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Discover Nerja: A Coastal Gem in Málaga

Explore the picturesque coastal town of Nerja with Marbesol's Málaga Guide. ⭐ Uncover the best of Nerja and make the most of your trip. ✅ Visit Marbesol for the perfect car rental in Málaga! ✅

Nerja, the easternmost municipality in Málaga province, is situated on the Mediterranean coast about 52 km from the capital. It is bordered to the north and west by the towns of Cómpeta and Frigiliana, and to the east by Almuñécar in Granada province. The town is home to approximately 22,000 residents, with around 30% being foreign nationals.

what to do in nerja

The Rich History of Nerja

Evidence from the Cueva de Nerja suggests that the area's first settlers arrived during the Paleolithic period, followed by inhabitants in the Bronze Age. Significant Cro-Magnon human remains have been discovered, but no further traces have been found until the Roman era. Roman-era discoveries include the remains of a smelter, a ruined aqueduct, vases, and coins, all found in Nerja.

With the arrival of the Muslims in 711, the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula began. A new town, named "Naricha" or "Narija" (meaning "abundant spring"), was established in northern Málaga. The remains of the town's fortress can still be seen today. After Málaga was conquered by the Christians in 1487, Nerja was inhabited by Arabs and Jews until their expulsion, which left the town largely deserted in the early 16th century.

As Nerja faced constant attacks by pirates and Arab invasions, people from other parts of the peninsula arrived to repopulate and defend the coast. Guard towers were built and armed with guns, such as the Tower of the Guards, now known as the Balcony of Europe. In 1515, Nerja gained its home rule charter, no longer depending on Vélez. The town began to grow, with war and agriculture as its main industries. The development and prosperity of the town began after the Christians' victory over the Moorish rebellion of the Alpujarras in 1567.

By 1655, Nerja had established its first streets: Carmen, Tajillo, and Sea Gate. The first phase of the Church of the Saviour was completed years later. In terms of agriculture, the first sugar factory in Spain was built in the late 17th century, thanks to sweet-cane cultivation. Until the early 19th century, Nerja experienced growth, the development of new industries, improved farming systems, mining, and road construction connecting it to Málaga and Almería.

Two significant events led to a population decline and a new period of stagnation. The first was the War of Independence against Napoleon's armies, resulting in the destruction of iconic buildings such as the Castle of Nerja and La Torrecilla. The second was the 1884 earthquake, which caused extensive damage and led to drought, crop-destroying pests, cholera, typhus, and ultimately, migration to South America. It wasn't until the 1950s that signs of progress began to appear, symbolised by the discovery of the Cueva de Nerja. This discovery was followed by the development of the tourism industry, which brought prosperity and growth to Nerja.


Experience the Best of Nerja Today

With its rich history and stunning coastal location, Nerja has much to offer visitors. Stroll along the Balcony of Europe, take in the breath-taking views, and explore the winding streets of this picturesque town. Dive into the local culture, indulge in delicious regional cuisine, and visit the renowned Cueva de Nerja to uncover its fascinating past.

Make the most of your Nerja adventure by renting a car from Marbesol, providing you with the freedom to explore Nerja and the surrounding areas of Málaga at your own pace. Don't miss out on experiencing all that this enchanting coastal gem has to offer.

Places to Visit in Nerja

Nerja's Cave

Nerja's Cave, located approximately 5 km from the city centre, is an extraordinary natural wonder with almost 5 km of underground galleries. Visitors can explore up to 700 meters of the cave, which is filled with impressive stalactites, stalagmites, cave paintings, and archaeological sites. The cave is considered a Historic-Artistic Monument and is renowned for its International Festival of Music and Dance held every July.

The Balcony of Europe

Once an Arab fortress, the Balcony of Europe is a stunning viewpoint offering panoramic coastal views. King Alfonso XII visited the site in 1885 and was so impressed that he suggested changing its name to the Balcony of Europe. Don't miss this must-visit attraction during your stay in Nerja.

