Nerja best things to see and do
A must in Andalucia
Visit Nerja, the jewel of the Costa del Sol
In this article you will find all the information you need to visit Nerja and have a wonderful holiday there:
- A few words about Nerja
- What Nerja is known for
- Visiting Nerja: what to see
- Things to do in Nerja
- Where to swim in Nerja
- Guided tours
- What to see around Nerja?
- Where is Nerja on the map?
- Where to stay in Nerja?
- Some useful links
- Experiences to discover in the province of Málaga
A few words about Nerja
Nerja is located in Axarquia in the province of Malaga.
Nerja has a very privileged location. It is surrounded by nature and unspoilt beaches.
In my opinion, Nerja’s natural environment is unique: 14 km of coastline, most of it in a protected natural park.
For mountain lovers and hikers, the Pico del Cielo in the Sierra de Almijara, at an altitude of 1505 metres, dominates the surroundings of Nerja.
Nerja takes its name from the Al-Andalus period. The Moors gave it the name of Narixa (abundant fountain) due to the presence of several rivers (rio Higueron, rio Chillar, arroyo de la Miel,…).
What made the reputation of Nerja
Nerja’s reputation was born from one of the first TV series in Spain.
Nerja, originally a fishing village, gained international fame in the early 1980s with the broadcasting of a TV series: Verano Azul.
For those who have seen the series Verano Azul, here is a video of the opening credits of Verano Azul.
Visiting Nerja: what to see?
The cave of Nerja
Among the treasures of this town, there is of course the cave of Nerja, which extends over several kilometres of galleries.
A few years ago, cave paintings dating from the Paleolithic period, made by Neanderthal man, were discovered. They have been dated to 42,000 years ago, making them the only Neanderthal paintings in the world and the oldest known traces of humanity. They show seals painted in red ochre.
In this cave you can see one of the highest columns in the world, 33 metres high. In this link you will find all the information you need to visit the cave of Nerja.
The Balcony of Europe
The Balcony of Europe is the most emblematic place in Nerja. From this promontory you can see the magnificent little beach of Calahonda and the beauty of the sea.
This beach is also an emblematic place in Nerja with its small cave house. It is a postcard place.
A view of Nerja from the balcony of Europe:
Next to it are the shopping streets of Nerja, which are very pleasant to stroll through or to stop for some tapitas.
La Dorada, the boat of Verano Azul
La Dorada, is the boat of Captain Chanquete from the series Verano Azul. You can see a life-size replica of this boat. It is located at the car park in Calle Antonio Ferrandis Chanquete.
In Nerja there is a kind of cult of this TV series. Many people are looking for the different filming locations of the series in Nerja.
The Plaza Tutti Frutti
I believe that Nerja is the only town in the world to have a Tutti Frutti Square! It’s a square with many bars. There is entertainment all year round in this square. It is the most famous place to have a drink in the evening.
The Eagle Aqueduct – Acueducto del Aguila
This aqueduct is beautiful, even at night when it is lit up in blue. This aqueduct was used to bring water to a sugar cane factory in Nerja – Fábrica San Joaquin de Maro.
The sugar cane factories in Nerja
Nerja was a major sugar cane growing centre until the middle of the 20th century. Nerja even had 3 sugar cane factories.
Fábrica azucarera y alcoholera San Joaquín
This site is now abandoned. However, for those who like industrial tourism, it is well worth a visit.
Ingenio azucarero de Armengol
This old sugar cane factory is also located in the town of Maro. Its structure stands out from the other sites. Behind it, you can see a splendid property belonging to the Larios family, just next door.
Next to this Ingenio, there is a café-bar which offers a superb view of the sea from the terrace. You can also admire the little church of Our Lady of the Wonders!
Ingenio de San Antonio Abad
The site is in an advanced state of ruin. However, it is still an impressive sight. Its particularity is that it is in the centre of Nerja! It is not far from the bus station.
Maro-Cerro-Gordo Protected Natural Park
This protected natural park is very beautiful. There are many hiking trails to be found here. It is also a place where you can frequently see Iberian goats…on the road and also on the cliffs!
The Mirador de Cerro Gordo is a unique place to observe nature from the sea and the mountains. The watchtower, which was used to control pirate attacks on the coast, is also very well preserved. This place, at sunset, is exceptional…
Things to do in Nerja?
Where to swim in Nerja?
