With over 300 days of sunshine a year the town of Nerja is a popular year round holiday destination. The resort has some fine beaches and has retained a certain fishing village character which the big resorts on the main part of the Costa del Sol have failed to do. Nightlife in the resort tends to be laid back rather than raucous and will particularly appeal to families and mature couples rather than youngsters.
There’s plenty to do in Nerja though most days are spent lounging around on one of its beaches. Evenings often begin around the Balcon de Europa before visitors wander off to one of Nerja’s fine restaurants. If you need a break from the beach then a half day visit to the nearby Nerja Caves is highly recommended as is a trip up the mountain to the beautiful village of Frigiliana. A short stroll out of town to the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary is a must for the kids. For a longer day out you can take a trip to the Alhambra Palace.
Nerja’s Beaches: For many sun starved north Europeans, the highlight of a holiday in Nerja is the fabulous weather and lovely beaches. Take a look at the Nerja Beaches page for more information.
Balcón de Europa: Although the Balcon de Europa in the heart of Nerja appears to be a modern structure it actually has quite a history. Records show that in the 9th century it was home to a Moorish castle then a fortress was built there in 1487 which was destroyed by the French in the 18th century.
In 1884 King Alfonso XII visited Nerja after the area had been devastated by an earthquake. He was responsible for naming it the Balcon de Europa. Today you can get your photo taken on the Balcon next to a statue of King Alfonso XII and the two iron cannons which provide a significant reminder of the Balcon de Europa’s strategic past.
The Balcón is always buzzing with activity as visitors wander to the farthest end to get panoramic views along the rocky coastline to the east beyond Maro. A fine time to visit and to get outstanding photos is in the early evening when the shadows on the Sierra de Almijara mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this pleasant resort. As the night goes on numerous street entertainers turn up on the Balcon including mime artists, singers and spray painters. The horse and carts are always waiting to take you on a short tour of Nerja from here.
Many visitors choose to stay right on the Balcon de Europa in the four star Balcon de Europa Hotel. Some rooms look directly over the Balcon whilst others face out to sea. A cheaper option is the Hostal Marissal which adjoins the Balcon de Europa hotel offering modern rooms at a fraction of the price of its neighbour.
Nerja Donkey Sanctuary: The Nerja Donkey Sanctuary lies just on the western edge of town near the Supersol supermarket. Just head out of town from the supermarket and take a left where the road bends right near the Bridge Bar. Continue along this lane beyond the brick yard and the sanctuary is on the left. It is manned by a handful of British volunteers who take in badly treated and abandoned animals including donkeys, horses, dogs, goats, sheep and a pig called Henrietta!
Once the animals have been nursed back to health the sanctuary looks for new homes for them. Over the last few years they have rehoused hundreds of abandoned dogs, however, they don’t have the space to cope with the numbers being left tied to their gate and are hoping to find more land for the sheer number of abandoned and maltreated animals coming into their care.
There’s no charge but when you see the fantastic work the people are doing here you’ll want to sponsor one of their donkeys. The kids will love it. Just bring along such things as carrots, apples, lettuce and bread to feed them. All sponsorship goes to covering food and medical bills at the sanctuary and three sponsorships a week are required to merely keep the place running.
The sanctuary is a registered charity which is open from 10am to 4pm daily and until 1pm at weekends. For the latest news on new arrivals and what’s going on take a look at the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary website where you can adopt any of the animals.
Nerja Caves: One of the most visited tourist attractions in the area are the amazing Caves of Nerja which are only 4km from the centre of the resort. There are regular buses running along to them or you can walk if you’re feeling fit. Take a look at our Nerja Caves page for details on where they are located and their opening hours.
Short Excursions from Nerja: If you fancy getting away from the resort for a few hours you should head up the mountain to the lovely white village of Frigiliana. For a full day excursion pay a visit to the stunning Alhambra Palace in Granada which is only 1½ hours away.