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Last July I Holidayed in Spain for the first time. With a friend and her mother joining me, we flew from Leeds to the Costa Del Sol and stayed in the beautiful small town of Nerja. Over our 2 week stay I fell in love with Nerja and its typically Spanish buildings, the wonderful atmosphere and stunning beaches.
We stayed in a hotel near to the centre of Nerja, a 10 minute walk from the centre of town where the majority of restaurants, bars, shops, both touristy and independent boutiques are situated. The centre of town is well worth visiting even if it is just to buy some cheap Spanish themed holiday reminders. The views from the seafront over the Mediterranean Sea are exceptional. A visit to the Balcon de Europa is highly recommended where excellent views of the sea and the area can be experienced day and night.
Nerja is situated approximately 1 hour away from Malaga a large City and the 'capital' of the Costa Del Sol. Malaga is also the location of the nearest airport to the resort. Nerja and Malaga are connected by a motorway which also allows for easy access to other nearby towns and villages. A regular bus service with relatively cheap fares connects Nerja to Malaga and numerous other areas.
Local areas worth visiting near to Nerja include Frigiliana, Maro and the Nerja Caves, located around 10 minutes away by bus from the centre of Nerja.
Overall if you want a peaceful, relaxing holiday with beautiful weather and stunning buildings and views then Nerja is the place for you.
The large carpark that is also the Feria ground is no longer free. Charges were introduced 08 June 2011 and it is very expensive for visitors.
We have recently returned from our honeymoon where we stayed up in the mountains near Competa in Andalucia. Nerja, at 20 minutes drive was our nearest coastal resort. Very easy to get to, it was often a stop off on our way back to our villa. Just take exit 292 from the A7 Autovia and follow the signs for Nerja.
There's a distinct lack of on street parking in Nerja and no sooner is a space vacated than three cars are fighting to fill it. Also, delivery vans have an irritating habit of abandoning their vehicles wherever happens to be closest to their destination, regardless of whether or not it fills three parking spaces or blocks a roundabout (something we saw twice). However, I'm here to tell you about the best FREE parking in Nerja, listen closely. When you're heading in, follow the signs for the Parador, which is a large hotel not far from the beach. In a few minutes you will round a corner and see he parador straight in front of you. Carry on on that road, heading for the beach-continue straight on at the roundabout and you will suddenly find yourself on the Feria (Fair) ground-a large open tarmac area with marked parking bays where you can abandon your car for an unlimited amount of time! Now, head right to the far end of the car park and park close to the Indian restaurant. There is an obvious pedestrian exit which takes you straight onto Nerja's shopping streets! Turn left at the end of the street and you are at the steps leading down to the main beach. Awesome.
SO the beach, well there are two or three with the obligatory parasols and sunbeds and they are clean and have gorgeous clear water but can be busy. However, once you've descended the main steps down the to the beach walkway, have a little wander further along an you will find a few more secluded coves that you may get to yourselves. Also, head down in the late afternoon for a bit more peace and quiet.
The view from the coastline all around Nerja is just astonishing. Arguably one of the best views of the Med anywhere. It's just a MASSIVE expanse of blue laid out in front of you. Amazing.
There are plenty of shops, a mix of tatty tourist and decent fashion and food/drink. There are also lots of restaurants and respectable looking bars although I must admit we didn't eat out there other than at the Ice cream huts J
All in all, I would like to go back and stay there and try and see more of the place, I reckon the views alone will take me back fairly soon
The small town of Nerja is one of the few places on the Costa del Sol that has remained relatively untouched by mass tourism. Despite its beautiful sandy beaches and easy access from Malaga airport, it managed to escape the overpowering tower blocks that line the seafront of its close neighbours along that stretch of coastline, and retains the small cobbled streets and bright white houses of the true Spain.
~The Town ~
Once a small fishing village, Nerja now has a population of over 22,000 a fifth of which are foreign residents, including around 2,000 British expats. In the summer months, tourism swells the population but despite this, the town retains a sleepy and very Spanish atmosphere that defies its popularity. The mix of nationalities that both visit and live in Nerja prevent it from falling into the Costa de Sol stereotype, although British visitors do make a significant impact. This is not unspoilt Spain, but it is a lot better than most of this section of Spanish coast. The old quarter of the town gives Nerja its unique atmosphere, with narrow, winding streets, blindingly white houses, small shops and small cafes. The centre of the town is dominated by a large town square, where you can sit for hours in a cafe, watching the gleaming horse drawn carriages wait for passengers as the horses toss their heads in the sunshine.
