Nerja: Wikis


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—  Municipality and town  —
View from Balcon de Europa in Nerja
Municipal location in Málaga Province
Nerja is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 36°44′N 3°52′W / 36.733°N 3.867°W / 36.733; -3.867
Country Spain Spain
Autonomous community Andalusia Andalucía
Province Málaga Province
Comarca Axarquía - Costa del Sol
 - Total 32.8 sq mi (85 km2)
Population (2008)
 - Total 21,621
 Density 658.8/sq mi (254.4/km2)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Nerja is a tourism-oriented town on the Costa del Sol in the province of Málaga, which lies in one of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, Andalusia, on the country's southern, Mediterranean coast. It lies about 50 km east of the city of Málaga, and is within 1 hour 15 minutes drive of the Alhambra in the city of Granada, and 30 minutes more to skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



Nerja has a long history, evidenced by the primitive paintings found in its famous Nerja caves, discovered in 1959. These caves are now believed to be just one entrance to a linked series of potholes stretching many miles into the mountains between Nerja and Granada, and which may yet prove to be one of the most extensive unexplored systems in Europe. Visitors to the caves will be able to view the remains of one of the ancient inhabitants of Nerja.

The Romans gave the settlement the name "Detunda", and it was later taken over by the Arabs. Under the Muslims, it became "Narixa", which means "abundant spring", and is the origin of its present name.

Aqueduct of Nerja.

Its agricultural and silk products are said to have been famed throughout the Muslim world and in the markets of Damascus as early as the tenth century. The aqueduct in the illustration is not as old as it might appear, but was built to supply water to the sugar plantations in the 19th century.

Old Neighborhoods of Nerja.

The Balcón de Europa, a mirador or viewpoint which gives stunning views across the sea, is in the centre of the old town. Its name is popularly believed to have been coined by King Alfonso XII, who visited the area in 1885 following a disastrous earthquake and was captivated by the scene. Local folklore says that he stood upon the site where the Balcón now stands, and said "This is the balcony of Europe." Local archive documents are said to show that its name predated this visit, but this has not prevented the authorities from placing a life-sized (and much photographed) statue of the king standing by the railing.

The Balcón area was originally known as La Bateria, a reference to the gun battery which existed there in a fortified tower. This emplacement and a similar tower nearby were destroyed by British led forces under Major General Blayney in 1810 to deny their use to French occupying forces during the Peninsular War.

Modern Nerja

In more modern times, sugar cane production has given way to more valuable cash crops, particularly semi-tropical fruits such as mango and papaya and widespread avocado plantations in what is one of the major avocado growing regions in Europe.

It is the eastern-most town in the area known as the Axarquía and has an official population of around 22,000 (in 2008) — nearly 30% of which are foreign residents, including around 2,600 British — although the true expatriate population is probably at least twice that. In the summer months, tourism swells the population several times more.

Nerja has several beaches set in charming coves beneath cliffs and one of the best climates in Europe. It is also becoming a significant centre for walkers, thanks to the dramatic mountain scenery of the nearby Sierra de Almijara and Sierra Tejeda. The Sierra de Burno overlooks the town and provides an imposing challenge to climbers. Those who are willing to test their mountain skills to the full will find the southern route up this mountain especially rewarding. Nerja is also the centre of scuba diving on the Costa del sol, with the Natural Park of Maro - Cerro Gordo nearby. On the famous Burriana Beach which is one of few EU-classified blue flag beaches, you will find several opportunities for water sports. Burriana Beach also has its own webcam for checking todays weather, beach conditions and parking Burriana Beach Webcam

Twin towns

Tour into of the Balcón de Europa.

Literary Nerja

Nerja has long been a source of inspiration for expatriate writers and artists, such as French born Author Andre Launay. Jorge Guillen and Federico Garcia Lorca were longtime visitors and residents of the town.


