Canyons of Ronda and Caminito del ReyMay 11 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C
Inspired by a recent trip of dearest friend Karin and her partner we continue to explore more of beautiful Andalusia. It’s such a beautiful region, especially around this time of the year when nature is looking lush and green. Our next two stops, Ronda and Caminito del Rey, are both in the mountainous area of the region and are both characterised by a large, famous canyon.
Ronda firstly is an ancient town frequently visited by tourists who want to take a walk on the Puente Nuevo: the stone bridge that connects two parts of the city that are split by a large and deep gorge running through the middle. It’s name is “new bridge” while being completed in 1793, as the initial “old” bridge collapsed during the built in 1740 and caused 50 workers their life as they fell down the gorge. Another salient detail: the top of the bridge has rooms used as prisons during the Spanish civil war. Apparently people were executed here simply by throwing them out of the window. All dark history aside, the gorge of Ronda provides for an impressive sight and the view - both of and from the bridge - is stunning. We take a stroll through the old and new town, and on a terrace with panoramic view we enjoy a coffee with cake. Pure bliss!
From Ronda we drive on to El Chorro, the name of the river and tiny village that are close to the canyon walking route of El Caminito del Rey. Driving through a mountainous area we arrive at a campsite right next to a turquoise coloured lake. To get to our spot the road is even smaller, steeper, and curvier than the usual mountain roads, but once settled it’s a beautiful location. The owner tells us that all tickets for the canyon we come for are likely sold out (and online we confirm they are) but also that we shouldn’t worry: if we make sure to be at the entrance at 9:00 AM when the place opens up there should be about 50 tickets available for adhoc sales. Hence, early morning the next day we set out to the canyon to successfully “chope” (Singlish for reserving a seat) our tickets.
When I told my sister Evelien we were going to walk El Caminito del Rey a day earlier she got a little worried and understandably so: until recently this place was notorious for being one of world’s most dangerous trails. Drawing rock climbers, adventure hikers and, let’s be honest, crazy folks, it used to be an hazardous path high up the gorge with holes, missing sections, and no safety barriers. Not being maintained since 1920 it’s no surprise many (including fatal) accidents happened. However in 2015 the entire route has been renovated and officially opened up as a walking trail for tourism: completely safe and suitable for all ages (if able to walk 5 km). There isn’t one time on the route where I lose my nerve or feel the need to be scared. At all! The outlook on the gorge below, the waterval and the river remains to be spectacular. At some spots we can still see the old path: there is no way I would have ever had the gut or stupidity to complete El Caminito del Rey prior 2015! In it’s current shape however I am glad Karin recommended it to us and I do the same for anyone who loves hikes and nature. What used to be the most dangerous hike in the world is now probably one of the safest. Worth the visit!
Completing the trail without accidents (😉) we treat ourselves with an afternoon and evening at the lake: canoeing and having dinner with a view. When we are back at the campsite getting ready for bed we overhear our neighbours’ conversation: they are worried about the difficulty and risk of walking the canyon, probably also still presuming to find the unmaintained path. In the morning we see them set out just before we drive off: packed like professional hikers that are planning to walk a long and difficult trail. I’m sure they’ll be fine (a little disappointed, maybe)!Read more