HOLIDAYS TO NERJA, SPAIN – PEARL OF COSTA DEL SOL

Are you thinking about holidays to Nerja in Spain but not sure if it is the right destination for you? Let me help you to make up your mind. I can’t promise you will be there alone, but you will love it. After all, it’s one of Costa del Sol’s most popular resorts. The reason for that? Nerja is stunningly beautiful! This typical Andalusian white village overlooking the attractive rocky coastline is a delight to all senses. Think narrow streets, whitewashed houses, iron balconies, local and international cuisine, the fresh air, and incredible sea views. To top it all, beaches in Nerja! They can satisfy everyone with stretches of sand, rocky coves, and towering cliffs. Here is what to know about holidays to Costa del Sol’s most charming town, Nerja. 

Holidays to Nerja Spain. Sunning cliffs and the beach.
If you look for dramatic scenery, Nerja has all the ingredients. 

HOLIDAYS TO NERJA, SPAIN – PEARL OF COSTA DEL SOL

I found Nerja in Costa del Sol when planning my two-week trip to Andalusia. I knew that after days of must-sees in Cordoba, stunning Seville, and Ronda, I would want to take a break to relax before the next big attraction, Granada. Nerja had everything I imagined – lots of Spanish charm and beautiful coastal views. My plan was to do nothing there, other than strolling around, eating, and drinking sherry. (Sherry is what you need to drink when visiting Andalusia!) I knew it would not be very warm, but the beaches in Nerja looked inviting to me anyway.

Holidays to Nerja Spain. A couple on the beach near the Balcony of Europe.
Just a few steps down from the Balcony of Europe this little beach is a perfect spot to wait for the sunset. 

Where is Nerja, Spain

Many European travelers discover Nerja during their holidays to Costa del Sol. The town is a popular coastal resort town 50 kilometers east of Malaga city connected by the A-7 coastal highway. It marks the eastern limit of Malaga province in Costa del Sol.

How to get to Nerja, Spain

By car

The best way to get to Nerja during your Costa del Sol holidays is by car, but be aware that finding parking is extremely difficult. Check the parking arrangements with your accommodation. My hotel had an elevator for cars. Let me tell you, it was a nerve-wracking experience to get into it with an inch of space on each side. The parking spaces were also tiny. Good thing, I was not a driver! That was the price to pay to stay in the central and most touristy location.

Holidays to Nerja Spain. The main promenade.
This main promenade in Nerja leads to the famous Balcony of Europe.

By bus

The cheapest way of traveling from Malaga to Nerja is by bus. Most buses leave from the main bus station in Malaga city, located about 1 km southeast of the city center, right next to the train station Maria Zambrano. There are many departures throughout the day.

Nerja Spain. Little house on the beach.
Little house on the beach in Nerja Spain. 

By plane

If you choose to fly for your Costa del Sol holidays, the nearest airport to Nerja is in Malaga. From there you can take a taxi. Cheaper but not a very convenient way is to take a bus. The buses don’t run directly from Malaga Airport to Nerja. From the airport, you will need to take the bus or a  high-speed train to Maria Zambrano – Malaga’s main hub for train and bus transportation.

By train

There is no train service to Nerja. The nearest mainline train station to Nerja is Malaga – Maria Zambrano train and bus hub. You can continue by taxi or bus from there.

Holidays to Nerja Spain. Boat on the beach.
From sleepy fishing to a tourist magnet, Nerja still retains its charm.

Weather in Nerja, Spain – What is the best time to visit

Nerja enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and temperatures that average 30ºC (86°F) in summer and 15º (59°F) during the short winter. The hottest season is summer – June, July, August, and September. In May and October, you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). Even in the winter, it’s warm enough to sit outside and soak the sun. Beaches in Nerja Spain can be enjoyed all year round for their incredible scenery.

Holidays to Nerja Spain. Flowering bush.
You can find many flowering plants in Nerja even in November.