Nerja in popular fiction

Fictional books that are set wholly or partly in Nerja include:

  • Balcony of Europe, a novel by the Irish writer Aidan Higgins, who based it on his Bohemian life in the village in the early 1960s.
  • Leisure, early 21st century pulp fiction about sunseeking holidaymakers, by English author Kevin Sampson.
  • Encarnita's Journey, by Joan Lingard. The novel features a Spanish woman living in Nerja in the early decades of the 20th century, whose life story spans 8 decades in places which also include the Alpujarras in the time of the writer Gerald Brenan, and Almuñécar during the time of the Spanish Civil War.
  • "The Enigmatic Mr Phelps", by Canada based English international Crime Writer; David B. Green, was set in Nerja during the period 1997 thru 2004 and includes many references to contemporary Nerja and the surrounding area. Part ONE of the two part novel features "32-Red", a fictional restaurant located on C/Carabeo. The fictional character of "Phelps" is often confused with the real life of the author.
  • The video clip for the Saint Etienne's single, Pale Movie, taken from the album Tiger Bay is filmed in Nerja, Spain. Just look at the motorbike number plate at the beginning...This single was released in 1994 and reached #28 in the UK Singles chart.
  • The Quick and The Dead a literary thriller by Matthew John Lee is partly set in Nerja. The novel set in the near future deals with a biological attack on the British Isles and the response of three expatriates in different parts of the world as they come to terms with their incomprehensible loss. ISBN 978-1-906050-78-8.

Nerja in non-fiction works

View from Balcón de Europa.

Books describing the experience of British immigrants to the Axarquia include:

  • Life in the Campo, by Maggie Hutton
  • A New Life in Spain, by Toby Wolrych
  • Tomorrow is Mañana in an Andalusian Village, by the Australian travel writer Shirley Deane, who lived in Nerja in the mid 1950s.

History of Nerja and environs

  • 100 Years of Nerja & Frigiliana in Photos, by Pablo Rojo Platero
  • Between Two Fires: Guerilla War in the Sierra, by David Baird

Other works by authors with Nerja connections

  • The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish, by Drew Launay - the French-born author who currently resides in Nerja.
  • Madrid & Southern Spain, by Drew Launay.
  • Driving Over Lemons, A Parrot in the Pepper Tree and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society by Chris Stewart (author)


See also


External links

Coordinates: 36°44′N 3°52′W / 36.733°N 3.867°W / 36.733; -3.867

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Nerja, with the Sierra de Almijarra in the background.
Nerja, with the Sierra de Almijarra in the background.

Nerja is a seaside resort on the Costa del Sol, in the region of Andalucia of Spain. It is the first resort going away from Malaga to not be dominated by large ugly concrete hotels and is situated in the attractive foothills of the Sierra Almijara mountains.


Don't be misled by holiday brochure descriptions of Nerja as a fishing village. Tourism must now be its main industry. The few fishermen with their boats still to be seen along the beach provide a picturesque scene for visitors and a slim livelihood for local families. Until 10 or 12 years ago the town retained a strong Spanish identity, but during recent years the influx of both northern European visitors and residents has eroded significantly the genuine charm of a truly Spanish working town.

However, compared to many other Costa Del Sol destinations, especially to the west of Malaga, this is still worth a visit. The tourist mix is not exclusively northern European and many Spanish people use this resort for holidays, together with French and Italians.

The town centre itself consists of an older part with white streets partly pedestrianised mainly to the east of the Balcon de Europa , but beyond the 17th century church and the plaza cabana more modern development takes over and the town seems like any other recently developed spanish costa resort.

The Balcon De Europa is a promenade built out onto a natural headland and gives spectacular views of the coast and the mountains inland, where they rise to over 6000 feet. This is the natural focus of the evening walk for both locals and holiday makers and is often the venue for fiestas and events such as the Virgen Del Carmen in July and New Year's Eve.

The absence of high rise developments on the coast, the charm and beauty of the coast line and proximity to many of the white villages, historic cities and a wide choice of accommodation make it an attractive place for perhaps a short , or for some , a week or two.

Get in

By bus

Airport bus to Malaga bus station, and then a bus from there to Nerja. Total cost, less than 5 euros.

By boat

The nearest port is in Malaga, with services from North Africa. There is also a port in Almeria.

By car

From the West: The A-7 E-15 motorway runs parallel to the coast, Nerja is situated 10 mins from it, and is clearly signposted.

By plane

The nearest large airport is in Malaga, which is served by flights from across Europe and America. From Malaga Airport, take the A-7 E-15 motorway in the direction of Almeria and Motril.

