Nerja is situated at the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol, in the province of Malaga, 50 kilometres from the city of Malaga and within an hour and a half’s drive from Granada and the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada.
Sheltered by the impressive Sierra Almijara mountain range, Sierra Almijara, this once sleepy fishing village is now one of the most popular tourist resorts along the coast, with a population of over 12,000. The town has resisted too much re-development and high rise apartment blocks, preferring to stay a charming seaside town, attracting the more discerning holidaymaker; the town is often referred to as the ‘’Jewel of the Costa del Sol’.
One of the town’s most impressive attractions is the Balcón de Europa (the Balcony of Europe), a wonderful promenade, stretching along the edge of a soaring cliff top, which was once the location of a Moorish castle. The platform has spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline, with its backdrop of mountains.
The deep Andalusian culture that the town exudes, perfect climate and cosmopolitan atmosphere, has made Nerja one of the most attractive holiday hotspots on the Costa del Sol.
Nerja has more than its fair share of fabulous beaches, boasting 16 kilometres of beaches with powdery sand and sparkling clear and calm water, and a splattering of small coves. All major water sports are available along the coastline, including water skiing, scuba diving and sailing.
The main beaches are Burriana and Torrecilla, both have been awarded the blue flag. Favourite amongst locals and visitors alike is Burriana Beach, where you can enjoy good food, including delicious shellfish barbecues on the beach and the speciality lunchtime monster paella. Or if you can enjoy a lovely English steak and kidney pie, washed down by a traditional pint at the Black Horse.
The old quarter of the town is still virtually unchanged with narrow, winding streets, whitewashed houses with wrought iron terraces overflowing with geraniums, on which a canary can sometimes be heard singing.
Visitors can hire a horse-drawn carriage and explore the town’s most interesting streets and attractions. When in Nerja visits to the 17th Century Church of El Salvador and the Gardens of Capistrano Playa are essential.
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes here to choose from, and lots of lovely plazas (squares) where you can sit and watch the world pass by.
Places to visit
Only 3 km from the town centre and very easy to find, following the directional signs, you can visit the famous Cueves de Nerja, the Nerja Caves; underground caverns with stalagmites, stalactites and tall columns.
The caves incorporate the world’s widest column, the grand centre column in the Sala del Cataclismo (Cataclysm Hall), which reaches a height of 32 metres. Also the Karstic cavities formed by erosion of marble by water and view the Palaeolithic wall paintings, dating back over 20,000 years.
There is a restaurant attached to the caves with lovely views, and a museum and gift shop.
These are breathtaking beautiful caves and should not be missed when you are visiting Nerja. Each July a festival of flamenco music and dance is held inside the caves.
Further inland there are miles and miles of Andalucian countryside to explore. In the mountains behind Nerja, there are some beautifully preserved and picturesque whitewashed Pueblos Blancos (white villages); one such is Frigiliana, which has little changed over the centuries. Here you can enjoy panoramic views to Nerja and the sea. Frigiliana is a charming and dramatically sited Andalucian village built on a mountainside, approximately 6 km from the resort of Nerja.
As with most of Spain, Tapas is an integral part of the local cuisine, and there are lots of great tapas bars in and around Nerja; order a drink and you will often receive a few tapa. does have its own speciality dishes including De La Doncella (Red Mullet dish) and Pescaito Frito (platter of fried fish). There are a wide variety of different cuisines on offer in Nerja; you will be spoilt for choice.
Nerja enjoys some 3,500 hours of annual sunshine and temperatures that average 30ºC in summer and 15º during the short winter.