Nerja (pronounced like: N'air'-ha) is a seaside resort on the Costa del Sol, in the region of Andalucia of Spain. It is the first resort going away from Malaga to not be dominated by large ugly concrete hotels and is situated in the attractive foothills of the Sierra Almijara mountains.
Don't be misled by holiday brochure descriptions of Nerja as a fishing village. Tourism must now be its main industry. The few fishermen with their boats still to be seen along the beach provide a picturesque scene for visitors and a slim livelihood for local families. Until 10 or 12 years ago the town retained a strong Spanish identity, but during recent years the influx of both northern European visitors and residents has eroded significantly the genuine charm of a truly Spanish working town.
However, compared to many other Costa Del Sol destinations, especially to the west of Malaga, this is still worth a visit. It is a quiet town which feels like a village, and the tourist mix is not exclusively northern European and many Spanish people use this resort for holidays, together with French and Italians. Many British people have retired here as it is a quiet town without noisy discos.
The town is built on a hillside with a not too steep gradient and the sprawling centre itself consists of an older part with white streets partly pedestrianised mainly to the east of the Balcon de Europa , but beyond the 17th century church and the plaza cabana more modern development takes over and the town seems like any other recently developed Spanish costa resort.
The Balcon De Europa is a promenade built out onto a natural headland and gives spectacular views of the coast and the mountains inland, where they rise to over 6000 feet. This is the natural focus of the evening walk for both locals and holiday makers and is often the venue for fiestas and events such as the Virgen Del Carmen in July and New Year's Eve.
The absence of high rise developments on the coast, the charm and beauty of the coast line and proximity to many of the white villages, historic cities and a wide choice of accommodation make it an attractive place for perhaps a short , or for some , a week or two.
Airport bus 19 to Malaga bus station (1.10 euro). Buy a ticket at windows 4-6 (3.85 euros) and then a bus at Bay 38 from there to Nerja. Total cost, less than 5 euros. The bus stops in Nerja after a bridge with blue railings and just before a large roundabout with signs to apartments. This area is called the bus station. It has a small ticket booth. 5 minutes walk downhill is an area with taxis. Next bus stop is a few miles outside Nerja city, at Nerja caves.
The nearest port is in Malaga, with services from North Africa. There is also a port in Almeria.
From the West: The A-7 E-15 motorway runs parallel to the coast, Nerja is situated 10 mins from it, and is clearly signposted.
The nearest large airport is in Malaga, which is served by flights from across Europe and America. From Malaga Airport, take the A-7 E-15 motorway in the direction of Almeria and Motril.
There is no train station in Nerja.
The nearest train station is Malaga which is located about 56 kilometers west of Nerja. Easiest way to continue to Nerja from Malaga is by bus from the bus station just across the street, or by car/taxi.
Walking is the easiest way. There is a bus from the beach near the Monica hotel which takes you uphill as far as the Sol supermarket. Next stop is about a mile out of town, before returning on the same route.
There are two large central carparks. One is situated off Calle La Cruz, right in the middle of town, which charges a reasonable rate per hour. There is a larger (and free) car park off Prol Carabeo, which is 5 mins walk from the town centre, this is the one that all the locals use. Even in the winter months, street parking can be very difficult in the town's narrow and sometimes one-way streets (which can be no parking because they are too narrow.)
The centre of Nerja is small enough to be able to be seen by walking around though you will find yourself walking up or down a gradual hill much of the time. Park your car in one of the car parks and get out and have a wander! As such the town has no city centre, having shops, banks, bars and eateries scattered through.
The Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe) is a recently reconstructed promenade in the centre of town with good views along the coast. Originally was constructed around 1487 in the place of a former 9th Century Castle. The tourist information in Nerja makes a really big deal out of this although there's not much to do except look up and down the coast.
El Salvador Church. Near the Balcón de Europa, you will find this attractive 17th Century church constructed in baroque-mudejar style.
Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Hermitage, a 16th Century church with paintings by the Alonso Cano.
The Caves of Nerja The caves are not a suitable place if you have any walking difficulties.
Beaches. There are thirteen kilometers of beaches in Nerja, including the internationally famous Playa Burriana that has once again been awarded by the Blue Flag of the European Union. The sand of the Burriana beach is coarser than the other beaches, and some small areas are fenced off with recliners, where people pay to sit here. There are several smaller, more secluded coves and beaches at Playa Torrecilla. There are many benches on the promenades for those who do not want to sit on sand, and the inevitable eating places.
El puente de Aguila or the Eagle´s bridge, is a 19th century aqueduct, similar to the ones built by the Romans. It was designed to bring water to the nearby village of Maro, one of the oldest settlements around the area. Visible on the way to the caves.
