The beautiful beach town of Nerja is located on the southern Mediterranean coastline of Spain. Nerja is the easternmost municipality of the province of Malaga situated on the famous coastal strip known of the Costa del Sol.
History of Nerja, Costa del Sol
The centre of this town is known as the “Balcón de Europa” or “Balcony of Europe” in the English language thanks to the stunning views it offers over the Mediterranean Sea and across to Africa.
Nerja like much of southern Spain was under Moorish rule between the 8th – 15th Century, as a result, there is a big Arabic influence here. Prior to the occupation of the Moors, the Romans settled in Nerja building three settlements, the remains of “Detunda” can still be seen today. A traditional Andalucian town, Nerja has a long history of agriculture as it’s main source of income prior to the tourism boom in the 1960’s.
Originally a mass producer of sugar cane and tropical fruits, it’s said that the fine silks produced in Nerja were famous throughout the Muslim world from as early as the 10th Century. The population here is around 22,000 with around 20% of those made up of Brits and other northern Europeans, this number increases to over 100,000 in the summer months. Tourism is now the main source of income here with millions of visitors to Nerja each year soaking up hot summer sun and Spanish culture.
Things to do in Nerja
There is an abundance of attractions and things to do in Nerja to keep you occupied during your visit, here we list a few with a more detailed description below. The Caves of Nerja or “Las Cuervas de Nerja” in Spain is possibly the top attraction along with EL Balcón de Europa and the Eagle Aqueduct. Hiking is quite a popular activity here thanks to the two mountain ranges that surround the area. There a plenty of beaches to spend the day relaxing and topping up the summer tan. Nerja is particularly popular for Sea Kayaking and other water sports. The town itself has over 400 shops, bars and restaurants that provide excellent nightlife and entertainment.
The Caves of Nerja
The Caves of Nerja or “Las Cuevas de Nerja” were not discovered until 1959 when some lads from neighbouring Maro stumbled upon the caves by accident. The cave system stretches for 5 km’s but it is believed to be one of the longest in Europe which could extend miles into the mountains of Granada in the north. We have written a more detailed article about the beautiful Caves of Nerja which includes maps, opening times and prices.
Attractions in Nerja
Frigiliana Village is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Andalucia. This small whitewashed village bears many similarities to Pueblo de Mijas which is also white in colour and set high up in the mountains. Frigiliana is located 6 km’s north of Nerja, a village built to the side of the the Sierras de Tejada mountain range. The streets of this picturesque village are paved with cobbled stones passing between the white houses decorated with beautiful flowers. Frigiliana has a four day festival at the end of August each year called “Festival de las Tres Culturas” or “Festival of the three cultures”. This festival celebrates the villages co-existence of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions.
Balcón de Europa or “Balcony of Europe” in English (main image above) is believed to have got it’s name from the King Alfonso XII when he visited the area in 1885 after a major earthquake. Although some believe the name existed prior to the Kings visit, what can not be disputed is that this is one of the most beautiful spots along the entire Spanish coastline. The Balcony of Europe offers stunning views of the mountains, surrounding beaches and other local towns to the east and west along the coastline. Adjacent you have the fantastic promenade and the, Plaza Balcón de Europa (Plaza or Square) where there are plenty of super bars, restaurants and other entertainment on offer.
Costa del Sol
Hiking in Nerja
Hiking in Nerja is extremely popular thanks to the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Almijara and Sierra Tejeda. El Cielo or “Heaven” is appropriately named, the summit is some 1500 metres above see level and rewards it’s climbers with an unobstructed view of the entire Costa del Sol on a clear day. The Rio Chillar (River Chillar) is another popular spot for hiking which can be enjoyed by the whole family. When it comes to hiking, Rio Chillar is a unique experience, the trail takes you through picturesque forest and fauna surrounded by beautiful wildlife. It’s important to wear shoes that are suitable for walking through water and across stones and slippery surfaces.