Beaches in Nerja, Spain

I can guarantee, you will love beaches in Nerja, Spain. They invite visitors with the powdery sand, sparkling clear waters, picturesque coves, and dramatic waves crashing against the rocks. The main beaches are Burriana and Torrecilla, but a favorite with locals and visitors alike is Burriana Beach. You can enjoy there good food, including delicious shellfish barbecues and the specialty lunchtime monster paella.

Beaches in Nerja Spain. Pind sunset.
Beaches in Nerja Spain deliver spectacular sunsets.

Other great beaches in Nerja, Spain are located just to the east of the Balcon de Europa. Calahonda Beach, Chorillo Beach, and Carabeo are accessible via a footpath down the cliff but so worth the effort! If you look for active holidays to Nerja, all major water sports are available along the coastline, including water skiing, scuba diving, and sailing.

Beaches in Nerja Spain. A distant view of the Balcony of Europe.
Step down to the beach to see a distant view of the Balcony of Europe.

Locals in Nerja, Spain – not just Spaniards!

If it was not for the fact that Nerja retains its unmistakable Spanish architectural charm when dining out you could think you were in an English speaking country. For many years Nerja has been attracting northern Europeans and in particular Britons, not just for holidays, but as permanent residents too. In fact, approximately one-third of Nerja’s population is made up of foreign residents, of whom a third are British. What makes Nerja so attractive to foreigners is not just the climate. They come to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, charming architecture, good food, and of course to take in the views of beaches of Nerja.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. Statue at Balcony of Europe.
The statue of the old fisherman reminds visitors about Nerja’s roots.

Accommodation for your holidays in Nerja, Spain

With the Costa del Sol getting even more sunshine than the Canary Islands, it is one of the most sought after destinations in Europe. The province of Malaga, in particular, Nerja, Torrox, and Frigiliana are considered to have the best climate in Europe. Travelers flock to the sunny coast all year round looking for luxury villas, quaint Spanish townhouses, and seaside penthouse apartments. Despite its popularity, the town has resisted the development of high rise apartment blocks, preferring to stay a charming seaside town, attracting the more discerning visitors.

Hotels in Nerja Spain. A row of hotels overlooking the sea.
Despite being a popular year-round destination, Nerja did not fall a victim of overdevelopment. 
Holiday rentals in Nerja, Spain

Beaches in Nerja, Spain lure a lot of visitors who seek various types of accommodation. If you are looking for a vacation rental, you will find plenty of options from studio apartments suitable for a couple to large villas for a family holiday. There are apartments in Nerja town center, close to the bars and restaurants, some close to Burriana Beach, and others in quiet residential areas with communal pools. If you have a car you might consider a detached villa with its own private pool.

Hotels in Nerja Spain deliver not only spectacular views but a lot of charm.
Hotels in Nerja deliver spectacular views and loads of charm.
Hotels in Nerja, Spain

You will not have a problem to find a suitable hotel for your holidays to Nerja. There are over 50 hotels in or around the town, ranging from simple good value hostels to upscale establishments. Several hotels are located with the beach on their doorsteps giving direct access to the sand. Others are more secluded, offering gardens, pools, and bars for your relaxation. Find 6 best beach hotels in Nerja here.

Beaches in Nerja Spain. Beautiful beach next the Balcony of Europe.
In November, beautiful beaches in Nerja, Spain look deserted.

I stayed in Hotel Plaza Cavana centrally located in the heart of Nerja, beside the famous Balcony of Europe and leisure center of town, near the main beaches and coves. It features an outdoor swimming pool located on the rooftop terrace with the views of the sea. There is a poolside snack bar in summer that serves cocktails. Air-conditioned rooms at the Plaza Cavana are spacious and bright. All rooms have a TV and a private bathroom, and some have a french balcony. Overall the hotel offers a very good value.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. Nerja town center with alcoves and flowerpots.
Beautiful area in the center of Nerja, just a short walk from my hotel.