Church of the Saviour

Originally built in 1697, the Church of the Saviour features three naves, a central dome with wooden braces in Mudejar style, and a square tower. The interior houses remarkable 17th-century paintings, the mural of the Annunciation by Francisco Hernandez, and the Christ of Bronze by Aurelio Teno.

Chapel of Sorrows

This small 17th-century Baroque temple houses the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, Nerja's patron saint. The chapel's interior is adorned with frescoes from the Granada school.

chapel of sorrows

Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas Church

Located in Maro and overlooking the sea, this 17th-century church features a single nave and a simple façade. The church's interior boasts a large ceramic altar with the image of the Virgin and a striking narrow, pointed main gate.

Church of San Miguel

Constructed in the 17th century, this small Moorish Baroque church is known for its main altar with images of the apostles. The church is situated in a square in the Old Town.

Aguila Aqueduct

The Aguila Aqueduct, built in the 19th century, was once used to transport water to the mills of the sugar factory. Today, the well-preserved aqueduct still serves local irrigation needs. Its impressive four-tiered structure features 38 brick arches, Mudejar-style horseshoe arches, and inscriptions that read "Pure and Clean Conception".

Maro Cliffs

Stretching 12 km along the coast from Nerja to Granada province, the Maro Cliffs are a breathtaking natural wonder. The cliffs and coves create a stunning landscape, rich in flora and fauna.

maro cliffs

Nerja Beaches

Nerja boasts over a dozen diverse beaches, ranging from bustling urban areas to more secluded spots in the natural park. The coast is also popular for diving enthusiasts, offering a variety of underwater attractions.

Playa Burriana

With approximately 800 meters of dark sand, Playa Burriana is a family-friendly beach that features a promenade and a wide array of amenities.

Playa La Torrecilla

This popular 300-meter-long beach is known for its dark sand, promenade, and ample services.

Playa Calahonda

Located beneath the Balcony of Europe, Playa Calahonda is a 140-meter-long beach with dark sand and a picturesque promenade.

El Playazo

El Playazo is a somewhat secluded beach with dark sand, stretching about 1,700 meters. It offers a few services and has a moderate occupancy rate.

El Salon

A small, urban creek with dark sand, El Salon is approximately 200 meters long and is only accessible on foot. It offers a range of services and is quite popular among visitors.

El Chucho

Situated between Playazo and Torrecilla, El Chucho is a 200-meter-long beach with dark sand and moderate waves. It typically has a high occupancy rate.

El Carabeo

El Carabeo is a 120-meter-long beach with dark sand and few facilities. Despite this, its occupancy rate remains high.

La Caleta

La Caleta is a picturesque 400-meter-long beach surrounded by a natural environment. The beach's dark sand and slightly isolated location make it particularly beautiful.

Nerja also features small creeks such as La Caletilla, El Chorrillo, and Carabeillo within its urban environment. The natural park is home to less frequented coves and beaches, including Cañuelo Creek, Pine Creek, and Las Alberquillas, a popular nudist beach.

Festivals in Nerja

International Festival Cueva de Nerja

Held in the concert hall of Nerja's Cave since 1960, the International Festival Cueva de Nerja attracts some of the world's most prominent lyrical and ballet artists. This major event on the Costa del Sol takes place in July and August.

Fiestas de San Anton

Celebrated on January 16th and 17th in honor of Maro's patron saint, San Anton, the Fiestas de San Anton are a traditional festival that has been observed since the 17th century.

Cruces de Mayo

Established in 1878, Cruces de Mayo is a deeply rooted celebration in Nerja, Maro, and Frigiliana. Held on May 3rd, the event features flower-decorated altars and tastings of local specialties such as medlar, cod cakes, sweet potatoes, and the famous "arropía," a dessert made from heated and kneaded honey cane. The vibrant festivities showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Feria de Nerja

Taking place from October 8th to 12th, the Feria de Nerja honors the local patron saints, the Virgin of Sorrows and St. Michael the Archangel. The festivities include a variety of activities, such as the procession of the Virgin to the Church of the Savior, a Flamenco Festival, parades, beauty contests, and a diverse range of cultural and sporting events. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the lively atmosphere and engaging activities during this annual celebration.

