Nerja is located at the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol but still in the province of Malaga. It is approximately 45 minute drive from the city of Malaga (50km) and within an hour and a half’s drive from Granada and the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada. It is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Costa Del Sol’ refusing too much re-development which has spared it from high rise apartment blocks and allowed it to remain the charming seaside town it is.
Sheltered by the impressive Sierra Almijara mountain range, this once sleepy fishing village is now one of the most popular tourist resorts along the coast. The range of mountains offer a wealth of hiking possibilities for the more energetic.
Nerja has a 16km coastline and is divided into 14 beaches. Burriana, Playazo, Calahonda and Torrecilla are the most popular. They provide many services and facilities such as water skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and are home to many stunningly beautiful unspoilt coves. Burriana and Torrecilla have been awarded the prestigious blue flag. All this is overlooked by the wonderful ‘Balcon de Europa’ (Balcon of Europe) with its spectacular circular square which appears to be floating above the sea. From here you will find incredible panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline coupled with a backdrop of searing mountains.
La Cala de Maro – is another one of Nerja’s beaches although located on the outskirts of the town in the neighbouring village of Maro. This beach is famous throughout Spain for its sparkling clear waters in a rustic, rural setting. It is regarded as one of the best beaches in Andalucia. Along the way you may pass the famous Águila Aqueduct. This aqueduct was raised in the nineteenth century over the river Maro to supply a sugar mill with water. It has four brick arch tiers and a niche bearing the inscription ‘Pure and clean conception’.
The old quarter of Nerja town is still virtually unchanged with narrow winding streets, whitewashed houses and an abundance of bars, shops, restaurants and plazas. You could always hire a horse drawn carriage which will take you to the most interesting streets and attractions including the 17th Century Church of El Salvador and the Gardens of Capistrano Playa.
A must visit are the Cueves de Nerja (Nerja Caves) with their impressive range of stalactites and stalagmites including the worlds widest column, the Grand Centre Column which reaches a height of 32 meters. Also the Karstic cavities formed by erosion of marble by water and view the Palaeolithic wall paintings, dating back over 20,000 years are an amazing sight.
There is a restaurant attached to the caves with lovely views, and a museum and gift shop. The caves also have regular concerts and you may be lucky enough to catch one during your stay.
Nerja enjoys some 3,500 hours of annual sunshine and temperatures that average 30ºC in summer and 15º during the short winter. What an incredible place to live!
Image credit: Kennosuke Yamaguchi