Leading off the main square is the famous Balcon de Europa; a mirador or viewpoint which juts out into the sea like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, providing endless 180 degree views of the blue sea and the sky that seems to melt into it on the horizon. Walking along the Balcony is a beautiful experience - the promenade follows the edge of a precipitous cliff, and you can look down onto the tiny beaches below. Once the site of a great Moorish castle, the Balcony was once known as La Bateria after the gun battery and fortified tower that once existed.
~Things to Do ~
Although many visitors come to Nerja for the wonderful 16 kilometres of sandy beaches, there is much more to do than sunbathe and swim. The biggest and best beach is the famous Burriana Beach. Lined by palm covered restaurants and bars, this beach has provides a large choice of water sports, from calm pedalos to wild banana rides. In addition several beautiful smaller beaches and coves can be found closer to the town centre, with immediate access to central restaurants and bars.
Away from the beach life, walkers can enjoy dramatic mountain trails through the Sierra de Almijara and Sierra Tejeda. Nerja is becoming a significant centre for walkers, who appreciate the beauty of the mountains.
Within the town there is the 17th century Church of El Salvador to visit, with its mixture of Moorish and baroque art, as well as the beautiful Gardens of Capistrano, which provide welcome shade during the burning heat of high summer.
The beautiful city of Granada with its magnificent Alhambra is just over an hour away from Nerja, and organised bus trips leave the town for Granada almost every day from the Tourist Office. The round trip can easily be done in a day and is well worth taking time away from the beach.
Closer to home, Nerja has spectacular caves that are only a bus drive away, just three Kilometres from the centre of town. Cave paintings and the most enormous stalagmites make these caves just breath-taking and a definite tick on any itinerary. The caves themselves are surrounded by landscaped gardens and shady trees, and it is nice to spend the day there, eating in the restaurant which sits high on the hill and provides beautiful views across the mountains. Queues for the caves can be long, so try to avoid visiting in the heat of the day. One of the caverns is used as a concert hall, and it is advisable to ask the tourist information office about times and tickets as soon as you arrive, so that you can experience music in this unique venue.
~Places to Eat~
Luckily there is not the usual Costa del Sol preponderance of British Pubs and Fish and Chip shops in Nerja. There are around 400 bars and restaurants, with a variety of prices and menus on offer. Nerja specialities include La Doncella (red mullet) and pescaito frito (fried fish).
Although I have not experienced this myself, I understand from my younger travelling companions that Tutti Frutti Square is the place to be seen after dark, providing diverse entertainment from live music, to Flamenco, to an Irish bar. Although I think there is enough of a nightlife to entertain, I never experienced it intruding on the enjoyment of other holiday makers.
We stayed in one of the many self catering Edificio apartments that can be found in Nerja, but there are many hotels and other catered accommodation on offer. Staying right by the Burriana Beach provides easy access to water sports and a nightlife that centres around ice cream parlours and cocktail bars; staying closer to the centre of town takes you closer to cafes and smaller beaches, as well as the atmosphere of the old quarter.
~How to Get There~
Most visitors fly into Malaga, and travel by taxi or bus to Nerja town centre. The taxi journey takes about 30 minutes, while the bus journey (although cheaper) takes about an hour.
I have visited Nerja three times , and the spanish culture and character is always visible and apparent . We visited Nerja because my Father was tired of large, package holiday / commercialised and very british designed resorts . My best tip if you are visiting the town of Nerja and are interested in walking to places like the beach in the day and/or restaurants in the evening then make sure you get a good location or hire a car . The reason I say this is because I have stayed right at the back end of Nerja and its always a grueller of a walk back especially uphill ! The balcon de europa is a great place to visit and there are lots of great restaurants in and around there . Burriana Beach is great but there is a quainter one the other side of the balcon . I have never visited the caves but I hear it is worth a visit .
After a somewhat gruelling 10/11 days touring the cites and towns of Andalucia, what better way to unwind and prepare for the return to 'real' life than a few days at the beach. With this in mind, we chose to stay in NERJA, a more sedate resort than some of the brasher options on the Costa del Sol, further to the west.
We traveled to Nerja by way of the mountain road from Granada and it's certainly an impressive way to arrive. Descending through spectacular rocky crags with only tantalising glimpses of the azure expanse of the Med whets the appetite suitably. Nerja is at the eastern extremity of Malaga province, 1-2 hours drive from Granada and 50km from Malaga airport.
