Although transformed by the development of tourism, the town of Nerja remains one of the most welcoming seaside resorts in the Costa del Sol, where you can still breathe an authentic air.
Crowds of tourists come here every summer attracted by the beautiful beaches of the area, which include both long sandy coasts and coves framed by high cliffs. To admire the sea from above you can walk along the Balcony of europe and look out over the belvedere that ends this pedestrian avenue: romantic and evocative, it is one of the symbols of Nerja and will not fail to enchant you too.
However, the sea and beaches are not the only attractions of the area. Indeed, the ski lifts are only an hour and a half away! But you probably want to stay warm, in this case you can visit charming towns and villages in the surroundings, such as Granada or Frigiliana.
When the heat gets stifling it's time to visit the area's most famous tourist attraction, that is The Caves of Nerja, millenary caves dug by water.
Beaches of Nerja
With over 15km of coastline, Nerja offers a wealth of beaches to tourists who come here in search of sun and relaxation.
The urban beach of Nerja is Burriana Beach, the longest and most popular in the whole area. It is a wide sandy beach that is easy to reach and equipped with services such as deckchair and umbrella rental, bars, restaurants, bathrooms, showers. It is the ideal choice for those traveling with small children and for those who want comfort and services close at hand.
Other city beaches equipped with all services are The Torrecilla, The Lounge e Calahonda. The latter is located almost under the Balcón de Europa, a bit offset to the east, and is visible from the panoramic terrace.
For wilder looking beaches you have to move to the coves and inlets that open along the cliffs.
One of the most beautiful is Canuelo Beach, a beach set in a magnificent natural setting bathed by a crystalline sea, perfect for those who love snorkelling. It is possible to rent deck chairs and umbrellas and there is a kiosk with food and drinks.
Even wilder it is Alberquillas Beach, a free pebble beach, without umbrella rental and without bar.
What to see in Nerja
Nerja is an ideal city for combining sea and sightseeing. Here are the main attractions of the city.
You can't come to Nerja and not fall in love with its most famous attraction, a pedestrianized boulevard that ends in a viewpoint stretching out towards the Mediterranean known as Balcony of europe.
Built on the foundations of an ancient Moorish building, this charming cliff-top rooftop terrace is the perfect place to throw away bad thoughts and let yourself be caressed by the sea breeze. Taking a selfie is practically a must!
Another must-see attraction in Nerja are the Nerja caves: just 3 kilometers from the city center there is a complex of caves dug into the rock by the erosion of water about five million years ago. Inhabited in prehistoric times by a community of hunters, it was forgotten for millennia and discovered by chance by a group of children in 1959.
Declared a Historic-Artistic Monument, the caves are open to the public, who can visit 2 kilometers of underground galleries decorated with columns, stalagmites and stalactites of very different shapes and sizes.
Their historical value is given by the cave paintings that were found inside them, a precious testimony that they were once inhabited. It is possible to see some of them during the guided tour, as well as an exhibition of ceramic pieces and handicraft tools found inside the caves.
The caves of Nerja can be reached from the city with a tourist train (cavetrain) which also stops at Parque Verano Azul, at the Nerja Museum and in Piazza Maro or with a nice walk from the Balcon de Europa. Children will certainly appreciate the first solution more!
Nerja Caves Festival
Every year in July the caves become the suggestive location for a music and ballet festival in which important Spanish and international artists perform, including Montserrat Caballé, Paco de Lucia and José Carreras to name just a few.
If you are in Nerja during this period do not miss the opportunity to attend a show in the enchanting natural scenery of Waterfall Room (or Ballet), one of the most beautiful in the entire cave complex, but inquire in time as tickets are selling fast.
Other attractions in and around Nerja
Walking through the historic center of Nerja, a labyrinth of very narrow streets and squares, you can admire the white buildings typical of Andalusian architecture, almost always embellished with pots of geraniums and other plants that grow luxuriantly.
Some particularly interesting architectural examples are theHermitage of Our Lady of Sorrows dedicated to the patron saint of the city and the Maro's Tower, the best preserved of the watchtowers built along the coast as well as one of the best viewpoints in the city.
A more recent attraction is theAqueduct of the Águila, an impressive engineering work of the nineteenth century: it consists of four floors of superimposed arches and an upper part with entrance temples and another central one.
Il Nerja Museum it is the typical city museum dedicated to local history. Admission is subject to a fee, but you can opt for the cumulative ticket which also allows entry to the caves.
7 km from Nerja is the village of Frigiliana: squeezed between the sea and the mountains, it is considered one of the most beautiful pueblos blancos in the area, where the Arab roots are still evident, and definitely worth a visit.
You can spend a very pleasant day simply wandering aimlessly through the streets of the center, up and down steep stairways and winding alleys, perhaps stopping from time to time to admire some of the most beautiful buildings and constructions in the city such as the Fuente Vieja fountain, the Casa del Apero, the Archaeological Museum, the Church of Sant'Antonio da Padova and the remains of the Arab castle.
For some relief from the summer heat, take refuge in the small but nice Santa Fiora botanical garden, reachable on foot from the center of Frigiliana.
And if you are willing to move even further we remind you that the enchanting city of Granada it is only an hour's drive from Nerja.
Where sleeping in Nerja
Nerja has long been a very popular tourist resort, with a wide offer of hotels and apartments, many of them convenient to the beach. However, for those traveling in high season it is advisable to book well in advance to have more choice and find the best prices.
How to reach Nerja
Reach Nerja it is quite simple because the city is located less than 100 km from two international airports, those of Malaga and Granada, both served by low cost flights departing from numerous European cities.
If you are already in Andalusia you can get to Nerja by car along the A7 or with bus direct from Malaga (travel time: one hour), Granada (one and a half hours) and other places in Andalusia. However, there is no railway station.