Nerja best things to see and do

A must in Andalucia

Visit Nerja and see the jewel of the Costa del Sol

Nerja balcon de l'Europe

In this article you will find all the information you need to visit Nerja and discover what to see and do for a wonderful holiday :

  • 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
    • Activities
    • Guided tours
    • Festivities
  • 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

Nerja Burriana Beach

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.

Canuelo Beach – Nerja –

For mountain lovers, the Pico del Cielo in the Sierra de Almijara, at an altitude of 1505 metres, dominates the surroundings of Nerja.

Nerja Pico del cielo
Pico del cielo in 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.

La Dorada boat – 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 the street : Calle Antonio Ferrandis Chanquete.

For those who have seen the series Verano Azul, here is a video of the opening credits of Verano Azul.

What to see in Nerja ?

  1. The Nerja cave
  2. The balcony of Europe
  3. Calahonda Beach
  4. Plaza Tutti Frutti for nightlife
  5. The Eagle aqueduct – Acueducto del Aguila
  6. Sugar cane factories in Nerja
    • Fábrica azucarera y alcoholera San Joaquín
    • Ingenio azucarero de Armengol
  7. Church of Our Lady of Wonders
  8. Maro-Cerro-Gordo Protected Natural Park
  9. Eat good fish tapas in…a fishmonger’s

The cave of Nerja, the wonder to see in Nerja

Among the treasures of this town, there is of course the cave of Nerja, which extends over several kilometres of galleries.

Nerja la grotte

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 iconic place to see in Nerja

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.

Calahonda Beach

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:

Stairs down to the beach of Calahonda

Next to it are the shopping streets of Nerja, which are very pleasant to stroll through or to stop for some tapitas.

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

Nerja Acueducto del Aguila
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.

nerja maro azucarera
la antigua azucarera en Maro, Nerja

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.

Ingenio azucarero de Armengol – Maro –

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!

Nerja Iglesia de Las Maravillas en Maro, Nerja, Andalucia
Iglesia de Las Maravillas en Maro, Nerja

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!

fauna en Malaga : cabra montes axarquia
ibex in Maro Cerro Gordo 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…

Mirador Cerro Gordo

Several of Nerja’s beaches are part of this protected natural park, offering wonderful moments of relaxation and beauty out of season:

Beach in Nerja, locality of Maro

Where to eat fish tapas in Nerja?

There’s one place in Nerja where I particularly like to go for a few fish tapas. It’s a rather unusual place – it’s in a small fishmonger’s!

And, if you just come in for a drink, they’ll serve you your drink with a tapita.

Here’s the name and address, right in the centre, close to the Balcon de Europa : Calle La Cruz, 25. In the following link you’ll find it on the city map: Pescadería El Artesano.

Things to do in Nerja?

  1. Where to swim in Nerja ?
  2. Eat a Paella at Ayo, Burriana beach
  3. Pico del Cielo hike
  4. All the sporting and cultural activities
  5. Wreck diving
  6. Hiking the Rio Chillar
  7. Guided tours
  8. Fairs and fiestas

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.

Nerja plage playa Cala del pino
Nerja beaches – Cala del Pino

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

Nerja Ayo plage de Burriana
Ayo restaurant in Burriana Beach

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.

If you are in the western part of the Costa del Sol and would like to visit Nerja anf Frigiliana, you can use the following link to book a tour from Málaga, Torremolinos, Mijas or Benalmadena.

For hiking fans: El Pico del Cielo

The Pico del Cielo hike is one of the most famous in the region.

View of El Pico del Cielo

This is a medium to high level hike.


There are many things to do in and around Nerja, both on the sea side and the mountain side.

almayate playa caballo

  • 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 from Nerja
  • astrotourism
  • snorkeling in Nerja
  • 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 there.

el barco del arroz : plongée sur épave de bateau en Andalousie, à Torrox
El barco del arroz, el Delfin

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.

rio chillar hike ruta randonnee
Rio Chillar hike

Here you can find all the information about the Rio Chillar hike.

Guided tours from Nerja

A very good local guide, Cipriano, offers thematic and seasonal guided tours from Nerja.

local guide andalucia

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,…) :

Canillas de Albaida plaza centro en Axarquia
White Mudejar Villages Route – Canillas de Albaida –

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.


There are plenty of fairs and fiestas to discover in Nerja!

nerja fair 2023

    Nerja, romeria San Isidro 2023

    This –romeria– pilgrimage is not to be missed if you’re in Nerja in May.

    The pilgrimage, romeria, leads to the magnificent site of the Nerja caves, where you can enjoy a beautiful festival alongside the romeros and animals.

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.

frigiliana pueblo mas bonito en Axarquia

El Acebuchal

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…

une ruelle dans El Acebuchal
El Acebuchal

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

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!

Torrox pueblo y mar
View of Torrox pueblo and the sea


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.

competa village de l'Andalousie authentique

Where is Nerja on the map?

Where to stay in Nerja?

Please enter the desired dates to check availability.

Some useful links (car hire, ideas for visits)

Easy and economical bookings

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:


Seville, the capital of Andalucia, is a city full of treasures to discover and monuments to visit.

Door of Forgiveness – Seville Cathedral

Here you will find everything you can see in Seville in 3 days. And for those who will stay longer you will also find information on secret Seville and the Santa Cruz and Triana districts.


cadix cadiz cathedrale catedral cathedral cattedrale

Visit Cadiz, a city with an incredible past and great beauty, on the Costa del la Luz.


When you reach the Costa del Sol you will find in this link all must-sees in Malaga :

Street art next to the Picasso Museum Malaga


Discover what to see in Granada, and visit the Albaicin and Sacromonte districts:



And of course, visit Cordoba, the caliphate city, and the Juderia district


Experiences to discover in the province of Málaga

Find more ideas for visits to authentic Andalucia: see the blog pages on Andalucia.

Here is the link to receive our newsletter from the blog

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