Nerja is, by Spanish costa standards, relatively unspoilt and under-developed. No huge monolithic temples to the concrete God here - not yet, at least. It still has the feel of a real Spanish town...so much for first impressions. The trouble is, it's very popular with Brits and therefore most of the bars and restaurants etc cater for that market. This is great if you're hankering for the full English breakfast, or perhaps a Sunday Roast washed down with a pint of Tetleys, but that's not my idea of Spanish living.
We stayed at the Hotel Perla Marina, on the Playa del Playazo to the west of the town. Nerja doesn't boast a long sweeping beach as such, but a collection of several beaches and coves dotted amongst a rugged, rocky coast. Playa del Playazo is probably the longest expanse of sand, but it's not very wide. However, it's fairly sedate and secluded and is ideal for some peace and quiet. It's still an easy stroll to the town centre, although that can be an adventure! There's a promenade leading from that beach but don't expect to make it all the way to the town centre on it. For some reason, it ends abruptly in a brick wall which is conveniently hidden around a corner so you don't notice till you arrive at a sudden dead-end. What's that about? A quick back-track and then through the maze of streets towards the Balcon de Europa - the jewel in Nerja's crown.
The Balcon de Europa is the heart of the town. It's a palm and plane tree-lined promenade that leads from the 17th century Church of El Salvador to a semi-circular viewpoint on the cliff-top. There are hotels and bars on one side, but any building on the other side is limited to some decorative arches - there are some spectacular sunsets from here and it can get quite busy around that time of day. Up until 1812 there used to be a fort here and that is evidenced by some ancient cannons standing sentinel over the seaward approaches to the town. This is where everyone gathers for the evening promenade, but as it's only a couple of hundred metres long, it's not much of a stroll. Still, the view's nice.
The main shopping streets lead off from this central point but I wasn't very impressed with what was on offer. In the main, the shopping seems geared more towards everyday items and not towards the huge influx of visitors. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be falling over beach towels and postcards and cheap-n-nasty t-shirts and 'authentic' Spanish tat from Taiwan or all the other gruesome tourist paraphernalia. But on the other hand, I'm not looking for pots-n-pans and balls of wool and ironmongery when I'm on holiday either. Och, I'm a moaning faced git. The shopping couldn't have been all that bad - Mrs P managed to squeeze every last penny out of the credit card.
Similarly, eating and drinking opportunites weren't brilliant either. There were far too many English pubs (not to mention a bogfull of 'Irish' pubs - you know the type, paint it green, serve Guinness and begorrah, you're in business). I was on the look-out for Spanish 'themed' bars, but they were about as rare as good taste in Blackpool. There were some, but this is definitely a town that has it's fair share of ex-pat pubs.
I suppose that's what some people want, a little slice of 'wherever' in the sun, but not me.
Still, much as I'd like to, you can't very well sit around in pubs all day and all night. So what is there to do in Nerja? Um, not an awful lot. At the eastern end of town, the Jardines de Europa are botanical gardens that slope down to Playa de Burriano. I'm sure they're very nice, but we didn't visit. About 3 km distant is the main attraction of the area - The Caves of Nerja. This is apparently the third most visited attraction in Spain - even without us making up the numbers. I'm afraid that stumbling around in caves isn't something that I find particularly appealing. Call me batty, but that's the way I am. My skin craves vitamin D.
A few miles inland, is the village of Frigliana, which we did visit. Frigliana has been voted the 'most beautiful village in Andalucia' several times. it's not hard to see why. Dazzlingly-white buildings crowd around steep and narrow streets. Floribunda in abundance only adds to the beauty. The village is perched on the side of a mountain and has fantastic views down over the valley towards the sea.
There's not an awful lot to do here, but a few hours wandering the narrow streets followed by some tapas and a drink makes a welcome change from supping ale and chomping pies at the Rose & Crown.
All in all, I was a little disappointed with Nerja. I know hundreds of people who have visited here...well, a few to be brutally accurate, and they've always given it rave reviews. Anytime I've seen any pictures of the town, I've thought it pretty and unspoilt. But close-up, it didn't seem particularly pretty to me. I thought it was tired and a little run-down - like it had that end of season feeling, but this was early June!
There were far too many ex-pats for me. It didn't feel very authentically Spanish - more like a blue-rinse colony.
In its favour, it's not brash, there are plenty of excellent beaches, the setting and the scenery is pretty good, and it felt fairly safe and friendly. It's probably a good place for families and those who like a less lively resort. And those who can't bear to leave dear old Blighty back home.
