If you’ve booked a holiday to Nerja, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a lot of your time on the beach – and rightly so, it’s what this region is so famous for, after all! But if you can bear to drag yourself away from the sun lounger for a few hours to explore a few of the historical sites around Nerja, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth of information you can discover.
The Nerja Caves
Probably the most famous of all Nerja’s attractions, the Cueva de Nerja was only ‘discovered’ in 1959. The massive network of limestone caves (believed to stretch underground between Nerja and Granada) contains examples of rock art dating back to prehistoric times. You can visit and explore the caves with a guided tour, although many of them are protected and you’re prohibited entry – unfortunately this includes the ones with the rock paintings. If you visit around the end of July, every year there is a famous music festival held inside the caves.
Iglesias El Salvador
There are a few very pretty churches in Nerja, but the Iglesias El Salvador in the Plaza de la Cavana is, arguably, the most attractive. Although this isn’t the original building, there has been a church on this site since 1505. This incarnation was completed around 1697 (it’s one of the oldest surviving buildings in Nerja) and is built with a mixture of architectural features, but the predominant influence is the Moorish Mudejar style. Inside, the church is divided into three naves and at the entrance are two life-sized statues of the Virgin Mary and Christ. A quirky aspect of these statues is that they are dressed in real clothes!
The Balcony of Europe
While making a spectacular lookout point for views over the ocean, the Balcón de Europa holds its own cache of history. Popular legend tells that King Alfonso XII was so captivated by the views from this vantage as he stood here in 1885, he proclaimed: “This is the balcony of Europe.” You’ll be able to see a statue of him gazing, immortalised, out to sea. The fact that the name was actually in existence before that time seems almost irreverent to point out, but no matter who really coined the phrase, it is indeed true. The site was used as a fortified gun battery to keep out pirates and British invaders in the early 1800s, but today its almost regal silhouette, jutting out of the promontory, has become the iconic symbol of Nerja.
How to Get to Nerja
Flying into Malaga Airport is the simplest way to get to your accommodation in Nerja. Servicing both international and domestic flights, Malaga Airport is around 65 kms from Nerja. For those coming from other destinations in Spain, rail connections to Malaga are also quick and convenient. A private or shared Malaga airport transfer will get you to your accommodation in around 45 minutes.
Private Taxi: A private taxi will take you and your company directly to your accommodation.
Shared Shuttle Service: For a budget friendly transport option, a shared shuttle ride can reduce the costs while still delivering you right to your door.
Where to Stay
Hostal Azahara – In a fabulous location with comfortable accommodation and a friendly, family-run atmosphere, the Hostal Azahara has recently undergone renovation. Guest rooms and dormitories feature TVs, fridges, private bathrooms, air-conditioning and heating. Hostal Azahara offers a free breakfast and there is a shared kitchen and free Wi-Fi throughout.
Los Arcos – Just a short distance from beautiful Burriana Beach, Los Arcos makes the ideal base to explore the local area of Nerja. Within 2km of the famous Nerja Caves and 3km from the Balcony of Europe viewing point, all the rooms feature lovely views of the ocean, mountains or pool area. There is an onsite restaurant and bar/café along with a sun terrace. All rooms have balconies, air-conditioning, satellite TV and free DVDs.
Hotel Balcon de Europa – With spectacular views over the ocean and direct access to Caletilla Beach, the Hotel Balcón de Europa is built into the rock face in the centre of Nerja. The spacious, air-conditioned rooms feature private bathrooms, satellite TV and air-conditioning. The onsite restaurant has wonderful sea views and there is an outdoor pool with sun loungers. The Hotel Balcón de Europa is just 3 km from the world famous Nerja Caves.