Cultural route of Antequera (Malaga): the secrets of the crossroads of Andalucia

20 Jun
Last update: 10 October, 2019

The cultural route of Antequera will make you discover what you can’t miss visiting in Antequera.

Let us provide you with some useful tips and information about Antequera and what to see during your cultural route.

If you are planning a trip to the province of Malaga, the city of Antequera is definitely a must-see. Also known as the “heart of Andalusia”, Antequera has been the mandatory crossroads for everyone travelling from Seville, Granada, Malaga and Cordoba, since 2500 BC.

Antequera’s countless monuments make it impossible to visit it unless you follow a cultural route. More than 30 churches with wonderful interiors, the influence of Roman, Moorish and Spanish arts and traditions, and some of Europe’s oldest dolmens can all be found in Antequera.

Let’s get the cultural route of Antequera started!

A spectacular viewpoint: the best way to start the cultural route of Antequera

You can start the cultural route of Antequera by reaching the Mirador Niña de Antequera , a 400 meter-long viewpoint in the extreme South of the city, from which you will enjoy the marvellous views over the Torcal de Antequera.

After being overwhelmed by the impressive views, go back to Calle Villa de Enmedio, and reach the majestic Real Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor , in the Plaza de los Escribanos.

This 16th-century church’s style beautifully mixes late Gothic and early Renaissance with Mudéjar features, among which the ceiling stands out, decorated with interlaced beams and insertions. Nowadays, the interior welcomes various musical events and exhibitions.

Outside the church entrance, you will find the spectacular Roman Baths, which date back to the 3rd-century AD. An explanatory plaque is there to help you discover their layout.

Arch of the Giants, Antequera
Arco de los Gigantes. Photo by Ralph

As soon as you’ve finished exploring Spain’s first Renaissance church, move towards north until you reach the Arco de los Gigantes .

This impressive 7 meter-tall archway was built by architect Francisco de Azurriola in 1585, to replace the ancient Islamic Estepa Gate door of the city, situated in the North of Antequera.

The Arch used to be adorned with a magnificent sculpture of Hercules, whose remains can still be seen nowadays, together with Roman inscriptions on the stones. The latter were carried here from the Roman villages in the surrounding area. Here you can spot the city’s emblem, whose main elements are a madonna lily mug, a castle and a lion.

The impressive Alcazaba of Antequera

Alcazaba of Antequera
la alcazaba, antequera. Photo by cristobal sanchez

Pass through this magnificent sculpture to get to the impressive 62,000 sq. m-wide Alcazaba .

The Antequera’s Moorish fortress was built on the remaining of a Roman settlement during the Islamic kingdom, in the 1300s, in order to defend from possible Christian invasions. Climb up to the central tower of the Alcazaba, Torre del Homenaje, where a bell tower was built in 1582, to regulate the meadow waterings.

When there, enjoy spectacular views over the northeast of the city and the impressive Peña de los Enamorados. This 878 meter-high rock formation, together with the Torcal de Antequera and the Dólmenes, belongs to the exceptionally reach natural patrimony of Antequera.

The ticket to the Alcazaba costs 6€ and includes visit to the Real Colegiata, audioguides in five languages, descriptive guide of the Alcazaba, and historic show. Children up to 6 years enter freely, while 7 to 16-year-old pay 3€.

Opening hours:

  • September 16th to March 31st – Monday to Sunday, from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm
  • April 1st to September 15th – Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm; Sunday, from 10.30 am to 3 pm
  • Closed: December 25th, January 1st and 6th

[opening hours taken from Visita Costa del Sol website]

An unmissable church of Antequera

Church of El Carmen, Antequera
Church of Our Lady of El Carmen. Photo by A. Sotelo

Going out from the Alcazaba, take Calle Rastro towards the east and reach Callejón Piscina. There, you will find the Church of Our Lady of El Carmen , home to Santa María la Mayor parish.  The interior area of this 18th-century Church is truly impressive.

A magnificent retable carved in red pine, spangled with statues of angels, saints, bishops and popes, is its primary master. In order to resemble the traditional tilework, the whole interior area, apart from the altar, is painted in dazzling colours.

Museums belonging to the cultural route of Antequera

When you finish enjoying the beauty of this church, take Calle del Carmen, and turn right on Cuesta de los Rojas. Following this street, you will end up in Plaza de las Descalzas, where the Museo Conventual de las Carmelitas Descalzas  (in English, The barefoot Carmelites’ Museum and Convent) is to be found.

Enter the wooden door, and find a small counter where bakery products are displayed. These are made by the nuns, and you can buy them by pulling a rope with a bell, give your order and place the money on the tray. As the nun spins the plate round, the pastries will emerge from the other side, for you to enjoy them.

In this 17th– century convent you will also find a museum, where highlights of Antequera’s outstanding cultural heritage are displayed. Among them, don’t miss the painting of Saint Teresa of Ávila, the founder of the Carmelitas Descalzas in the 16th century.

Exit the church and proceed west along Calle Nájera. Keep looking on your right side, as you will soon come across the Antequera Museum , in the Palace of Nájera.

Its most famous guest is undoubtedly the 1.4 meter-tall statue of Efebo. This bronze sculpture was found on a local farm in the 1950s, and it is considered the finest example of Roman sculpture ever found in Spain. The museum galleries also host pieces from a Roman villa in Antequera, jewellery, and a collection of works by painter Cristóbal Toral Antequera.

Last stage of the cultural route of Antequera

Following Cuesta Zapateros towards the north, you will find yourself in Calle Infante Don Fernando. At the end of this, discover one of the most picturesque bullrings in Andalucia, the Plaza de Toros de Antequera , which represents the last stage of this cultural route of Antequera.  

Tourist office of Antequera

If you want to know more about Antequera, you can ask in the Tourist Office, situated in Plaza de San Sebastián, 7.

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday, from 9.30 am to 7 pm
  • Sunday, from 10 am to 2 pm

Places to stay in Antequera

In order to spend a reasonable amount of time discovering the beauties of Antequera, check the best holiday homes in Antequera and its surroundings. You won’t regret it!

Antequera is a city worth visiting more than once, in order to discover all of its secrets. Stay tuned, for there is more to come about Antequera.

Did you like this article? Have you ever been to Antequera? Leave a comment, we want to know what you think about the cultural route of Antequera.

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  • I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest and I will definitely visit Antequera when I’m going to Andalusia.

  • Hello my loved one! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all vital infos about Antequera. I’d like to see extra posts like this .