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Antequera lies in the heart of Andalucía less than fifty kilometres north of Malaga. It is considered to be the cultural centre of the region with many fine churches, palaces and museums. Overlooking a fertile plain, Antequera is a market town where, in the past, agriculture was its main source of revenue. Although still a very important producer of oil from olives and sunflowers, tourism has become an important element of the town’s economy.
Antequera has had a long and turbulent history and there is evidence of this in the many ruins both in the town and in the surrounding area. There is much to see and do in the area and car hire is recommended.
Antequera is a fine medieval city with a rich cultural heritage as seen in its remarkable churches and museums. It is well placed for visiting other important cities such as Granada, Seville and Cordoba, as well as for excursions to the beach.
Antequera appeals to a wide variety of ages and interests with the exception perhaps of families with small children for whom a sandy beach is usually an essential holiday ingredient.
Antequera has an extended holiday season with long hot summers and mild winters. Although the most popular time to visit is during the summer months it is also a good place to go to escape from the damp British winter.
Antequera lies almost six hundred metres above sea level in the heart of Andalucía and because of its defensive position, it has been settled since prehistoric times. The dolmens, over five thousand years old, huge slabs of rock, the site of mass graves, are found to the west of the town. There is also much evidence of the Roman occupation including a fine example of Roman baths. The Fortress which dominates the town was built by the Moors and dates from the thirteenth century and there are also a large number of beautiful churches including the Renaissance Church of Santa Maria la Major. The Carmelite convent is worth a visit for the wonderful pastries that are served via a revolving door.
Above the town is a mountain top, known as the Torcal de Antequera, which is covered in very large and unusual limestone formations which were formed millions of years ago when the mountain was beneath the sea. The salt water lagoon is also high on most sightseeing lists as this is one of the few places in Europe where the Greater Flamingo nests. The sight of so many of these pink birds is quite spectacular. Antequera also has a wolf park with a petting zoo for children.
The area is very popular with both hill walkers and rock climbers. Antequera is also close to the lakes at El Chorro which offer a range of non-motorised water sports including fishing.
Antequera has a fairly lively nightlife with many venues remaining open until the early hours of the morning. There are regular concerts in the town including classical and jazz concerts. There is also an emphasis on traditional music and dance. As dinner is eaten late, most venues don’t begin to buzz until after ten at night. There are also many fine restaurants where you can enjoy a peaceful meal in the company of friends.
Antequera has an excellent shopping centre with a wide variety of boutiques and specialist shops. It also benefits from a modern shopping complex which has been built on the edge of the town. There is an open air market every Friday with many stalls offering a variety of goods. The Sunday market is the place to go if you are looking for examples of local basketry.
Antequera has a wide variety of restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets. Menus include traditional local dishes such as paella, tortillas, tapas and chorizo, as well as a choice of international cuisine. A good way to try Spanish food is to order a plate of tapas which consists of a medley of bite-sized dishes. Tapas are also ideal for filling the sometimes long gap between lunch and dinner, which is served later in Spain than at home. Those with a more conservative palate can find pubs serving standard pub fare.
Children are always made very welcome in Spanish restaurants and their tastes and portion sizes are usually accommodated.
Spanish wines are pleasant and inexpensive.