The Jurassic age limestone is about 150 million years old and was laid down in a marine corridor that extended from the Gulf of Cádiz to Alicante between the present Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. These seabeds were uplifted to an elevation of over 1300 meters during the Tertiary era, resulting in a modest mountain range of flatlying limestone, which is rare in Andalucia.
Later, a series of fractures, cracks and faults at right angles (generally NW-SE and NE-SW) were exploited by erosion and produced the alleys between large blocks of limestone visible today. The blocks themselves have been subjected to both dissolution by water (karstification) and freeze-thaw splitting action which, working on the limestone’s horizontal beds, resulted in the various shapes visible today, many of which resemble, and have been named after, everyday objects such as the Sphinx, the Jug, the Camel, the Screw, etc.
Other flat surfaces have been karstified into rugged, rocky lands where travel on foot is difficult. Its location is ideal to visit it from the surroundings, El Torcal is:
- Less than <1h by car from Malaga, Ronda, Benalmádena, Torremolinos and Antequera.
- Less than <2h by car 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. There are different paths in Torcal de Antequera you can do, some of them public, some of them with restricted access. There you can find diagrams of the public ones on maps where you can see the different excursions with longer or shorter routes: the orange route, the yellow route and the red route.
Warning: Do not mistake the distances for being short because the rocky terrain makes advancing more difficult than normal. It takes more than two hours to complete a 5 kms walk.
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 10am if you want to park.