January 31, 2012

Day trip: Villanueva de la Concepción, El Torcal and Antequera

Day trip: Villanueva de la Concepción, El Torcal and AntequeraDay trip: Villanueva de la Concepción, El Torcal and Antequera

A most pretty, unexplored country town lies in the hills between Malaga and Antequera, practically undiscovered – Villanueva de la Concepción, with its magnificent backdrop of the El Torcal mountain range, is well worth a visit!

From the Escuela, head to the Bar El Cruce and turn left, inland along the A356 and keep to this road, passing Lake Viñuela to your right.  At Casabermeja, some 20 minutes further along this road, keep on going, not turning off the road, and after crossing the A45 motorway, you will find the road narrows and the countryside changes quite quickly, giving way to wheat fields, broad beans plantations and rolling hills.  The imposing, rocky Torcal mountain range becomes visible as you wind your way up to Villanueva.

Note, as you approach the town, the pretty views to the right and the lovely backdrop of the mountains as you climb the slope of the main street.  Before you get to the T junction, park and explore the pretty streets and square off to the left, and maybe take a drink in one of the bars with outdoor terraces at the T junction. Villanueva de la Concepción is a relatively new town, established officially in 1880, as a textile manufacturing town where a high percentage of the women were working and earning their own money long before other women could even consider work outside the home!

When you have strolled around the town, (don’t spend long here, there is much to do!) turn right at the T junction in the direction of Antequera and up, out of the town towards El Torcal.  Take a clearly marked sign to El Torcal on the left, a few Kms outside the town and follow the road towards the top of the mountain.  You will be amazed! The landscape changes so dramatically that you may

Rock formations, El Torcal

wonder whether you have suddenly been magically teletransported to the moon!  Strange rock formations everywhere, full of odd shapes forming faces and fanatistic animal shapes.

At the end of the road, you will find a visitor centre which is well worth exploring, to learn more about this fascinating mountain top.  From here, there are a number of colour coded walks, some longer than others, so this is where you put on your walking boots and explore!  Also, follow the signs on the left to the Mirador (lookout point) to view the entire valley to the South, with Villanueva nestling below, and Malaga city and port in the distance, set against the vast expanse of the Mediterranean sea.  An information panel here tells you how these rocks were formed and how the whole thing used to be below sea level!  There is also a look-out diagram pointing out the landmarks to spot in the distance.


Back on the Antequera road, you will travel through lovely countryside, scattered with old ‘cortijos’ (ancient farmhouses from a bygone age) and in through the back way to the ancient and historic town of Antequera.

Monuments in Antequera

Antequera is packed with monuments, including around 50 churches dating back to Medieval times, and culminating in the magnificent Alcazaba, perched at the very top of this ancient city, and dating from the thirteenth to fourteenth century.  On the outskirts of the town, to the North East are the famous and most fascinating Dolmens, ancient Megalithic tombs of great significance for Spain and all of Europe.  There are three, built at different times (between 3ooo and 5000 BC) and they are well worth a visit.  Look out for the interesting engravings on the entrance pillars to the most ancient dolmen of the three, the Menga dolmen, and when you see them and pass through the entrance, bear in mind that the stone slab forming the roof of the entrance is estimated to weigh 180 tonnes!!  How did they get it there?!

You can buy guides to Antequera in the town itself, or check out the many guides online before you get there.  Here are some that are useful:

Antequera – The Virtual Tourist

Antequera – Official Tourist Website (in Spanish)


There are many excellent restaurants in Antequera and you might fancy ending your day here, in this most interesting ancient town, before heading back South to our Escuela.  Take the motorway route back, the A45 to Malaga but come off at the sign for “Velez-Ma” by Casabermeja and follow the A356 back to us.

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