Nerja is, nowadays, one of the most popular holiday destinations, situated on the sunny east coast of Malaga. Unlike most of the popular resorts to the west of Malaga towards Gibraltar (like Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Marbella), Nerja seems to have escaped all this mass tourism and retains a lot of the original charm and character of a typical fishing village, as it formerly was.
It’s settled at the bottom of the Sierra Almijara mountain range, sheltering it from the worst of winter weather as it provides an amazing backdrop to the town’s traditional townhouses and villas. Nerja is surely one of the most beautiful municipalities on the Costa del Sol. Just a 45-minute drive from Malaga airport where I highly recommend hiring a car to be able to thoroughly discover the whole area. It’s an ideal and cheap holiday destination.
Once in Nerja, the first thing to go and see is the famous ‘Balcon de Europa‘ (The Balcony of Europe). It’s the focal point of the old quarter, offering stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea and local beaches. Formerly known as ‘La Bateria‘ due to the gun battery in a fortified tower that once stood here, but was destroyed in 1810. Nowadays the Balcon has plenty of activities with street entertainers, horse carriages and ice-cream vendors selling a wide variety of delicious flavours. It hosts numerous bars and restaurants offering an ideal location to relax and enjoy watching the sun as it sets over the Mediterranean coast.
In Nerja’s old town itself, many buildings still preserve their original Andalusian architectural style, and the narrow winding streets maintain that authentic atmosphere of a working Spanish town. It has all the advantages of a modern town, with an infinite number of shops to choose from, selling ceramics, textiles, leather, souvenirs for the perfect gift and essential accessories for the whole family to enjoy on the beach.
Most of Nerja’s nightlife starts quite late but you are sure to find a bar to your particular taste, either in the lively Tutti Frutti Square, or around the Balcon de Europa where there are many nice & peaceful bars to be found. The bars and clubs in Tutti Frutti Square stay open until the morning hours during the long, warm summer nights, and are very popular within the younger holiday visitors. However, the bars approximate to the Balcon have a more relaxed sense of Andalusian life.
If you want to spend your holidays relaxing in Nerja, there are many wonderful sandy beaches hidden between small coves, surrounded by abundant bars and restaurants. The beach of Burriana is one of the biggest and most popular amongst the tourists and the locals, and by the side of the Balcon itself you can find, hidden within a small cove, one of Nerja’s most enchanting beaches with golden sand and clear blue water.
The famous Caves of Nerja, less than 3km away, are now one of the most popular holiday attractions in Spain. They were first discovered in 1959 and have impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations plus a natural cavern that has been converted into an impressive ‘hall’ for many theatre productions and classical concerts. San Isidro is one of Nerja’s most celebrated fiestas organised traditionally every 15th of May. A large procession of beautifully decorated carts march from the centre of the town towards the caves for a whole weekend of festivity in true Andalusian style.
The town itself hosts plenty of attractions for the visitor, but if you would like to explore what Andalucia really has to offer, then it’s the ideal starting point for trips and excursions. Only 10min away we can find the beautiful whitewashed-stone villages of Frigiliana and Torrox. However, if what you’re looking for is a day’s skiing, Sierra Nevada is only a two-hour drive away. A fantastic and affordable ski resort in the province of Granada open during the winter months. In the foothills of these mountains lies the Moorish city of Granada, dominated by the Alhambra which consists of a series of palaces and gardens built over several centuries under the Nazrid Dynasty in the 14th Century.
Nerja is now a very popular destination for retirement or for those who simply want a change of life. A fifth of the estimated population of 20,000 are foreign residents with over approximately 2,000 British. In summer this figure significantly increases with the arrival of holiday visitors attracted by one of the best climates in Europe. Beaches, golf courses, skiing, adventure parks, water parks and the Almijara mountains are all within easy reach. Nerja has something to offer everyone.
Trust me, to really enjoy what the Costa del Sol has to offer, you’ll need a rental car in Malaga! Once you get to know it all, you won’t want to leave!