We’ve Gathered The 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss The Torcal de Antequera – The Most “Original” Natural Setting In Málaga
If there is a truly “original” Andalucian natural setting, it has to be the El Torcal de Antequera. Oddly-shaped structures draw the attention of visitors to this corner of Southern Spain, offering collection of activities and charm that make it an especially appealing destination for a getaway. Highlighting the many ways this is not to be missed, Visitor Centre manager Jorge Alegre lists the top ten reasons to visit this truly special landscape.
1. The Karst Landscape
The Torcal de Antequera is characterised by a stunning Karst landscape, known as a terrain that spent more than 200 million years submerged by the sea. The collision of two tectonic plates caused the local land to emerge from beneath the water in a slow process, which brings about valuable fossils. Over the years, meteorological agents, including water, ice and wind have all helped to shape this limestone into a spectacular landscape.
All of these forces have combined to form structures known as “mushrooms” for the characteristic shape of rocks in the Torcal, with a wide top supported by a thin base. The result is a stunning view and an absolute treasure for nature photography lovers, attracting professionals and amateurs alike.
2. Fossils of El Torcal
Throughout the year the Visitor Centre of El Torcal organises exhibition days, which showcase the natural and cultural value of this space. As if they were travelling back in time, visitors can discover the marine origin of the natural area’s first inhabitants: the Ammonites and Belemnites. Through this activity, visitors can learn about the area’s varied fossils, how to appreciate them and even value them. In addition to glimpsing these findings, participants can view fossilised footprints from animals, exactly where they left them in the limestone. This initiative is a truly rewarding experience for the study of prehistoric fauna.
3. The Route of the Ammonites
El Torcal offers the chance to explore this beautiful natural setting while you learn. An example of this is the famous “Route of the Ammonites”. This is a walking tour that takes place along the former “Red Route”. This area has restricted access and you need special permission from the regional government, so if you plan on taking part, you need to make a reservation with the Visitors Centre. The highlight of this activity is undoubtedly the views, including the four cardinal points, offering a bird’s eye view. To the south you can see the Costa del Sol. To the east, you’ll find the Sierra Tejeda and Sierra Nevada. And to the north, the beautiful city of Antequera and West El Chorro.
Panoramic views include both sea and snow, blending to make this an unforgettable experience. Besides enjoying this tour of their views, you can learn alongside professional guides about the region’s characteristic geology, anthropology and prehistoric fauna. If you want to take this route, it’s important to remember to look for iconic limestone figures, including “The Bold”, the “Sombreito” and the “cofre”. Don’t forget to wear comfortable sports clothing and set aside about two hours to complete the route.
In addition to guided tours, El Torcal offers hiking trails that are marked and open to the public. Visitors who want to take this approach can find out everything they need to know about each trail’s difficulty at the Visitor’s Centre, making sure you pick the one that suits you best. You can find trails that will require from 45 minutes to a minimum of three hours. For all of them, hikers need to bring suitable footwear for mountaineering and it is also important to wear comfortable and sheltering clothes. Given the altitude of the area, the temperatures can be very different from the city. On this tour you can admire the Karst landscape and local animals in their natural habitat.
5. Guided Tours
The El Torcal de Antequera Visitors Centre has a range of professional guides for those who prefer to visit the area and learn about each curious and significant detail about the landscape while they hike. Each guided tour is tailored to the needs of each visitor. Older visitors or those with a physical disability may require alternatives to the services available – changes that can be easily made and adapted according to their specific needs.
6. Astronomical Observations
El Torcal is a prime location for exploring the universe. In this natural setting sits the El Torcal Astronomical Observatory whose main objective is to allow visitors to enjoy and make use of a fully equipped facility with powerful observation tools, all guided by a skilled staff. This activity helps the study of astronomy in an educational and entertaining. Throughout the year, nighttime sessions are also organised to help inform the public as well.
7. Interpretive Area
To become more familiar with this unique Karst area, the Visitor’s Centre has a reading room. This virtual museum has audio-visual equipment to facilitate the visitor’s learning about the most important characteristics of El Torcal. If you like to learn in a fun and visual way, this is the best option to soak up the fauna and flora of prehistoric Southern Mediterranean.
8. Health Benefits
El Torcal is located almost 1,200 metres above sea level. If you want fresh air while admiring magnificent views, this area is perfect location for cleaning out your lungs. Many lovers of yoga and Eastern philosophies come to this environment to perform their exercises and traditions. The orientation and geographical location helps positive energy currents flow, helping to establish an energy bridge.
9. Typical Gastronomy
If you’re looking for something typical from Andalucia, one must consider the region’s fine food. If you are a foodie, you can not miss El Torcal. As seen in the Antequera natural setting, the selection is wide and varied. The area’s typical dish is the “la porra antequerana”, which is a thick, cold cream made with tomatoes, olive oil and bread. Migas (fried bread) is one of the typical dishes of the region in addition to goat cheese. The more adventurous can also enjoy the popular dish of the mountains based on eggs, potatoes, sausage, peppers and tenderloin. But if Antequera is known for anything, it is the monastic sweets, which highlights the ” bienmesabe” .
10. A Visit to Antequera
El Torcal is located near Antequera, one of the most beautiful cities in the province of Malaga. If the area’s natural views are not enough to impress you, the charm of this monumental city certainly will. This enclave of mediaeval Andalucian aesthetic has one of the most important prehistoric monuments in Europe, the “dolmens”, along with a rich architecture, including stately homes, churches, palaces and convents.
If you are planning on giving yourself a break, this is certainly an interesting destination. El Torcal offers a wide range of activities bathed in the beauty of its natural setting. A corner of Spain to enjoy nature in a most original way.