El Torcal Malaga is a natural reserve located north of Malaga city. The peculiar rock formation seems out of a sci-fi movie set. This park makes for a great day hike with the family, as young and old can see fossils engraved in the limestone, wild indigenous flora and fauna and breathtaking 360º views.
To get to El Torcal drive up 1.100 meters above sea level to Villanueva de la Concepcion and take road A-7075, look for the signs for El Torcal Paraje Natural or Centro de Visitantes.
Once there, you will see huge rock formations that date back to the Jurrasic period. During that time, 250 million years ago, the area that goes from Cadiz to Alicante was underwater. On the sea bed, limestone sediments accumulated that were eventually brought to the surface. The earthquakes that formed our world today made mountains out of the seabed making tall “mushroom” shaped mountains.
There are four different hiking routes at El Torcal Malaga. The green route, which begins at the Visitor Center ( Centro de Visitantes) is a round route of 1.5 kms long. Ideal for families with small children or if you don’t have much time. The yellow route is an extension of the same green route, with 3 kms. in total. It takes you to high ground to see 360º views of the surrounds and narrow paths rich in flora.
The orange route is 3.7 kms. long and starts at the parking lot at Paraje Natural and ends at the Visitor Center. It goes through old quarries and pasture grounds and then goes uphill until finishing at the Tornillo or screw Natural Monument. Although it is not very long, this route is very rocky and irregular, so hiking shoes should be worn.
Because El Torcal is in the mountains, the temperature is lower that in the coast, so make sure to pack the appropriate gear along with water and some food or snacks.
Why visit El Torcal?
The main reason to visit this Natural Park is because of the peculiar rock formations and the many fossils you will find engraved in stone. There are also fantastic views of the surrounding fields and towns, as well as the sea!
The whole atmosphere of the park is incredible. The fresh air and nature surrounding are a delight to the senses. You and your family will feel like explorers in a science fiction book, discovering caves, plants, giving names to the shapes of the rock mountains. El Torcal Malaga is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list, as part of Antequera Dolmens List.
There’s a rich variety of wild orchids in the park, along with other indigenous plants. Beware of taking any souvenirs from the park, removing plants or rocks is strictly forbidden as this is a protected natural reserve.
There are routes only accessible with park guides, but the visits are unfortunately only done in Spanish, so you might want to dust off your dictionary and start practicing!