Caminito del Rey and the Northwest
Stages of the route
- From the city beach of Torremolinos to Álora through the Valle del Guadalhorce | The journey leads from the mouth of the Rio Guadalhorce along the course of the river to the small town of Álora. The climate along its course is pleasant, mainly due to its location under the protection of the mountains. The farmers have specialised in the cultivation of date palms and sugar cane. Álora is considered the centre of brandy production in the region, with numerous distilleries.
- Drive to the natural park of Ardales to the Gaitanes Gorge | Continuing along the Rio Guadalhorce, the mountainous route leads to the Tajo de la Encantada dam before El Chorro. Here you will find one of the most famous climbing areas in Spain in the Desfiladeros de los Gaitanes gorge. The gorge, carved into the rock by the Río Guadalhorce over a length of 5km, is one of the main attractions of El Chorro. On one side of the gorge, the Caminito del Rey (King's Path) clings to the wall; on the other, a spectacular railway line of the Málaga-Córdoba line runs and passes several tunnels and bridges.
- OPTION: Hike the Caminito del Rey | The King's Path had a reputation as the most dangerous hiking trail in Europe. After its restoration, it is now one of the top attractions in Andalusia. The approx. 8km long hike takes about 3 to 4 hours. It leads partly over paths, via ferrata and suspension bridges through canyons and a large valley. After the hike we continue our tour. The stage points Teba and Setenil de las Bodegas are not included in this option.
- Viewpoint Mirador Tajo Encantada | The viewpoint of the "enchanted gorge" offers the best view of El Chorro and the Gaitanes Gorge.
- Crossing the Lake District in the Natural Park | The lake district is divided into three different lakes; Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce, Embalse de Guadalteba; and Embalse de Guadalhorce. One of the special places is the so-called "Sillón del Rey" (Chair of the King). This is a complex of two benches, an armchair and a table where King Alfonso XIII signed the completion of the construction of the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir. Here we use two dam walls and a bridge to cross the waters.
- Northern bypass of the Guadalteba dam to Teba | The medieval fortress Castillo de la Estrella is barely preserved. The remaining structures, however, provide a surreal photographic backdrop with views of the entire surrounding area. The towers and walls of this fortress date from Roman times and the rest was built during Arab rule. It was the scene of the Battle of Teba in 1330 between King Alfonso XI of Castile and Leon and Emir Muhammad IV of Granada. The knight James Douglas, friend and officer of the Scottish King Robert Bruce fell in this battle. In his honour, a great festival is held in Teba at the end of July, beginning of August.
- [Route extension] Visit to Setenil de las Bodegas in the province of Cádiz | The village is located on a slope that descends from the fortress to the course of the river. Its main attraction is its beautiful and original architecture, as the houses, especially in the lower part, are built under the rocky outcrops formed by the river. The small community is the only one in the area to have these unique cave dwellings, where shops and restaurants also find a place.
- Drive along the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park back to the sea | Since 1995, the area around the park, which is geographically characterised by steep mountains, partly snow-covered peaks and deep gorges as well as rocky streams, can also boast the title of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The highest mountains are Torrecilla (1,919m), Enamorados (1,775m) and Cerro Abanto (1,450m).
There are traditional ventas (inns) all along the route. There is always plenty of time for a rest with delicious tapas, Spanish desserts, ice cream and drinks. Throughout the ride, there are plenty of opportunities for spectacular group photos. We decide individually at the numerous photo points when to allow the tyres to cool down.