El Torcal

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El Torcal Park is a nature reserve located near Antequera in Andalusia, only 40 mins drive from the Malaga airport. It’s famous for amazing and strangely-looking Jurassic age limestone formations. The highest point of the nature reserve is Camorro de las Siete Mesas at 1336 metres.

Getting to El Torcal

Whether you choose to drive from the direction of Antequera or Villanueva de la Concepcion, the road to El Torcal is full of amazing atmospheric scenary. The El Torcal Centre consists of a medium size parking and visitor’s building.

Like walking on the moon

Wandering around the geologically stunning El Torcal is like being on another planet. Under the sea until 150 million years ago, this land was suddenly pushed upwards around that time. Over millions of years she slow but continuous natural forces of wind, snow and rain have shaped the limestone into weird structures. The limestone rocks take most outwardly shapes connecting with each other at funniest angles. Some look like a stack of plates, others remind of a hat, a monster or a human face – depending on the imagination of the person who looks at them.

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El Torcal de Antequera offers a couple nice walking routes – a green one of 1,5 km, a yellow one of 2,5 km and a red one of 4,5 km – both for the beginners and experts looking for a challenge. Even if you pick the shortest green route you will be able to see plenty of mind-boggling rocks and some wildlife as well, e.g. mountain goats climbing the rocks, foxes hiding in the bushes or vultures circling over the rocks. Additionally, there are two viewing points offering some great panoramic vistas near the car parking.

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Pick the right time

A good tip for photographers is to come very early in the morning when the light is softer and creates nice shadows. There is also a little bit of fog in the early hours of the days which adds to the spiritual side of Torcal de Antequera.

Another tip is to come in spring or autumn, when the sight is less crowdy, and you can enjoy the nature even more. El Torcal can be very hot in July and August. Try to avoid wet season when El Torcal is full of mud and slippery rocks, and even good shoes will not make the walk enjoyable.

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Antequera

City with ancient heritage

Antequera is a fairly inconspicuous city north of Malaga. Because of it’s central position in Andalucia, between Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, it is often called “the heart of Andalucía”. Antequera boasts many interesting places to see, however, it remains unspoilt by massive tourism.

The fortress of Alcazaba stands out as a dominating feature over Antequera. You can visit Alcazaba’s walls and the main tower and enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the top. It is also worth to visit the churches in the centre: Iglesia de San Sebastian and Iglesia de Sanitago.

Those interested in the prehistory should visit the Dolmen of Menga at the city outskirts. It’s an access corridor and an oval-shaped burial chamber from 3000 BC. The tomb most probably served as a grave for the ruling families. Hundreds of people were buried there. If you stand just inside the entrance to this ancient site, you will clearly see Pena de los Enamorados (The Lovers Rock) also known as Montana del Indio (Indian Mountain), because the 880 metre mountain looks like a head of a sleeping Indian.

Another interesting megalithic construction located just outside the city is Dolmen del Romeral. Lastly, there is a megalithic sepulchre of Tholos de El Romeral located 3 kms north of the city. Access to all three archaeological sites is free.

Nature and adventure around Antequera

We also recommend exploring the Antequera region. Whether you are interested in wild animals, climbing, canyoning or hiking, you will surely find something for your liking near Antequera.

Central Andalucia, including the Antequera region, is a real paradise for climbers. The small towns of Villanueva del Rosario, El Chorro, Archidona as well as small villages of Valle de Adaliajis or Pinares de San Anton are very popular climbing destinations. Ten kms south of Antequera there is a Wolf Park (Lobo Park) for those who would like to learn more a about wolves and observe wolves  in an environment that is very close to real nature.

El Torcal Natural Park, located just a couple of kilometers south of Antequera, is a definite must-see. It is famous for weird and bizarre rock formations which are wonderful to look at. Each of these intriguing rocks resembles something different and has some affectionate name, e.g. camel or canary.

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Bird lovers or hikers should not miss Fuente de Piedra lagoon. This beautiful park is located 20 kms north-west of Antequera. It boasts second largest colony of flamingos in Europe.

Iznajar, located around 60 kms north of Antequera, is another interesting place to visit. It’s a classic white village perched on a hill, beside the largest lake in Andalucia. Iznajar boasts spectacular views of the extensive lake and olive hills that surround it from all sides.  The views from Iznajar castle stretch as far as the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.