Nerja Guide: Holidays, Top Things to Do & See + Advice

Nerja is a pretty historic coastal town located on the eastern border of the Costa del Sol, situated on the southern coast of Spain, about 70 kilometres from the centre of Malaga. Nerja is a charming village and is famous for its pretty town center, spectacular Balcon de Europa, impressive mountain scenery, its 13 kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches, and famous Dolomitic Cave of Nerja.

Holidaymakers may find numerous quality hotels, apartments and holiday accommodations in Nerja.


Things to Do & See in Nerja…

Things to do and see in Nerja are endless. The pretty old quarter of Nerja houses wide range of traditional shops selling locally produced craftworks, sweet wines and honey as well as a variety of great restaurants that the town offers all the tourist services for the holidaymakers.

Popular attractions and sights in Nerja include;

  • A great day out at the historic centre and old quarter of Nerja,
  • the historical sights of the church of El Salvador,
  • the church of Señora de las Angustias and the parish of Senora de las Maravillas,
  • its spectacular Balcon de Europa (Balcony of Europe) that is a big viewpoint,
  • the natural spot Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo,
  • Cave of Nerja,
  • shopping craftworks, sweet wines and honey,
  • water sports, fishing,
  • horse riding, hiking,
  • snorkelling, boat trips,
  • beautiful beaches of Nerja.

As for shopping in Nerja; there are three distinct markets that are held weekly. The weekly street market (rastro), on Tuesdays, fruit and vegetables from the nearby farms as well as clothing, shoes, handbags, ceramics and more.

And there is another weekly market held on Sundays.


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Top Attractions & Sights in Nerja for you…

Best Places to Visit & See…

The Old Quarter of Nerja

One of the main attractions of Nerja is its charming Old Quarter, also known as the historic center of the town. This part of Nerja is a maze of narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and flower-filled balconies that retain their traditional Andalusian character.

Walking through the Old Quarter of Nerja is a journey through history, as you discover the remains of its ancient Arab fortress, the 17th-century church of El Salvador, and the 19th-century town hall. The old quarter is also home to several small museums that showcase the town’s rich cultural heritage.

One of the most iconic landmarks in the Old Quarter of Nerja is the Balcon de Europa, a wide promenade overlooking the sea that offers breathtaking views of the coastline.

In addition to its historical attractions, the Old Quarter of Nerja is also known for its vibrant gastronomic scene, with traditional restaurants and tapas bars offering a variety of delicious local dishes. The area is also home to many artisan shops and craft markets, where you can find unique souvenirs and gifts.

The Balcon de Europa (Balcony of Europe)

The Balcon de Europa is a stunning viewpoint located in the heart of Nerja. It is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to admire the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.


It was originally a castle built in the 9th century by the Moors, who ruled over the area at the time. It was later destroyed during the Reconquest, and in 1487, King Ferdinand II of Aragon ordered the construction of a fortress on the site. However, this too was destroyed during the Peninsular War in the 19th century.

In 1885, the town council decided to transform the ruins of the fortress into a public park, which was named the Balcon de Europa. The park was inaugurated by King Alfonso XII in 1887, and since then, it has become one of the most iconic landmarks in Nerja.

It offers panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding mountains, making it a popular spot for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery. Visitors can also explore the nearby shops, restaurants, and cafes, which offer a variety of local and international cuisine.

The Balcon de Europa is also a popular venue for concerts and cultural events, especially during the summer months. The park is open to the public year-round and is easily accessible by foot or by car.

The Church of El Salvador

The Church of El Salvador is a beautiful historical landmark located in the heart of Nerja. The church is also known as the Iglesia del Salvador and is one of the most important cultural and religious sites in the area.

Built in the 17th century, the church has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years to preserve its original Baroque style. Its facade features an impressive bell tower, adorned with intricate details and ornate carvings. The interior of the church is equally stunning, with its high ceilings, detailed frescoes, and impressive altarpiece.

The Church of El Salvador is a popular tourist attraction for those interested in history and architecture, as well as those seeking a peaceful and spiritual retreat. Visitors are welcome to attend daily mass and admire the beautiful artwork and craftsmanship of the church.

The Church of Señora de las Angustias

The Church of Señora de las Angustias is a historic Catholic church and one of the most significant religious landmarks in the area and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

The church was constructed in the 17th century and has undergone numerous renovations over the years. Its architecture is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, with intricate stone carvings and a bell tower that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Inside, visitors can admire the elaborate altar and ornate decorations, including religious paintings and sculptures. The church is also known for its impressive collection of silver and gold artifacts, which are used during religious ceremonies.

The Church of Señora de las Angustias is an important site for religious pilgrimages and celebrations, including the annual festival of the Virgen de las Angustias in September. It is open to visitors throughout the year, and guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about its history and significance.

Archaeological Museum of cave of Nerja

The museum is located next to the famous Nerja Caves and features exhibits that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region. The museum is home to a vast collection of archaeological artifacts that date back to prehistoric times, including ceramics, tools, and cave paintings. Visitors can learn about the various cultures that inhabited the area throughout history, such as the Phoenicians, Romans, and Moors.

One of the highlights of the museum is the replica of the skull of a Neanderthal man, which was discovered in the caves. The skull is a significant find and provides insight into the lives of our early ancestors.

The museum also offers guided tours that provide visitors with a more in-depth understanding of the exhibits and the history of the area. These tours are available in various languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German.

