When it comes to choosing a good holiday abroad, the Costa Del Sol will probably forever rank as one of Britain’s favourite destinations. Especially during the summer months of course! You can’t really go wrong with sun, sand and sea, can you? And the sheer number of British holidaymakers that enjoy all that Spain’s most popular coastline has to offer speaks for itself.
For years, most tourists thought that enjoying the Costa Del Sol meant landing at Malaga Airport and heading down the coast. But finally, other equally and even more beautiful towns and beaches further up the coastline are being given the credit they deserve. And a number of these great locations are now featured by top accommodation providers like Clickstay, who have 75,000 properties worldwide.
I visit the Costa Del Sol often as my other half is from Gibraltar. In case you’re wondering, Gibraltar is a small British territory at the Southern tip of Spain. When it comes to city life on the Costa del Sol, Malaga is pretty unbeatable in my book. But when I need some quality chill time, my favourite place to visit is the coastal town of Nerja.
Nerja lies about 35 miles north-east of Malaga. It’s very well known all over Spain because of the many caves that have their entrances locally but which are now thought to form part of one of the largest sinkhole systems in the world. These sinkholes stretch deep into the mountains, all the way up to and even beyond the gorgeous city of Granada.
Visiting some of Nerja’s caves is a must-do, especially if you’re a big history and photography buff like me. From experience I can tell you that it’s fascinating to see how the incredible history that Nerja holds dear also co-exists with the vibrant culture evident in the town’s gorgeous little squares and streets.
My last visit to Nerja was for a long weekend last Easter. While it wasn’t warm enough yet for a swim, I still really enjoyed my stay. Nerja’s raw beauty naturally really makes you feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. I love sitting at the local cafes sipping coffee or chocolate caliente (homemade hot chocolate) and just taking in the relaxed atmosphere that seems to come naturally to Spanish culture. I love Spanish food, too, and Nerja has plenty of great places to eat that definitely won’t break your wallet.
Sand and Sea
If your visiting Nerja during summer then obviously it’s the beach that takes the limelight. Burriana beach is probably the most popular beach in Nerja. The facilities there are particularly excellent. At the back of the beach is a lovely promenade, the Paseo Marítimo Antonio Mercero. It’s lined on the one side by palm trees and on the other by beach restaurants. So if you’re looking for a place where you can spend the whole day both having a great time and relaxing, this is definitely somewhere to check out.
The Balcony of Europe
You may have already heard of the Balcony of Europe. It’s basically a large round balcony on a cliff in Nerja, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The views from the balcony are pretty spectacular as you have a panoramic view of the Sierra Almijara mountain range and the coast, with its sandy beaches, coves and rocky outcrops. I’ve visited Nerja 5 or 6 times in total and have always made a point of going to the Balcony of Europe. Somehow, every time I go the experience always feels uniquely different.
Where to Stay
The range of accommodation available in Nerja is perhaps surprisingly plentiful given the town’s rather small size. I’ve stayed in a hotel, villa and b & b in Nerja and have thoroughly enjoyed my stay each time. The Spanish put a lot of effort into comfort and decor and cultural quaintness is a quality much respected. Overall I’d opt for villas in Nerja rather than hotels as you get a better sense of what it’s like to live there. Plus you’ll feel more in tune with local life.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning Frigiliana, a small pueblo blanco (white town of Andalucia) about 5 miles outside Nerja. It’s a place you simply have to see during your visit to Nerja. Frigiliana has been voted the ‘prettiest village in Andalucia’ by the Spanish Tourism Authority. But for all its acclaim it has lost none of its stunning natural charm. The village is a maze of beautiful narrow cobbled streets lined by whitewashed houses, with wrought-iron balconies filled with planters of wonderful red geraniums. Small plazas provide shady seating and the village bars are perfect if you like to taste locally produced wine.
Have you visited Nerja, or would you like to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!