El Torcal

Situated to the south of Antequera, El Torcal is a mountainous zone of special characteristics among the ranges of Southern Andalucia. The chalkstone composition of the terrain makes it particularly susceptible to erosion by wind and rain.

The most outstanding characteristic of the area is the strange shape which the rocks have taken, the intricate network of passes and ravines, natural bridges, and closed depressions known as dolinas or  torcas.

The impressive landscape of the El Torcal Natural Park has been created by karstic rock formations that are home to millions of structures created by the gradual erosion of massive limestone blocks. The rocks take their origins from the sea and have been slowly changing throughout the ages. The bounty of the flora and fauna is part and parcel of this beauty spot, considered to be unique in Europe, and former dwelling place of prehistoric man. Remains of these Neolithic inhabitants can be found in various sites, the most important being the Cueva del Toro.

The tree cover of El Torcal Natural Park is typical of mountain habitats, formed by maples, elders, gall oaks, hawthorns and blackthorns, with other plant life including thyme, ivy, ferns, moss, peonies and irises. With regard to the animal world, the site contains some 150 species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, among which are various species of mountain goat, foxes, lizards, eagles, sparrow hawks, vultures, swifts, mountain cat, snakes, scorpions, spiders etc.

In order to visit the site, a number of signposted routes have been established, with varying degrees of difficulty. The green route can be completed in 45 minutes and presents no great difficulties. The yellow route takes about 110 minutes and is a little more demanding, requiring comfortable footwear. The red route is of greater difficulty, lasting over three hours, and therefore requires care to be taken with the ground underfoot, water, some food and warm clothes being a good idea.