Nerja is on the seashore some 50 kilometres from Málaga on the N340 coastal highway, and marks the eastern tip of Málaga’s Costa del Sol. Once a sleepy fishing village, the town now has a population of over 12,000.
Nerja boasts 16 kilometres of beaches with powdery sand and sparkling clear water. All major water sports are available here, including water skiing, scuba diving and sailing.
Flanked by a dramatic mountain range, Sierra Almijara, to the east, the town has, fortunately, managed to avoid being blighted by the concrete high-rise scenario which has been the inevitable result of the tourist boom in some of the coastal resorts.
The old quarter of the town is still virtually unchanged with narrow, winding streets, whitewashed houses with wrought iron terraces overflowing with geraniums, on which a canary can sometimes be heard singing…
However, the heart of Nerja is its spectacular Balcón de Europa, the “Balcony of Europe”, a magnificent promenade along the edge of a towering cliff, once the site of the great Moorish castle, with sweeping panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the small coves and beaches below, against an awesome backdrop of hazy blue mountains.
Nerja is a quiet resort best suited to middlemarket couples and the more mature market. Steep terrain means it may not suit those with mobility difficulties.
Nerja has quite a few larger hotels (usually older), otherwise small hotels and a growing number of self-catering apartments, either in blocks or villa-style developments are around the area.
Nerja is on Spain’s south coast, towards the east end of the Costa del Sol (32 mls E of Malaga; 39 mls E of the airport). It is found below the main coast road from Malaga to Almeria, clinging to a high cliff edge known as the Balcony of Europe.
The beaches here aren’t the best in the area but nevertheless popular, ranging from small pebbles to coarse sand, there are 7 beaches in all, the best being Playa de Burriana.
The majority of shops are located on the narrow central streets and comprise typical town-centre shops, including clothes boutiques, as well as the usual souvenir, jewellery and ceramics outlets nearer the centre. A bargain may be found in the Tues-morning market. Tourist-tat shops on the main beach.
During the daytime there are beach- and water-based activities including pedalloes, jet-skiing and canoeing, fishing boat trips, horse-drawn carriage rides, a tourist train around town. Also taking in the views from the Balcony of Europe.
The nightlife here offers a range of restaurants and bars but also 1 or 2 discos.
There are plenty of restaurants here specialising in fish, meats and local cuisine. A growing number of British fast-food outlets plus Chinese, Italian (including a pizzeria), Indian and Greek options. There are good “chiringuitos” (small restaurant/coffee bars) right on the beach, offering excellent fish dishes and popular paella. On some beaches you can watch the fishermen bringing in their catch.
Nerjas chief tourist attraction, the Cuevas de Nerja, 3 km from the town, are a heavily commercialized series of caverns, impressive in size – and home to the world’s longest known stalactite at 63m – though otherwise not tremendously interesting. They also contain a number of prehistoric paintings, but these are often closed from public view.