Nerja is a pretty sea side town located on the eastern Costa del Sol approximately 50km from the city of Malaga. Thanks to its location away from the more famous towns of Marbella, Fuengirola and Torremolinos it has avoided much of the commercialisation associated with the area, retaining much of the charm which makes this part of Spain stand out as a tourist destination. Its official population of approximately 22,000 swells significantly though the months of July and August although thanks to its mild year round climate it enjoys a fairly steady and constant tourist trade.
On the national stage Nerja is famous for two things, its beautiful caves found at the feet of the large natural park to the north of the town which is home to the world’s largest stalagmite at 32m high and its involvement in the 80’s TV show ‘Verano Azul’ which made areas of the town famous all over Spain and many of the locals that appeared in the show national celebrities.
On the international stage Nerja is a popular holiday destination, perfect for families, gaining greater exposure year on year. It’s blessed with a number of tourist attractions such as the already mentioned caves, one of Andalucia’s best beaches (Maro Beach), two natural parks perfect for hikers and ramblers and numerous coves accessible by foot from the towns centre.
Prior to the rise of tourism in the area, Nerja was primarily an agricultural and fishing community, something which is still very evident on its outskirts and the neighbouring villages today and means that local produce is always on the menu at the many good quality restaurants found throughout the town.
Over the past twenty years the influx of money has seen Nerja prosper meaning that many of its old buildings have been repaired and renovated providing a pleasant setting for visitors to stroll through, particularly in the old town which makes up around 50% of Nerja connecting Burriana beach, the tourists favourite, to the well-known and often photographed Balcon de Europa where many of the towns big events take place. On New Year’s Eve the Balcon de Europa is jam packed with standing room only providing a great atmosphere in beautiful surroundings although this isn’t the biggest event in the town by any means. In the second week of October Nerja celebrates its patronage festival, in honor of the patron saints “La Virgen de las Angustias” (virgin of anguish) and San Miguel Arcángel (Archangel Saint Michael). This is a four or five day long feria with fairground rides, typical music and dancing from the region and plenty of local wine to fuel the celebrations. This is probably one of the best and most engaging times to make a visit.
Probably the final point worth mentioning about Nerja is its apt location as a base to explore the area. Day trips to Malaga and Granada are a popular option meaning that during sunny days in winter you can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon, or take the opportunity to visit one of the many bodegas in the area and sample the local wines.
If you’re interested in visiting Nerja and would like more information about the town check out explorenerja.com