Visitors to the Archaeological Museum of the Cave of Nerja can also explore the nearby Nerja Caves, which are a series of underground caverns that are home to some of the world’s most extensive stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves are an awe-inspiring natural wonder and a must-see for anyone visiting the region.

Best Nerja Beaches…

As for beaches in Nerja ; the Burriana Beach is the most famous beach in Nerja. Other beautiful beaches in Nerja include; the quiet Carabeo beach that is very ideal for diving and snorkelling, the El Chorillo beach and the Carabeillo beaches situated in beautiful coves, Calahonda beach, and the soft sandy Maro Beach.

Burriana Beach

Burriana Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Nerja, located on the eastern side of the town. This long and wide stretch of golden sand is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. The crystal-clear waters and gentle waves make it a great spot for water activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. The beach also offers plenty of amenities, including beach umbrellas and loungers, showers, and restaurants serving delicious seafood.

One of the highlights of Burriana Beach is the lively promenade lined with shops, bars, and restaurants. Here, visitors can indulge in local delicacies, sip refreshing cocktails, or shop for souvenirs. The beach also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, making it a great spot for entertainment.

Burriana Beach is easily accessible by foot, car, or bus from the center of Nerja. There are also plenty of parking spaces available near the beach for those who prefer to drive.

Carabeo Beach

Carabeo Beach is a beautiful and secluded beach located in the charming town of Nerja. This small beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, golden sand, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Carabeo Beach is situated at the bottom of a cliff and can only be accessed by a set of steep stairs, which add to its secluded feel.

Despite its small size, Carabeo Beach offers plenty of amenities for visitors, including sun loungers, parasols, and a beach bar. It is also conveniently located near the center of Nerja, making it easy to explore the town’s other attractions.

If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing day at the beach, Carabeo is the perfect choice. The tranquil atmosphere and picturesque surroundings make it a popular spot for couples and families seeking a peaceful retreat.

El Chorillo Beach

El Chorillo Beach is a beautiful and secluded cove located on the outskirts of Nerja. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, this idyllic beach is perfect for those looking for a peaceful and relaxing escape from the crowds.

To access El Chorillo Beach, visitors must first park their car in the designated parking area and then walk down a winding footpath that leads to the cove. The walk takes around 10 minutes and is relatively easy, but visitors should wear sturdy shoes as the path can be steep in places.

Once at the beach, visitors will be greeted by a small, sandy cove with calm waters that are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. The beach is relatively quiet and peaceful, making it the perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxing with a good book.

El Chorillo Beach does not have any facilities such as restaurants or bars, so visitors should bring their own food and drinks. It is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach, so visitors should exercise caution when swimming.

Calahonda Beach

Calahonda Beach is a beautiful beach located in the town of Nerja. The beach is known for its clear turquoise waters and fine golden sand. It is also known for its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, making it a perfect place for sunbathing and swimming.

Calahonda Beach stretches over 120 meters and is surrounded by rugged cliffs that offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The beach is well-maintained and has all the necessary facilities including showers, toilets, and sunbeds.

There are also several bars and restaurants nearby, serving fresh seafood and other local delicacies. Visitors can also take a walk along the promenade or try out some water sports activities such as snorkeling or paddleboarding.

Maro Beach

Maro Beach is a stunning beach located in the small town of Maro, situated between Nerja and Almuñécar on the Costa del Sol. This beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the region, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and a pristine natural setting.

Maro Beach is part of the Natural Park of the Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo, which is a protected area of great natural beauty. The beach is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and lush vegetation, creating a secluded and peaceful atmosphere.

The beach is accessed via a short trail that winds down the cliffside, offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Once on the beach, visitors can enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters, sunbathing on the soft sand, or exploring the many rock formations and caves that line the shore.

Daily Tours & Excursions

Food and Drink

Nerja is a foodie’s paradise, with numerous restaurants serving both local and international cuisine. From traditional Spanish tapas bars to high-end gourmet restaurants, there’s something for every taste and budget. Some of the must-try dishes include paella, gazpacho, and grilled sardines. The town also has a lively nightlife scene with numerous bars and pubs serving everything from locally brewed beer to signature cocktails.

Shopping

Nerja has a mix of traditional markets and modern shopping centers. The town’s weekly market is held every Tuesday and features a wide range of goods, including fresh produce, clothing, and souvenirs. There are also plenty of independent boutiques and artisanal shops selling unique items such as ceramics, leather goods, and jewelry. For those looking for more familiar brands, the El Ingenio Shopping Center offers a range of options.

Nightlife

Nerja has a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to all tastes. The town has a range of bars and clubs, from traditional Spanish tapas bars to high-end cocktail bars. The Plaza Tutti Frutti is a popular spot for those looking for a lively night out, with numerous bars and nightclubs located in the square.

Lodging

Nerja has a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. The town has numerous hotels and resorts located near the beach, offering stunning views and easy access to the town’s many attractions. For those looking for a more authentic experience, there are also a number of bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals available in the town center.

How to Get to Nerja?

Travelling to Nerja is easy. The closest airport is Malaga International Airport, which is approximately 70 kilometers away.

From the airport, visitors can take a bus, taxi, or rental car to reach Nerja. Another option is to take a train or bus to Malaga city center and then take a bus to Nerja.

Visitors can also hire a private transfer or arrange for a shuttle service.

Once in Nerja, visitors can easily get around on foot or by bus. Taxis and rental cars are also available for those who prefer more flexibility in their transportation.


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