Things to do in Nerja, Spain

Visit Balcon de Europa (Balcony of Europe)

You must visit the famous Balcony of Europe during your holidays to Nerja. The huge terrace was built where once stood the fortress that was destroyed in 1812 during the War of Independence. The circular plaza provides 270 degrees view of the Nerja coast. It overlooks sandy beaches and cliffside coves below. It is a perfect spot for the sunset.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. The famous Balcony of Europe.
The famous Balcony of Europe makes you want to fly.

Eat your way around town – Restaurants in Nerja, Spain

I liked the food in Nerja, but it was secondary to the views and ambiance. Eating in Nerja is an experience. As with most of Spain, tapas are an integral part of the local cuisine, and you will find lots of great tapas bars in and around the town. But this is just a small fraction of Nerja’s culinary scene. Because of the town’s large international population, many other cuisines are widely represented. Here is the list of the best restaurant in Nerja, created by locals.

Holidays in Costa del Sol - colorful outdoor cafe.
If you are looking for cham, you will certainly find it in Nerja.

Take a stroll on the beach

You will find many beautiful beaches in Nerja and you do not need to look far. You can access the beach right from the center of town. On both sides of the Balcony of Europe, you can access small sheltered beaches, but you will have to make an effort to find steps leading to them. In November, the town was full of people, but the beach was empty.

Beaches in Nerja Spain.. Waves on the beach.
I loved watching the power of waves at Nerja beaches.

Enjoy the sunset

You will find many wonderful spots to watch the sunset in Nerja. Of course, you can do it from the Balcony of Europe but also from the beach below. If you are facing the sea, find the steps on the right side of the balcony to enjoy the spectacle from the sand.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. Beautiful beaches in Nerja Spain. Orange sunset.
This is one of those moments when all the worries in the world are washed away.

Wander narrow streets of Nerja

I absolutely loved walking around Nerja. There are many narrow cobblestone streets lined with shops and restaurants. Like in the rest of Andalusia, beautiful patios are waiting to be discovered. I am sure you will stumble upon an interesting place to eat or enjoy a drink.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. Mosaic house.
You love how colorful Spain is.

Go shopping

Shopping in the old quarter

Most of Nerja’s shops and businesses are located in its old quarter, next to the Balcony of Europe. These establishments sell pottery, small works of arts, beach and regular clothing and accessories.

Holidays to Costa del Sol. Beautiful church in Nerja.
In the center of Nerja, you will find restaurants, shops, and of course the church.

Shopping centers near Nerja

If you want to do your shopping at a large shopping center, there are two near Nerja. You will find numerous fashion shops, cinemas, bars, and different restaurants at El Ingenio Shopping Centre and Rincón de la Victoria Shopping Centre

Things to do in Nerja Spain. Charming corner restaurant.
For me, shopping was overshadowed by bar and restaurant hopping.

Enjoy people watching

Make people watching one of the fun things to do during your holidays to Nerja. It always makes me laugh when people asked how not to look American when visiting Europe, or how not to look like a tourist. In Nerja, I think Americans would have more chances to looks like locals than in the rest of Spain. That is because of such a high number of British residents and visitors. It was November and they were wearing shorts even tank-tops. Spaniards, on the other hand, were wearing their down coats. I was too! It was very windy.

Things to do in Nerja Spain. Interesting door and window in center of Nerja.
I not only enjoy people watching but observing how they live. I am always on a lookout for unique windows and doors.

Visit the Nerja Caves

For different experience during your Costa del Sol holidays, visit the Nerja Caves. I have to admit, I decided to skip this attraction. It was November, I was wanted to soak the “sol” as much as possible instead of descending underground. But I can imagine it could be a nice break during the heat of summer. Cueva de Nerja, with unusual stalactites and stalagmites, hosts popular summertime concerts. It’s also known for its paleolithic paintings, viewable by guided tour.

Take a tour

I will find a variety of tours available in Nerja for various interests and activities.

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