Nestled along the stunning Costa del Sol in southern Spain, the picturesque town of Nerja is a treasure trove of natural beauty, rich history, and unforgettable experiences. With its charming streets, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, Nerja promises a weekend getaway that’s bound to leave you enchanted.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, a foodie, or simply seeking relaxation, Nerja has something for everyone. Here’s your guide to making the most of your weekend in this Spanish gem.
Where to visit
Here are just five of the most popular places to visit:
- Balcón de Europa: Start your exploration at the iconic Balcón de Europa, a cliff-top promenade offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the town’s coastline. The sea breeze and panoramic vistas make for an ideal introduction to Nerja’s beauty.
- Caves of Nerja: Delve into the town’s rich history by visiting the Caves of Nerja, a natural wonder featuring stunning stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves also host a series of concerts and events, making them a unique cultural venue.
- Burriana Beach: Spend some leisure time at Burriana Beach, Nerja’s most popular sandy shore. Relax on the golden sands, indulge in water sports, or savour a seafood meal at one of the beach chiringuitos.
- Kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving: Explore the mesmerizing Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs by taking a kayaking and snorkeling tour. Discover hidden coves, crystal-clear waters, and marine life that will leave you in awe.
- Nerja museum: Enjoy a highly visual experience at the Museum of Nerja. Plenty of interactive and audio visual elements help cover the history of this beautiful town.
- Maro: Just a short drive from Nerja lies the charming village of Maro. Explore its unspoiled beaches, such as Playa de Maro, which offer tranquility and pristine surroundings.
- Chillar River Hike: Embark on the Chillar River hike, an adventure that leads you through refreshing water streams and stunning landscapes. It’s a unique way to experience Nerja’s natural beauty.
- El Puente Viejo: Wander across El Puente Viejo, an old stone bridge that offers delightful views of the river and surrounding greenery. It’s a perfect spot for a quiet moment.
If you prefer to recharge your batteries and just chill on a beach, Nerja has plenty to choose from. Not only that, but including Burriana Beach mentioned above, there are a total of 4 Blue Flag beaches.
- Playazo – Chucho
The town also celebrates various festivals throughout the year, showcasing its rich cultural heritage and local traditions.
If you enjoy the beach and are a lover of music, on August 14, you can experience the fantastic atmosphere of Fiesta Blanca (white party summer beach festival) de Nerja from 9.00 pm on Salon Beach. A variety of DJs will be performing through the night.
From October 8-12, you can visit the Nerja Feria. During the feria, one of the biggest events on the Nerja calendar, the town comes alive. There are parades, singing, dancing, eating and drinking. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, then this is not to be missed.
Where and what to eat
- Tapas Trail: Experience the traditional Spanish tapas culture by hopping between Nerja’s charming tapas bars. Each offers a unique selection of small dishes, allowing you to savour a variety of flavours. There is an official Ruta de Tapa event which takes place in April each year, but all year round, you can enjoy wandering from bar to bar. Alternatively you can book a tapas trail with a guide included.
- Seafood Delicacies: Being a coastal town, Nerja boasts an array of seafood restaurants. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in fresh fish, prawns, and other delectable maritime delights. Trip Advisor has published their top seafood restaurants in Nerja guide. A personal favourite is the Marisqueria Puerta del Mar. With its beautiful views of the sea, and the Balcon de Europa, it is not the cheapest, but the quality is spot on!
Where to stay
- Parador de Nerja: For a luxurious stay, consider the Parador de Nerja, which overlooks the sea and offers comfortable accommodations with stunning views.
- Boutique Hotels: Nerja also boasts a range of boutique hotels and guesthouses, each with its own unique charm and style.
Also read: Parador Hotels
How to get there
Nerja is well-connected to major Spanish cities. The closest major airport is Malaga Airport, which is approximately a 1-hour drive away. You can easily reach Nerja by renting a car, or taking a bus.
Also read: La Axarquia – Nerja and Frigiliana
History and traditions
Nerja’s history dates back to ancient times, with evidence of human settlement stretching over thousands of years. According to the recent archaeological discoveries of the Caves of Nerja, the first settlers date from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age, passing through the Epipaleolithic and Neolithic, with important human remains belonging to the Cro-Magnon period.
Nerja gained international fame when the Caves of Nerja were discovered in 1959, revealing a stunning underground world that dates back millennia. The caves are renowned for their impressive geological formations and have become a significant cultural and historical site. The discovery coincided with the start of the tourism boom.
And although once a small fishing village, Nerja still manages to retain a charming, traditional atmosphere.
Also read: A weekend in Malaga