Nerja, the jewel of the Costa del Sol

If you haven’t visited the Costa del Sol before, it’s the long stretch of coastline in Southern Spain. Famous for its sandy beaches and selection of holiday resorts. The area attracts beach lovers who want to bask in the Spanish sunshine and swim in the cool Mediterranean waters. Travelers who want to explore the many Andalusian towns and cities, admiring the Spanish architecture. Food lovers who want nothing more than to indulge in all the delicious seafood and local wines. 

On my most recent trip, I visited the town of Nerja for the first time and instantly fell in love. Nerja is the jewel of the Costa del Sol. It really is the prettiest coastal Spanish town I have seen. It has stunning beaches, amazing view-points, great restaurants and bars but most importantly has maintained the old Spanish charm and beauty that many resorts in this part of Spain have sadly lost. 

Nerja is a must-visit spot if you are traveling to Southern Spain. Let me tell you a little bit more about what Nerja has to offer and see if you fall in love with it as much as I have. 

Nerja, a pretty coastal town in Spain


Nerja is a coastal town in Andalucia on the Costa del Sol, situated between Malaga and Almeria. Throughout history it has been occupied by the Romans, Arabs and Moors and touches of each era can be seen throughout the town’s architecture. 

A collection of beaches are below the cliff drop from the town. The most stunning panoramic views can be seen from the Balcón de Europa, a viewing platform that was once a fortress. 

The beaches of Nerja 

Playa Calahonda is the first beach you can see from the Balcón view and can be accessed via steps set between the buildings that overlook the cliff drop. It’s a small secluded cove, surrounded by vegetation and lined with rustic umbrellas. 

Walk along this sandy beach at low-tide, past the rocky outcrops to Playa Carabeillo and the larger Burriana. Here the beaches have plenty of loungers, water sport activities and beach-side bars. The perfect place to spend an afternoon while looking up at the magnificent mountain backdrop. 

Or take the clifftop path that runs above the beach alongside the bougainvillea and in-between the coastal properties. 

Nerja the jewel of the Costa del Sol

Balcon de Europa in Nerja

The viewing platform in Nerja

The town of Nerja 

Nerja town is a maze of streets offering shopping options to suit all tastes and needs. From local crafts, boutique clothes, high-street chains and fun holiday souvenirs. Palm trees line the Balcón de Europa where people stop to see the amazing panoramic views and listen to buskers playing Flamenco guitar. The town’s plazas are filled with outdoor seating and fragrant orange trees. It’s easy to wander and get lost amongst the pretty whitewashed buildings with their ornate balconies and decorative plant pots.

There are also some great bars and restaurants in Nerja town. Take advantage of free tapa with a nice cold cerveza in traditional bars like Redondo, Tasquita del Sevillano or El Pulgiulla. If you are looking for a more modern setting try Gloria Bendita, Botanic or Oliva. Or for more World cuisine check out Mum Indian restaurant, Benihana Teppanyaki Japanese or La Fuente Italian restaurant.

*RELATED article: For details of another wonderful Andalusian town worth visiting read –  A great family holiday in Mojacar

What to see and do in Nerja 

Diving and snorkelling 

There is a family-run diving centre in Nerja near Burriana beach. You can do a PADI dive course or enjoy snorkeling and boat trips. 

Other beaches 

Along the coast here you can enjoy other smaller and quieter beaches. Playa de la Cala is a secluded stony beach great for snorkeling. Playa de Alberquilla is a natural beach that doesn’t get too busy.  La Caleta de Maro was recently hailed as the best beach in Andalucia by a Spanish tv show. 


Rugged nature trails are plentiful in Andalucia and there are a few lovely walks within easy reach of Nerja. If you feel like taking a peaceful hike through the natural parklands head to either Rio Chillar to see the waterfalls or El Acebuchal the so-called lost village up in the mountains. Guided walks can be organised with locals if you are not a season hiker. 


Nerja caves or “Cueva de Nerja” in Spanish, are a collection of interesting historic natural caves located just outside of the town. A large section of the caves is open to the public and you can wander and explore the beauty of the impressive stalagmites created over thousands of years. Take the audio tour or a guided tour for extra info and it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance. 


Inland just a short bus to taxi ride from Nerja is a cute village called Frigiliana. A very quintessential, cluster of whitewashed, hillside Spanish houses. Perfect for wandering through, photographing and stopping for the odd snack or glass of local wine. 

*RELATED article: For more information about what the Costa del Sol has to offer read – My trip to the Costa del Sol 

Explore Nerja town

The streets of Nerja in Andalusia

Getting to Nerja 

The nearest airport to Nerja is Malaga. There is no bus direct from the airport to Nerja town but if you go into Malaga city bus station it’s 1 hour drive from there. Alsa coaches drive the route frequently every day ticket prices are €5 each way. 

When you arrive in Nerja the bus will stop on the main road just North of the town and beaches. It’s a 10 min walk from there. 

I hope you enjoyed this guide to Nerja in Spain and found the information useful. If you have visited Nerja, one of the nearby beaches or many attractions tell us all about in the comments box below.

Other Spain guides and info from Seeking the Spanish Sun you might enjoy reading…

The essential guide to the Costa Tropical

A weekend in Granada

Why Spain is the perfect holiday destination

The 5 warmest winter sun destinations in Spain

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  1. 15th August 2018 / 10:32 pm

    I lived in Spain last year but never went South. Reading this made me kick myself!! It looks beautiful; I’ll make it a priority next time 🙂

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      16th August 2018 / 11:25 am

      Ahhh yeah, that’s the perfect excuse to come back some day! Hope you had a great time while living in Spain… where were you based?

  2. 15th August 2018 / 9:16 pm

    ooh I’ve never hit up the Southern coastline of Spain before (only Barcelona and Mallorca), but it looks absolutely stunning!

    • SeekingTheSpanishSun
      16th August 2018 / 11:22 am

      The Southern coast of Spain is lovely… somewhere to visit on your next trip 😉

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