Table of Contents
The location of the Torcal de Antequera is Spain, Andalusia region, Malaga province, between the municipalities of Antequera and Villanueva de la Concepción.
It is part of the limestone arch of the subbetic ranges, being one of the easternmost ranges of the penibetic system. It is one of the most relevant geological phenomena of karst origin in Europe.
Its location is ideal to visit it from the surroundings. It is less than an hour by car from Malaga, Ronda, Benalmádena, Torremolinos and Antequera and less than two hours from Fuengirola, Ronda and Marbella, Granada, Torre del mar, Nerja, Córdoba and Seville.
The entrance to El Torcal is free, you can visit it at any time of the day. The best moment to visit the Natural Park is early in the morning.
At this time, the Natural Park is almost empty, with just with few people who have spent the night in the caravans.
The opening hours of the Interpretation Center are from 10am to 5pm in winter time and from 10am to 7pm in summer time.
Because light pollution is so low, many photography lovers come at night for star watching and to take amazing pictures of the sky.
They are different paths in Torcal de Antequera we can do, some of them public, some of them with restricted access. We will describe the public ones.
On the map you can see that there are different excursions with longer or shorter routes: the orange route, the yellow route and the red route.
Warning: Do not think the distances are very short because the rocky terrain makes advancing more difficult than normal. It takes more than two hours to complete a 5 kms walk.
The green route is the easiest you can do in Torcal de Antequera and the most visited. It is a circular path that starts and finish in the parking beside the visitor center. It is 1,5 kms long and it takes 45 minutes.
The terrain is rocky and irregular and there are not steep areas. There are many signs along the path so it is difficult to get lost.
The orange route is the one that ascends from the road and the parkings until the visitor center. It is 3,6 kms long (one way) and it takes 3h30 minutes to go and come back.
The path crosses some mines and fertile areas where is easy to see shepherds with a big group of sheeps. The trails ascends parallel to the road and ends in the visitors center.
It does not visit the most singular areas and the most beautiful rock formations.
The yellow route is the longest and most interesting one of all the public routes. The path starts in the parking and it is a circular trail. The first and last part is the same as the green route so you have to pay attention to the deviation.
The trail is 3 kms long and it takes 2 hours. Carefull because it is easy to get lost and lose orientation.
This route is the one which crosses more interesting rocky formations and more variety of landscape. Along the path you can see the sphinx, the camel, the cathedrals, the robot, the bar, the little chicken, etc, among other formations. It also crosses the areas with more vegetation and some beautiful corridors.
In the Torcal de Antequera hiking tour with Malaga Activa Tours you can do this route combined with other short paths in other areas, covering the most beautiful areas of the Natural Park.
El Torcal de Antequera is a Natural Park with a great geological interest which was declared as a Place of National Interest in 1929. It is the first protected natural area in Andalusia and one of the Parks with the most geological, botanical interest in the entire Peninsula. Currently, the Torcal is recognized as a Unesco Heritage site along with the Dolmens of Antequera and El Peñón de los Enamorados.
The name of the natural parks comes from the depresions located in the Natural Park. These depresions are called Torcas in the area (dolina would be the scientific name) and they are karstic depressions in the middle of limestone walls. They are the result of millions of years of erosion. The hike along the trails makes the excursion a walk through a geological museum, a must for any lover of nature and geology in particular.
Historically El Torcal has been a refuge and meeting place for those who were hidden from justice. Resistance to the French invasion at the beginning of the 19th century or resistance to the dictatorship of General Franco (1939-1978) found in El Torcal a great refuge to hide themselves.
They could hide here due to the difficult access and the labyrinthine of their paths. It was also a refuge for bandits and tobacco smugglers. Furthermore, the área has been used by the shepherds of the area since the Middle Ages.
Throughout history, its various inhabitants gave names to the different rock formations found in El Torcal. It was the way to orientate around the area or to establish meeting points that a few knew. The chick, the cathedrals, the camel, the turtle, etc., were landmarks for centuries and continue to be today.
