Alavera de los Baños has reopened its doors upon spring’s arrival, and it has done so with some great news: the inauguration of El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Footpath).
El Caminito del Rey is a walkway constructed along the walls of the Gaitanes gorge, in El Chorro, a spectacular mountain throat where the borders of Antequera and Ardales meet. This is only a few kilometres away from Ronda, within the province of Malaga. This path is around 3 kilometres long and barely 1 metre wide throughout its narrowest stretches. Being a suspension bridge as it is, it hangs up to 100 metres above the river from incredibly steep walls.
This spectacular footpath was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century in order to facilitate the job of the Hydroelectric Society of El Chorro. It took its name after King Alfonso XIII’s visit, when the dam holding the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir was inaugurated. In time, and due to its undeniable appeal, it became a tourist attraction.
You can easily visit this spectacular site from our hotel, as it lies only 30 minutes away by car.
Around 20 years ago, we visited El Caminito del Rey, which was in extremely bad shape back then. In fact, we had to turn around halfway through because it was impossible to carry on, as there were huge holes in the footbridge. Mind you it was still an amazing feeling to be suspended at such height, beholding such magnificent scenery surrounded by the walls of that narrow gorge. Besides, something amazing happened to us. There happened to be a huge vulture perched on a rock sticking out of the riverbed below us. It seemed uneasy, as if it had arrived there by accident and didn’t know how to get out of that “trap” which the gorge had become. El Caminito del Rey was almost like a cage for that impressive but helpless bird, so we felt that we should help it out. Thus we started dropping pieces of bread, hoping it would encourage it to fly up, but it seemed unlikely owing to the bird’s broad wingspan. However, after some time, the bird seemed to react to our naïve attempts, finally managing to take off and escape the narrow gorge. As it flew up, we were able to fully appreciate its almost 2.5-metre wingspread. It was a truly amazing experience.