Recovery of el Caminito del Rey

Ardales, Antequera and Álora, Málaga, Andalucía.

Dating of the building: Late 19th century, early 20th century.

Applicant: Luis Machuca Santa-Cruz, Malaga Provincial Council.

Reason for the award :

The jury has considered that this pass is set within a truly awe-inspiring landscape, a magnificent feat of engineering to solve the gradual deterioration of the road since its construction at the beginning of the 20th century; it has also valued the construction system by which much of the original path has been left intact allowing a comparison between the solution executed and the vision of the walkway that preserves the history of the area; the interaction between industrial and natural heritage is an advantage for both.

The recovery of this centennial path, a chilling one hundred metres above the Guadalhorce river gorge, is one more example of the close relationship between the preservation of historical memory and the development of quality tourism.

El Caminito del Rey is a narrow path built at the beginning of the 20th century on the vertiginous walls of the Guadalhorce River gorge. Originally it had an industrial function – communicating the El Chorro hydroelectric plant with the Conde de Guadalhorce reservoir. Very soon, El Caminito became part of the daily life of the town of El Chorro and its surroundings, facilitating communication in the region, and being used by women to go to the grocery store, men to the canteen and children to school. The road then had electric lighting, such was the concurrency even at nightfall. The total length of the trail is 7.7 kilometers, of which almost 3 are wooden hanging walkways. The average height of the trail is 100 meters above the river, offering truly incomparable panoramic views.

Industrial abandon, natural deterioration, and vandalism condemned this unique way of connecting to its inevitable disappearance. Its recovery, which has been carried out in absolute harmony with the nature of the environment, not only helps preserve the historical memory of these towns in Malaga but also promotes quality tourism. El Caminito is a privileged place to enjoy unparalleled panoramas, wildlife, and industrial archeology.

Others awards in Andalucía: