Antequera in Andalucía is a must-visit for those enjoying a holiday in the area, and being just a 50-minute drive with a car rental from Malaga, it’s a perfect day out. This lovely city is known for its historic sites and ancient burial mounts, featuring a whole host of fascinating things to see and do. Whether you want to enjoy the history on display, take in the culture, or just enjoy some of the incredible food available, Antequera will prove to be a memorable excursion for all those visiting the region. So, let’s take a look at just some of the wonderful things there are to see and do during your Antequera adventure.
El Torcal de Antequera
“If you visit Antequera, be sure to visit the stunning El Torcal with its amazing limestone formations.” This is the advice of Lisa from the blog Family Life in Spain and it’s certainly worth adhering to. One stop that absolutely should not be missed when visiting Antequera is the majestic nature reserve known as El Torcal de Antequera. This impressive national park is known for its fascinating and unusual rock formations made from limestone. Stacked on top of each other, they look as if someone has placed them purposefully rather than a sheer accident of nature. El Torcal is also a big favourite for hikers with it’s 17 square km providing some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Europe.
There are three main walking routes that are marked for your convenience, the shortest being the green route at 1.5 km and taking about 30 minutes. The yellow route is 2.5 km long and takes you to what is known as ‘Las Ventanillas’ (The Windows), providing some stunning panoramic views of the valley from 1,200 m high. Pack your walking shoes if your planning on visiting! There’s also a café near the parking area to enjoy some refreshments.
John Kramer, from the Andalucía outdoor life blog John in Malaga, is a big fan of El Torcal and spoke to us about the site, offering some advice for visitors: “El Torcal offers one of the most unique and dramatic karst landscapes in Europe. It’s an amazing place. It’s also extremely varied depending on the time of year and which section you visit (upper, mid or lower).
“Temperatures can be extreme here so visitors should avoid mid-summer or winter. El Torcal also has a pronounced microclimate – it can be raining and cold in El Torcal yet blazing sunshine in Antequera.
“Visitors should also stay on the designated paths. It’s easy to become lost and disoriented there. Be especially careful with children.”
Antequera Dolmens Site
One location that is truly synonymous with the city is the Antequera Dolmens Site, a location that many come to Antequera just to visit. Situated just outside the town, these three megalithic structures are ancient burial mounds that trace back to approx. 3,750 BC. The Dolmens site in Antequera is one of the largest known ancient megalithic structures in Europe and is made even more popular with tourists thanks to its convenient geographical location. Protected by UNESCO, it’s incredible to think about the work that must have gone into building these structures, especially considering the time in which they were constructed. You can read more about the fascinating history and meaning behind these incredible structures here. The Dolmens are certainly not to be missed during your time in Antequera.
Joel and Shandos from the travel blog World Heritage Journey, have chosen the Dolmens site as one of their top things to see and do when in Antequera, saying: “The Dolmens of Antequera stand out for being far older than any of the other cultural UNESCO sites in Andalusia. Two of the sites line up with the La Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal mountainous formations.”
Alcazaba of Antequera
There is a true plethora of history waiting to be discovered upon a visit to Antequera and with the Alcazaba Fortress, this history is also combined with some absolutely stunning architecture that truly has to be seen for yourself. This ancient fortification dominates the Antequera skyline and is certainly one of the most impressive landmarks the city has to offer, situated upon high and providing incredible views of the surrounding area. Built over Roman ruins, this Moorish fortress covers 62,000 sq metres and was erected in the 14th century. The Alcazaba of Antequera is also considered to contain the largest keep of its kind outside the Alhambra.
Molly from the Spanish travel Piccavey also highlights the Alcazaba as a must-see location, highlighting the archway as a feature to take note of: “The Giants Archway (Arco de los Gigantes) is also pretty impressive just outside the Alcazaba. Built in 1585, it takes its name from large sculptures that once stood here. Topped with a Vase of Flowers, a Lion and the city coat of arms, this gateway opens towards the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria and the Alcazaba entrance.”
Museum of the City of Antequera
No city worth its salt is without a fascinating museum to visit. Luckily, Antequera is covered in this department with the Museum of the City of Antequera being a great location to explore for a cultural experience. Once known as the Municipal Archaeological Museum in 1908, the museum has since undergone expansions and reopened under its current form in 2011. Today, the museum is roughly 5,000 sq metres in size, half of which is entirely devoted to exhibition halls. As a result, the museum has become one of the most important in Andalucía.
Located in the centre of town, there are incredible architectural treasures to be found and a significant art collection with mosaics from the Roman period that won’t fail to delight visitors. The standout feature of the Museum of the City of Antequera, however, is by all accounts the 14m bronze statue of Efebo, a Roman sculpture discovered in a farm during the 1950s.
Amazing food and tapas
Food is a big factor when determining a location to visit, particularly when on holiday. And even if you are just visiting a city for a day, you will want to know that there are some delicious options to choose from. Well, when it comes to Antequera you are certainly in luck as the city has a thriving food scene and is well renowned for its amazing tapas – even in a region that is known for such offerings! In total there are more than 100 cafes, bars, and restaurants to enjoy in Antequera and a whole bunch of great pubs on top. For those seeking to devour copious amounts of tapas while in town, you will be pleased to hear that virtually all of the dining spots (except the pubs) offer tapas at the bar.
Offering potential visitors a couple of tips for what to enjoy when in Antequera, Lisa from Family Life in Spain said: “Enjoy a local breakfast of ‘mollete con aceite’ – soft local bread rolls with olive oil. And of course, ‘porra de Antequera’ – a delicious cold soup, kind of a thicker version of the well-known gazpacho.”
Whether its meat or seafood, fried or grill dishes, salads or Antequera hallmarks – there’s something for everyone and for every occasion. Lunch in Antequera is typically served between 1 pm and 4 pm, with dinner starting from 8 pm – plenty of time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city before your meal. A few spots to check out include Caserío de San Benito and Arte de Cozina. Antequera.co.uk also has an extensive guide to eating out in Antequera that might prove useful.
The best things to see and do in Antequera
- El Torcal de Antequera
- Antequera Dolmens Site
- Alcazaba of Antequera
- Museum of the City of Antequera
- Amazing food and tapas
- Lobo Park
Lisa also recommends Lobo Park as another attraction in Spain that shouldn’t be forgotten. Highlighting the fun she and her family had at this lovely wolf sanctuary, Lisa said: “The children loved being able to get relatively close up with the wolves in a natural habitat at the Lobo Park. It was fascinating to learn about the pack mentality. The wolves are so well looked after, and it was an experience we never forget.”
We think you’ll agree, there’s a lot to be excited by with this hidden gem of Andalucía. If you are planning a trip to the region anytime soon, make sure that you hire a car from Malaga and drive on over to Antequera to discover some of these delights for yourself.