By train

There is no train station in Nerja.

The nearest train station is Malaga which is located about 56 kilometers west of Nerja. Easiest way to continue to Nerja from Malaga is by bus from the bus station just across the street, or by car/taxi.

By taxi

You can hire a Taxi at Malaga Airport. The cost to Nerja is approximately €78 as of 2009. You can also prebook a taxi with Nerja Taxis [1] for around €65.

Get around

By car

There are two large central carparks. One is situated off Calle La Cruz, right in the middle of town, which charges a reasonable rate per hour. There is a larger (and free) car park off Prol Carabeo, which is 5 mins walk from the town centre, this is the one that all the locals use.

By foot

The centre of Nerja is small enough to be able to be seen by walking around. Park your car in the car park and get out and have a wander!

The Balcón de Europa
The Balcón de Europa
  • The Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe) is a recently reconstructed promenade in the centre of town with good views along the coast. Originally was constructed around 1487 in the place of a former 9th Century Castle. The tourist information in Nerja makes a really big deal out of this although there's not much to do except look up and down the coast.
  • El Salvador Church. Near the Balcón de Europa, you will find this attractive 17th Century church constructed in baroque-mudejar style.
  • Nuestra Señora de las Angustias Hermitage, a 16th Century church with paintings by the Alonso Cano.
  • The Caves of Nerja

The caves are not a suitable place if you have any walking difficulties.

The EU Blue Flag awarded Playa Burriana
The EU Blue Flag awarded Playa Burriana
  • Beaches. There are thirteen kilometers of beaches in Nerja, including the internationally famous Playa Burriana that has once again been awarded by the Blue Flag of the European Union and several smaller, more secluded coves.
  • El puente de Aguila or the Eagle´s bridge, is a 19th century aqueduct, similar to the ones built by the Romans. It was designed to bring water to the nearby village of Maro, one of the oldest settlements around the area. Visible on the way to the caves.
  • The Rio Chillar Waterfall A beautiful waterfall located along the old river, near the Sunday Market.
  • The Nerja Donkey Sanctuary, [2]. Open to visitors every day 10-4 (10-2 Weekends). You can visit the donkeys, feed them and even help to take a donkey for a walk (or one of the many dogs that they're trying to find homes for). Admission free.  edit
  • Sticky Fingers Cookery School, La Parra Restaurant, Burriana Beach, Nerja, 29780, 95 252 3127, [3]. Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Made famous on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. On Monday nights adults can learn how to cook a great meal and then get to eat it and kids can have fun learning how to cook on Saturdays and Wednesdays.  edit
  • Jeep Tours in Nerja, Life Aventure SL, Calle Antonio Ferrandiz, no39 2-2, Nerja, 29780, 0034 677 894 002 (), [4]. A great way of exploring the Sierra Almijara discovering the flora and fauna and natural habitat.  edit


Nerja is set in the attractive foothills of the Sierra de Almijarra, and has plenty of good walking routes for all abilities nearby.

  • Pick up the free Nerja walks guide book in the Tourist Information office near the Balcon de Europe. The book details a wide variety of walks in the area, with maps and directions for where to walk, and interesting facts about the places you pass.
  • Senderismo de Nerja (Nerja walking club), [5]. For like minded walking enthusiasts to explore the area in great company.  edit
  • Centro de Idiomas Quorum, [6]. Centre offering Spanish language courses to help you appreciate coming to Spain. The centre if accredited by the Cervantes Institute (a major accreditation for Spanish schools). The staff are very friendly and helpful and they know how to have a good time.  edit


There are markets on Sundays (Boot Market, now located near the Almijara and Flaming Urbanisations) and Tuesdays.

  • Smiffs Bookstore, La Galeria, 10 Calle Almirante Ferrándiz, 29780 Nerja, 952 52 3102, [7]. The wryly named Smiffs Bookstore, hidden away down a small arcade near the Post Office, stocks a wide range of English language bestsellers, local books, maps and guides, including many walking routes for the area.  edit


Although superficially there appears to be many foreign owned tourist restaurants, there are a significant number of Spanish owned places to eat.

