So you want to experience Spain’s Costa del Sol but are put off by its reputation of having high-rise beachfront apartment buildings and beaches where there is hardly any room to move.
Well, don’t despair, because at the eastern end of the Costa del Sol is a little gem of a place called Nerja. Having managed to escape the building craze of the 60s and 70s, Nerja was chosen as the location for a hugely popular Spanish television programme called Verano Azul (Blue Summer).
Most activities in Nerja are centred on its magnificent Balcón de Europa, a Mirador with spectacular views across the Mediterranean Sea. The Balcón de Europa is also the place where everyone meets before a night on the town.
The beach in Nerja is called Playa Burriana and has every facility you would expect to find on a “Blue Flag” Spanish beach.
Go a little out of town towards the village of Maro and you will come across the Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs Nature Reserve.
As a protected area, fishing is banned, making it ideal for snorkelling or exploring by kayak.
Other attractions in Nerja, are the Nerja Caves, a 5-kilometre-long network of underground caverns that contain the world’s largest stalagmite. The history of how the caves were discovered and what has been found in them will amaze you.
Not far from Nerja heading inland is the beautiful white-washed village of Frigiliana. Full of brightly coloured hanging baskets and drop-dead views around every corner, Frigiliana is a village not to be missed.
Frigiliana is so perfect Coca Cola used it as the backdrop for their latest television commercial.
If you are looking for things to do that won’t cost a penny, consider hiking the Rio Chillar. Starting its journey to the coast high-up in the Sierra de Almijara Mountains, the river has cut a path to the sea, creating narrow canyons with natural pools where you can cool off from the summer heat.
As for things to do in the evening, Nerja has restaurants and bars to suit all tastes, with everything from freshly caught local seafood to hot spicy curries.
The music scene is pretty good too! With bands from all over Europe playing at the Cultural Centre and several bars situated around the Balcón de Europa.
Nerja is a good choice for people who appreciate pretty beaches, yet want to explore its fascinating surrounding areas. Nerja is just a 55 minute journey in a taxi from Malaga airport and is in the perfect location. It is an ideal base to reach some of Spain’s most popular places too. Both Granada and Malaga are easy day trips from Nerja. In Granada, you have the amazing Alhambra Palace and the Moorish barrio of Albaicín, a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets and alleyways that make you think you are in a different era.
If you visit Nerja in the spring, you can ski in the Sierra Nevada in the morning and be back to Nerja in time for lunch at the famous Ayos for paella.
Staying overnight in Granada gives you the chance to visit the Gypsy barrio of Sacromonte. Home to intriguing houses built in caves, this area is where you can experience flamenco in its purest form.
Malaga has its share of attractions too, with its Gibralfaro Castle, Alcazaba Fortress and a Roman Coliseum all laid out next to each other for you to enjoy. In recent years the waterfront in Malaga has been redeveloped into a shopping and dining centre that you will just love.
Not to be missed is Malaga’s Renaissance Cathedral and its impressive Archaeology Museum, where you can learn about all the civilizations that called Malaga home.
Although the residents here appreciate Nerja tourism, to the older locals, Nerja is still their quaint little fishing town where they grew up. To visitors it’s one of the prettiest seaside towns In the Malaga province. Why not come and discover another side to the Costa del Sol and fall in love with Spain all over again.