Malaga – Torcal Park – Antequera – El Chorro Gorge – Setenil de las Bodegas – Ronda – Júzcar
Distance: 196 km
Travel time without stopping is 5 hours one way with full stops – 10 hours. You can divide the route into 2 days and spend the night in Setinil de las Bodegas.
All roads are free if you follow the route on our map and avoid the AP-7 and AP-46 toll highways.
When you can go. At any time of the year. Most of the route passes through the winding serpentine mountains and gorges of Andalusia, and it will be cooler there than on the coast. In winter in the mountains +5+15. Summer +15+25. At any time of the year, take blow-free clothes and comfortable shoes.
From Malaga, head north without taking the AP-46 toll road (in Spain, toll highways start with the letters “AP”). Soon the road will begin to climb up, and after 1.5 hours of travel will lead you to the first place of the route, worthy of stopping. This is torkal National Park, an impressive cluster of weathered rocks, rocks, and caves dating back to the Jurassic period. The landscapes of the park fascinate with bizarre forms of the natural landscape. There are a lot of mountain goats in Torkala who feel like real owners here. At the entrance, there is a tourist center with all the necessary information.
There are several hiking trails through the park, the simplest of which is green. It is a 1.5 km and 30-40 minutes walk to the beautiful views. More information about the routes is available on the official website of the park. Admission is free. The park is open from 10:00 to 17:00 (until 19:00 from April to October).
20 km from Torcal is the ancient city of Antequera. In addition to the beautiful views of the Arab fortress of Alcazaba, towering over the city, and many old buildings, there are several prehistoric dolmens: Menga, Viera, and El Romeral. These are structures dating back to 4-5 thousand years BC, the same age as Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, monuments of ancient civilization you can enter. The dolmens have their own tourist center and convenient parking. Admission is free. The work schedule and practical information can be found here.
In Anteker, it is also worth making a small snack: the city is famous for its cuisine. Be sure to try Porra Antequera (Gazpacho in Antequera) and pio antequerano (a cold snack of oranges, cod, onions, and boiled eggs). Bun Mollette Antequera (Antequera bun) is known throughout Spain. These dishes can be found in most of the city’s cafes.
After Antequera, take the A-343 road to the next significant location, the El Chorro Gorge. The road will take no more than an hour and will invariably delight you with beautiful views of mountainous Andalusia. When you get to El Chorro, leave the car in the parking lot (GPS coordinates: 36.911958, -4.764022) and follow the path with signs that will lead you to the gorge. The entire journey is about 2 km and ends with a beautiful observation deck and the Royal Trail (El Caminito del Rey). The Royal Trail is a structure consisting of concrete and crutches and railroad tracks driven into the rock. It connects the waterfalls of Chorro and Gaitanejo and, in the early twentieth century, was actively used by workers to construct a hydroelectric dam. Now the Royal attracts extremists from all over the world.
Entrance to El Chorro is chargeable. At the same time, there can be no more than 400 people. Working hours: from 10:00 to 17:00 (from November to the end of March – until 14:00). Tickets must be purchased in advance on the website for 10 euros. There you can also sign up for the passage of the Royal Trail.
The wonders of Andalusia do not end there for you. After another hour of following our route, you will find yourself in the amazing Setinil de las Bodegas – a city over which rocks hang. The houses here are cut into the basalt rocks and are a continuation of natural caves.
Just take a leisurely walk through the amazing city, now and then lifting your head to see the stone hanging over you, and try tapas in one of the local restaurants, the inner walls, and roof of which inside is also a rock.
Just an hour of travel from the city, over which the rock hangs, and you are in a city that hovers over the abyss! This is Ronda, which is located on two high plateaus, connected by a beautiful bridge. The whole city is literally one observation deck with magnificent panoramas of the El Tajo gorge. Be sure to walk across the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) and enjoy the views. In addition, Ronda is the birthplace of bullfighting and the city where the Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, and Arabs once lived. Each of the peoples left its imprint in the culture of the city.
Rhonda is a great place to stay overnight. There are many hotels (choose hotels with parking, the price of city parking is from 25 euros per day, or 1.5 euros per hour).
If you decide to continue your trip or finish it in Malaga (1.5 hours), Marbella (1 hour), or Gibraltar (2 hours), it is worth driving through the village of Hussar. This unremarkable village signed a contract with Sony Pictures in 2011, after which the whole city was painted blue (including an ancient church and municipal buildings) to promote the cartoon Smurfs. The contract has already expired, but the locals are in no hurry to repaint their houses, so the city attracts many more tourists.