Nerja Town, Beaches & Caves
Nerja is one of the Costa del Sol’s most beautiful costal towns, within easy reach of the bustling city of Malaga. Just fifty kms from Malaga, along the N340, a picturesque stretch of coastal highway, a route popular with bikers, cyclists, joggers and tourists as the road provides amazing views of the Costa del Sol’s sparkling clear sea.
A stunning example of an Andalucian whitewashed town, Nerja also has the imposing backdrop of the Sierra Almijara mountains rising up to the North. Nerja is growing in population and is extremely popular during the holiday season, as the town has approximately 10kms of beautiful beaches, an amazing climate, fantastic restaurants, hotels and bars and a very active night life but has managed to keep it’s old village charm.
The centre of the town is high on the cliffs, the focal point of which is the Balcón de Europa. Take a stroll along the impressive balcón to catch the sea breeze, fantastic views and a photo opportunity with King Alfonso XII, (statue). At the end of the Balcón make a wish while standing in the circle of the star. The Balcón is also home to some rusty cannons, another great place for a photo but also a reminder of less tranquil times.
From the Balcón stroll through the old town along Calle Pintada, Calle Gloria and Calle Almte Ferrandiz to browse the local shops and view an eclectic mix of fashion, gifts, jewellery, perfume, art and of course some excellent tapas bars and restaurants.
Our favourite beach in Nerja is Burriana beach, approximately a mile’s walk from the Balcón, Burriana is well worth the visit to keep the kids entertained alone! Great for a day of shameless beach loafing, letting the kids build sandcastles and play on the five playgrounds directly on the beach. Burriana is almost like a separate village, with paella cooking in giant pans on the beach, ice cream parlours, bars and beach shops, offering good facilities all year round.
Next to Nerja is the beautiful little village of Maro, in 1959 locals from this village re-discovered the Nerja caves, which is now an amazingly popular tourist attraction. The caves now seem to be really popular, I’ve been in the caves several times before 2008 & 2011. Now (2017) when you purchase tickets ((€10 per adult)) you are given a time slot to wait for before you are allowed to enter. We only had to wait fifteen minutes so used the opportunity to stop for in the cave’s own restaurant/cafe for an overpriced coffee, with a fantastic view of the costa.
It’s astounding to stand in a cave where skeletons from 25,000BC were found! It is also possible that the world’s oldest discovered art work is here. Could the monkey-like neanderthal man considered incapable of creating art and symbolism really have painted seals here 42,000 years ago?!
On entry all paying adults were given a video guide handset, with an earpiece to watch a film about the caves which explains how they were discovered. The boys loved the guide, the only problem being that we all wanted to listen to it at the same time!
After the film a guide then takes you through the caves, the handset informs you about each area. The area of caves where you are allowed to visit, with the guide, is known as Nerja 1 which contains the easily accessible galleries; Halls of the Tusk, Waterfall, Phantoms and Cataclysm. The Hall of the Waterfall is large enough to hold concerts and the Hall of the Cataclysm is home to the world’s biggest stalagmite. Nerja 2 is not open to the public, our guide pointed out these less accessible higher balcony areas with his torch. The tour itself takes approximately forty minutes, but to be honest we preferred it when there wasn’t a guide. That said, it is obviously a very popular attraction and having the allocated time slots and swiftly guided tour is obviously necessary so that everyone gets a chance to see the wonderful caves!
One thing to note about Nerja is that parking is difficult to say the least. If you have a car try and park on the outskirts, if you are lucky, or pay for a car park. Parking is also limited and difficult at Burriana beach but not impossible if you are early enough. Public transport is great if you need it. There is ample parking at Nerja caves and there is also a tourist train. The Cueva Tren connects the Nerja Museum with the Nerja Caves and entry to both is included in the ticket price of €12.
Nerja is a great destination for family travel we hope you enjoy your visit!