Nerja proudly refuses to let go of its oldy-worldly characteristic, one that shapes its square and meandering streets. Yet this once small fishing village is still a delightful resort town, that sits between the village of Maro and Torrox Costa. It is blessed to be located in southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, where its weather benefits from Malaga’s wonderful climate and therefore enjoys an incredible 300 days of sunshine annually. Getting to Nerja from Malaga Airport is now more direct, thanks to the autovia or motorway, so after you land, you’ll arrive in this pretty town in no time at all ready to explore the area’s treasures. In fact, a taxi transfer to Nerja will take only 60 minutes.
The Balcon de Europa and its history
This magnificent balcony is proudly perched on the cliff overlooking the seaside town and tells an amazing story. It was built upon a former fortress which was constructed as a lookout tower back in the 9th century to protect against invaders and pirates frequenting the coast. The tower was adversely affected by weather and by the region’s many battles and was subsequently rebuilt in 1487 as another defence tower containing an artillery of guns.
Finally, in 1812 it was attacked and damaged by a British ship during the Spanish War of Independence. After suffering even more damage by an unprecedented earthquake in 1884, King Alfonso XII visited Nerja to see for himself the damage caused. “This is the Balcony of Europe” he famously said after admiring the stunning views out to sea. In 1885, the platform was rebuilt as a balcony. In 1930 after the promenade was taking shape, it was officially named Balcón de Europa and today a monument of the King can be seen with him proudly leaning against its railings.
The modern-day charismatic atmosphere of the Balcón de Europa is provided in part by concerts, entertainers and gregarious tourists dining al fresco on local cuisine. Splendid panoramic views of the Mediterranean and majestic mountains make this a feature that attracts many days in day out to this small holiday resort.
Pirates & the cliffside coves
At the Balcons feet lies some of the regions most attractive coastline, each part with its own distinctive characteristics. The cliffside coves that were once strategic hideouts for passing pirates and smugglers are still fascinating to explore at low tide. The sheltered bays are easily accessible by small boat and fuel one’s imagination of the type of booty that would have been stored nearby.
The Caves of Nerja
The Cueva de Nerja have put the little town on the map as a ‘must see’ thanks to a group of inquisitive school boys who stumbled upon the caves some decades ago.
This ancient cavern with its odd-looking stalactites and stalagmites now hosts popular music concerts underground. The caves are open daily for general visitors and offer an insightful one-hour audio guided tour throughout the many different chambers. Even the most claustrophobic of people may be pleasantly surprised after entering the initial area as the height inside the caves is surprisingly huge and some parts are several stories high.
For a reasonable 10 euros entrance fee, the amazing rock formations are not to be missed and are a very shrewd choice of escapism during the month of October, which happens to be Nerja’s rainy season.
Best Beach in Nerja
You’ll be spoiled for choice among the seven beaches that Nerja has, with one of the most aesthetically pleasing being Burrianna Beach. This particular spot is a perfect place to unwind and top up your suntan with plenty of sun loungers to entice you to switch off and enjoy the surrounding nature. The 800 metres of golden sand is plenty enough for couples to take a delightful stroll near the sea edge and for groups of children to be amused by their game of rounders.
The Seaside boulevard or promenade is a pleasure to walk and enjoy the palm trees gently swaying in the warm sea breeze.
The facilities here are good and include sunbeds, lifeguard patrol, volleyball nets, pedal boat hire, three public toilets, many beach showers and ample changing rooms. There’s a complete guide for Nerja that discusses Nerja’s best beaches in great detail here www.nerjatoday.com/nerjabeachguide
Water sports facilities here are forever increasing and now include jet ski, kayak hire, diving and even parasailing is available for the more adventurous.
When you fancy a stroll to get a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) or homemade ice cream, there’s a good number of bars and ice cream parlours to select from. It’s not hard to get a satisfying lunch nearby either, where you can choose from the local freshly cooked paella dish on the buffet to the Italian restaurant and Thai cuisine and just about everything else in between. Yes, there’s plenty of restaurants at the tip of the beach offering a variety of food to suit all tastes.
As noted, Nerja’s climate is a most pleasant one indeed. Nerja boasts an average temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and provides a consistent streak of sunshine during November – January.