Antequera is now a World Heritage City. In 2016, UNESCO declared the Sitio de los Dólmenes as such, consisting of three buildings erected more than 6,000 years ago. But this beautiful town, located 50 kms away from Malaga,  has much more to offer: the Peña de los Enamorados and the karstic labyrinth of El Torcal are two other references of this monumental city.
An interesting visit that also offers gastronomic opportunities: it is the best place to try local products such as porra antequerana or the mollete.

overview antequera city

Antequera, Malaga © Nacho Sánchez

Where to eat in Antequera?

The El Torcal visitor center itself has a restaurant where you can enjoy some of the most typical dishes of Antequera, such as porra antequerana. A cold dish made with bread, extra virgin olive oil and tomato, traditionally accompanied by tacos of ham, boiled egg and tuna.

Another great place to enjoy this delicatessen is Arte de Cozina, an establishment run by chef Charo Carmona. There, in addition to the traditional porra, they offer two other versions: one with oranges and another without the use of tomato, emulating the original recipe from dozens of years ago.

The restaurant, the only one with a Sol Repsol in the whole city, is perfect for enjoying the gastronomy of the land, since its menu is always based on seasonal and local products. Ajoblanco, gazpacho, patatas bravas, fried aubergines or rabbit chops are some of the snacks that can be tasted both in one of the tables in its dining room and in the bar to try some tapas.

santa maria antequera

Royal Collegiate Church of Santa María © Nacho Sánchez

And, also, Antequera is a good place to enjoy tapas in places such as the El Rincon de Lola tavern, the Meson Ibérico Dehesa Las Hazuelas or El Escribano, located next to the Royal Collegiate Church of Santa María, a building erected at the beginning of the XVI century.

The café-bar A force is also one of the most recommended places, not only for its excellent cuisine, but also because it is the perfect place to have breakfast. There you can try the authentic molletes de Antequera  (a very tasty type of bread) that can be accompanied with Iberian ham, tomato and oil, but also the best churros in the city.

On the outskirts, it is more than advisable to visit the Caserío San Benito restaurant, included in the Michelin Guide as Bib Gourmand and the best place to try homemade spoon dishes such as rice with partridge or classic dishes like migas, which are accompanied with carrots and pomegranate, as well as chorizo, eggs and fried peppers. Bon appetite!

Antequera Dolmens

It seems like a miracle. An impossible fact. It is difficult to imagine human beings more than 6,000 years ago performing such a construction. But when you go inside yourself, you see that it is true, it is real.

To step on its ground is a unique experience, it is understanding what mankind is capable of, understanding his strength. And the historical value of a place that looks like science fiction. For this reason, UNESCO decided in 2016 to declare the site of Los Dólmenes, formed by three megalithic monuments, as World Heritage. A label that also extends to El Torcal, an extraordinary natural landscape at an altitude of 1,300 meters.

dolmens of antequera spain

Dolmens of Antequera © Javier Pérez González

The city of Antequera is home to an important heritage of different historical eras. It is witnessed by its Muslim stronghold, which watches from the highest part. Also, its more than 30 churches, mostly built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

But its most exceptional element, undoubtedly, are the dolmens of Menga, Viera and El Romeral, which constitute one of the best and best-known exponents of European megalithism. That is, the first forms of monumental architecture in Prehistory in Europe, as Le Corbusier has already said, who during his visit in the 1950s left an inscription in the guestbook: “To my ancestors”.

For those who are curious to know how these constructions were built, an interpretation center located in the premises explains the process in detail. It’s amazing!

dolmen menga antequera

Dolmen of Menga © Javier Pérez González

For visitors, the Dolmen de Menga is the most spectacular. Suffice it to say that the stone that covers this sepulchral construction has a weight of 180 tons and an area of ​​40 square meters.

Although the majority of this type of monuments is oriented towards the sun, in this case the norm is broken: its builders oriented it to the Peña de los Enamorados, an incredible mountain with a human profile.

On the other hand, the Viera Dolmen points to the sun, while the third, the El Romeral Dolmen, is oriented towards the highest part of the El Torcal natural landscape. It is believed that, like Menga, he was heading towards a place that mystically fascinated those who raised these incredible tholos.

peña enamorados

Peña de los Enamorados © Nacho Sánchez

El Torcal

If it is easy to understand the fascination for the Peña de los Enamorados, but also for El Torcal. It is a karstic labyrinth sculpted by water and wind over millions of years. It is easily accessible: you can reach its visitor center by car. Beside it there is a beautiful viewpoint from which you can see much of the province of Malaga and, in the distance, the Mediterranean Sea.

There are two hiking routes – suitable for children – which can be followed in El Torcal without the help of a guide thanks to good signage. The first is the so-called Green Route, which involves a walk of just 45 minutes. The second, the Yellow Route, is about two hours away. Both are perfect for enjoying a unique place in Spanish geography. And also to see rocks that have very recognizable shapes: a sphinx, a flower pot, a camel, a dinosaur … The walk also becomes an excellent and fun family outing.