With its enchanting beaches, historical landmarks, and vibrant festivals, Nerja offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors. Whether you prefer to explore its natural beauty, delve into its rich history, or participate in lively cultural events, Nerja is a destination that caters to a wide variety of interests and preferences.

Other celebrations in Nerja include:

nerja fair

Restaurants in Nerja

Nerja boasts a varied and attractive cuisine, with typical products including fish such as anchovies, squid, red mullet, cuttlefish, sole, and others, as well as tropical fruits like mango, cherimoya, and avocado. These ingredients are used in dishes such as fish with peppers and clams, avocado salads, cod omelettes with honey sugar, fried squash, white garlic with grapes, and marinated anchovies.

More than €40

More than €25

Tapas Bars in Nerja

restaurants in nerja

Best Hotels in Nerja

4* Hotels in Nerja

3* Hotels in Nerja

hotels in nerja

Nerja Shopping

Nerja's magnificent collection of beaches, historical monuments, festivals, cultural events, and archaeological sites draw visitors in droves year after year. For this reason, many entrepreneurial individuals have decided to set up shop here.

Today, Nerja is packed with numerous commercial establishments, both big and small. Even narrow streets like the parallel alleys of Calle de la Pintada and Calle del Almirante Ferrandiz are dotted with tiny shops selling clothes, wine, trinkets, and posters. What you'll find below are some of the most frequented shops in town.

For consumer goods such as beverages, fruits, vegetables, bakery products, canned goods, cleaning products, personal hygiene items, cosmetics, and grocery items, there are supermarkets like:

Coviran, along Calle de los Huertos (phone: 952 524087); Mercadona, along Calle de San Miguel (phone: 952 526-494); and Supermercado Mas, along Calle Antonio Ferrandis (Chanquete) (phone: 952 966097). Supermarkets are called Supermercados or Hypermercados.

Market days are held during Sundays and Tuesdays. The Tuesday market is where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables as well as new clothes. The Sunday market, on the other hand, is more of a car boot sale. You'll find the Sunday market mostly at Almijara II and the Tuesday market along Calle Antonio Milon.

Bookworms can find cheap used books at the Nerja Book Centre, along Calle Granada. You can contact them at 952520908.

If all this does not satisfy your tastes, head out west on a 30-minute drive to the busy intersection connecting Torre del Mar and Velez-Malaga. There you'll find a large shopping centre called El Ingenio. This expansive commercial establishment has its own shops, restaurants, banks, entertainment centre, and cinemas. El Ingenio can be reached via the Autovia del Mediterraneo or A-7.

nerja shopping

Nerja Weather

The subtropical climate, the topography of Nerja and its location in a small bay on the Mediterranean coast, makes it considered one of the best climates in Europe. The average temperatures are pleasant throughout the year, with an annual average of 19.5 ºC and 300 days of sunshine a year. The months of November and January are usually the wettest and June, July and August the driest.

Useful Telephone Numbers in Nerja

Discover More of Nerja

As you explore Nerja, you will encounter many noteworthy landmarks that are worth visiting. One of the most popular destinations is the Balcón de Europa, a promenade with stunning views of the Mediterranean coastline. Another must-visit site is the Cueva de Nerja, a fascinating cave system with prehistoric paintings and spectacular rock formations.

Nerja is also rich in historical and artistic heritage, boasting a variety of churches, museums, and monuments that showcase the town's history and culture. Furthermore, the nearby town of Torre del Mar offers an excellent opportunity for a day trip, where you can explore its beautiful beaches and charming old town.

Within the municipal boundaries of Nerja, you can discover a wide range of activities, attractions, and natural beauty. To truly experience everything Nerja and its surroundings have to offer, consider renting a vehicle from Marbesol to explore the region at your own pace. With a comfortable and reliable car rental, you can easily visit nearby towns, natural parks, and other hidden gems in the area.

Don't miss out on the wonders of Nerja and its surroundings. Plan your trip now and enjoy an unforgettable experience on the Costa del Sol!

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