Lesser known, and all the better for it, Nerja is a thriving resort that perches unassumingly along the Costa del Sol. Once a sleepy fishing village, Nerja has modernised without losing touch with its original character. Think a great beach, pretty promenade, and several structural surprises, and you’ve a clear picture of Nerja. Summed up in one word? Charming.
Narja sits just 50 kilometres from Malaga, which means getting to Nerja from the airport is quick and easy. Drive past the heady cities and feel smug as you enter Nerja: sheltered by the Sierra de Almijara Mountains, and fringed by the shockingly clear sea. Sandy coves are perfect for lounging in, providing the ideal excuse for days of relaxation.
Yet despite its modern facelift, Nerja radiates much of its traditional past, and has retained an old world charm that simply means narrow winding streets filled with tiny cafés and bistros. Whitewashed houses also retain the Spanish appeal that is sure-fire to get you in the holiday vibe. Compared to other resorts on the Costa del Sol, Nerja has avoided new high-rise construction, allowing it to inconspicuously hold its own among the rest.
From Roman architecture to trips to the Nerja caves, you are sure to find your holiday in Nerja to be one of sand, sea and exploration. Nerja may be a quiet resort, but don’t think for one moment that means you’ll be bored.
Nerja Old Town
Nerja's old town is kind of obligatory for those in search of a lazy afternoon. With its winding streets and whitewashed houses adorned with wrought iron terraces and geraniums, the old town is lovely. Walk yourself to one of the city’s high points and look out over the square white houses clustered together, and we guarantee you’ll be eyeing up the estate agent windows on your way down.
Now that you have a picture of Nerja’s old town sleepiness, let us introduce you to Competa. Located just a little inland, Competa is even more scenic, and was practically made for couples looking to woo each other all over again. Competa sits 700 metres above sea level, which means generous views of the Tejeda and Almijara Mountains to one side, and the Mediterranean to the other. If you’re looking for a peaceful corner of the Costa del Sol all to yourselves, let us point you in the direction of Competa.
If you just can’t get enough of those so oft-quoted ‘white sugar cube’ houses, you should make a beeline for Frigiliana. A maze of whitewashed houses, Frigiliana is just seven kilometres from Nerja and is well worth a visit. The best way to explore Frigiliana is to set off on foot. The streets are fairly steep, with plenty of elongated steps that’ll let your thighs know they’re alive. But don’t worry, there are plenty of nooks and crannies that lead to bars and cafés along the way!
Nerja Playa Burriana
Sand warriers to attention: Burriana is the most popular beach in the area. Located on the eastern side of Nerja, Burriana is a huge stretch of sand, so don’t be put off by its popularity – there’s plenty of room to go around. A recipient of the famed blue flag award, you’ll find both locals and tourists heading to Burriana to soak up the sun and surf. Toplessness is optional!
Now these you really must see. The historical Nerja Caves are a labyrinth of large caverns that stretch for almost five kilometres. Take a trip to the caves for plenty of interesting sites, from the world's largest stalagmite, to skeletons and ancient lore aplenty. The caves even have their very own app, filled with titbits. Plus, the caverns play host to a music and flamenco dance festival in July.
Sierra de Tejeda, Alhama and Almijara Natural Park
If you’re a fan of a steep hike, keeping your eyes peeled for eagles and kestrels, and eating lunch with your feet dangling in a stream, then get yourself a map for this natural park. Encompassing rocky inclines and waterfalls, mossy swathes with silver trees, the Sierra da Tejeda, Alhama and Almijara Natural Park is honestly beautiful.
Balcon de Europa
Originally designed to bar scallywag pirates, the Balcon de Europa is now the centrepiece of Nerja’s coastline. The stone balcony projects out to sea, and provides visitors with panoramic views via floor to ceiling glass. The Balcon de Europa puts on a number of concerts and street parties throughout the year that are well worth catching if you’re in time. This is really the heart of the town, and is the perfect place to go to while away an hour or so in Nerja.
Costa del Sol cuisine
Combining sweet sun-ripened vegetables and fresh as can be seafood, the Costa del Sol's cuisine is all about using the area's natural resources. Gazpacho is the perfect accompaniment to a hot Costa del Sol day. This chilled tomato soup might be refreshing, but don’t overlook it’s subtle use of spice and fresh herbs. Fish dominates the menus at the local restaurants, but if you are looking for something different, pork is another favourite in Nerja, as is the oh-so-traditional paella. Or, try Pescaito Frito in any of the good Nerja restaurants. Simply, fried fish, you’ll be served whatever the catch of the day is – usually fresh anchovies or sardines. Delicious.
No matter how much you love to cook, when on holiday, treat yourself to a meal out so you can enjoy the Costa del Sol cuisine. You’ll love the abundant tapas restaurants in Nerja. Pull up a table, get yourselves a beer or a light wine, and order plate after plate of tapas. Some bars in Nerja will even offer free tapas with every drink – aka. Heaven.
Nerja holidays are ideal for families and couples. With plenty of brilliant things to do, from snorkelling to safari tours, you will never be bored. easyJet holidays has fantastic deals to Nerja that we’re certain will more than live up to your expectations. Make extra savings with us when you book your flight and hotel together, so you can escape to the sun for even less.
Nerja not quite sealing the deal? We don’t quite believe it, but nonetheless, have a read of our other Costa del Sol destination guides for further inspiration and temptation!