Nerja is a fabulous place to relax and explore some of the eastern Costa del Sol. The town has much to offer in its own right and is a well located to find some more off-the-beaten-track places too. It’s almost thirty years since we were last there and we have to admit, very little of it looked familiar. We had a great time staying with old friends and making some new friends along the way.
Nerja to many people is just a seaside resort. It’s not hard to see why it attracts holidaymakers to its glorious sands. Playa Burriana extends for several kilometres but Calahonda and Salon, close to the iconic Balcon de Europa, have a much cosier feel to them. Caletilla and Torrecilla complete the town’s quintet of beaches, and walking from end to end isn’t too strenuous if you don’t mind a bit of Google Maps assistance around the built up areas! The aforementioned Balcon de Europa is the focal point allowing you to get your bearings along the Mediterranean coast.
Every Tuesday Nerja hosts a very colourful market, and on Saturdays the same location becomes more of a flea market. There are plenty of touristy souvenirs but also all the essentials. It’s a good walk there from the beach area but not too difficult. There are special buses around the town that will take you there and drop you back near your accommodation.
The Nerja Caves are just a few kilometres out of town. Having been there before, we decided to give them a miss but they are great if it’s your first time. Instead we went in search of the Roman aqueduct. Sometimes things just don’t live up to expectation and sadly this was one of those occasions. The best viewpoint is from the busy N-340 road to the east of town. The official viewpoint, however, has the bridge carrying that same road firmly blocking the view! It is possible to walk along the dry river to the base of the aqueduct but there seem to be various squatter encampments nearby so tread carefully. You can read more about it here.
As we so often do, we managed to find a nice circular walk to stretch our legs a little. You can find the route on Strava. It was very easy and we saw some nice sights. The multi-coloured steps were a particular highlight!
There are countless options for food and drink in Nerja. Four places particularly impressed us though. For a pre-dinner drink head for La Vermutería 4 and try the vermut malagueña. If you’ve never tried vermouth before, it’s a great chance to give it a go and you won’t be disappointed. It makes a refreshing change from wine as an aperitif. Their tapas is pretty good too. Afterwards we were lucky to get into El Refugio without a reservation. Their range of dishes was incredible but we were swayed by the giant chunks of meat cooked over a barbecue on a skewer! We loved having lunch at the Mena Garden restaurant. Sitting in their cosy garden in the sunshine really was one of life’s little pleasures. Late night drinks can be enjoyed in comfort and coolness at the Buddha Lounge. It was surprisingly reasonably priced too.
We decided against staying a hotel as we were there with friends. Purely by chance we found a great 2-bedroom apartment on Booking.com and we’d highly recommend it, although if you are there in the height of summer it’s worth noting that the second bedroom does not have air conditioning!