You may remember, we visited “Estepona” in January of this year. And, in April, we decided to return to Spain’s Costa Del Sol – this time, to the pretty, traditional town of Nerja. It’s situated at the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol in the province of Malaga – fifty kilometres from the city of Malaga and within an hour and a half’s drive from Granada and the ski resort of the Sierra Nevada.
Many years ago, Nerja was a sleepy fishing village. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist resorts along this coastline. Nerja has resisted re-development and high-rise apartment blocks, preferring to keep the charm of a seaside town, attracting the more discerning holidaymakers. Nerja is often referred to as the “Jewel” of the Costa del Sol.
On first impressions, this was exactly what we were looking for. We were impressed with the area as we made our way through the bustly narrow, cobbled streets, passing quaint whitewashed houses and upmarket little shops. We knew, immediately, that we liked this place and we were looking forward to exploring it.
Again, we managed to obtain flights which were just over £200.00 per person including a suitcase which I thought was very reasonable, as it was the week leading up to Easter when we travelled.
The Hotel Puerta del Mar
Where We Stayed
We decided to stay in a hotel, this time, and opened for the “Hotel Puerta del Mar.” This small hotel is situated just around the corner from the “Balcon de Europa”, the centre of Nerja.
Our room in the “Hotel Puerta del Mar”.
All the bars and restaurants are within easy walking distance. And, it’s close to the bus station if you want to hop to other places, nearby. One of the things I love about this hotel, as well as the location, is it has a rooftop pool with a large sun terrace/deck.
This was perfect for us as we were able to go there in the afternoons to catch a little sunshine and have a relaxing couple of hours following our time exploring the town.
We stayed in a superior double room which was facing onto the bustly side street. Our room had a Juliet balcony which was a lovely addition as we were able to people watch while having a chilled coffee in our room.
What To Do and See
Like all unfamiliar places, it takes time to become acquainted with the immediate area. We were in Nerja for just over a week and, in that time, we decided to explore at a leisurely pace, not making any fixed plans.
A lovely little Art Gallery we stumbled across
The main attraction in Nerja is the “Balcon de Europa”. The view from here, looking across the sea, is famously spectacular and just the place to while away the time with a coffee, ice cream or an aperitif. It’s a vibrant square nestled next to the beautiful catholic church, “Iglesia de El Salvador”.
Nerja is peppered with bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours and is, therefore, constantly buzzing with people, both day and night. During the summer, this area is the scene of many concerts and plays and I noticed lots of people having their evening ‘paseo’ (leisurely stroll), here.
All the big celebrations or organised events in Nerja seem to begin or end in this location. For example, when we were visiting, there was a big religious festival taking place, which was quite spectacular to see.
The “Papagayo Beach” (see pic) which is a small cove situated near to the Balcon de Europa.
We visited three beaches while we were there. The first one was the “Papagayo Beach” (see above pic) which is a small cove situated near to the Balcon de Europa.
The next one was “Capistrano Playa” which is further along the resort and the third was the largest, “Burriana Beach”.
This is situated in a lovely little bay alongside restaurants and bars. Unfortunately, Nerja does not have a joined-up system of boardwalks like many towns and so it’s not possible to hop from one cove to another. Access to the beaches is usually via a broad flight of steps and a steep walk down. But, definitely worth the effort. I loved these little coves but I can imagine, in the peak season, the beaches will become terribly busy.
Where to Eat
There were many eateries and bars to choose from (too many for our limited time there). The restaurants range from very affordable to Michelin star. All the ones we tried had a lovely vibe and served great food – so much so, we did a few repeat visits, as we loved the food and service so much. Here are a few I can recommend:
We stumbled across this bar/restaurant on our first night while having a little wander. As we were tired following our journey, we thought a quick early bite to eat and a restful sleep was needed. In Nerja, many of the bars offer free tapas with your drink (a cost-effective way to dine if you are on a budget). This was on offer here so we tried a few dishes. We ordered some baked garlic prawns with warm crusty bread to share. I am a pescatarian, so fish is my chosen dish, and this was so delicious.
This is situated just over the way to the Sevillano restaurant. It specializes in Italian, Mediterranean, and European food. I had a beautiful salmon dish, here, and my husband had steak which he thoroughly enjoyed.
This restaurant was conveniently situated off the “Balcon de Europa” and it was our favourite, hence visiting it, twice. With it only being April, there were heaters outside. So, we ate in the evening air. They had a wide selection on the menu to suit everyone’s taste. I had the baked cod and fresh vegetables which were delicious. The staff were courteous and the prices reasonable.
Bars We Visited
For a pre-dinner drink, we liked a bar/restaurant called, “Torrox”. It was just around the corner from our hotel in the square. This is such a vibrant place, both bar and eatery – perfect to people watch. Sometimes, we would wander up to the bustle of Restaurante Sevillano, where customers sat both inside and out, in the small, cobblestone street, before our evening dinner.
And……if you are a night owl and like to get your disco pants on, (sorry, that sounds so cheesy!), there is always the “Tutti Frutti square” which does not get going until 1.00 am in the morning. We didn’t sample it so can’t recommend anywhere in this area.
Other Places to Visit, Nearby
We were full of plans to catch the bus to Malaga to spend the day in the city. It takes about forty minutes and we had heard so many good reports about it. But, we were so preoccupied with Nerja, that didn’t happen. Next time, maybe!!!!
We saw day trips advertised to the “Caves of Nerja which I believe is only a fifteen-minute drive away. There is also the beautiful, whitewashed town of Frigiliana which is only 10 minutes away. We had seen this on the TV programme, “A Place in the Sun”, and it looks a beautiful place to visit.
And, Granada is only an hour’s drive away. Seville is only three hours away.
I hope you have enjoyed my post. Please leave a message in the comments if you have any questions about this area of Spain I will try and answer them to the best of my knowledge.