It wouldn’t be a real 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 spot located on Costa del Sol, surrounded by mountains and sandy beaches but this one has impressive caves as well! Once it was a sleepy fishing village, now it’s a popular holiday resort, which managed to keep its traditional Andalusian charm. Vamos, let’s discover the best things to do in Nerja, Spain in one day.
Interesting fact. The town owes its name to the Moors. “Nerja” comes from the word “Narixa”, which translates to abundant spring/abundant source.
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Nerja, Spain FAQ
Nerja is located in Andalusia in the Province of Malaga on Costa del Sol in Spain. It lies in close proximity to Malaga, and other beautiful smaller white towns like Benalmadena Pueblo, Mijas Pueblo, or Frigiliana.
Of course! If only to admire breathtaking landscapes from the Balcony of Europe – crystal clear sea water, sandy beaches, and mountains in the background… It’s just amazing! Besides that, there is a small, yet charming, old town where you can get lost for an hour or two.
Nowadays, Nerja is one of the most popular towns on Costa del Sol. It may owe this title thanks to the spectacular Nerja Caves, an old town that has retained traditional Andalusian charm. There are also lovely beaches perfect for relaxing during warm days and breathtaking views of the sea and the nearby mountains.
Nerja is perfect for a one-day trip from nearby cities and a few hours there are enough to see all the attractions and eat a meal in one of its restaurants.
Yes, Nerja is a walkable town. Many of the town’s attractions, restaurants, and beaches are located within a short walking distance from each other. The old town is flat but to get to some beaches you may need to go down a few stairs.
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. It’s a lovely area full of cobbled streets with whitewashed houses decorated with bright flowers, as well as restaurants, tapas bars, cafes, and shops selling handmade products.
In Nerja Old Town, you’ll find points of interest like the Balcon de Europa, El Salvador Church, or the Museum of the Village of Nerja.
Nerja Balcony of Europe
Visiting the Balcony of Europe (es. Balcon de Europa) is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Nerja. It’s a round balcony sitting on a cliff, offering magnificent views over the Mediterranean Sea and the coastline. In the past, it was part of the watchtower of an Arabic fortress, from which people carefully watched 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 just a step away from the Balcon de Europa. The church was built in the 17th century and the bell tower was added a little later, in 1724. Last time it was restored in 1997. Interesting fact: 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 already got a ticket for the Nerja Caves. In another case, entry costs 3€ for adults, and 2€ for children 6-12 years old (September 2023). To check out current prices and opening hours visit cuevadenerja.es website.
Beaches In Nerja
Hitting the beach is a thing to do in Nerja that definitely can’t be skipped. There are 10 beaches in Nerja town center and a few more on the outskirts. On most of them, you’ll find various amenities like restaurants, bars, toilets, showers, sunbeds, or even jet skis to rent.
Playa de Burriana is the largest, and the most popular beach in Nerja. Other most popular ones include Playa la Caletilla, Playa Torrecilla, Playa de la Calahonda, Playa El Chorrillo and Playa el Salon. We also really enjoyed the small Playa Carabeo.
Need more beach ideas to choose from? You can check out 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. On the map at the end of this post, you can take a look at their exact locations.
Mirador Del Bendito
While wandering in the Nerja Old Town, sooner or later you’ll reach Mirador Del Bendito, located right next to the Playa de Burriana. This viewpoint is a great place to relax for a little while admiring beautiful views over the sea and a beach.
A little further out of the old town, in the direction of Cuevas de Nerja, you’ll find Eagle’s Aqueduct (es. Acueducto del Aguila). 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 Eagle’s Aqueduct from the road leading to Maro. Andalusian Government officially named Acueducto del Aguila as a Site of Special Cultural Interest.
Visiting Nerja Caves (es. Cuevas de Nerja) is one of the most popular things to do in Nerja, and for many the main reason to visit this area. 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!
Entrance to Nerja caves costs €15 for adults and €13 for kids (September 2023). To buy online tickets and check out current prices and opening hours visit cuevadenerja.es website. The whole visit is relatively short, up to 1 hour. There’s parking available on site.
Other things to do in Nerja, Spain
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 on a clear day you can even see the African coastline.
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.
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.
How to get to Nerja, Spain?
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.
Airports near Nerja
The closest airport to Nerja is located in Malaga, 80km away. From it, you can reach the town by bus, car, or taxi. Please check the connections you might be interested in on rome2rio.com website.
To Nerja by bus
You can 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 rome2rio.com or alsa.com website.
To Nerja by train
Unfortunately, there is no train station in Nerja. The closest one is located in Malaga, about 65km away, and from there you can take a bus or taxi to Nerja. You can check out a map of available train connections on acprail.com website.
Best things to do in Nerja, Spain in one day – Summing up
Now you know what are the best things to do in Nerja in one day. It’s a very charming place on Costa del Sol, isn’t it? No matter if you’ll be visiting it only for a weekend or if you’re planning on staying a little longer for holidays – we’re almost sure that you’ll really enjoy this place.
Our opinion about Nerja, Spain
For us, a visit to Nerja was a one-day trip from Mijas Las Lagunas where we lived for a few weeks during our first season of digital nomads life. We visited the town in November and during that time it was quiet, without crowds. Also, we managed to combine exploring Nerja with Frigiliana and Torrox. It was a really long day but well spent. As for our opinion – we really liked Nerja. Strolling among its peaceful old town, admiring amazing views from many viewpoints, and relaxing on the beach was a real pleasure. Nothing to complain about!
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.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com
Nerja, Spain - Map of places
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