We had a good time there all the same. All we wanted was somewhere to spend our last three days where the most strenuous exercise we took was collecting pebbles on the beach. Somewhere where we had a reasonable choice of bars and restaurants. And somewhere that we could plan our next trip. Job done!
Since my father purchased a small appartment in Nerja, I have been there at least three times a year for the past four years. However, it has undergone radical changes just in these recent years. Originally, the small town was far from the commercial package holidays which are usually associated with the Costa Del Sol. It provided the beautiful quiet and scenic holiday needed to escape, and feel like your on a true holiday. With the back drop of the mountains, the beaches so close by, and the superb choice of quality places to eat it's idealic. However, through the very recent years, Nerja jas been featured on television holiday programmes, and is more increasingly seen in holiday brochures. This impacted a lot on Nerja, with many hotels, beginning to spoil the view of the beach, being erected, and clear tourist impacts have hit the town. Now, even a golf course is to be constructed on the periphery of the town. Despite this, the goregeous location has been ressilient to some extent to the changes, and the shops remain to be run by locals, and you can still get the freshly prepared food along the beach bars. However, I feel that from the result of tourist, nights in restaurants, such as flamenco nights, have been tarnished with the tacky tourist attraction feel to them. Besides this, just short drives away are the caves, which offering fantastic sites, and even hold concerts in them! Up in the mountains are very unaffected towns, such as Frigilliani, where you get a sense of the true Spain. Traditions still run strong here, such as on the longest day of the year, there is a huge festival on the beach, with fireworks, and is the only day barbequeing is permitted on Burriana beach. Some english places are creeping in like pubs, and one club, but are not too influencial yet. but with progression such as it is now, Nerja may face the fear of it become a tourist hotspot. but meanwhile, Nerja doesn't fail to lose it's charm, and hope itkeeps it for
many years to come, and not become the run of the mill Spanish holiday. One final pointless point! Many english pronounce Nerja ner-ha, however you will notice the locals call it ner-ka! The spanish laguage has diallects just as the british do, so j's are not always pronouced as h's in Spain!
Nerja whilst being pretty and quaint is also about as authentically Spanish as Bognor Regis. Everything has been touristified to the extent that half the shopowners speak English as a first language and there are some cafe's on the beach with names like "The Best Roast on the Coast". That'll be paella and chips love and a pint of courage best Ta. We have just returned from a week there (mid november) and were shocked by how the average age of the holiday makers was over 60 and everyone called you "sonny". Obviously we have picked the wrong time to visit the Costa del Sol and chosen a time when Saga have reserved most of Andalucia. That aside the weather was beautiful, the food was good and cheap and some amusements were found from various menu translations including "Hen with tattas" (chicken and chips) and "Arm of lamb" perhaps they have been feeding their sheep spinach or something? If you do go a great Spanish restaurant is Miguells on the corner of the Eastern road heading down to the Balcon Europe - but you will need to pop in during the day to make a reservation. Nerja is also a fairly good point to explore the region if you hire a car. Close by are the Alpajura mountain villages including some such as Frigiliana which is worth a visit on a sunny day. Also are many others nestling deep into and up the mountains but take a jumper as temperatures are about 10 degrees colder than on the coast. Also within 2 hours drive are Granada (go and see the Alhambra palace) and Almeria (but take care when walking around the gypsie quarter). Would we go to Nerja again - probably not although we are glad we have been, but we will certainly be going back to Andalucia.
Beautiful town on the coast with a wonderful drive through the mountains if coming from Malaga side. Very charming and picturesque. Quite hilly in places, but a nice flat busy square with plenty of cafes and restaurants and excellent views. Some really nice hotels but do beware if you go one of of these unamed holidays- we were put in a hotel up a hill which would not do for elderly or disabled. Nearly fell off the hill when looking for a bar as our small Spanish hotel shut up shop very early! Lively in the town though- but it was a good 20minute walk. Nice beaches, nice caves, nice shops and ideal place if you are not bothered about travelling any further than that. However if you want to see a bit more of Spain ie Gibraltar, Marbella etc- you are a long way out!
