The beautiful beach town of Nerja lies on the southern Mediterranean coastline. Nerja is the easternmost municipality of the province of Malaga. To west of this town is the famous coastal strip the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast).
History of Nerja, Costa del Sol
The centre of this town is as the “Balcón de Europa” or “Balcony of Europe” in the English language. The name is due 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. Before the occupation of the Moors, the Romans settled in Nerja. Three settlements still remain today. The remains of “Detunda” is the best known.
A traditional Andalucian town, Nerja has a long history of agriculture. This was it’s main source of income before the tourism boom in the 1960’s.
This town was a mass producer of sugar cane and tropical fruits. The fine silks produced in Nerja were famous throughout the Muslim world. This dates back from as early as the 10th Century.
The population here is around 22,000 inhabitants. 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. Nerja welcomes close to a million visitors each year. Most come to soak up the hot summer sun and Spanish culture.
Things to do in Nerja
There are plenty of attractions and things to do in Nerja to keep you occupied during your visit.
The Caves of Nerja or “Las Cuervas de Nerja” in Spanish is the top attraction. EL Balcón de Europa and the Eagle Aqueduct are two more must visit places.
Hiking is quite a popular activity here thanks to the two mountain ranges that surround the area. There are 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.
he town itself has over 400 shops, bars and restaurants. These provide excellent nightlife and entertainment to visitors here.
Places To See In Nerja
Frigiliana Village is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Andalucia. This small whitewashed village bears many similarities to Pueblo de Mijas. Both are white in colour and set high up in the mountains. Frigiliana lies 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. These streets pass between the white houses decorated with beautiful flowers. Frigiliana has a four day festival at the end of August. The “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
Balcón de Europa or “Balcony of Europe” in English (main image above) got it’s name from the King Alfonso XII. The name came about when he visited the area in 1885 after a major earthquake. Some still believe the name existed before the Kings visit. This is one of the most beautiful spots along the entire Spanish coastline.
The Balcony of Europe offers stunning views of the mountains and surrounding beaches. You can also see 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). Here there are plenty of super bars, restaurants and other entertainment on offer.
Hiking & Walking
Hiking and walking are popular here thanks to the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Almijara and Sierra Tejeda. El Cielo or “Heaven”’ has a summit of some 1500 metres above Sea level. This summit 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 for 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. You will also be walking across stones and slippery surfaces here.
The Beautiful 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. Located in the beautiful town of Nerja to the east of the Costa del Sol, the caves are one of the main attractions in southern Spain.
The Ancient Caves of Nerja
The caves of Nerja 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. The areas open to the public are much smaller by comparison to it’s considered length. The caves of Nerja are one of the most important geological discoveries of the 20th Century which contain paintings dating back tens of thousands of years.
These paintings were entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 1989 after being authenticated as the oldest that have ever been discovered. Other discoveries in the caves include Roman pottery and Moorish coins, not as significant as the paintings but still important finds.
Caves of Nerja Presentation & Guided Tours
he Cave of Nerja offer different types of visiting packages which entitles it’s visitors to additional and unique extras that are not part of the standard package. Below we provide information about the differences and what you can expect depending on the visiting package you select.
Standard Visit – The standard visiting package entitles everyone to a 10 minute audio-visual presentation of the caves which explains the features and history of the caves. After the presentation you will then take a 45 minute guided walk around the caves to discover it’s secrets. The tour guides provide audio in Spanish, English, Italian, Russian and the French languages.
Exclusive Visit – The exclusive visit is when a privileged few get the opportunity to have the caves all to themselves. Many of the secrets of the caves are hidden away from the general public and can only be seen during these visits. Certain areas such as the Chamber of la Torca and Mina are part of the exclusive and not the standard package. There is also the option of a night tour which allows you to enter the caves in total darkness with only a headlamp to guide you as you navigate the caves.
Cuevatren (Cave Train) – The Cuevatren (picture above) is possibly the best option as it takes you not only to the caves but to three other important places in the town. The other three stops include the Museum of Nerja, Maro Square and the Boat of Chanquete. The audio guide is available in English and Spanish and gives a good insight into each monument and place of interest.
Caves of Nerja Map, Route & Tourist Galeries
The image below provides information about the map, route and tourist galleries inside the caves (click to enlarge image).
Nerja Caves Map Location
Carr. de Bajada a Playa de Maro, s/n, 29787 Nerja, Málaga
The normal visiting times are between 9 am in the morning when the caves open until 4 pm with the last access at 3 pm. July and August have a special timetable which allows entry until 6:30 pm on Thursdays and Fridays.
Adults 10 €, 6-12 years 6 €,
Adults 15 €, 6-12 years 7 €
Adults 15 €, 6-12 years 10 €
Admission free for under 6 years.
You can check the Caves of Nerja website for the latest ticket prices and timetables.