El Torcal de Antequera
Top 2023 Guide!
** The Screw - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
El Torcal de Antequera National Park - 10 Things You Should Know!If you are visiting Andalucia and love to hike, you can't miss El Torcal de Antequera! It's a crazy cool natural monument with superb hiking and incredible views. It's not far from the famous white village of Ronda (102 km) or the port city of Malaga (47 km), and is just down the road from another great city to explore Antequera (25 min / 15.6 km).
The terrain around "El Torcal" looks like something you would find on an alien planet with oddly shaped rocks that seem to have been stacked one on top of another. Visiting this area is a "once in a lifetime" experience, as this type of natural formation only exists in a few places on earth.
Visit the nearby famous "Pueblos Blancos": Grazalema - Olvera - Setenil de las Bodegas - Zahara de la Sierra
** Karstic Formations - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
Discover the Hiking Trails of El Torcal!
Contents on this Page
- Where is El Torcal de Antequera?
- The Best Hotels Near "El Torcal"
- The Best Place to Eat in El Torcal
- The TOP 10 Things to Know Before you Visit!
- Highly Recommended Tours to "El Torcal"
- Recommendations on What to Bring to El Torcal
- A Few General Rules
- Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos
- Distances Between Towns & El Torcal
- Best Time to Visit the "El Torcal" Monument
- How To Arrive
Where is El Torcal de Antequera?El Torcal is in the Province of Malaga about 1-hour north of the capital city (also called Malaga). It is also only a 25-minute drive south of another popular destination, the town of Antequera (from which it derives its name).
There are numerous tour groups that travel from Malaga daily to visit the park. If you don't have a car, this is a great option. You will find more about this below in the "Recommended Tours" section.
** Rocky Lanscape & Formations - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
Just a thought: (and something we highly recommend) Check out the famous "pueblos blancos" of Andalucia, a string of gorgeous white villages that pepper the countryside in the northern Cadiz province. El Torcal is not too far (1 hr 24 min (89.1 km)) from the village of Olvera.
The Best Hotels Near El Torcal de AntequeraIf you are planning on staying in the area, or visiting the town of Antequera, we recommend the following four hotels below:
The Best Place to Eat in El Torcal de Antequera
El Torcal de Antequera Alto Cafe Located in the visitor's Center, take in the beautiful views of the surrounding Karstic landscape while enjoying traditional local dishes. A VERY SIMPLE CAFE.
The TOP 10 Things You Should Know About El Torcal Before You Visit!
First, A Little Jurassic History
** Rock Formations - El Torcal de Antequera, Spain
One of the most interesting things about El Torcal de Antequera is that the entire area used to be underwater... and this is why it looks the way it does today. Of course, this was over a million years ago... things have changed A LOT since then.
The history of this area dates back to the Jurassic period when limestone covered the sea floors. Over the last one million years, changes on earth (earthquakes, freezing temperatures, etc.) have pushed the seabed up to an elevation of over 1300 meters. That is how this fantastical limestone mountain range was created.
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ It's a Karstic What?
The El Torcal Monument is a Karstic landscape... We know, we had never heard of it before either.
Ever since the El Torcal Mountain Range was created; the rains and ice melts have created fractures in the limestone (because the limestone is so soft) that have gradually degraded and eroded the rock over time.... thus, forming these very peculiar shapes that we see today.
** el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
If you want to get technical... they call this process "karstification".
A walk around the park will reveal many unique shapes and formations, some of which resemble and have been named after well-known objects.
See if you can find these: The Sphinx, The Jug, The Camel, and The Screw
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ World Heritage Site!
Is it just us or does the formation below look a little like Stonehenge? Ok, Ok, moving on... ;-)
The El Torcal de Antequera "Karstic" landscape is the most impressive of its kind in Europe. Because it is so unique, it was declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO in 2016. It's referred to as the "Antequera Dolmens Site Ensemble" which is comprised of three cultural monuments and two natural ones, all of which are in and around the town of Antequera. You could easily see all of them while you're here!
** Mini Stonehenge - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
The Ensemble Monuments are: the "Dolmen of Menga", the "Dolmen of Viera", Tholos of El Romeral, la Peña de los Enamorados, and "El Torcal de Antequera". The other four sites are absolutely worth seeing and are just a 30-minute drive from the El Torcal National Park. You will find more about the other World Heritage sites below...
The Torcal de Antequera Hikes
** The Sphinx - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
Hiking in El Torcal de Antequera is fantastic. Throughout the walk you will be amazed by the surreal natural effects all around you. Look how that rock is just balancing up there!!
