If you are looking for a tourist destination on the Costa del Sol that combines sun, beach, history and gastronomy, Nerja is the place for you. Located in the province of Malaga, in the Axarquia region, this charming Andalusian town will surprise you with its beauty and diversity.
From its beautiful beaches and cliffs to its famous caves and historical monuments, as well as its rich gastronomy and festive atmosphere, Nerja is a real gem that you cannot miss. Read on to discover all that this wonderful town has to offer.
History of Nerja
Nerja’s history dates back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by the famous Nerja Caves, discovered in 1959 and declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1985. These caves, located in the Sierra de Almijara, are one of the most important archaeological sites in Spain, with human and animal remains dating back more than 40,000 years.
During the Roman period, there were settlements in the nearby town of Vélez-Málaga and Torrox, however, there is no evidence that during this period there was activity in the Nerja area itself, beyond some remains found in the area of Maro.
Later, during the Muslim domination, the town became an important agricultural and fishing centre, with significant commercial activity and a flourishing textile industry. During the Reconquest, Nerja was reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1487 and became a town under the jurisdiction of Vélez-Málaga.
What to see and do in Nerja
Nerja will surprise you with its wide range of activities and places to visit. Here are some of the main tourist attractions not to be missed:
What to see in Nerja
Among the places to see in Nerja, the following stand out:
The Church of El Salvador, an impressive Baroque church built in the 17th century. It is located right in the centre of the village among the narrow whitewashed streets of the town.
The Aqueduct of El Águila, with 4 arcades, has a small pavilion on its route, which runs along the Barranco de Maro ravine.
The Nerja Caves, of course, are a must-see. You have to enjoy this natural visual spectacle at least once in your life.
- Price: 13 euros (standard price)
- Opening hours: 9.30-16.30h (during summer it extends until 19.00h)
- For more information on prices and opening times, please visit the Cueva de Nerja website
El Balcón de Europa, a viewpoint located in the centre of the town that offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean between beautiful cliffs and fine sandy beaches.
If you can, visit the viewpoint at sunset. The views are truly unforgettable and not to be missed.
Verano Azul Park is a cosy park dedicated to the mythical Spanish TV series, which transmitted the sensations and aroma of living in a quiet Andalusian coastal town. Next to it you will find some of the best tapas bars in Nerja which we recommend here.
Nature and hiking
Nerja is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. In the area around the town, you can find various hiking routes that allow you to explore the Sierra de Almijara and the coast of Malaga, such as the route of the cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo or the route of the river Chillar, ideal for cooling off in summer.
The latter runs along a river, going up its own course, so it is recommended to do it in spring or summer. You can climb waterfalls or bathe in refreshing pools along the way.
Nerja forms part of the Gran Senda de Málaga, a route that runs through the whole province. End of the Torrox-Nerja section and start of the Nerja-Frigiliana section.
In addition, from Nerja you can go up to nearby villages such as Cómpeta or Canillas de Aceituno, from where you can access hiking routes over the spectacular Sierras de Tejeda and Almijara Natural Park.
Beach and sun
Nerja is known for its beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters and warm, sunny weather all year round. Among the most outstanding beaches are Burriana Beach, the largest and liveliest in town, with a wide range of services and activities; Calahonda Beach, a small pebble beach located in the centre of town; and Maro Beach, an unspoilt beach located in a protected natural environment.
In addition, you can find numerous natural beaches and coves in the surroundings of Nerja, ideal for water sports such as scuba diving or paddle surfing. Particularly recommended is the route that leads to the Maro waterfall.
Popular festivals and gastronomy
The most important festival in the village is the Nerja Fair, which is held in October and lasts a week. During the fair, the town is filled with colour and music, and you can taste typical dishes such as ajoblanco, snails “a la nerjeña” or migas (fried breadcrumbs).
Another outstanding fiesta is the Fiesta de las Maravillas, which is held around 8 September in honour of the patron saint of the village, the Virgen de las Maravillas. However, a special event is the Noche de San Juan, which is experienced with great passion and atmosphere all along the coast.
The gastronomy of Nerja is a mixture of Mediterranean and Andalusian flavours, with fresh and high quality products. In addition to the typical dishes mentioned above, you can’t miss the espeto de sardinas, the boquerón victoriano or the famous paellas of Nerja.
Furthermore, the Axarquia region produces top quality mangos and avocados, which are renowned all over the world, thanks to the excellent subtropical climatic conditions in this area.
How to get to Nerja
How to get there by bus
If you want to get to Nerja by bus from Malaga, you can do so via the bus company Alsa, which offers several daily departures from Malaga Bus Station.
The frequency is almost hourly, although at weekends it may vary.
The journey takes about an hour and a half, and the fare is around 5 euros (one way). Another option is to take a direct bus from Malaga Airport to Nerja, which also costs around 5 euros (one way), although it only has one daily route.
How to get there by car
To get to Nerja by car from Malaga Airport, take the MA-21, which then connects with the A-7 motorway towards Almeria/Motril. Once here, just follow the signs to Nerja. The journey takes approximately 50 minutes and is fairly straightforward, as the motorway is in very good condition.
If you prefer to hire a car without a credit card in Malaga, you can hire it with CarGest. This way, during your stay in Nerja, you can move around more comfortably with your vehicle, visiting all the villages you’ll find along the way, such as Sayalonga, Frigiliana or Rincón de la Victoria.
Map of Nerja
Below, we offer you a map of Nerja with all the points of tourist interest marked so that you can plan your visit as efficiently as possible. We hope you have found this guide useful and that you enjoy your stay in this wonderful town on the Costa del Sol.
In short, Nerja is an up-and-coming tourist destination on the Costa del Sol. With a wide range of activities and places to visit, this charming Andalusian town will win you over with its beauty and diversity.
From its impressive prehistoric caves to its beautiful beaches, from its popular fiestas to its rich gastronomy, Nerja will not leave you indifferent. Don’t miss it!
Best time of the year to visit: spring and summer.
Not to be missed: visit the beautiful coves of Maro.
Places to eat nearby: here are some of the best restaurants in Nerja that you can visit.
I hope you have found this information useful and that it will encourage you to visit Nerja. For more information about the town you can consult the Nerja Town Hall website: https://www.nerja.es/