It wouldn’t be a true south Spanish town without an old town full of old whitewashed houses, cobbled streets, and a church, right? In this regard, Nerja doesn’t differ from the rest – it’s another beautiful town located on Costa del Sol in Spain, surrounded by mountains and sandy beaches but this one has impressive caves as well! Once a fishing village, now a popular holiday resort, which kept its traditional Andalusian charm. Nerja is also a perfect place to visit whenever you’ll be near Frigiliana. Vamos, let’s discover the best things to do in Nerja, Spain during one day.
Interesting fact. Town owes its name to the Moors. “Nerja” comes from the word “Narixa”, which translates to abundant spring/abundant source.
Of course, if only to see and admire landscapes from the Balcony of Europe – amazingly blue sea water, sandy beaches, and mountains in the background… Something beautiful! Besides that, there is a small yet charming old town where you can get lost for hours.
- Best things to do in Nerja, Spain in one day
- Bonus things to do in Nerja
- How to get to Nerja, Spain?
- Best things to do in Nerja – Summing up
- Restaurants, accommodations, and map
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Best things to do in Nerja, Spain in one day
Nerja Old Town
Strolling around the picturesque Nerja Old Town is a must if you want to escape from vivid resorts, and feel a true Andalusian vibe. Old Town is full of cobbled streets with whitewashed houses decorated with bright flowers. It’s also full of restaurants, tapas bars, cafes, and shops selling handmade products.
In Nerja Old Town, you’ll also find places like Balcón de Europa, El Salvador Church, or the Museum of the village of Nerja.
Nerja Balcony of Europe
The Balcony of Europe (es. Balcon de Europa) without a doubt is a must of all the things to do in Nerja and in Andalusia. It is easily accessible in the city center and you just simply cannot miss it. It’s a round balcony sitting on a cliff, which offers magnificent views over the Mediterranean Sea and Costa del Sol. In the past, the balcony was part of the watchtower of an Arabic fortress, from which people scanned the sea for pirates. Balcon de Europa gained its name in 1885, during the visit of King Alfonso XII (whose statue you can also admire on the balcony).
Church of El Salvador
Church of El Salvador (es. Iglesia de El Salvador) is located a step away from the Balcon de Europa in Nerja. The church was built in the 17th century, the bell tower was added in 1724, and was last restored in 1997. Also, Iglesia de El Salvador is one of the few temples in the world to have representations of all three archangels.
Museum of the village of Nerja
The Museum of the village of Nerja (es. Museo de Nerja) is located in Plaza de Espana and is a must for those interested in history and culture. This interactive museum explores the history of Nerja from Paleolithic times to the 20th century. One of the most fascinating “objects” inside is the skeleton of Pepita, a young woman who used to live in the caves many years ago.
Entry is free if you’ve got your ticket for the Nerja Caves. In another case, it’s 3€, and 2€ for children 6-12 years old (November 2022). Check out current prices and opening hours on cuevadenerja.es website.
Beaches In Nerja
Of all the things to do in Nerja, of course, you cannot miss going to the beach, even for a little while. There are 10 beaches in the town center and a few others on the outskirts. On most of them, you’ll find many restaurants and bars, toilets, showers, sunbeds, or even jet skis to rent. Playa de Burriana is the largest, and the most popular one. Other popular ones are: Playa la Caletilla, Playa Torrecilla, Playa de la Calahonda, Playa El Chorrillo and Playa el Salon. We also really enjoyed the small Playa Carabeo. Other beaches in Nerja are: Playa El Chucho, Playa de Maro, Playa de las Alberquillas, Playa de Cantarriján (nudist beach), Calas Torre del Pino, Playa del Molino de Papel, or Cala del Canuelo. And you can take a look at where those are exactly on the map at the end of this post.
Mirador Del Bendito
While wandering in the Nerja Old Town, sooner or later you’ll reach Mirador Del Bendito, right next to the Playa de Burriana. Mirador is a great place to relax for a little while and offers beautiful views over the sea, and a beach.
A little further out of the old town, in the direction of Cuevas de Nerja, the Eagle’s Aqueduct (es. Acueducto del Aguila) is located. It was built in the 19th century and used to be a water supplier for a sugar factory known as Fabrica San Joaquin de Maro (eng. San Joaquín Sugar Mill). You can see the aqueduct from the road leading to Maro. Andalusian Government officially named Acueducto del Aguila as a Site of Special Cultural Interest.