El torcal de Antequera

El torcal © Nacho Sánchez

What to see in a day in Antequera?

The city of Antequera is home to an important heritage of different historical periods. This is attested by its Muslim citadel, which watches from the top. Also its more than 30 churches, most of them built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The ideal, as always in these cases, is to get lost in the old part of the city and discover the corners (which are many) and streets where you will inevitably see a beautiful church.

However, if you only have one day to visit the city, we think it is essential to include at least the following in your itinerary:

Starting from the San Sebastian square and its beautiful church of the same name, we go up the cobblers and Judas slope to the viewpoint of the Almenillas, from which we have a magnificent panoramic view of Antequera.

Panoramic View of Antequera

Panoramic View of Antequera

From the viewpoint, before continuing up towards the Alcazaba, we go down the El Colegio Street, until we reach the Carmen square and Postigo de la Estrella, where there are important remains of the old fence of the Muslim village.

After that, we can resume the climb to the famous Arch of the Giants that leads to the monumental site of the Alcazaba, which can be visited with an entrance ticket.

Arch of Giants

Arch of Giants and Church of Santa Maria

If we enter, we access a square with the beautiful Renaissance-style Collegiate Church of Santa Maria nestled there. If we look at the wall of the enclosure we can see the remains of a Roman baths.

Collegiate Church of Santa Maria

Collegiate Church of Santa Maria

Returning to the Arch of the Giants we pass on our right the Michael Hoskin viewpoint, whose research was crucial for the declaration of the Dolmens as a World Heritage Site.

We can go down again and this time turn right when we reach the San Sebastian square to reach the Coso Viejo square where the Convent of the Catalinas, the Palace-Museum of the City and the Encarnación Convent are located.

From there we can head towards the Plaza de Toros through some of the lively commercial streets, leaving churches and stately homes on both sides along the way.

plaza de toros de antequera

Bullring Entrance

Where to eat in Antequera?

The visitor center of El Torcal itself has a restaurant where you can enjoy some of the most typical dishes of Antequera, such as porra antequerana. A cold dish made with bread, extra virgin olive oil and tomato, which is traditionally paired with diced ham, boiled egg and tuna.

Another great place to enjoy this delicatessen is Arte de Cozina, an establishment run by chef Charo Carmona. There, in addition to the traditional porra, they offer two other versions: one with oranges and another without the use of tomato, emulating the original recipe from dozens of years ago.

The restaurant, the only one with a Sol Repsol in the whole city, is perfect for enjoying the gastronomy of the land, since its menu is always based on seasonal and local products. Ajoblanco, gazpacho, patatas bravas, fried aubergines or rabbit chops are some of the snacks that can be tasted both in one of the tables in its dining room and in the bar to try some tapas.

And, beyond that, Antequera is a good place to enjoy tapas in places like the tavern El Rincón de Lola, Mesón Ibérico or El Escribano, located next to the Real Colegiata de Santa María, a building erected in the early sixteenth century.

For inexpensive tapas, La Cantina or Las Hazuelas in the Plaza del Coso Viejo are an excellent choice.

The café-bar A la fuerza is also one of the most recommended places, not only for its excellent cuisine, but also because it is the perfect place for breakfast. There you can try the authentic molletes de Antequera (a very tasty type of bread) that can be accompanied with Iberian ham, tomato and oil, but also the best churros in town.

On the outskirts, it is highly recommended to visit the restaurant Caserío San Benito, included in the Michelin Guide as Bib Gourmand and the best place to try homemade dishes such as rice with partridge or classic dishes like migas, which here are served with carrots and pomegranate, as well as chorizo, eggs and fried peppers.

Olla de Castañas Arte de cozina

Olla de Castañas Arte de Cozina

Caserío San Benito antequera

Caserío de San Benito © Nacho Sánchez

Where to sleep in Antequera?

There are numerous Hotels, Hostels and Apartments for all budgets in Antequera. Among the most special are:

-Hotel Infante, a small 3 star hotel right in the center of town with a rooftop pool great for the heat. You can book here.

-El Parador, without a doubt a safe option with good prices if booked in advance. It is located very close to the bullring, in a very nice modern building built in different heights. The rooms are very nice and the restaurant, although we did not try it, has spectacular views of the Peña de los Enamorados. You can book here

Convent of La Magdalena. Although it is about 5 kms from Antequera, it is the ideal place to rest. We liked everything about this 5 star hotel, especially the rooms, and the burrito Magdaleno they have there. You can book here

Finca Eslava, just outside Antequera. It is an old manor house from the 18th century and apparently later a very famous restaurant. We stayed only one night in December 2020 (besides being in the middle of the pandemic, it was not very crowded at the time) and had a very good menu of traditional food at the hotel. You can book here

convento magdalena

Convent Magdalena

hotel finca eslava

Hotel Finca Eslava

interior convento magdalena

Interior of the Convent

About the Author: Spain Food Sherpas

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