Nerja

Playa Calahonda

Nerja (pronounced like: N'air'-ha) is a seaside resort on the Costa del Sol, in the region of Andalucia of Spain. It is one of the few resort towns on Costa del Sol that isn't dominated by large ugly concrete hotels and it's situated in the attractive foothills of the Sierra Almijara mountains.

Understand

Don't be misled by the tourist brochure descriptions of Nerja as a fishing village. Tourism is this town's main industry and the few fishermen with their boats still to be seen along the beach provide a picturesque scene for visitors and a slim livelihood for local families. Until the last decade the town retained a strong Spanish identity, but during recent years the influx of both northern European visitors and residents has eroded significantly the genuine charm of a truly Spanish working town.

That said, compared to many other Costa Del Sol destinations, especially to the west of Malaga, Nerja is not a very "touristy" town. It is a quiet town with a central historical area that still feels like a village, and the tourist mix is not exclusively northern European as many Spanish people use this resort for holidays, together with French and Italians. Unsurprisingly, the relative peacefulness of the town along with the absence of high rise developments along the coast or noisy nightclubs means many British people have retired here.

The town is built on a hillside with a not too steep gradient and the sprawling centre itself consists of an older part with white streets partly pedestrianized mainly to the east of the Balcon de Europa, the natural focus of the town and the venue for fiestas, but beyond the 17th century church and the Plaza Cavana more modern development takes over and it is in these areas that the town seems like any other recently developed Spanish Costa resort.

Get in

Map of Nerja

There is no plane, boat or train service to Nerja - the nearest city you can access with these modes of transport is Malaga to the west. The train station in Malaga is across the street from the bus station, where you catch a bus to Nerja. The port in Malaga serves cruise ships from North Africa (alternatively, there is a seaport in Almeria to the east).

From Malaga Airport, which is served by flights from across Europe and America, you can drive along the A-7 E-15 motorway in the direction of Almeria and Motril, hire a taxi to Nerja (which will run you anything from €78-100, or you can prebook a taxi with Nerja Taxis for around €69), or Pre-Book your Malaga Airport Transfers with malaga cabbie for €65 a really good bargain or you can take a bus to the Malaga bus station and transfer to a Nerja-bound bus there.

By bus

The bus stop in Nerja is on Avenida de Pescia, between a large roundabout and a bridge with blue railings. There's no facilities - it's just a ticket booth with benches, with taxis occasionally parking across the street. The stop is about a 10 minute walk inland from the Balcony of Europe and serves buses along the coast and to the major Andalusian cities. From Malaga there is non-stop service available and a trip will cost less than €5. Alternatively, there is another bus stop a few miles outside Nerja proper serving the Nerja caves.

Nerja has buses to many other places in southern Spain, but some as little as one bus a day.

By car

The A-7 E-15 motorway runs parallel to the coast, with Nerja situated about a 10 minute drive from the clearly marked freeway exit. Be aware that the long Torrox tunnel you will drive through has cameras at both ends to calculate your speed and fines for speeding are harsh.

Even in the winter months, street parking can be very difficult in the town's narrow and sometimes one-way streets, so use one of the two large central carparks instead - One is situated off Calle La Cruz, right in the middle of town, which charges a reasonable rate per hour. The other is a larger car park off Prol Carabeo, a 5 minute walk from the town centre and the one most often used by locals but very expensive for visitors.

The town has a number of roundabouts. Be aware that the Spanish are taught to drive around the outside of a roundabout, even when going all the way around, and have the right of way when they do so. This leads to them cutting across the path of tourists on the inside who think they have the right of way. Also many people tend to step out onto crossings without even looking so always be prepared to stop at a crossing.

Distances to/from Nerja: Madrid 550 km, Almeria 170 km, Granada 105 km, Malaga 50 km

Get around

Walking is the easiest way. The centre of Nerja is small enough to be able to walk around on foot though you will find yourself walking up or down a sometimes gradual, sometimes steep hill much of the time. As the town has no specific center, shops, banks, bars and eateries are scattered throughout the town.

There is a bus from the beach near the Monica hotel which takes you uphill as far as the Sol supermarket. Next stop is about a mile out of town, before returning on the same route. Another bus from the same stop takes you uphill then along the N340 and past where the Tuesday and Sunday market is held (it stops there on the way there and back so gets very crowded on market days). Do not get them mixed up.

See

The Balcony of Europe
The EU Blue Flag awarded Playa Burriana

Do

There is a shop amongst the shops facing the Burriana beach which has diving gear and tanks for hire and does courses on PADI diving.

There are a number of internet cafes around town, some of which will print off pages, including etickets if using Ryanair. Prices range from 1 euro (with a ticket allowing 10 or more hours over your stay) to 3.50 euros an hour, with most charging about 1.80. A fair number of bars, hotels and hostlels (hostals) have free wifi. Like elsewhere in Spain, some bars also have large screen TV's showing football matches.

There is a carnival each year in February or March. The parade starts in the evening near the Hotel Jimasol and makes its way uphill then downhill by a different route. The local tourist office has full details.

There is also a local Feria celebration in October which goes on for about a week, day and night, well into the early hours of the morning. If you are staying anywhere near the celebrations, don't expect to get to sleep till the noise finally stops.

Walks

Nerja is set in the attractive foothills of the Sierra de Almijarra, and has plenty of good walking routes for all abilities nearby. However increasingly around town there is dog muck on the pavements from lazy dog owners who are legally obliged to pick it up in bags and dispose of it. This is despite an army of street cleaners out each morning who work to keep the streets tidy.

Learn

Buy

The maximum you can draw out from all of the town's ATMs on a non-Spanish credit or debit card per calendar week is 500 euros.

There are markets on Sundays (Boot Market, now located near the Almijara 11 area and Flaming Urbanisations) a good distance from the centre of town and Tuesdays at Chaparil. There is a Thursday fleamarket at the Boatyard.

As well as a wide assortment of small shops around town selling all sorts of items (do shop around), there are several Chinese bazaars which sell a huge selection of items fairly cheaply.

There are also a number of foreign exchange bureaus around the lower part of town which give better rates than in Britain, with no commission. They change British pounds, Scandinavian currencies and American and Canadian dollars. Sometimes other currencies.

Eat

View northeast from the Balcony of Europe

If staying at one of the many apartments in Nerja, there are a number of supermarkets: Mercadona, Sol, Mas, etc as well as mini-marts around town. Also a Lidl a little way along the Frigiliana road out of town. Supermarket hours are normally 09:15 to 21:15, Mondays to Saturdays. Shut Sundays. Although superficially there appears to be many foreign owned tourist restaurants, there are a significant number of Spanish owned places to eat since the town has a large Spanish population.


Drink

Sleep

There is a large choice of hotels, apartments and hostels. Long rentals are advertised at many agencies around town, which take advantage of the very mild but sometimes a bit wet winters in Nerja. Some have satellite TV with British channels, but others are just Spanish TV. Some accommodation has free WiFi.

Connect

There is only one post office in town and expect to wait in a long queue there. Spanish title is Correos and it is at the Balcon de Europa end of Calle Almirante Ferrándiz. Hours are 8.30AM to 8.30PM Mon to Fri and 9.30AM to 1PM Sat. There are a number of post boxes around town.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, January 09, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.