El Torcal de Antequera is a special place that surprises you with its strange and varied forms in which the limestone rocks eroded by wind and water over thousands of years.
Located in the province of Malaga, in Andalusia, eight kilometres at the south of Antequera and just 50 kilometers at the north of Málaga, the Natural Park of El Torcal is made of limestone that emerged between 150 and 250 million years ago. At that time, it was a very long sea passage from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante, i.e. from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
The rocks here were originally in the seabed and changed slowly over millions of years. The exuberant flora and fauna constitute an encore in this beautiful place, which is considered to be unique in Europe. El Torcal was also the home of the prehistoric man. Remains of the Neolithic inhabitants can be found in different places and the most important is the Cueva del Toro.
Flora and fauna
El Torcal was the first Andalusian protected area (in 1929) and in 1978 it was declared a nature reserve. Since 1989, it is recognized as a place of interest related to the flora and fauna. The trees that grow in the El Torcal Natural Park are the typical of mountain environments and consists of maple, elderberry bushes, oak trees, hawthorn and blackthorn, interspersed with other plant life, including thyme, ivy, ferns, moss, peonies and irises. When it comes to the animal world, it is known in the area about 150 different species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, including several species of mountain goats, foxes, mountain cats, lizards, scorpions, snakes, spiders, etc. Many vultures, eagles, eagles, hawks, swifts, falcons and other birds like owls can be found in this area aswell. The place has also been declared a protected area for birds.
What to do
The Junta de Andalucia declared the 20 km2 of El Torcal a protected nature park in 1978 and now it attracts more than 120,000 visitors annually.
There are three routes:
A green route of 1.5 kilometers and a yellow trail of three kilometers that can be walked within a half hour or three quarters and for the serious nature lover, there is also a 4.5 mile red route.
In some places the visitor will be surprised with the beautiful view at the Mirador de las Ventanillas. From this point one can see with clear weather the Costa del Sol and even the coast of Africa.
Opening Hours: The visitor centre with museum and restaurant is open daily from 10:00 to 19:00 hours (April 1-Sept 30) and 10.00-17.00 (1 Oct-30march). On busy days, there is a bus service from the lower parking lot.
How to get there
From the coast, you drive through the ring road towards Malaga and Sevilla and at the height of Casabermeja take the exit to Villanueva de la Concepcion. From this village you can see the massif mountain and from here there are still about 11 miles more on a good paved road until you get to a point which is 1100 meters above sea level. There, you will find the visitor centre of El Torcal.