The hikes themselves are not very difficult, they are mostly flat and the paths are well defined. There are a FEW steep inclines but nothing too strenuous. One does however need to be careful because the ground is rocky and uneven in parts.
There are three different hikes you can take while in the El Torcal de Antequera park, all are well-marked and the hiking is FREE!
** Hiking Trails - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
1. The Yellow Trail - This is the trail that we did. It's 2-hour long, 3 km hike. The trail starts and ends in the parking lot of the visitor's center, and makes an easily followed loop. The trail is marked as medium difficulty. We absolutely loved it and if you have the time, we HIGHLY recommend doing it.
2. The Green Trail - The Green Trail is a shorter version of the Yellow Trail. It basically follows the same path, starts and ends in the same location, but half-way through the hike it winds back around to the start. This trail is quick and easy and will only take you about 45-minutes (1.5 km). If you're looking for a quick hike with the family, this one would be perfect and you will still see the best parts of the park.
3. The Orange Trail - The Orange Trail is the most difficult. It starts further down the mountain at the entrance to El Torcal . This hike will take you at least 4 hours to complete (round trip), as the trail is 3.6 km one way. It goes from the park's main entrance to the visitor's center and then back again. You will get to see many more of the unique rock formations on this hike.
Guided Tours Are Available of Torcal de Antequera
If you're interested in seeing more of the park and some of the "behind-the-scenes" areas, there are other routes and tours available to you.
** Lunar Landscape - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
If you are interested in the sciences and geology in particular, there is a guided Red Route that takes you to see the ammonites (extinct marine mollusks) and the Karstic Labyrinth.
These tours are not offered daily, so you will have to book in advance. All routes, tours, dates, and costs can be found below:
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ Drive Through!
If you're short on time or just not into hiking, don't let it keep you from seeing this magnificent place! You could just do a drive-by!!
** Entry Road - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
There is a great road that will take you from the entrance all the way up to the visitor's center with amazing scenery along the way. Many people pull over to enjoy the views and take a quick walk around.
It will only take you about 15-minutes to drive to the visitor's center where you can grab a bite to eat and check out the stunning views from the top.
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ Amazing Flora & Fauna
One of the things we loved about visiting El Torcal de Antequera was the wildlife. There is a plethora of interesting plants, shrubs, and trees that grow in the area (that you don't see in other places), but what we loved the MOST were the GOATS! Or wild Iberian Ibex that is....
** Bulls & Iberian Ibex - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
As you walk through the park, keep an eye out above. Ibex are very shy creatures but there are MANY sitting high on the rocks watching you as you pass through.
And, I don't know if this is always the case, but as we were hiking we passed two large bulls with their families... this was quite the site in the middle of this rocky jungle.
It Has Beautiful Miradors with Spectacular Views
** Views of Villanueva - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
There are numerous miradors around the park that are worth visiting. The views of the surrounding landscape are gorgeous. You can see the Peña de los Enamorados (another World Heritage Site) in the distance as well as the town of Antequera. The small town of Villanueva de la Concepcion can also be seen below.
The photo above shows the isolated town of Villanueva de la Concepcion just below El Torcal de Antequera.
The Torcal de Antequera Visitor's Center
** Visitor's Center - el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
El Torcal de Antequera has a nice, modern Visitors Center that is free to visit. It also has all the following amenities: an interpretive area, multipurpose room, guide service, observatory, souvenir shop, restaurant, toilets, and parking.
The center is open every day of the week and both the Green and Yellow Hiking Routes start and end here.
El Torcal de Antequera Visitor's Center
El Torcal de Antequera (Alto Visitor Centre)
Paraje Natural Torcal de Antequera, s/n
Carretera de acceso al Torcal Alto km 3,7
Telephone: +34 902 525 100
+34 951 042 100 or
+34 670 944 642
Opening Hours (every day):
10:00 - 5:00 (November to March)
10:00 - 7:00 (April to October)
Closed: December 25, January 1 and 6.
Tourist Office of Antequera
Telephone: 952 70 25 05
Address: Calle Encarnación, 4A, 29200 Antequera, Málaga
Open ⋅ Closes 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 - 2:00
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ Interpretation Area
Also free to visit is the Interpretation Area that is located inside the visitor's center. It is a very hands on area that explains in great detail all about the different aspects of El Torcal; How it was formed, the karst landscape, the wildlife, vegetation, and the parks history.
The Astronomical Observatory is open to the public throughout the year and offers activities specifically designed for schools, and tourist groups.
El Torcal de Antequera ➜ Alto Cafe
After all that hiking luckily El Torcal de Antequera has a place to eat! The Torcal Alto Cafe is simple but good. It's located in a gorgeous setting with beautiful views while you rest and enjoy a good meal (or glass of wine...).
