Hiking El Torcal de Antequera is on the list of the best things to do in Spain. The landscapes are incredible, the hiking is easy, and the facilities at the park are visitor friendly. And what most visitors don’t realize is that you can drive right up to the Visitors Center at the top of the mountain range (so there’s no hiking required for those with an aversion to hiking).
The Park is officially known as “Paraje Natural Torcal de Antequera” (“Torcal de Antequera Natural Park” in English). It is known for its unusual landforms and is regarded as one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. “El Torcal” refers to the mountain range (the Sierra del Torcal) which is made up of limestone formed about 150 million years ago. The landscapes you see in the park have been created by millions of years of erosion and dissolution by water (karstification).
A short video showing off the Highlights of El Torcal
As I mention up top, you can drive right up to up to the Visitors Center (at the bottom of this post I tell you how to do that). There you have a few very stunning trails you can hike with durations of 45 minutes to 2 hours. BUT – you can also hike up to the Visitors Center from a large parking lot situation at the bottom of El Torcal. The Sendero (path) “Subida al Torcal Alto” is a 3.5 km trail that takes you to the top in about 90 minutes, bypassing a few of the park’s attractions along the way.
* Special thanks to Ron Adams who contributed some of the amazing photos in this post. He’s got some great photos of Andalucia and of hiking on his facebook page.
Hikes around the Visitors Center of El Torcal
Following the Subida al Torcal Alto trail you’ll get to the top. There you’ll see the Visitors Center – there’s a large parking lot, a café, a gift store, and an information center. There’s also a lookout “Mirador Las Ventanillas” located 100 m from the complex (it has some nice views of the valley down below).
The starting point for 2 trails is right next to the parking lot: the Green Route is a 45 minute loop, the Yellow Route is an addition to the Green Route, making it a 2 hr loop.
We took the extended Yellow Route and saw some incredible landscapes:
El Torcal – Practical Information
Official website of the park: Torcal de Antequera
Tour – this was the 2nd tour I took with Jon Keo Walking Tours. Jon is a great guide and his tours are affordable. El Torcal cost 35 Euros, including a 90 minute drive from Nerja (all his hikes start in Nerja and transportation is always included). Way better and less expensive than renting a car.
Driving – if you have your own wheels, take the A-45 heading north from Malaga. Take exit 124 (before getting to Antequera) and follow the signs for Villanueva de la Concepción. Go through town. You’ll see a sign pointing right to “El Torcal”. Follow that for about 5 km and you’ll get to the Parking lot where we started our hike. If you want to drive all the way to the top you’ll have a left just after the parking lot. That will take you into the park and up to the Visitors Center.
Temperatures and when to go. We hiked this in December and it was surprisingly cold (very cold if you’re used to the temperatures on the coast). I’m told that in summer the opposite is the case – it gets very hot up here. The best seasons to hike El Torcal are spring and autumn.
Difficulty in hiking. Very easy. If you’re doing the Subida al Torcal Alto trail from the bottom parking lot you’ll be ascending about 300 meters (from 1000 m to 1300m). It’s a pretty leisurely hike. The Green/yellow hikes up top are even easier – there’s ups and downs but the overall altitude stays constant at 1300m.
Related: Hiking El Cielo in Nerja
Related: Hiking Almendron (Nerja)
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Beautiful place, my wife paints and she pays a lot of attention to everything, sometimes (often) I overlook details, when we went to Monserrate in Barcelona she was delighted looking at the forms of the rocks forming the mountain and she described them as rolls of bread dough put together, some rocks at the Torcal have that shape and others, shapes that we haven’t seen before. It is a good thing you can reach the top by car because hiking is not an option for us, maybe we could go to visit during our next trip.
Keep safe and hopefully we will be able to travel again. Say hello to Lissette.
PS when I could not post my comment I don’t remember if I received a message, I will pay more attention if that happens again and will copy the message and send it to you.
I haven’t seen Monserrate yet but would love to see. And from the photos looks a lot like Torcal.
Lissette says hello back 🙂 You are a gentleman.
Take care Carlos and hopefully we meet up on your next trip to Spain. For the Bbqboy comments – not sure what’s going on there and why sometimes it works/sometimes it doesn’t. I think it’s a security thing but my IT guy hasn’t figured it out…