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Area information about Nerja

Nerja, is a seaside resort on the eastern Costa del Sol. It is in Málaga province and within the administrative region of La Axarquía. The origins of the town’s name come from the Arabic ‘Narixa’, which means ‘abundant source or spring’, referring to the quality of its agricultural produce, as well as its silk industry. It has for many years been a residential destination favoured by overseas buyers, as well as artists and writers who chose to visit or live in Nerja, because of its inspirational qualities. Furthermore, the international crime writer David B. Green set his ‘Mr Phelps’ series in Nerja during the mid 1990’s.



One of Nerja’s main tourist attractions are the caves discovered in 1959, which reveal Nerja’s earliest history thanks to the primitive cave paintings one can see there. The Romans had three settlements here and some remains of their presence are still visible. During the period of the Moors’ rule in Andalucía, products from Nerja were sent to markets in the Middle East, but while the Moors influenced the development of Nerja, at least two of the town’s major sights date from 19th century.


The Nerja Caves are not to be missed, and on occasion performances of music and ballet are hosted in their subterranean chambers. The other main attraction in Nerja is the Balcón de Europa, a mirador or viewpoint, which gives stunning views across the Mediterranean, and is in the centre of the old town. Allegedly, King Alfonso XII gave it this name after a visit in 1885 when he was captivated by the view. Previously the mirador was a gun battery dating back to the Peninsula War against Napoleon. The Nerja Aqueduct is another impressive sight and there is a church in the Mudéjar architectural style as well as a Hermitage dating from the 17th century.



Nerja is 81km from Málaga’s International airport, making it the most convenient one for regular use. The airport inland at Granada is another option, although the travelling distance between it and Nerja is slightly longer at 94km, and the journey time takes approximately one hour 20 minutes on the A-44. There are local buses providing transport within the town, as well as bus connections to Málaga, Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada, and the main towns on this stretch of the coast, such as Frigiliana, Motril and Almuñecar.


With so many great beaches and beautiful sea, water sports are popular in Nerja, sea kayaking being a favourite with many. Hiking is another pastime here as there are two protected areas that sit right on Nerja’s boundaries: the Sierra de Tejada and Almijarra Natural Park. Hiking up El Cielo, the highest coastal mountain at 1,508 metres will reward you with a spectacular view. The town also has gyms and other sport facilities. There are two golf clubs: Nerja Golf and Baviera Golf; the latter is about a 15-minute drive from the town.


Nerja is known for its beaches and the quality of its crystalline waters. The three main beaches are Burriana, Torrecilla and Carabbeo. Burriana is the most popular and an excellent beach for keen swimmers. It also has a coveted Blue Flag. Torrecilla also has a Blue Flag and has excellent facilities, including restaurants and chiringuitos. Meanwhile Carabeo is a beach in a cove and like the others is close to the centre. It is also worth exploring Maro beach, which is a few kilometres from Nerja, but has been voted the best beach in Andalucía.


Nerja has a large healthcare centre (ambulatorio) as well as two clinics offering 24-hour emergency services. It also has numerous clinics offering physiotherapy, dental treatment and there are a several chiropractors. Larger hospital services are found in Vélez-Málaga and Málaga city.


Nerja has eight schools in the town catering for primary and secondary education. There are private international schools in Almuñecar and Rincón de la Victoria.


There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Nerja with around 300 to choose from. There is a wealth of tapas bars, as well as British and Irish bars, and in terms of international cuisine the choice includes Chinese, Indian, Italian, Greek, Laotian, Turkish and Japanese Sushi as well as traditional Spanish.


The majority of Nerja’s independent shops are centred in the area around the Balcón de Europa. The town has a substantial number of arts and crafts shops, making it a perfect place for gift buying. There are also bakeries, butchers and ironmongers, as well as plenty of pharmacies. There is a street market on Tuesday and a flea market on Sundays. There are shopping malls nearby: El Ingenio Shopping Centre in Vélez-Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria Shopping Centre.


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