Much of Nerja’s charm comes from its narrow winding streets but they also make finding your way around quite confusing if you are a first-time visitor. Driving is even more confusing because so many streets are one-way and several are pedestrianised so the first rule is dump the car. If you use the main car park (see map), take the south exit and you will find yourself on the Balcón de Europa, the “Piccadilly Circus” of Nerja. This peninsula and the area behind it is a magnet for visitors and a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
Stand with your back to the sea and it’s shopping to your right up Calle Pintada and Calle Cristo (also known as Post Office Street). The biggest concentration of restaurants is also on Calle Cristo and off to the left on Calle Gloria. To your left from the Balcón you go past Plaza Cavana and along El Barrio to the left or Diputación to the right for more bars and restaurants. There are, of course, many exceptions but use this as a rule of thumb.
Night life in Nerja is on Antonio Millón and the adjacent Plaza Tutti Frutti which are wall-to-wall with bars, many of them with dancing. The area doesn’t come to life much before midnight and bars stay open until 3.30 am Sunday to Thursday and 4.30 on Friday and Saturday (one hour less in winter). For live music check out both Buskers and Fitzgeralds - they are both on Antonio Millón. There are other bars which stay open later but then it’s mainly on to the discos.
Nerja’s busiest beach is Burriana to the east. Chances are you will have seen this beach in a travel or holiday programme back home, particularly Ayo’s where Ayo himself cooks an enormous paella over an open fire and seems to attract TV crews like flies. There is now such a wide choice of bars and restaurants there that Burriana has almost become a separate self-contained town. Coming back towards the Balcón, there are Playa Carabeo, Playa El Chorrillo and, next to the Balcón itself, Playa Calahonda on one side and Playa El Salón on the other. Further west are Playa La Torrecilla and Playa El Playazo, both of which can be reached down Avda. Castilla Pérez, one of Nerja’s busiest streets.
Discovered in 1959, the Nerja caves are one of the biggest tourist attractions in Spain, visited by hundreds of thousands each year. One of the most beautiful cave complexes in Europe, look especially for the 32m high column in Cataclysm Hall which was formed by an estimated 1,000 billion drops of water. Recently opened are the adjoining Botanical Gardens, they cover 26,000 square metres on a site next to the entrance to the caves. The garden is laid out in four zones, including traditional crops, vegetation linked to climate, vegetation linked to different soils and special collections, with a total of more than 200 species on display. One of the collections features rare and endangered species common to the area. Set around a central lake, the garden also includes a classroom for educational visits and workshops. It is open to the public every day except Sunday from 9.00am to 3.00pm. Admission is free.
The caves lie on the outskirts of Nerja near the village of Maro and are served by a regular bus service or not too far to walk if you’re fit and energetic. If you’re here in July, try to get tickets for the annual festival when famous national and international artists perform in this beautiful underground setting. Opening hours are 10.00-14.00 and 16.00-18.30 (20.00 in July/August). You can also visit the caves on the red train from Plaza Cavana but it is more expensive than the bus.
Nerja does not have its own golf course but it has plenty of golfers. The Golf International Nerja Society (GINS) has some 750 members and for information access the website www.ginsgolf.com and you will find all the necessary contact points. Alternatively, visit their HQ at the El Puente Bar and Restaurant at C/Carretera 4, Nerja and view their notice board. GINS members and a committee member are often available on a Saturday lunch time from 12.30pm.
No visit to Nerja is complete without a trip to Frigiliana, some 5kms inland. This picturesque village is steeped in history and one of the best ways to learn it is to take one of the official walking tours. Want to read more about Frigilian? Click Here. Contact the tourist office for details on 95 253 4261.
For up to date bus times visit www.alsa.es. You can buy tickets online or at the bus station ticket office. There are regular buses to and from Málaga city centre, from here you can catch another bus to the airport. You can also hop on a bus to visit the Caves, Almuñecar or Granada. Please note if catching a bus to Frigiliana, tickets are purchased on the bus itself.
You can get a taxi from Calle San Miguel or Calle Castilla Perez (evenings only).
Or call Nerja Taxi on 645 087 016 Laura