As part of the interregional meeting that took place in Málaga on the 21st and 22nd November 2018, IMPACT Interreg Europe partners had the opportunity to discover an example of re-valorization of a natural and cultural heritage site : the trail that was opened by Spanish King Alfonso XIII in 1921 known as El Caminito del Rey inside the Gaitanes Gorge Natural Landscape area.
The Gaitanes Gorge (Desfiladero de los Gaitanes) is a canyon, carved by the river Guadalhorce in the territory of Álora (Málaga), which at some points is only 10 meters wide and 700 meters deep.
El Caminito del Rey is a path that was built with concrete boardwalks that hang above the cliffs of the Gualdalhorce River at the spectacular gorge in order to connect both parts of the novel hydroelectric precipice built in early 20th century to generate electric power.
Little time ago, the trail was highly damaged. Natural circumstances and human actions brought it to a state of deplorable devastation. In 2016, works to restore the pathway started, which have received several awards: Award for an emerging tourist destination, Andalusian Award for Contribution to Tourism and the 13th Spanish Architecture and Town Planning Biennial Europa Nostra Award, EU Grand Prix Award UE and the 10th Hispanic-American Architecture Biennial.
Today, the path receives more than 1 million visitors per year and it has greatly contributed to boosting socio-economic development in the area (active tourism activities, accommodation, restaurants, etc.).