The menu has all your basics; sandwiches, salads, and a selection of local traditional foods found in Antequera... all made with local ingredients.
The kitchen closes at 4:00!
There Is So Much To See and Do Around El Torcal de Antequera
** Things to See Around el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
In the photo above you can see the Castle of Antequera and the historical site Peña de los Enamorados in the distance.
The entire area around Antequera is a dream and offers tons of interesting things to see and do. Like we said above, El Torcal de Antequera has been designated as a World Heritage Site along with 4 other sites in and around Antequera. Some of the top things to see and do around the El Torcal park are:
- "Dolmen of Menga" - The Menga Dolmen is an ancient tomb and is the largest in Europe. Its heaviest stone, which is mysteriously upright, weighs more than 4 times the heaviest stone at the Stonehenge site.
- "Dolmen of Viera" - Another medieval tomb in Antequera.
- Tholos of El Romeral - A false cupola tomb that was built facing south towards the El Torcal de Antequera Mountain range. The sunlight during the summer solstice shines directly into the tomb.
- This tour will take you to all three, plus the El Torcal park...
Peña de los Enamorados - A huge rock formation just outside Antequera, the name translates to "Lovers Rock" or it's also known as "The Lovers Leap Rock". Legend has it that during medieval times two lovers jumped from the rock together rather than be captured by their pursuers and torn apart.
Visit The City of Antequera - A beautiful Medieval city with ancient burial mounds, dolmens, Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, and much more for you to explore... Try this tour of Antequera
Archidona - Another nearby village with another Moorish Castle.
Villanueva de la Concepcion - A small town in the foothills of the El Torcal de Antequera park.
Lobo park - The kids will love this place.. A wildlife park near Antequera where you can see and learn about four different species of wolves.
The TOP Recommended Tours of El Torcal de Antequera
Other Important Information You Should Know About El Torcal de Antequera
1. Recommendations on What to Bring to El Torcal:
- Hiking Boots
- Plenty of Water and Snacks
- Warm clothing during cooler months, raincoat, or windbreaker
- Hat and sun protection
2. A Few General Rules:
- The park is FREE
- Opening hours (every day of the week):
10:00 - 5:00 (November to March)
10:00 - 7:00 (April to October)
Closed: December 25, January 1 and 6.
- El Torcal has 2 short wheelchair accessible paths: the “Mirador de las Ventanillas” trail (100 meters) and the “Tornillo Natural Monument” (400 meters)
- Baby Backpacks can be rented at the visitor's center
- Pets ARE allowed but MUST be on a leash at all times
- Parking Caravans overnight is NOT allowed
** Rocky Landscape- el Torcal de Antequera, Spain
3. El Torcal is Near the Famous Villages on the "Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos"Only about 1 hour and 20 minutes to the west of El Torcal de Antequera is the town of Olvera, one of the famous towns in the "Ruta de los Pueblos Blancos" (White Villages Route).
From there you can visit some of the other towns like, Grazalema, Zahara de la Sierra and Setenil de las Bodegas. Most of these are located in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park which has spectacular scenery around every corner.
4. Distances Between Other Important Towns & El Torcal:Larger Cities / Towns
Malaga 47 km / 1 hour
Cádiz 217 km / 2 hrs 50 min
Sevilla 174 km / 2 hrs 5 min
Ronda 102 km / 1 hr 35 min
Other Smaller White Villages
Jerez de la Frontera 186 km / 2 hrs 35 min
Antequera 15 km / 26 min
Archidona 41 km / 45 min
Olvera 89 km / 1 hr 25 min
Villanueva de la Concepcion 9 km / 17 min
5. When is the Best Time to Come
- During the months of April, May and October you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F).
- On average, the warmest month(s) are July and August, with July being the hottest.
- The months of January, February, March, April, August, September and October have a high chance of precipitation, with November being the wettest.
- On average, the coolest month is January.
- June is the driest month.
6. How To ArriveFrom Antequera: El Torcal is 15 km South on the A7075 on the right-hand side of the road before the town of Villanueva de la Concepcion.
From Málaga: Head 20km North on the A45 to "km 148" and the village of Casabermeja, then head west on the A7075 to Villanueva de la Concepcion. From Villanueva de la Concepcion follow signs to "El Torcal", it is only 3 km further on the left.
There is no public transport to El Torcal de Antequera...
7. ParkingThere is a large parking area next to the visitor center, but spaces are limited. When the lot is full, access to private vehicles will be closed. This means you will have to park in the lower parking areas next to the entrance gate and walk up. A sign will be posted if the lot is full.
That's all you need to know for an amazing day of hiking in the El Torcal National Park! Have a great Visit! ;-)
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