Nerja lies 55km east of Malaga airport and is the most easterly resort on Spain’s Costa del Sol before this Mediterranean coastline becomes known as the Costa Tropical. Although Nerja is no longer the quaint fishing village from which it developed, neither is it a high rise monstrosity like some of the resorts of the western Costa del Sol. A major part of Nerja’s appeal to tourists is that it has maintained its white village charms and property development has been mainly low rise. Wandering through some of its charming streets and looking out to sea beyond the local fishing boats is a far cry from some of the better known resorts to the west of Malaga. With over 300 days of sunshine a year Nerja attracts year round tourism and is easily accessible in around 40 minutes by road from Malaga airport.
The focal point of Nerja is the Balcon de Europa which is a man-made promontory stretching from the centre of town out into sea which provides a stunning viewing point from where you can see along the coast in both directions and high into the Sierra de Almijara mountains inland. There’s a helpful tourist information office (Puerta del Mar, 2) just east of the Balcon de Europa.
Getting to Nerja
Heading further east you’ll find an area of winding streets with a fine selection of Nerja restaurants and tapas bars as well as some interesting shops. Small hotels are scattered around this part of town including the Nerja Parador which has easy access to Burriana Beach. There are many Nerja apartments available for rent from Burriana beach all the way up to the main road which goes out to the Nerja Caves. Across this road is Capistrano Village which has almost developed into an independent village on the outskirts of town. It offers plenty residential properties for rent and there are regular buses into the centre of Nerja if you don’t fancy the 20 minute walk into town. If you rent a car you can drive into Nerja and park at the cheap and convenient parking which is located right next to the Balcon de Europa (look for the Parking sign pointing left about 100m after passing the Mercadona supermarket off c/San Miguel).
West of the Balcon de Europa is a completely different part of town which leads to some larger hotels down near Playa La Torrecilla. Here you’ll find more British pubs but it’s far from a ‘Little Britain’. On Tuesdays the Nerja market takes place in the streets that make up the far western part of town so be sure not to leave your hire car parked there on Monday night or it will have been towed away the next morning. The market attracts locals and tourists from miles around to its hundreds of varied stalls. If you’re not interested in markets then this could be a good day to take a half day excursion up the mountain to the beautiful village of Frigiliana or simply escape the busy streets at one of Nerja’s beaches.
At Plaza Cavana, just behind the church, there’s a mini-train (or “wally trolley” according to the locals) that takes a regular tour around Nerja. Alternatively, jump on one of the horse and carts which operate from the Balcon de Europa.
Accommodation in Nerja
There is a fine selection of accommodation in Nerja including villas, apartments, hotels and family run hostels. Many visitors book all inclusive packages through the big tour operators but there are more and more independent travellers these days who book their accommodation privately and arrange transfers from Malaga Airport or rent a car there. One of the most popular spots for short term rental in Nerja is Capistrano Village to the east of town which has grown beyond recognition. There are now properties up the hillside at San Juan de Capistrano and more right down near Burriana Beach called Capistrano Villas.