Most teens will happily spend the whole of the family holiday moving as little as possible (for mine it’s: bed, beach, dinner and bed most days). But I have discovered a way to sneak a little sightseeing and family time into the mix that even the most sluggish young adults will enjoy.
The trick is to sell sightseeing, and exploring the area beyond the beach, as an adrenaline-fuelled activity rather than a cultural one, and for this the range of high-octane tours I discovered on offer in Nerja are ideal.
Nerja, a pretty beach resort on the Andalucían Costa del Sol in Spain, is a great place for a holiday with your teens precisely because there’s so much to do. Of course there’s a beach (in fact there are 12 of them), watersports, plenty of shopping and just enough bar and café life to make them feel they’re somewhere that is cool and happening, but there is also some stunning Andalucían countryside to explore.
Step back from the coast and there’s plenty to see in a town which is surrounded by no fewer than two national parks. The stunning hills of the Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama are rugged and remote, while the coastal Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park offers rocky, deserted coastlines and jagged cliffs.
With all this beauty on your doorstep it would be a shame for the kids not to explore it, so here are a few suggestions of ‘alternative’ tours which just might sound exciting enough to lure them off the beach.
I was a little bit nervous about going on a buggy tour through the Axarquía (a stunning, mountainous region behind Nerja), partly because as you need to be over 21 and hold a driving licence to drive the two-seater 500cc buggies, I knew it would be up to me to take on the off road terrain. But the truth is that I loved this experience as much as my daughters.
Following a guide, you drive through a beautiful landscape that you’d never be able to see from a standard car on the road. We drove through rivers, up and down rocky ravines, to the top of hills from which you could see out across the Mediterranean and along completely deserted coastal trails. It really was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done in my life.
Trail Riding and Motocross Adventures
I have to admit, I left this one to the kids. We found a great local company called Redtread who were happy to take a group of older teens out who had no trail bike experience. They gave them a great training session until they all felt confident and then took them out to explore the trails and scenery of the Almijara Mountains.
I get the feeling that our group, being all novices, got quite an easy ride (a lot of the tours this company do are over three to five days and sound quite extreme) but everyone came back smiling and raving about the bikes and the guides.
We didn’t actually have time to do the Jeep tour (the teens, predictably, wanted to get back to the beach and their tans) but I met a few people who had done it and they all said it was fantastic.
The guide in charge of the safari-style Jeeps takes the tour group from the caves of Nerja up into the National Park with views out across the mountains and back towards the coast. There’s a traditional Andalucían lunch included and, when you get back to the drop-off point, a cooling dip in the river before heading back to the resort.
Okay, this isn’t a wheel-based tour but I had to include it because if your teens like horses this really is the most wonderful way to explore the countryside around Nerja. No matter your level of horseriding skill, the guides will take you on a ride to suit you through this breathtaking landscape. Personally I just enjoyed plodding along taking in all the sights and sounds of the environment around me.
How to Get to Nerja
As with many of the resorts on the Costa del Sol, Nerja is very easy to get to with a choice of three local airports: Málaga, Granada and Almeria. Flights to the Costa take around three hours from the UK and are offered by a good range of airlines including Ryanair, easyJet and Monarch.
To get from any of the three local airports (Málaga is closest with a transfer time of around an hour) to your accommodation in Nerja, I would recommend booking a private car or group transfer with Shuttle Direct. You can book online before you set off and then relax knowing a driver will be waiting for you when you touch down.
About Shuttle Direct:
Travelling with the family can be tricky and, let’s face it, a little stressful – take the hassle out of getting to your holiday destination by booking your airport transfer with Shuttle Direct in advance. Shuttle Direct is the leading provider of private and group transfers in Europe and North Africa, and its online booking service provides a quick and simple way to get to your transport issues sorted so you can look forward to your holiday instead of worrying about the details. Book a private car or group transfer online before you set off and a driver will be waiting to meet you when you land to take you on to your destination.