Caves of Nerja
Caves of Nerja (es. Cuevas de Nerja) are one of the main attractions among all the things to do in Nerja. They were discovered in 1959 by a group of young locals who were on a late-night walk searching for bats. Until then they lay unseen, even though these caves had been used by early civilizations. In 2012 it was announced that possibly Neanderthal cave paintings, dated 42000 years, have been discovered in the Cuevas de Nerja (but you won’t be able to see them, due to conservation purposes and preservation from the green sickness). Caves of Nerja is most famous for housing the world’s largest stalactite with 32m height, and a base measuring 13x7m – very impressive!
The whole visit is relatively short, normally up to 1 hour. There’s parking available on site.
Online prices: €12,75 for adults, €10.75 for kids (November 2022). To buy tickets or check current prices and opening hours visit cuevadenerja.es website.
Bonus things to do in Nerja
Bonus for hiking enthusiasts: Pico del Cielo
Pico del Cielo is the highest summit in the area, with an altitude of 1508m a.s.l. It’s located in The Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara, and Alhama Natural Park, just outside of Nerja, only 6km from the coast. Technically it’s an easy hike, but it may be tough in terms of endurance. You would need about 4 hours to reach the top, and the whole trail is about 18km (check out the hiking route here). At the summit, amazing views over the coast and inland are waiting, and you can even see the African coastline on a clear day.
Bonus: a trip to Frigiliana
If you still haven’t visited Frigiliana, now is a good time to do so. This charming little village is located only 7km inland from Nerja, at 320 m a.s.l, squeezed between the Mediterranean Sea and Parque Natural de Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama. Frigiliana has a typical Mediterranean vibe and is one of the best-preserved villages in the whole province of Málaga. Spanish Tourism Board named the town the most beautiful village in Andalusia.
Learn more: Frigiliana, The Most Beautiful Village In Andalusia
Bonus: a trip to Torrox
If you still don’t have enough sightseeing, and you still have the strengths you can drive to Torrox, which claims to have “the best climate in Europe”. The town is divided into two parts: Torrox Costa and Torrox Pueblo, 4km inland. On Torrox Costa, you’ll find beautiful beaches, lighthouse, Roman archaeological remains, and 15th-century watchtowers. In Torrox Pueblo just stroll through the streets, rest for a while on Plaza de la Constitución and the 17th century Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación Church.
Learn more: 7 Best Things To Do In Torrox, Spain
How to get to Nerja, Spain?
Nerja is located 7km from Frigiliana, 55km from Malaga, 90km from Mijas Pueblo, and 100km from Antequera. The most convenient way to get to Nerja is by car.
Where to park in Nerja?
There are few paid parking lots in the area. We left our car in this parking lot for 1€ for the whole day (November 2021). It’s located very close to Balcón de Europa, about a 10 min walk.
Airport near Nerja, Spain
The closest airport to Nerja o is located in Malaga, 80km away. From it, you can reach the town by bus, car, or taxi. For example, trip by bus will take you about 1h45min (€4-11) or 45min by taxi (€80-100). You can check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Nerja by bus
You can also easily get to Nerja by bus. There are direct and usually cheap connections from many places like Mijas, Malaga, Marbella, or Estepona. Please check the connections you are interested in on the rome2rio.com website.
To Nerja by train
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Nerja or in the area.
Best things to do in Nerja – Summing up
Now you know many great things to do in Nerja, Spain. Hope you’ll enjoy it, whether it would be sightseeing, eating something delicious, or just enjoying the beaches in Nerja.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Nerja?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Nerja:
Where to sleep in Nerja?
MB Boutique Hotel (Adults Only)
MB Boutique Hotel is an adults-only hotel located in the heart of Nerja, just a short walk from the beach. The hotel features a rooftop terrace with a plunge pool and stunning views of the sea and mountains. The rooms are stylishly decorated and equipped with modern amenities, including air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi.
Apartamentos Pepe Mesa
Apartamentos Pepe Mesa is an accommodation situated in the heart of Nerja. The apartments are well-equipped with all necessary amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. The property also offers a lovely rooftop terrace with a pool, sun loungers, and panoramic views of the town and the sea.
Hotel Toboso Chaparil
Hotel Toboso Chaparil is located in the heart of Nerja, just a few minutes' walk from the famous Burriana Beach. The hotel features comfortable and spacious rooms with private balconies, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. Guests can also enjoy the hotel's rooftop terrace with a swimming pool and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Hostal Nerjasol is a budget-friendly guesthouse located in the heart of Nerja. The rooms are cozy and well-equipped, offering guests a comfortable stay. The hostal is conveniently located near restaurants, shops, and the beach, making it a great choice for those looking to explore the town.
Apartamentos Perla Marina
Apartamentos Perla Marina is a beachfront accommodation in Nerja. The apartments offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and come equipped with a private balcony or terrace. The location is ideal for those looking to relax and soak up the sun, with easy access to the beach and nearby restaurants and bars.