On the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol, the sleepy fishing village Nerja has been transformed into a bustling tourist mecca, with sixteen kilometers of beach on powder sand and crystal waters. Water skiing, scuba diving, and sailing are common pastimes. The Sierra Almijara provides a view of the mountains from Nerja, as well as a place for rock climbers and hikers to pass some pleasant vacation time.
Despite the tourist boom, Nerja has kept itself reasonably unspoiled. The concrete high-rises that tend to abound in tourist towns have never grown here, and the old quarter of the town is virtually unchanged. Narrow winding streets and whitewashed houses form the town’s heart, leading to the Balcon de Europa, a promenade stretched along the tip of a cliff. A Moorish castle once rose in this very defensible spot, but today tourists use it to overlook the Mediterranean coves and beaches that line the shore.
Riding through town on a horse-drawn carriage, you can view the streets like a queen, stopping to have dinner at one of dozens of restaurants throughout the area. On your journey, you can view the Church of El Salvador’s unique Baroque and Moorish design, and the Gardens of Capistrano Playa. Outside the town, you should certainly visit the caves. They contain historical treasures like 20,000 year old cave paintings and prehistoric remains. One cave is now a magnificent concert hall, staging performances throughout the year. An annual International Cave Festival is celebrated here with top international musicians and other celebrities.
Cuisine here includes the traditional Andalucian pescaito frito as well as a variety of international cuisines and dishes made with the native red mullet.
Where to Stay
Hotels are available in Nerja, but one of the most popular ways to stay here is to hire an apartment near the beach. The Hotel Carabeo, in the heart of Nerja, has a nice pool and a lovely garden, while Al Monica is on the beach, boasting excellent views across the sea. The Balcon de Europa is in an excellent place, but request a room in the quieter section, as this part of town can get noisy.
What to Do
Besides the caves, exploring the city, and going to the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Nerja. From October to June, the Serenaders, a local choral group, play publicly in the Centro Cultural every Monday and Friday. They also give several regular concerts throughout the year.
You should also check out the concert hall schedule in the caves to see what’s going on while you’re in town here.