The Spanish city of Malaga is perfect for a holiday – think lots of beaches, cocktails bars and cultural attractions – but make sure you venture a little further afield during your time here.
As tempting as it is to spend all of your time in Malaga, the Andalusia region is a fascinating one that boasts many other destinations that are worth visiting. Antequera is one of those, with the town no more than an hour’s drive from the city. If you get a good deal for car hire at Malaga Airport, you’ll have the freedom to jump in the vehicle and go wherever you fancy.
So, why exactly is Antequera worth the effort? Below are my top reasons why you should squeeze it into your itinerary.
The town is packed with various buildings and monuments that will have you enthralled for hours. Everything from churches and monasteries to castles and palaces can be found here, so even the most ardent history buff will be kept occupied. The Santa Maria Basilica and castle can be reached if you head to the top of the town, so make sure you leave enough time to visit these.
Antequera is also famous for its prehistoric caves. The Menga Dolmen is thought to have been created around 5,000 years ago. Fossil remains can be found here and help us to learn more about the beginnings of architecture and the evolution of man. The Romeral Dolmen is split into two parts, with the smaller room containing an altar where offerings were placed. The larger area is home to a tomb chamber with a false vault, which is interesting to see how it was made. Finally, the Viera Dolmen is a tomb complete with roofed gallery and archaeologists believe it shows how man placed a spiritual emphasis on death.
Its great outdoors
I always forget just how much green space there is in Spain, especially close to Malaga, as I always think about its stunning beaches. The El Torcal Natural Area is a short drive from the centre of Antequera (around 12 km) and is definitely worth a visit.
This is an absolutely stunning corner of Spain, with perhaps its most famous attraction being its limestone complex. These rocks were pushed from the seabed around 150 million years ago and the complex still looks as impressive as ever. While El Torcal is split into four different zones, Torcal Alto is one of the most popular to visit. Here, you can soak up a panoramic view of the Malaga province and, if you’re lucky enough to visit on a really clear day, you can often see Africa’s coast. Keep an eye out for different bird species, as El Torca is a nesting area and a designated Special Zone for Bird Protection.
Wherever you go in Spain you’ll be greeted by local wine and plates piled high with tapas, but the cuisine is particularly special in the Andalusia region. King prawns, cured Iberian ham, fried fish and mini pots of stew are all popular dishes served up in Antequera’s restaurants. Although its location is inland, the coast isn’t far, which is why you will notice lots of seafood on the menu. Make sure you also sample Spanish desserts, which commonly include almonds, honey and nougat.