  • Casa Luque, Plaza Cavana, 2, [8]. Spanish & Andalusian Cuisine restaurant. It's been awarded with "Best Restaurant in Malaga 2008" by the Royal Academy of Malaga Gastronomy. Good place to taste local specialities with a modern flair. In summer, the restaurant moves to the huge terrace overlooking the sea. They can arrange weddings & special events  edit
  • El Cietto Lindo, Calle El Barrio. Mexican food, including mixed fajitas which come on a large cast iron construction with hot plates for each ingredient. Intimidating food! Nice indoor garden and good selection of tequilas.Most people visit once and don't go back.  edit
  • Coach and Horses, Calle Cristo. Where some British holidaymakers come to enjoy real fish and chips, John Smiths Bitter and Coronation street. This place is also sometimes still known by its Spanish name, The Bodegon.  edit
  • El Gato Negro, Calle carabeo 23, [9]. Pizza and flamenco on Wednesdays. This puff-meister is gone bust. New pizza restaurant open now.  edit
  • Havelli, Dalle Almirante Ferrandiz, 44-49, [10]. Excellent Indian food and they now have a buffet version at Burriana Beach  edit
  • Marisqueria La Marina, Plaza la Marina (Calle Castilla Pérez), [11]. Located on a small square in the west of town, this informal seafood tapas bar has a few tables inside and a number more outside. The drinks are cheap, the language is Spanish and each drink comes with a tapa of seafood salad or a plate of gambas. It works, as you will be inevitably tempted to enjoy more fresh shellfish and seafood at a table outside. The service is a little rude and hectic in summer, but the prices are reasonable.  edit
  • Merendero Ayo, Burriana Beach. Good restaurant owned by the discoverer of the Nerja caves, and featured on television. Serves Spanish cuisine.  edit
  • Moreno, Burriana Beach. Good seafood and meat cooked on a BBQ.  edit
  • El Nino, Calle Almirante Ferrandiz, 83. Spanish cuisine that is very popular with the locals.  edit
  • Pata Negra, Plaza la Marina. Excellent Spanish cuisine, good tapas and a wine list from cheap and chearful, through good value to expensive tastes.  edit
  • Posada Ibérica Restaurant, Calle Nueva. Offers some of the best and most inexpensive food in Nerja. Run by an Argentinean couple that has maintained the Spanish flavour, the place is one of the most traditional you can find in Nerja. They occasionally have live music during the weekend.  edit
  • El Pulgilla, Calle Almirante Fernandez, 26. Amidst the bustle of shops and restaurants is a typical Spanish marisqueria (fish and shellfish tapas/restaurant), that is perhaps the one place that best sums up Nerja. The clientèle is usually at least 90% Spanish with the occasional adventurous holidaymaker. the drinks are cheap, the tapas are free and the seafood is excellent. There is a large open air terrace open during the summer.  edit
  • Restaurant 34, Calle Hernando de Carabeo, 34. International cuisine. Upmarket, and prices reflect this!  edit
  • Sollun Restaurant, Calle Cristo 53, [12]. a One of the newer restaurants in Nerja, but is actually one of the best. The Chef, Juan Quintanilla, was previously owner of a 1 star Michelin restaurant in Marbella. Great food and excellent wine.  edit
  • El Sotano Viejo, Calle Lose Heurtos. Run by local businessman Pepe Mesa, this is one of the finest affordable restaurants in town. Food served covers a variety of tastes, and many Spanish dishes are on the menu. The decor is of fine wood, and there are always plenty of wines and drinks on offer. Gambas Pil Pil is a speciality.  edit
  • Scarletta's, Calle Christo, 38, 952520011. International and American style cuisine of excellent quality at reasonable prices. Very pleasant open air roof terraces (advance reservations adviced) and good service.  edit
  • Restaurante Califonia, Calle Christo, 32, 952521890. International style cuisine, with a touch of English home made cooking. Very nice and pleasant roof terrace. Food is excellent and staff very friendly. Worthwhile making a reservation.  edit
  • Cibeles, Calle Carabeo. Excellent cafe/restaurant with good value spanish food. Open all day and evening with very friendly, longstanding staff and clientele.  edit
