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El Torcal de Antequera National Park in Spain

This place is great for catching the mountain breeze away from the crowded city and to observe an incredible scenery

Best time: March–May | September–November

El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park
El Torcal de Antequera National Park

About 30 km north of Málaga, near the village of Villanueva de la Concepción, lies the majestic El Torcal de Antequera Natural Park. It is known for its unusual limestone rock formations.

A hundred million years ago, the entirety of this 17 sq. km park was under the sea. The movement of the Earth's crust forced it upwards into the hills and mountains. It took another million years for heavy rain and wind to shape these mountains into the incredible forms that exist today. Nowadays, El Torcal de Antequera has been included as a landmark within the Antequera Dolmens Site on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Of course, this place has its own legends. The captain of the local guerrillas used El Torcal as a hiding place for his treasure which has never been found. Whether this is true or not, this provides one more reason to visit the magical El Torcal de Antequera.

It is easy to find a place to hide from the crowded city. Go to the village of Villanueva de la Concepcion and you will find the sign to El Torcal within a km. Upon arrival at the park, you will notice three possible routes. The green route is the shortest and easiest, taking only 30 minutes to complete and has been designed for those who don't like long walks. The yellow route is longer and will take you to the panoramic views of the valley of Málaga. The red route is the one intended for fans of adventure. It takes three hours to complete and offers views of the whole El Torcal Park and the African Coastline.

This unique place has a large array of flora and fauna, and hosts over 30 species of orchids that have been identified so far. You will also find many wild roses and evergreen oak here. The park is home to numerous reptiles such as the Montpelier Snake, which can grow up to two metres in length, and the Eyed Lizard. Bird lovers have a chance to see golden eagles, griffon vultures, and blackbirds.

Although the area is open to visitors all year round, and Visitors Center operates daily, except December 25, January 1 and 6, the best season to enjoy this unbelievable location is spring (March–May) and autumn (September–November). The colours of nature and the array of flowers will make your time here unforgettable. Summer and winter are less favourable due to temperature extremes. Still, winter sceneries are quite competitive if you're ready to put up with chilblains.

Practical info

What is the best time of the year to visit El Torcal de Antequera and why?

El Torcal de Antequera is best visited during spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November). This is when the colours of nature and flowers make for an unforgettable experience. The winter and summer are less preferable due to extreme temperatures, but the winter scenery is quite a competition. Additionally, visiting during these seasons helps to avoid the summer crowds and scorching heat, which allows you to lose yourself in the magic of the rock formations. Show more

What are the different trails that tourists can explore at El Torcal de Antequera National park and which one is ideal for adventure lovers?

There are three routes available for El Torcal de Antequera National park, the green, yellow and red routes. The green route is the shortest and easiest taking only 30 minutes to complete and recommended for people who prefer short walks. The yellow route is relatively longer and leads tourists to the panoramic views of Malaga valley. The red route is the longest, approximately three hours, and covers the entire El Torcal Park, with views of the African coastline. This particular route is highly suitable for adventure lovers. Show more

How were the amazing limestone rock formations at El Torcal de Antequera National Park formed?

The park was under the sea millions of years ago. Later, the movement of the earth's crust forced the park upwards into hills and mountains. The heavy rain and strong wind over this period estimated to be over a million years have made the rocks into unique shapes, which we see today. The natural forces such as wind and rain continue to shape the limestone rock formations over the years, making the park more magical for visitors. Show more

What species of reptiles can be encountered at El Torcal de Antequera National Park?

El Torcal de Antequera National Park is a dwelling place for various reptiles with Montpelier Snake and Eyed Lizard being the most popular ones. Additionally, Asp Viper, Lataste's Viper and Ocellated Lizard have also been recorded. It is possible to encounter various amphibians while hiking as well, such as the Southern Marbled Newt and Perez's Frog. Bird watching is another popular activity in the park. Show more

What is the secret tale associated with El Torcal de Antequera National Park, and how does it enhance the magical experience of exploring the site?

El Torcal de Antequera National Park has a local legend associated with Captain Villanes, who used to hide his treasure here, which was never found. This adventure story adds more mystery and magic to the already-enchanted natural beauty of the place. It's fascinating to explore the park looking for the lost treasure and stepping in the footsteps of Captain Villanes himself. This story makes it a must-visit destination for those who love history and the unknown. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin