O Archaeological Ensemble of the Dolmens of Antequera, included in the list of UNESCO Heritage in Spain, comprises two natural and three cultural monuments. Namely: the natural monuments of El Torcal and Peña de los Enamorados (the Rocha dos Apaixonados, in free translation), and the Menga dolmen, popularly known as Cova da Menga, Vieira's dolmen and the tholos of El Romeral (cultural).
They are the most valuable and recognized prehistoric sites in all of Andalusia, and it is not possible to know them all during my script in Andalusia, I chose to visit the Menga dolmen. It is a tumultuous megalithic monument of reasonable proportions whose construction is estimated to have been realized somewhere between 3.800 BC and 3.400 BC In a word, it is fascinating.
It is true, however, to say that, after visiting the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, on the island of Malta, it is difficult to impress me with other megalithic tombs. But even so, Menga's dolmen did not disappoint. On the contrary. For history lovers and interested in civilizational evolution, I highly recommend it. Let's do it.
My visit to the Cova da Menga
"To evoke the past is not only to rescue memory as a fundamental element against forgetting; it is also to cross the barrier that prevents tracing the marks and compels us to become aware of a privileged place where the fragments of scattered life accumulate. ", in information leaflet Board of Andalusia.
Once in the archaeological complex, in Antequera, I started by walking to the small dolmen of Vieira. At the door, a large group of teenage students listened without explanation to one of the teachers.
I took advantage of it to enter before the invasion, but I was immediately disillusioned. It was very small, without the spectacularness it had anticipated. That was when I realized that this was not the main dolmen.
Shortly after, the group of students invaded the small dolmen and took the opportunity to go out and continue to the Cova da Menga - that yes, the main attraction among the Dolmens of Antequera.
Only two hundred meters separates Vieira's dolmen from Cova da Menga; but the differences between them are enormous. Menga's megaliths are impressive in size; the central chamber, once used as a sepulchral space, is much wider; and the feeling of being there, in a place with more than six millennia without anyone (even for a few moments), was in itself overwhelming.
Inside, looking around, it's hard to imagine how humans were able to carry megaliths with several tons, there are almost 6.000 years, without the help of heavy machinery. It does not seem humanly possible, but here was Menga proving otherwise.
See also post about us Torcal de Antequera, Nearby.
When to go
Although theoretically it is possible to visit the Antequera dolmens at any time of the year, I recommend spring and autumn in order to avoid the more extreme temperatures of Andalusia.
How to get to Cova da Menga
By car, no doubt. I fit the visit to the Archaeological Ensemble of the Dolmens of Antequera the day after have made the Caminito del Rey. And it was perfect because the dolmens are on Carretera Málaga, on the way to Granada, my next destination. see the exact location on Google Maps.
On arrival, please go to the information desk next to the car park. Even if the visit is free, you need to ask for the tickets.
Where to stay
Cova da Menga is in the locality of Antequera but, honestly, it does not seem to be the best choice for an overnight stay.
Although you can stay in Antequera, I would like to share my experience. The night before the visit, I was in a glamping which I strongly recommend Hidden Valley Andalucia, where I was very well received and, not least, I dined divinely and drank a beautiful red. It is close to Alora, roughly 40km from Antequera.
Also in Alora, Hostal Caminito del Rey is a pleasant and economical option that is worth considering if the Hidden Valley is sold out. In both cases, it is important to have your own car.
As I mentioned, I passed through Antequera halfway between Alora and Granada, where I stayed overnight. If this is also your option, see the text where to stay in Granada to choose the area of the city that best suits your traveler profile. Anyway, you will find all the best hotels in Granada (for all tastes and budgets) in link below.
A World Nomads offers one of the best and most complete travel insurance recommended by National Geographic and Lonely Planet. Other excellent and cheaper option is IATI Seguros, which has no age limit and allows multivariate insurance (including long-term travel) to any destination in the world. It's the insurance I use in my travels.