Today, I’m going to present you one of my favorites place in Andalucía… Antequera and El Torcal !!
Visiting this part of the country side will allow you to discover a nice little city, a UNESCO prehistoric site and beautiful mountains landscapes. And all this for FREE!
You have chosen Malaga for your holydays and you have made the right decision! You’re enjoying the Costa Del Sol, the playas and the city of Malaga. Perfect! Most people spend all their time on the coast and we can’t blame them!
But have you noticed the mountains just behind you? Now take time to discover them!
Here are some reasons you should visit Antequera and take a walk in the Torcal:
You will spend a day far from most tourists.
Even if Antequera is known as “the heart of Andalusia” (because it is located between Malaga, Granada, Córdoba, and Seville) most tourists don’t take time to go there. It will allow you to spend a nice and relaxing day far from the touristic areas on the coast.
You will feel like a time traveler
Before entering the city, or when leaving, you might want to discover the “Antequera Dolmens Site”, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I have to say I saw many dolmens in my life but these ones are absolutely unique! IThese are one of the largest known ancient megalithic structures in Europe. It is 25 metres (82 ft) long, 5 metres (16 ft) wide and 4 metres (13 ft) high, and was built with thirty-two megaliths, the largest weighing about 200 tons. After completion of the chamber (which probably served as a grave for the ruling families) and the path leading into the centre, the stone structure was covered with soil and built up into the hill that can be seen today. When the grave was opened and examined in the 19th century, archaeologists found the skeletons of several hundred people inside.
Once in the city, you should discover the Alcazaba. It is a fortress erected in the 14th century to counter the Christian advance from the north, over Roman ruins. The fortress is rectangular in shape, with two towers. Its keep (15th century) is considered amongst the largest of Moorish al-Andalus, with the exception of the Calhaorra in Gibraltar. It is surmounted by a Catholic bell tower/chapel added in 1582.
You will enjoy visiting an authentic city of Andalucía
You won’t find any huge touristic complex in Antequera! Life is quiet pleasant in the city and you will find very nice people living here. I advise you to take a walk through the calm streets of the city. It will allow you to discover a large amount of churches. Here are a few examples :
– Church Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor (1514–1550), a national monument built in a transition style between the late Gothic and the Renaissance ones. For the façade construction was used stones from the abandoned Roman town of Singilia Barba, located north of Antequera.
– Church Real Colegiata de San Sebastián, built from 1548. Originally in Renaissance style, it has a Baroque bell tower and a Neoclassicist interior.
– Church of the Carmen (1583–1633), in Mannerist-Baroque style. It has a tre retablos in the main chapel, dating to the 18th century.
You can enjoy a nice walk in a unique natural site
Definitely my favorite natural site in Andalucía! Situated 45 kilometers from Malaga and 13 kms from Antequera, El Torcal de Antequera is a nature reserve in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range. It is known for its unusual landforms, and is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. The area was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in July 1929, and a Natural Park Reserve of about 17 square kilometres was created in October 1978.
I advise you to take one of the walks going around El Torcal (45 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours).
The site also contains a free museum. You can visit it if you want to understand more about the formation of the site. You will love the landscapes there!
Everything is free !
Written by Fabrice Prudent