In two weeks’ time, on 28 March, Malaga province will have two exciting new attractions for visitors.
On the Saturday before Semana Santa, one of Andalucia’s most intriguing and death-defying attractions reopens to the public after a major refurbishment, the same week as a fourth major art gallery opens in Malaga, joining the Carmen Thyssen Museum, CAC (Contemporary Art Museum) and Picasso Museum.
The refurbished attraction isn’t a palace, a castle, or a church. It’s a walkway. So what’s the big deal? Well, this particular walkway, known as “the King’s Little Path“, clings to a 100-metre tall cliff and is just three metres wide.
Not for the faint-hearted or those affected by vertigo, the 6km wooden path follows the sheer limestone wall which drops down towards the churning rivers of the Guadalhorce river below. The section along El Chorro gorge is the most stunning. For years, the camino was in a terrible state of repair – parts had fallen away completely and the only way to navigate it was using rock-climbing equipment. Several souls fell to their deaths, and in 2001 it was closed off completely, although some daredevils continued to use it.
The Caminito del Rey is likely to become one of Andalucia’s most popular visitor attractions. As soon as the date was announced, the website had so many hits from people wanting to book tickets that it stopped working.
Tickets are free for the first six months, but numbers have to be strictly limited due to the narrowness of the walkway – streams of tourists pushing past each other are not an option on a walkway like this.
It is hoped that King Felipe VI will come to reopen the Caminito del Rey, originally opened in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII, whose costs have been met jointly by the regional and provincial governments – Junta de Andalucia and the Diputacion de Malaga.
For more information, see our page on the Caminito.
The other big draw for Malaga is in the city itself – the new Pompidou Centre on the waterfront, which also opens on 28 March. This new art gallery will feature 20th century works by the likes of Malagueño Pablo Picasso, Bacon, Brancusi, Calder, Chagall, Dufy, Giacometti, Kahlo, Magritte, Schnabel and Tapies, in its current premises (it is billed as a five-year “Pop-Up”) which incorporate a futuristic cuboid glass building.
In addition, the Centro Pompidou Malaga will hold two or three exhibitions per year, with 2015’s shows being dedicated to Joan Miro’s works on paper, and to the works of women photographers in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as the Pop-Up Pompidou, it is scheduled to stay in its current location for five years, until 2020. The French ambassador to Spain called it a “new and beautiful Franco-Spanish adventure”.
Malaga locals should note that on the afternoon of Saturday 28 March, and all day Sunday 29 March, admission will be free.