El Caminito del Rey (The King's Little Path), often abbreviated to El Camino del Rey, is a walkway that winds its way along the walls of El Chorro, a gorge in southern Spain near the village of Álora. It is generally considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world. The construction of the walkway was finished in 1905, and after King Alfonso XIII crossed it in 1921, it became known by its current name. In recent decades, large parts of the concrete resting on steel rails have deteriorated so badly that it has become a life-threatening endeavor to traverse the camino. After several fatal accidents, authorities officially closed the path in 2000. But there are still daring hikers who manage to get around the barriers and make their way across the gorge. The video above shows in impressive detail how dangerous the camino is.
If you feel an inner urge to walk the camino, there are two important things to keep in mind:
- It really is insanely dangerous. Matador has some life-saving tips if you want to trek the camino.
- If you want to get the true camino experience, you have to hurry up. The walkway will be restored for 9 million euros between 2011 and 2015.
Bonus material: The Cheap Route has a first-person account and some fantastic photos of a camino hike.
By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.