Nerja Spain Travel Guide
Nerja Spain: Inspirational Beauty
Did you ever get shivers down your spine when you went to a new place? Nerja Spain has done this to me and others I know who have been there. Breathe in the immense beauty and views at the Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe); take the right turn by the ancient fountain and marvel at the vista down into Calahonda Beach; sit in the Anahi Cafe’s tiny terrace and know that you are privileged to be alive! The views from this place and a variety of other restaurants are truly breathtaking.
Located in Andalucia, on the Costa del Sol, Nerja has a special quality that many can’t quite put into words. People say they feel comfortable there; all sorts of people, from lots of different countries and backgrounds.
Podcast Nerja with Guardian Journalist & Multiple Author, Henry McDonald
I am happy to say that I lived in Nerja for a few years and shared my love of Nerja with Henry McDonald, who passed away on 19th February 2023. This podcast episode and series was inspired by Henry.
In this episode, I speak to him about his most important inspirational places which are Belfast, Berlin, Nerja and Hove.
Nerja Spain: Charm & Authenticity
Nerja somehow retains the charm and authenticity of a Spanish town while at the same time being cosmopolitan. Many foreigners live here permanently and those who visit mostly receive a warm, genuine welcome. Although Nerja thrives from tourism it has been careful not to let the same tourism overrun and spoil its essence. Visitors can enjoy a town where there are very few high buildings and because of its size, it is big enough to offer plenty of variety but small enough to discover by walking around. In fact in Nerja, you are far better off to walk!!
Photo credit for the above image and the first image: Nick Kenrick
Nerja exudes quality and well being. Its hub is the Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe) and off the Balcón you’ll find a sprawl of the most gorgeous pedestrianised streets. Whitewashed buildings on narrow streets, full of colour from the great variety of shops, restaurants and bars that live there.
It is not a destination for the clubbing fraternity, although it does have a small area of disco bars with a couple of actual night clubs. So for those who want some nightlife it is to be found, but it is not suited to the Puerto Banus set. And so far, there is no McDonalds or Burger King to be found in Nerja.
The Jewel of the Costa del Sol
Affectionately known as The Jewel of the Costa del Sol, Nerja is filled with little sandy coves, boutiques which cry out to the shopholic in you, restaurants to suit all tastes, and a good cross section of bars and cafes.
The Nerjeños (people from Nerja) are family orientated folk, so visiting with children you should find a warm welcome. The town does not cater so much for the stag or hen brigade, although many foreigners do come here to get married as it is exceptionally romantic; in particular the Irish. At night time there is a good choice of live music ranging from Spanish flamenco to good old fashioned rock ‘n roll.
Nerja Spain: The Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe)
From the mirador, The Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe), you can be overwhelmed by the most magnificent views out over the sea and along the coast. Droves of tourists go there to drink in these views, and only some of them realise that as they are standing on the edge of The Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe) that underneath them is a bar and restaurant.
Photo credit: Living Tours
I’ve had fun with this, with many visitors and as they have started to recover from the impact of the views, I’ll tell them about what’s underneath. It’s worthwhile to go down there for a coffee or a drink there.
When you’re sitting at many of the seats inside, you are looking directly at the sea and rocks from a perspective that you don’t find in many other situations.
Today the Balcón de Europa is filled with lots of locals, foreigners who live in Nerja and a multitude of tourists. All of them admiring the beauty; many of them sitting down in one of the bars around the Balcón and immersing themselves in a spot of people watching.
Every day is beautiful in this spot, and full of nice places to go and have a drink or a meal. People watching there is lots of fun, especially so on a Sunday after mass or when there is a wedding the Church.
Nerja Spain: Things To Do Overview
El Salvador Church
These days it is difficult to get married in the El Salvador Church. For many years now Nerja and this church have been sought after locations for weddings. In a fabulous setting, the church is a picturesque seventeenth century church.
In 1505 it was originally erected, however it wasn’t built until 1697, with further extensions being carried out between 1776 to 1792. On the exterior there is a four sided bell tower. Inside you’ll see frescoes from the eigtheenth century, as well as the more contemporary mural by Fransisco Hernandez of the Annunciation.
Located at the left corner in the Plaza de España, which is the big square just off the Balcony of Europe, you’ll find the Nerja Museum, or the Museo de Nerja.
This opened in December 2011 and is a history museum which is managed by the Nerja Caves Foundation. It is open every day except for Monday.
Shops In Nerja
From the Balcony of Europe which is the heart of Nerja a labyrinth of pedestrian streets bring you on the most charming journey of tapas bars, restaurants, cafés, bars and fabulous shops. As Nerja attracts creativity there are artisan craft shops; one where you can see the lady making her crafts, plenty of leather goods shops and many tasteful fashion boutiques; and of course typical to Spain a plethora of shoe shops.
Places To Visit From Nerja
Due to its location Nerja is a wonderful vantage point for the visitor who wishes to see other important parts of Andalucia. Nerja is on the seashore about 50 km (31 miles) from Malaga which is where the nearest airport is located. Malaga is the capital of Andalucia which boasts some great architecture and culture as well as being a thriving seaside town with an increasingly important port. You can reach Malaga in half an hour approximately. Here you can discover more about Málaga city itself and also going west of Málaga. To see what you can find if you drive east, click on Málaga east.
From Nerja you can also easily visit Granada with its famous Alhambra Palace, although it is advisable to book if you wish to go to the Alhambra. Marbella and Puerto Banus are about one hour’s drive away. Closer by there are a range of villages which are worth a visit such as the tiny Moorish village of Frigiliana.
Restaurants In Nerja
Nerja Restaurants are of a high quality in general and offer a great choice in cuisine. There are plenty good standard, yet not over-priced Spanish restaurants in Nerja, but also quite a few restaurants which cater for the international community and visitors. It is possible to find British food, as well as French, Greek, Indian, Thai, Italian, Irish and many more.