We stayed in Nerja during the October half term - this was a great time to go as the weather was still gorgeous (though not hugely warm at night) but the place wasn't too crowded. We hired a 3-bedroomed villa through Magic of Spain, and it was perfect. Clean, airy, light, with a lovely swimming pool, balcony and patio. The kitchen was well equipped and the villa was secure, with locking gates I guess this is as much a recommendation for Magic of Spain than it is for the town itself! Our villa was a five minute car drive from Nerja itself. The town was lovely, with a big market selling all sorts from local souvenirs to food and through 'designer' watches, clothes and leather jackets (fell off the back of a lorry type thing!). The streets were lively until well into the evening, and the restaurants and cafes spilling out onto the pavements were great (and fairly cheap) places to dine. The beaches around the area were beautiful as well, ideal for sunbathing and swimming - many are relatively shallow and so ideal for children. There are places to eat on the popular beaches - the freshly cooked seafood paella is invariably excellent. To get to Nerja you need to fly to Malaga, and a hire car is necessary if you want to see the beautiful sights along the coast or further inland (nerves of steel are also highly recommended when negotiating the winding mountain roads!). It is a great place for a family holiday and I would recommend it to anyone!
We were looking for authentic Spain and we found it. Nerja is a beautiful town, much bigger than we expected but it retains all of it's original charm and character. We stayed on the "Burriana" side of town, which we thought was the prettier side, having the mountains as a back-drop. The main beach is Burriana which is accessed via a fairly steep hill from the main residential areas. I'd recommend staying on this side of town, but make sure that your accommodation is on the sea side of the N340 dual carriageway, otherwise you're in for a lengthy walk home. The beach itself is shingle but very clean, gently shelving into the sea. There are loads of restaurants on the beach, the best being "Ayo's" which is at the far end of the beach. Ayo is the chap that discovered the caves as a boy, and now wears plastic bags on his shins when he's cooking his huge lunchtime paella, get there around 12.30, just as he's dishing up. Don't expect the best service in the world, but the paella is second to none! In town there are a myriad of restaurants, and some wonderful ice-cream parlours. The Balcon is worth a trip, looking out over the bay and great for pictures. I wouldn't stay in the Capistrano village because it's a long walk from the main town and the Perla Marina looks a little shabby, but we spoke to some people who were staying there who said it was "fine". We booked our villa though www.Inter-sol.com who gave top-drawer service.
Nerja, I would say is the most attractive town on the Costa del Sol. Having been there three times I never tire of the place with its original charm and character. It still feels very Spanish unlike many of its neighbours.
There are some excellent beaches, the best being Burriana where everyday a giant paella is cooked by the man who as a boy together with his friends discovered the caves of Nerja and now owns a beachside taverna.
The focal point is the "Balcon de Europa", a promenade with breathtaking views. At night the Balcon is lit up and an evening stroll here is a joy. You can watch the street artists paint serious portraits or caricatures or enjoy a jug of sangria whilst watching the world go by.
For those wanting to travel further afield the upmarket Port Banus,Gibralter and the fabulous Alhambre Palace are all within easy reach.
Nerja is on the south coast of Spain, the Costa del sol, about a 1 hour drive east of Malaga. It is a special place because it is unlike any other on the Costa del sol. Nerja has been voted the prettiest village on Costa del sol more than once. Nerja has a building restriction that means none of its buildings may be more than four stories high. This makes a huge difference as there are no large, tower-block hotels in sight. Nerja is truly multi-cultural because so many people retire out there (not just English; American, Norwegian, Dutch, French, Canadian etc). Nerja has a massive English community with its own newspaper, theatre group, shops and businesses. I know this might sound a bit colonial, but you would have to see it working to appreciate it. There is no industry in Nerja except tourism. The locals tend to want to keep the ex-pats and the tourists happy so everybody is very friendly and helpful. It is a beautiful little town with lots to do if you are on holiday, and even more to do if you are spending more time there. It is a place that I would love to retire to (although I suspect it may have changed slightly in 35 years time!). For a holiday it's lovely - don't expect night clubs or hotels with swimming pools, because they're aren't any. There are several large, clean beaches. There is loads of accommodation, mostly in the style of private villas and apartments. Check it out if you fancy a quiet holiday in guaranteed sunshine from March to October. The weather of the winter is great too, people do swim in the sea on Christmas day (although I wouldn't recommend it) and I have swum in the local outdoor pool in February. UPDATE 4/12/00 - I have just come back from my 5th trip to Nerja. This time, we were only there for the weekend. It's just as great as ever and the weather was brilliant. I learnt an interesting fact this time - there are 1800 ca
fes, bars and restaurants in Nerja, this means that there is no excuse for going to the same one twice. This time we tried 4 new restaurants and all were brilliant. We also tried a new Cyber Cafe because I wanted to set my Dad up on e-mail. There are 4 Cyber Cafes in Nerja, it shows what a truly "happening" place it is!