You can get to Torcal de Antequera from Malaga taking the A-45 motorway as you would go to Granada. In around 20 minutes you have to take the exit to Casabermeja, get into the town, and take the secondary road A-3404 that joins with Villanueva de la Concepción.
You have other 15 minutes until Villanueva. You have to cross the twon and take the road to Torcal de Antequera. You still have other 10 minutes until the Natural Park. You can park in the parking beside the Interpretation Center if you go early in the morning, before 10 am. If you go on the weekend and you go later, you will have to park in the parking beside the road and then take the shuttle bus.
It is a 50 minutes drive and 47 kms distance from Malaga.
If you do not have a car the best way to go is to join the daily excursions departing from Malaga city center. The one with Malaga Activa Tours is perfect if you want to avoid the busy hours. You will avoid to take the slow bus until Antequera and a taxi from Antequera until Torcal.
If you are staying at Fuengirola, Benalmadena or Torremolinos, you have to take the A-7 motorway in the way to Málaga and then take the A-45 (direction to Granada).
Once you have crossed Malaga city, you will get to Casabermeja in 20 minutes.. There you have to leave the motorway and take the A-3404 road to Villanueva de la Concepcion.
Once there, you have to cross the town and take the road to Torcal (other 10 minutes).
From Fuengirola you have 77 kms, 65 kms from Benalmadena and 60 kms from Torremolinos.
If you are staying in Nerja or Torre del Mar you have to take the A-7 motorway until Malaga. While surrounding the city you have to take the A-45 motorway (direction Granada) and go until Casabermeja.
From there you have the same indications than departing from the other cities.
The distance from Nerja is 100 kms and you will spend around 1h30 minutes. From Torre del Mar to Torcal is 78 kms and 1h10 minutes.
If you want to park in Torcal, the best parking is the one that is beside the Interpretation center. From this parking they start most of the routes in the Natural Park.
From the parking you can start the yellow, red or green route. It is free but the capacity is limited. Going on a weekend or bank holiday? You have to get there before 10h am if you want to park.
If you did not wake up early in the morning you will see the access to the main parking closed. Therefore, you have to park beside the road, in the lowest part.
You will see two parking, one beside the other at the entry of the Natural Park. Both are free. From these parking the best option is to get the shuttle bus that put you in the highest part of Torcal (1,5 euros).
If you want to go hiking, it takes 1h30 minutes until the other parking and you will not cross any interesting area. Maybe you will get there already tired to start the most beautiful paths of Torcal.
There is a free access to the Natural Park for every person. If you want to book some of the excursions departing from Malaga city, like the one with Malaga Activa Tours, the prices are between 39 and 49 euros.
The service includes transport, water, 3 hours guided hike. Explanations are in English and Spanish.
It is possible to book a trip to Torcal de Antequera last minute in winter time because is low season.
During autumn, spring and summer it is possible to find excursions with some spots available but not always. So better book some days in advance.
The Torcal de Antequera Visitors Center is located just beside the parking, where most of the paths start.
The timetable is from 10h to 17h in winter time and from 10h to 19h in summer time. You can call and ask for information these hours.
Tours from Malaga cost between 39 euros and 49 euros depending of the season. They include water, local guide, transport and 3h guided hike. Booking in the website of the local company you can get a better price than in the travel agency.
Malaga Activa Tours departs daily to Torcal with a van. Always with small groups of 8 people max. The trip is faster than other agencies that stop by in different hotels along the Costa del Sol.
Tours from Benalmadena, Torremolinos and Benalmadena can cost between 39 and 49 euros depending of the season. You will travel in a bus with 55 people.
If you prefer to go in a small group, you have to take the train that joins these cities with Malaga. The departing point is just three minutes far from the last train station (Alameda).
You don’t need to bring very technic clothing in Torcal beacuse the trails are pretty easy. You will need comfortable shoes. Of course, It is always better to have sport shoes or hiking shoes with a good grip.
In hot days, mainly during summer, you should bring solar cream, and a small backpack with water.
There is not age limit in Torcal de Antequera like in Caminito del Rey so if you have a baby carrier is a perfect place to hike in a family.
You will not have problem if you are afraid of heights.The paths don’t cross areal spots.
