductory information in both languages.

From there, it was a leisurely walk of about 15 minutes to the actual access point to Caminito del Rey. At the entrance, we skipped the line and each received a safety helmet (you also get a shower cap-like thing to wear under it) and a safety briefing from the staff.

And then we were finally off!

First section of Caminito del Rey in Malaga

The first section of Caminito del Rey starts off with walkways that suspend you above the beautiful Gaitanejo gorge. I was surprised by how tall and narrow the gorge was in the beginning - it really felt imposing!

At the beginning of the boardwalk, our guide shared the history of the Caminito and the region’s geography which I found really interesting. Then we walked pretty much at our own pace; we could stop and take photos anytime we wanted and we kept together as a loose group.

The trail opened up into the second canyon, El Tajo de las Palomas which offered wider views of the landscape.

It was just really beautiful!

Caminito del Rey

Once the group arrived at a viewpoint/rest area, our guide gathered us together and told us about the geography and biodiversity in the area (we spotted some vultures!) while we rested and took a water and snack break. By this time, the weather was starting to heat up.

The next section of the Caminito is El Valle del Hoyo, which is a flat hike through a mostly shaded trail. Here, we learned more about the flora and fauna in the natural park, in particular about the carob trees.

We were also lucky enough to spot some baby mountain goats! This was easily the highlight of this mostly unremarkable section of the walk. I did enjoy learning more about the nature in the area from our guide during this time.

As we reached the last part of this section, we walked through these 2 tall walls (of a viaduct) before emerging at another rest area before the last section of the Caminito. Once again, we had a short break here while our guide prepared us for the last bit of the hike, pointing out geographical features, sharing some history, and letting us know what to expect.

Last section of Caminito del Rey in Malaga

This last section of Caminito del Rey is arguably the best part of the hike - it was definitely my favourite!

The hanging boardwalk here offers a dash of adventure and spectacular views of the gorge and the river below. As it winded in and around the canyon, I just had to marvel at how stunning it was.

Here, during my visit, there was a bit of a bottleneck as there was a staff member at the glass balcony who was helping take photos of visitors. So it was slow going here, but honestly, I didn’t mind at all as it gave me time to really admire and take in the beauty of the landscape.

It was also fun when a train would pass through the tunnel on the opposite site.

Of course, I stopped for a photo on the glass balcony… although I imagine it might be a bit too much if you’re not fond of heights!

The excitement continued after the glass balcony as another highlight of the Caminito del Rey was coming up: the suspension bridge.

Rugged cliffs, blue skies, and turquoise waters below are the perfect backdrop for the hanging bridge of Caminito del Rey - the landscape is just absolutely stunning! After the bridge, the boardwalk winds around the last cliff before you reach the official exit of Caminito del Rey.

Picnic area at the end of Caminito del rey

From the exit, it’s another 2km walk back to El Chorro. At a leisurely pace, it was about a 20-30 minute walk to the helmet return point. Along the way, there are some lovely views to enjoy as well as some points of interest such as a viaduct and the old village of El Chorro.

The helmet return area also has toilets and an outdoor rest area with food stalls. This is a great picnic spot if you’ve brought your own food and drinks. If not, the food here was quite reasonably priced. I had over an hour before my train back to Malaga so I took a long leisurely late lunch here.

From that point, it was another 10-15 minutes of walking to the El Chorro train station, and you’ll pass by the small town of El Chorro itself.

In total, walking the Caminito del Rey with a guided tour took about 3.5 to 4 hours. Including the round-trip train journeys and waiting time, the whole excursion from Malaga to Caminito del Rey took about 8 hours.

After having Caminito del Rey on my bucket list for so long, I had a fantastic day out and the tour experience was really good for providing interesting information about the history, geography, and biodiversity of the area.

And, of course, the landscape was so beautiful and walking the Caminito del Rey is an awesome way to spend a day out in nature in Malaga.

How to Book a Caminito del Rey Tour from Malaga

For day tours around the Malaga region, I’ve personally used and recommend them for their high-quality tours.

Caminito del Rey has grown immensely popular, and entry is limited to preserve the natural environment and ensure a quality experience. It’s crucial to book your visit well in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak tourist seasons like spring and autumn.

Take it from me: I only booked a few days before and ended up having very limited options… even with the tour options!

It’s super easy to book a spot on a Caminito del Rey Tour from Malaga with as you can complete the process in under 5 minutes. You can book online on their website for the best rate, make payment online, and you get immediate confirmation!

Check availability and rates for your visit date here:

They typically have more availability on their website so I recommend checking there first.

➡️ Visit the website to see their available tours

Tips for Enjoying the Caminito del Rey Tour

Caminito del Rey, Malaga

  • Stay close to the guide to hear all the commentary. The more engaged you are, the more you’ll get out of the door. Our guide was happy to answer questions and share their experiences.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for a walk in nature.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat on sunny days, as some sections of the route have little shade.
  • Bring sufficient water with you, especially during the hotter months. You may also want to bring a small snack.
  • Take time to soak in the views and capture photos, but always be aware of your surroundings and keep a steady pace with the group.
  • While the hike is safe, it’s essential to follow the safety guidelines at all times.
  • Note that there are no toilets on the hiking route.
  • Nervous about heights? If you have a significant fear of heights, evaluate whether this tour is for you. The walkways are safe and secure, but they are high above the gorge and can feel quite exposed.

Caminito del Rey Tour from Malaga: Final Thoughts

I hope this guide has given you a preview of what to expect when walking Caminito del Rey with a tour.

While I generally prefer to visit places independently, one of the biggest advantages of a guided tour is the expertise the guide brings. They provide valuable historical context, interesting facts about the area, and can point out details that you might miss on your own. This enriched my experience, giving me a better understanding and appreciation of the Caminito del Rey.

Having a guided experience also meant reducing my travel stress and just being able to enjoy the day.

Visiting Caminito del Rey on a tour was a unique blend of natural beauty, history and geography, and a touch of adrenaline. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Malaga and well worth doing.

Enjoy your Caminito - buen viaje!

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