The Rio Chillar Waterfall A beautiful waterfall located along the old river, near the Sunday Market.
The Nerja Donkey Sanctuary , Open to visitors every day 10-4 (10-2 Weekends), You can visit the donkeys, feed them and even help to take a donkey for a walk (or one of the many dogs that they're trying to find homes for).
Sticky Fingers Cookery School , 95 252 3127, Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, La Parra Restaurant, Burriana Beach, Nerja, 29780, Made famous on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. On Monday nights adults can learn how to cook a great meal and then get to eat it and kids can have fun learning how to cook on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Jeep Tours in Nerja , 0034 677 894 002, 0034 677 894 002, Life Aventure SL, Calle Antonio Ferrandiz, no39 2-2, Nerja, 29780, A great way of exploring the Sierra Almijara discovering the flora and fauna and natural habitat.
There is a shop amongst the shops facing the Burriana beach which has diving gear and tanks for hire and does courses on PADI diving.
There are a number of internet cafes around town, some of which will print off pages, including etickets if using Ryanair. Prices range from 1 euro to 3.50 euros an hour, with most charging 1.40. A fair number of bars, hotels and hostlels (hostals) have free wifi. Like elsewhere in Spain, some bars also have large screen TV's showing football matches.
There is a carnival each year around February 13th. It starts in the evening in the upper town and makes it's way down via Calle Pintada.
Nerja is set in the attractive foothills of the Sierra de Almijarra, and has plenty of good walking routes for all abilities nearby.
Pick up the free Nerja walks guide book in the Tourist Information office near the Balcon de Europa. The book details a wide variety of walks in the area, with maps and directions for where to walk, and interesting facts about the places you pass.
If staying at one of the many apartments in Nerja, there are a number of supermarkets: Mercadona, Sol, Mas, etc as well as mini-marts around town. Also a Lidl a little way along the Frigiliana road out of town. Supermarket hours are normally 09:15 to 21:15, Mondays to Saturdays. Shut Sundays. Although superficially there appears to be many foreign owned tourist restaurants, there are a significant number of Spanish owned places to eat since the town has a large Spanish population.
El Cietto Lindo, Calle El Barrio, Mexican food, including mixed fajitas which come on a large cast iron construction with hot plates for each ingredient. Intimidating food! Nice indoor garden and good selection of tequilas.Most people visit once and don't go back.
Coach and Horses, Calle Cristo, Where some British holidaymakers come to enjoy **real** fish and chips, John Smiths Bitter and Coronation street. This place is also sometimes still known by its Spanish name, The Bodegon.
Marisqueria La Marina , Plaza la Marina, Calle Castilla Pérez, Located on a small square in the west of town, this informal seafood tapas bar has a few tables inside and a number more outside. The drinks are cheap, the language is Spanish and each drink comes with a tapa of seafood salad or a plate of gambas. It works, as you will be inevitably tempted to enjoy more fresh shellfish and seafood at a table outside. The service is a little rude and hectic in summer, but the prices are reasonable.
Merendero Ayo, Burriana Beach, Good restaurant owned by the discoverer of the Nerja caves, and featured on television. Serves Spanish cuisine.
Moreno, Burriana Beach, Good seafood and meat cooked on a BBQ.
El Nino, Calle Almirante Ferrandiz, 83, Spanish cuisine that is very popular with the locals.
Pata Negra, Plaza la Marina, Excellent Spanish cuisine, good tapas and a wine list from cheap and chearful, through good value to expensive tastes.
Posada Ibérica Restaurant, Calle Nueva, Offers some of the best and most inexpensive food in Nerja. Run by an Argentinean couple that has maintained the Spanish flavour, the place is one of the most traditional you can find in Nerja. They occasionally have live music during the weekend.
El Pulgilla, Calle Almirante Fernandez, 26, Amidst the bustle of shops and restaurants is a typical Spanish marisqueria (fish and shellfish tapas/restaurant), that is perhaps the one place that best sums up Nerja. The clientèle is usually at least 90% Spanish with the occasional adventurous holidaymaker. the drinks are cheap, the tapas are free and the seafood is excellent. There is a large open air terrace open during the summer.
Restaurant 34, Calle Hernando de Carabeo, 34, International cuisine. Upmarket, and prices reflect this!
Sollun Restaurant , Calle Cristo 53, a One of the newer restaurants in Nerja, but is actually one of the best. The Chef, Juan Quintanilla, was previously owner of a 1 star Michelin restaurant in Marbella. Great food and excellent wine.
El Sotano Viejo, Calle Lose Heurtos, Run by local businessman Pepe Mesa, this is one of the finest affordable restaurants in town. Food served covers a variety of tastes, and many Spanish dishes are on the menu. The decor is of fine wood, and there are always plenty of wines and drinks on offer. Gambas Pil Pil is a speciality.
