Side Trip from Malaga
El Torcal de Antequera★★ -- Just more than 50km (31 miles) north of Málaga, El Torcal is reached by driving A-45 north to Antequera, A343 south from Antequera, then local road MA-3310 to El Torcal. The drive takes just less than an hour to reach the desert hills that were designated in 1929 as Andalucía’s first natural park. A paved road swishes back and forth through the bone-dry landscape, providing constantly changing perspectives on the wind-sculpted limestone hoodoos. Three well-marked trails depart from the visitor center (tel. 95-224-33-24; www.torcaldeantequera.com; daily Oct–Mar 10am–5pm, Apr–Sept 10am–7pm; free). If you stick to the trails, you run a good chance of spotting several of the 30 species of wild orchids that flourish in this harsh landscape or seeing an eagle swoop down on a lizard. If you deviate from the trails, you run a good chance of becoming utterly lost—to the delight of the griffin vultures gliding overhead. The landscape is so spooky that El Torcal has the dubious distinction of having more UFO sightings than any other place in Spain.
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