Nerja is a historic town located on the Mediterranean Coast of Costa del Sol in Southern Spain. Looking out over the sea, with one of the best climates in Europe and an abundance of local attractions, Nerja is a popular town for local and international tourists alike.
Although the town has plenty to discover from simply walking the streets, here’s an overview of some of the top things to do in Nerja.
Cueves de Nerja (Caves of Nerja)
The Cueves de Nerja are arguably the town’s most famous attraction. Located just a couple of kilometres from the old town, the caves were discovered in 1959 by five young local residents of Maro, and stretch as far as 5 kilometres. With skeletal remains indicating that the Caves had been inhabited since around 25,000 BC, it is clear to see the historical importance they have on the region.
Visitors can explore 3 galleries in the caves, each with a number of halls. There are also guided tours available, and regular concerts held in within the halls. The caves contain some of the best examples of columns, stalactites and stalagmites, as well as what is claimed to be the oldest works of art in the world.
If you have come to Spain’s Costa del Sol, you must be hoping for some time to relax in the sun. By far the best Nerja beach has to be the famous blue-flag Burriana Beach. With everything on offer from sports activities, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, it is the perfect place for a beach day. For those less inclined to paraglide above the coast, a simple walk along the promenade or beach in the afternoon sun is a great way to relax outside of the bustling town.
Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe)
At the heart of the Old Town is one of Nerja’s most popular spots; the Balcón de Europa. A great meeting point for tourists and locals alike, and a must-see on your visit to Nerja, the balcony offers unrivalled vistas across the coastline and out to sea, sometimes as far as the African Rif Mountains. As you amble through the town, all roads tend to lead down to this hub of Nerja life, and you will find many people taking pictures of the view and of the statue of King Alfonso XII, who is said to have named the Balcón on his visit to the town in 1885. With plenty of bars and restaurants surrounding it, the Balcón de Europa is the perfect place to sit, have a drink, relax and people-watch for a couple of hours in my favourite part of the bustling town.
Acueducto del Águila (Eagle Aqueduct)
Just a few minutes drive outside the centre of Nerja is the Acueducto del Águila (Eagle Aqueduct). Regarded as one of Spain’s finest examples of historic architecture, the aqueduct was built in around 1880 to carry water from Nerja to the sugar refinery in the neighbouring Maro. The bridge is still used to this day for local irrigation.
Food and Drink
As with the rest of Spain, food is central to daily life in Nerja. With TripAdvisor listing over 300 restaurants, catering to every cuisine and taste, it won’t be hard to find something that suits you. As you get closer to the centre of the town and the Balcón de Europa, the restaurants get more tourist-focused and expensive, but you can also find traditional Spanish tapas on every corner throughout the town. If you make your way to the street heading West of the Balcón you will find the Plaza de Cabana, an inviting square containing a number of small restaurants perfect for lunch in the sun.
Relaxing in the bars and cafés that line the Balcón de Europa itself is one of my favourite things to do in Spain. Grab a book, order a coffee or a beer, and while away the hours watching the hustle and bustle of the town.
Just 10 minutes drive up the road you will find the traditionally picturesque Spanish pueblo of Frigiliana. Voted the prettiest village of Andalucía and boasting some of the finest cobbled streets, white houses, and Moorish architecture, Frigiliana should be high on your list to visit when spending time along the famous Costa del Sol.
Read more: Exploring Frigiliana, the Jewel of Andalucía.
Take a Day Trip
Centrally located along Spain’s Southern coast and just 40 minutes from the international airport of Málaga, Nerja is a perfect base for exploring the whole of the stunning Andalucía region. Whether you’re heading to dreamy Ronda, historic Cádiz, stunning Seville, or beautiful Granada, Nerja is a fabulous base for accessing the rest of the region.
Bonus: Where to Stay in Nerja
There are plenty of places to stay across the town, from hotels to apartments, but the state-owned Parador de Nerja has to be one of your top picks. With balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and a direct lift down to the most popular beach in the region, the hotel has plenty to offer for those visiting the region.