Scarletta's, 952520011, Calle Christo, 38, International and American style cuisine of excellent quality at reasonable prices. Very pleasant open air roof terraces (advance reservations adviced) and good service.
Restaurante Califonia, 952521890, Calle Christo, 32, International style cuisine, with a touch of English home made cooking. Very nice and pleasant roof terrace. Food is excellent and staff very friendly. Worthwhile making a reservation.
Cibeles, Calle Carabeo, Excellent cafe/restaurant with good value spanish food. Open all day and evening with very friendly, longstanding staff and clientele.
Tutti Fruti square is the main area where to spend the evenings.(If you are under 35!) There are more than 10 bars, pubs, restaurants, etc and are open everyday. Most bars get busy around 1.00AM, so don´t expect much action before that. Closing times vary from 4.00AM in the winter to 7.00 during the summer.
El Molino Bar is one of the most typical flamenco bars in Nerja. It is believed to be the oldest bar running in Nerja, and the building has been used for over 350 years (first as an olive oil mill, therefore the name). Live Music played every night.
There is a large choice of hotels, apartments and hostels. Long rentals are advertised at many agencies around town, which take advantage of the very mild but sometimes a bit wet winters in Nerja. Some have satellite TV with British channels, but others are just Spanish TV. Some accommodation has free wifi.
Self catering apartments and villa rentals Nerja , 0034 95 252 0748, 0034 95 252 0748, Holiday Nerja, Calle Cerro Marino, Nerja, 29780, Offering a vast selection of private self catering apartments and villas for holiday rental accommodation in Nerja costa del Sol.
Hostal Azahara , +34 952 520 426, +34 952 520 426, Avda. de Pescia No 1, Nerja, Book on-line the recently renovated Hostal Azahara is open 24 hours a day all year round. This is a very friendly and comfortable Hostal with 13 bedrooms all ensuite with TV, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities. Hostal Azahara is within easy reach of wonderful beaches and restaurants. The Balcon De Europe is only a 10 minute walk away and the bustling nightlife is within walking distance.
Hostal Bronce , +34-95-252-8776, +34-95-252-8776, Calle Bronce, 25 29780 Nerja, Located in the old section of Nerja, the Hostel is a newly-constructed building (May 2004), yet maintains the traditional Andalusian manor style and is exquisitely decorated throughout. The Hostel comprises 7 well-appointed rooms, TV, ensuite bathrooms, sun terrace and Jacuzzi. It is only 5 minutes from the beach and a short 2 minute walk from the parking.
Hostal Miguel , +34 95 25 21 52 3, +34 95 25 21 52 3, Calle Almirante Ferrandiz 31 29780 Nerja, Very attractive hostal situated centrally in Nerja and 5 mins walk from a free carpark. Run by a very friendly and helpful British couple who also serve breakfast for guests on the rooftop terrace with great views over Nerja towards the Sierra Almijara and also out to sea.
La Roca Rara , (bookings from UK)Office: (44)208 663 0552 Mobile: (44)79 3241 0725, (bookings from UK)Office: (44)208 663 0552 Mobile: (44)79 3241 0725, Luxury Spanish Villa for Rent. Designed in the style of the Alhambra. At at the foot of the Sierra Almijara Mountains 5 minutes to Nerja or Frigiliana Village. Very private secluded estate, tennis court,heated pool, 7 bedrooms, 40 minutes from Malaga International airport.
Verano Azul Apartments , 952522629, Avda Pescia s/n, 29780 Nerja, Residential complex,open all the year. Two pools, near Burriana Beach. Apartments having air conditioning, sat tv, exteriors, terraces, nice views, recommended for couples and families, not suitable for diseables, pet allowed.
There are markets on Sundays (Boot Market, now located near the Almijara 11 area and Flaming Urbanisations) a good distance from the centre of town and Tuesdays at Chaparil. There is a Thursday fleamarket at the Boatyard.
There is only one post office in town. Spanish title is Correos and it is at the Balcon de Europa end of Calle Almirante Ferrándiz. There are a number of post boxes around town.
Frigiliana - a white Andalucian village only 5 miles inland, the village itself is a labyrinth of charming narrow whitewashed streets with old Andalucian houses. Around the village are a series of tiled wall displays telling the story of the village during the Moorish occupation and the Reconquista (the expulsion of the moors from Spain).
Granada - once one of the most important cities in Spain, and home of the world famous Alhambra.
Malaga - home of Picasso
Maro - charming neighbouring village with good beach
Sierra Nevada - the tallest mountains in Spain.
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