Furthermore, you can enjoy Torcal with your dog but they have to be with a leash. It is not allowed to scream or to use drones.
Torcal de Antequera trails are not dangerous and everybody can walk along the trails. However, it is not accessible for wheelchairs. Anyway, you have to walk carefully and slow due to the rocky terrain.
It is important to focus and follow the paths and the signs because it is very easy to get lost in the Natural Park. You will not have any refence point while walking in the middle of the beautiful rock formations. Every year someone gets lost in the area.
It is very important to check the weather the previous day. The weather can be very different from the one in Malaga city. As Torcal de Antequera is around 1.000 meter high, it can be 10ºC difference. 10ºC Colder in winter and even 10ºC hotter in summer.
In winter time can be pretty cold in Torcal, with tempertures close to 0ºC during the coldest days. It is important to use warm clothing then.
If it rains in Torcal the terrain can be slippery so it is better to cancel the excursion. The north part become very muddy and it is difficult to advance. Even if it was raining heavily the previous days is better to cancel as well.
You can visit Torcal all around the year but you have to take into account some changes between the seasons.
During winter, months of January, February and march, the temperatures are between 5 and 15 degrees. If the wind is very strong the feeling can be 5ºC lower. It is important to bring a jacket and warm clothing. The rains in winter are pretty low and just few days can snow (2-4 days every winter). Some days the fog is that dense than you can’t enjoy the landscape.
During spring (April, May and June), the temperature can be between 10 and 25ºC. They are the best months of the year since everything is greener. It is the blossom of many plants and trees and there are more birds in the area. In April and May there are more rains than the rest of the year so better to check the forecast the previous days. After 5 months pregnant, the female wild goats give birth, mainly in May.
In summer (july, august and September) the temperatures increase. 20ºC early in the morning and around 30ºC in the afternoon. Temperatures can increase until 35ºC in the hottest days. The vegetation dryes out due to that and the landscape become yellow. It is recommended to use sun cream, a cap and to drink water every 30 minutes during these months. The Natural Park gets more busy as well.
In autumn (October, November and December), you can enjoy the mating season in Torcal. The male wild goats, who are away the rest of the year, join the group and follow the females. You also can see the fights between males trying to be the alpha male. The temperatures drop (15ºC-25ºC) and the first rains appear after the dry summer.
Inside the Natural Park you have a restaurant-cafeteria called El Torcal Alto. It is open between 10 am and 5 pm. There you can buy water, buy some snacks or have lunch.
Just few kilometers from Torcal you have other restaurants. In Villanueva de la Concepcion you have Mesón Torfa and Mesón Bar Jiménez. In the way to Antequera city you have few typical “ventas” like Venta Los Patos, Restaurante Museo Molino Blanco, Mesón Casa del Agua o Restaurante La Roca. All of them offer typical andalusian cuisine.
Close to Torcal de Antequera you have other areas very interesting:
Antequera city: it has an amazing heritage. If you want to visit Antequera you can not miss the Dolmens, the arab castle, the Real Colegiata de Santa María (renaissance style) and the 33 churches of the city. Yes 33, because Antequera is the city with the highest rate church/inhabitants in Spain. From the highest part of the city you can distinguish most of them. From the same view points you can see Peñon de los Enamorados or “The indian”, a hill close to the town that looks like a native american indian face.
Just few kilometers away from Antequera you can visit the Fuente de Piedra lagoon. It is the best place in the province for bird watching, specially flamingos.
The telephone of the visitors center is 918.104.22.168 and it is on service between 10 am and 5 pm. There they can inform you about the forecast, the different routes you can do and the excursions organized by the natural park and departing from the visitor center.
In case you can not contact the visitor center, in Malaga Activa Tours we will be very happy of providing all the information you need. You can contact us in the +34626302234. Call us or text through whatsapp. We are 24/7 available.
So far there are not public buses that connect Málaga with El Torcal. There are not trains neither. The only way to get into the natural park is by taking the Málaga-Antequera bus and then taking a taxi in Antequera. The whole trip can take around two hours.
If you join the Malaga Activa tour early in the morning, you will be there in 50 minutes.