Nerja: Spanish Charm Perched on a Balcony Overlooking the Sea

Nerja: Spanish Charm Perched on a Balcony Overlooking the Sea by Panoramic Villas

When holidaying on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, it is well worth visiting the lovely town of Nerja. Located approximately a 40 minute drive east from Málaga city, this coastal gem has loads of charm, beautiful scenic views and rock-enclosed beaches.

Within easy reach on the excellent coastal highway, Nerja is a great holiday destination in itself, or even an interesting day trip from your holiday villa anywhere on the Costa del Sol. Dubbed “The Jewel of the Costa del Sol,” Nerja is a typical Andalucian white village, with its narrow winding streets and traditional white houses. Around the town there are several gardens and plaza to relax in the shade and catch your breath.

Balcón de Europa

Balcón de Europa was previously a fortress to keep out privateers and privates - Public Domain by PerryPlanet

Balcón de Europa was previously a fortress to keep out privateers and privates – Public Domain by PerryPlanet

View from Balcón de Europa, photograph CC by SA Oscarthecat

View from Balcón de Europa, photograph CC by CC by SA Oscarthecat

One must-visit sight in the town is the “Balcón de Europa” (balcony of Europe), with its stunning views across the ocean and the surrounding countryside. Right on this spot are many restaurants, bars and shops and even a hotel or two offering those astounding views from your room.

Balcón de Europa, experience the views in style by horse and carriage - photograph CC by SA Technische Fred

Balcón de Europa, experience the views in style by horse and carriage – photograph CC by SA Technische Fred

As a little touch of history, it’s interesting to note that the Balcón de Europa was formerly a fortress, which was built to keep out British privateers and pirates. These days, of course, Nerja very happily welcomes both British and other foreign tourists to the town!

Those lovely beaches

Playa de Burriana, photograph CC by SA Tobias Steinhoff

Playa de Burriana, photograph CC by CC by SA Tobias Steinhoff

Nestled along the coastline of Nerja are several small beaches, hidden in rocky coves. In summer, the beaches closest to town can be rather crowded, but just a short drive down the coast you will easily find a more private and secluded spot to work on that tan.

Playa de Calahonda, photograph CC by SA Dguendel

Playa de Calahonda, photograph CC by SA Dguendel

Water sports abound in Nerja with all the more popular activities available including scuba diving and boating. Besides the beaches, there are many attractions on offer in the town including the weekly market, where you can pick up some excellent bargains and a souvenir or two to take home.

The Nerja Caves

The impressive Nerja Caves, photograph CC by SA Luisgar

The impressive Nerja Caves, photograph CC by SA Luisgar

Possibly one of the major attractions in the town is the famous Nerja Caves. These fascinating caves contain wall paintings which are believed to date back around 20,000 years or more.

The caves were only re-discovered in modern times back in January 1959, when five friends, hiking in the countryside, accidentally entered through a narrow sinkhole known as “La Mina”. This is one of two natural entrances into the caves themselves. However, to make life easier for tourists to visit, a third entry was made in 1960.

The caves are divided into two parts, dubbed Nerja I and Nerja II. Part of Nerja I is the Show Galleries, which are available to the visiting public. Accessible by a flight of stairs and pathways, tourists can visit this cavern comfortably.

Nerja II, which is closed to the public, houses the Upper Gallery which was discovered in 1960 and the New Gallery, found back in 1969. Scientists found skeletal remains in the caves that indicate that they were inhabited all the way through from 25,000 BC to the Bronze Age. One of these skeletons can be viewed at the entrance to the caves. On top of this, cave paintings were discovered on the walls of the caves which date from the Paleolithic and post-Paleolithic eras.

In conclusion, for sheer beauty, quite a bit of history and so much to see and do, Nerja is a definite must on your Costa del Sol tour.

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