IN THE CENTER OF THE PROVINCE OF MALAGA AND DELIMITED BY THE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS OF RONDA AND ANTEQUERA, THERE IS THE DESFILADERO DE LOS GIGANTES (THE GORGE OF GIANTS). SPRINKLED WITH A SCORE OF CAVITIES, THE CANYON HAS AN IMPRESSIVE DEPTH OF MORE THAN 300 METERS CARVED BY THE INEX-ORABLE PASSAGE OF THE GUADALHORCE RIVER. IN THIS SUMPTUOUS ENCLAVE IS THE CAMINITO DEL REY. A VERTIGINOUS AERIAL PATH BARELY 1 METER WIDE, BUILT ON THE WALLS OF THE GORGE.
Year 1921. From the road that joins Álorea with El Chorro you can see a picturesque suspension bridge at an impressive height. From the bridge starts the pedestrian path, installed on vertical rock. It ends on the railway line from Córdoba to Málaga, whose construction was completed 55 years ago. On the other side, only one stone is needed to complete the construction of the El Chorro dam. King Alfonso XIII crosses the new concrete bridge and railway beams. He approaches the dam and the last stone. This is the end of a work planned since 1902.
Until the beginning of the century, Malaga had been a privileged province with a rich soil that fed high quality crops. However, droughts and irregular rains maintained a state of constant threat. The works promoted by the Loring family and engineer Rafael Benjumea represented a paradigm shift for the area. Through the Sociedad Hidroeléctrica del Chorro, they built two large works: El Chorro waterfall and the dam of the same name, also called the Conde de Guadalhorce Dam.
The construction of the hydroelectric waterfall was completed in 1905. Its goal was to supply electricity to the city of Málaga and provide service to a potential agricultural industry that, although it did not yet exist, could be developed in a short time if it had quality electric power at low cost. In this way, Benjumea managed to change the popular perception existing since the late nineteenth century of electric light as a luxury good.
With the profits, the company Sociedad Hidroeléctrica del Chorro was able to finance the second part of the project: the Guadalhorce Dam, Key to the arrival of irrigation to numerous territories in the region.
Once the dam was finished, part of the workers who participated in its construction definitively stayed in the area. The Caminito del Rey was essential, as the path allowed the children to go to school, the women to visit the grocery store and the men to meet in the canteen; in general, the path allowed to maintain contact with other villages beyond the mountain ranges that surround these lands. The transfer became habitual: on horseback, by bicycle or on foot; under the sun or lit by electric lights, people of all ages crossed the Caminito del Rey to interact with each other.
The Caminito del Rey is located in a unique natural environment. It runs from its beginning in the area of the Conde de Guadalhorce Dam, between gorges, canyons and a large valley, sometimes along paths and some other through footbridges, to embrace the El Chorro Dam. It is a linear route of 8 km and unique direction that descends from North to South. Crossing it usually take between 3 and 4 hours.
THERE ARE SEVEN SECTIONS DELIMITED IN THE ROUTE:
• Reception area. Shuttle bus stop / parking. El Kiosko Restaurant
• Two access areas: the Gaitanejo path and track (2.7 or 1.5 km., Depending on the chosen route)
• Visitor reception booth and Gaitanejo reservoir
• First cannon. Gaitanejo gorge (2.9 km from the entrance lathe to the exit lathe)
• Second canyon. The Tajo de las Palomas
• Valle del Hoyo Valley
• Third canyon. Desfiladero de los Gaitanes
• Final section. Walkway to exit lathe
• Avenida Caminito del Rey, downhill path to El Chorro station (2.1 km).
PARADOR DE ANTEQUERA
If there is a Parador that breaks with the trend of historical building and is a symbol of modernity, this is the Parador de Antequera. Located in a garden area of the city, it is the ideal option to rest, celebrate any event or as a starting point to get to know the region.
Its huge windows make the light creep in all corners and give the visitor magnificent sunsets over the Antequera Valley.
It emphasizes its Mediterranean and traditional Andalusian cuisine, garnished with products from the orchard and typical dishes of the area such as “Porra Antequerana” (a typocal cold soup) or the “Pío Antequerano” (a codfish salad with oranges, onions, cooked egg and black olives) and the “molletes” (typical bread for breakfast). A few kilometers away is the Torcal, a natural area that surprises with its unique geological formation. The winding routes slip between capricious and impressive shapes in the limestone rocks. It has a modern astronomy observatory with activities for the visitor throughout the year.