Saturday, 16 November 2013

El Torcal Nature Reserve

When I mentioned to one of my fellow Hungarian expats that we’re going to visit Ronda she suggested popping into the El Torcal which we can do with a little detour on our way. I pride myself in having a good knowledge of the places worth visiting in the regions we move to but I had never seen or heard of this place. We were easily convinced as we’re always up for seeing interesting places and the photos on the internet promised us something very unique. We set off early on Sunday and drove over to the Nature Reserve.

There’s a visitor centre with parking facilities and an incredible viewpoint close by. When we stepped out of the car in El Torcal we felt like we were on a different planet, we’d never seen anything like this before.

El Torcal is known for its unusual rock formations made of limestone. They are the result of tectonic movements in prehistoric times when the seabed was lifted about 1300m out of the water. The elements attacked the 150 million-year-old limestone with wind, rain and ice from all directions and slowly carved away the softer layers and sharp edges creating incredible forms and shapes.

The ground is hard to walk on as it’s very wild and rocky however there are three routes available with various lengths indicated with different colours. We chose the medium, 2.5km long yellow route which took us to a viewpoint called ‘Las Ventanillas’ at 1200m. The signs said it will take us 3 hours but only took us 1.5 hours. From the viewpoint on the way you can see the whole Nature Reserve and the coastline of Africa.

The Sierra de Torcal mountain range lies just south of the town of Antequera and can be accessed from the A45 road, from the village of Villanueva de la Conceptión. The temperature can go to extremes here so it is advised to visit during spring or autumn. Here is the park's official webiste (Spanish).

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