We decided to do something a little different to celebrate the arrival of 2017! Instead of spending New Year’s Eve in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, we opted for a weekend getaway to the Sierra of Málaga instead. We spent the weekend completing the infamous Caminito del Rey, hiking nearby trails and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.
We were a group of five on this trip; Javi and I, along Javi’s brother, his girlfriend and our dog Pumba. We stayed at Parque Ardales from December 29th through January 1st and I think this was the perfect amount of time to spend in the area. Despite the season the weather was good and because there were so few people on the trails and at the campsite Pumba got to run off the leash and swim to his heart’s content in the lake nearby!
For those of you who know me, I’m not too keen on “roughing it”, especially when I can have a hot shower, a fridge full of beer and a warm bed to sleep in. The boys found us a cute little “rural apartment” in Parque Ardales that was within walking distance of the caminito. The staff at the campgrounds were very nice and we were happy to have a small bar and grocery store a few steps away. There’s also different trails and lots of water activities (available in spring and summer) to keep you entertained. Keep in mind you’ll need a car to get here!
We had delicious meals at El Mirador (near entrance of caminito) and at Bar El Millan in Ardales (the town nearby). Pumba was allowed to sit with us at both restaurants in the outdoor seating area. El Mirador has fantastic views (probably how it got its name lol) and Pumba loved swimming in the lake below. Also – if you enjoy locally brewed beer check out Gaitanejo!
El Caminito del Rey
El Caminito del Rey (The King’s little pathway) is a walkway that wraps along the walls of the Gorge of the Gaitanes. The caminito was previously known as “the world’s most dangerous walkway” because between 1999 and 2000 five people plummeted to their deaths trying to complete it. I however was pleasantly surprised to find a comfortable wooden walkway, complete with railings and hard hats (to avoid falling rocks from above). The new walkway was completed in 2015, and as you can see it’s a big improvement.
We really enjoyed the caminito and its beautiful views! The four of us got “entrada general” tickets with the bus ride for €11.55 each; if you don’t get the bus pass you’ll have to pay to take the bus back to the park entrance on the spot, or you’ll need to find a taxi. I suppose you could walk or hike back to the entrance but after completing the 7.7km of the caminito you might be ready for a break. I would recommend getting your tickets a couple of weeks in advance because they tend to sell out…even in winter! Also, pay attention to the weather on the dates you plan to go; if it’s very windy they will close the caminito so check the official website linked above for more info.