Nerja’s coastline offers 14 km of beautiful beaches. Of the 12 beaches in Nerja, 3 are among the most beautiful in Andalucia.
In the following link you can find the beaches and coves of Nerja. Everyone can find their ideal bathing spot in Nerja.
Paella at Ayo in Burriana
The Ayo restaurant on Burriana beach has built up an incredible reputation with its paella. It is often part of a visit to the town. Personally, it is not exceptional but you have to go there to experience the setting and the atmosphere!
Burriana and its beach are among the most famous places in Nerja.
There are many things to do in and around Nerja, both on the sea side and the mountain side.
- horse riding, on the beach or in the mountains
- diving in Nerja and Torrox
- guided tours (villages of Axarquia, Cordoba, Alhambra,…)
- via ferrata (Caminito del Rey,…)
- hiking (El Saltillo with the hanging bridge,…)
- canyoning (in the rio Verde,…)
- visit of caves
Use the following link to access all the activities to do. during your holidays. This link provides you with all the details of each activity.
A very original and unique activity idea
Here is an exceptional site located on the border between Nerja and Torrox: the wreck of a ship. It is possible to go diving or snorkelling there.
The shipwreck is full of history! In this link you will find the incredible history of the barco del arroz in Torrox.
The Rio Chillar hike
This is probably the most famous hike on the Costa del Sol. The scenery in the canyon of the Rio Chillar is spectacular. Another particularity: the hike is done with your feet in the water, in the Chillar river.
Here you can find all the information about the Rio Chillar hike.
A very good local guide, Cipriano, offers thematic and seasonal guided tours from Nerja.
The guided tours are always done in small groups (2 to 8 people max.) to discover the authentic Axarquia.
In the following link you will find all the details and prices of the tours in Axarquia that he offers throughout the year (olive oil route, wine route, mudejar white villages route,…) :
Here are all the guided tours of the region from Nerja, Torrox and Torre del Mar.
Cipriano also organises semi-private excursions in Andalucia (Alhambra and Albaicin Tour, Cordoba Califal, Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas,…..
Here are the details of the excursions: Tours in Andalucia from Nerja.
- Fiesta of San Antón
- Romería de San Isidro
- Feria de las Maravillas de Maro
- Flamenco Festival Peña la Soleá
- San Juan Fiesta
- Fiesta del Carmen
- Nerja Feria
- Fiesta de la Castaña y el Boniato (Maro)
- Fiesta Virgen del Carmen, sea procession ! On July
- Fiesta of Nochevieja del Balcón de Europa
- Noche Blanco
- The International Romani Day on 8 April
What to see around Nerja?
Nerja is surrounded by beautiful villages and nature spots to see. Here are some of them!
Frigiliana is a beautiful white village 5 km from Nerja. It is one of the most beautiful villages in Andalucia and Spain.
This hamlet, on the heights of Frigiliana, offers a real haven of peace and quiet. To reach the hamlet, you have to take a dirt road for the last 2 kilometres.
El Acebuchal is known as the Aldea Fantasma – The Lost Village -. This nickname is linked to its peculiar history in the 20th century, when it was forgotten for almost 50 years…
Cipriano, a local guide, offers a guided tour of Frigiliana and El Acebuchal. He will pick you up at your place of stay and bring you back to the same place after the day’s visit.
The tour can be done from Nerja, Torrox and Torre del Mar.
Here is the link to get all the details and book: Frigiliana and El Acebuchal Tour.
Torrox pueblo is a white village just outside Nerja (10km) that has kept its authenticity. This village has been called “Mejor Clima de Europa” and is well worth a visit!
Competa is located further away in the mountains but is also worth a visit! This white village is known as the Corniche of Axarquia and offers spectacular views! The village is particularly well known for its wine festival – La Noche del Vino – which takes place every year on 15 August.
Where is Nerja on the map?
Where to stay in Nerja?
Please enter the desired dates to check availability.
Some useful links
Here is a very useful link for your travels: book a rental car from your place of stay.
If you are in Andalucia as part of a tour with several major cities to visit, here are some links that may be of interest:
- Discover must-sees before visiting Cordoba
- Visit Malaga on foot.
- All you need to know about Granada, the Alhambra, the Albaicin neighbourhood before visiting Granada
- If you are passing through the geographical centre of Andalusia, then you can visit Antequera, with the incredible natural site of El Torcal right next door
Experiences to discover in the province of Málaga
Find more ideas for visits to authentic Andalusia: see the blog pages on Andalucia.
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