  • Tutti Fruti square is the main area where to spend the evenings.(If you are under 35!) There are more than 10 bars, pubs, restaurants, etc and are open everyday. Most bars get busy around 1.00AM, so don´t expect much action before that. Closing times vary from 4.00AM in the winter to 7.00 during the summer.
  • El Molino Bar is one of the most typical flamenco bars in Nerja. It is believed to be the oldest bar running in Nerja, and the building has been used for over 350 years (first as an olive oil mill, therefore the name). Live Music played every night.
  • Spanish Holiday Properties, Calle Real 8 Comares 29195 Malaga, 0034 952 509 301. * Self catering apartments and villa rentals Nerja, Holiday Nerja, Calle Cerro Marino, Nerja, 29780, 0034 95 252 0748 (), [13]. Offering a vast selection of private self catering apartments and villas for holiday rental accommodation in Nerja costa del Sol.   edit   edit
  • Hostal Azahara, Avda. de Pescia No 1, Nerja, +34 952 520 426 (), [14]. Book on-line the recently renovated Hostal Azahara is open 24 hours a day all year round. This is a very friendly and comfortable Hostal with 13 bedrooms all ensuite with TV, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities. Hostal Azahara is within easy reach of wonderful beaches and restaurants. The Balcon De Europe is only a 10 minute walk away and the bustling nightlife is within walking distance.  edit
  • Hostal Bronce, Calle Bronce, 25 29780 Nerja, +34-95-252-8776 (, fax: +34-95-252-8776), [15]. checkout: Doubles from €24 to €38 a night. Located in the old section of Nerja, the Hostel is a newly-constructed building (May 2004), yet maintains the traditional Andalusian manor style and is exquisitely decorated throughout. The Hostel comprises 7 well-appointed rooms, TV, ensuite bathrooms, sun terrace and Jacuzzi. It is only 5 minutes from the beach and a short 2 minute walk from the parking.  edit
  • Hostal Miguel, Calle Almirante Ferrandiz 31 29780 Nerja, +34 95 25 21 52 3 (), [16]. checkout: by 10AM. Very attractive hostal situated centrally in Nerja and 5 mins walk from a free carpark. Run by a very friendly and helpful British couple who also serve breakfast for guests on the rooftop terrace with great views over Nerja towards the Sierra Almijara and also out to sea. Doubles from €35 to €49 a night.  edit
  • La Roca Rara, (bookings from UK)Office: (44)208 663 0552 Mobile: (44)79 3241 0725 (), [17]. Luxury Spanish Villa for Rent. Designed in the style of the Alhambra. At at the foot of the Sierra Almijara Mountains 5 minutes to Nerja or Frigiliana Village. Very private secluded estate, tennis court,heated pool, 7 bedrooms, 40 minutes from Malaga International airport.  edit
  • Nerjaplease - Villas, Hotels & Apartments (Online bookings), [18]. An accommodation guide to Nerja featuring hotels and self-catering villas and apartments (,Nerjaplease)  edit
  • Nerja Villas, (UK): +44 1483 576747, [19]. Several one and two bedroom apartments and villas. Family business with good knowledge of the area.  edit
  • Smugglers Inn, Calle de Castilla Perez, [20]. A friendly atmosphere in a bar full of charm and character. The Sunday roast is famous throughout the town and the quiz nights are a must.  edit
  • Verano Azul Apartments, Avda Pescia s/n (29780 Nerja), 952522629, [21]. checkin: 12.00AM; checkout: 10.00AM. Residential complex,open all the year. Two pools, near Burriana Beach. Apartments having air conditioning, sat tv, exteriors, terraces, nice views, recommended for couples and families, not suitable for diseables, pet allowed. from 30. (to 100,10% discount) edit
  • Frigiliana - a white Andalucian village only 5 miles inland, the village itself is a labyrinth of charming narrow whitewashed streets with old Andalucian houses. Around the village are a series of tiled wall displays telling the story of the village during the Moorish occupation and the Reconquista (the expulsion of the moors from Spain).
  • Granada - once one of the most important cities in Spain, and home of the world famous Alhambra.
  • Malaga - home of Picasso
  • Maro - charming neighbouring village with good beach
  • Almunecar
  • Sierra Nevada - the tallest mountains in Spain.
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