Blessed with white beaches, mountain backdrops, and hosting several masterpieces of architecture, the town of Nerja is the beating heart of this sunny region. This charming town lies along Costa del Sol in Andalucía, on the country's southern Mediterranean coast.

    The centre of Nerja is dotted with historic houses and cosy squares, along with natural surroundings of cliffs, canyons and gorgeous mountain tops. The town is steeped in rich history, which you can experience through its famous caves, unique architecture, and eclectic museums. Read our travel guide on Nerja to discover some of the best things to see and do in this pretty coastal town.

    What are the best things to do in Nerja?


    Playa Burriana

    Nerja’s most popular golden beach

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    Playa Burriana spans around 800 metres of soft sand with waving palm trees along its promenade. During the summer, this beach buzzes with activities – you can rent a paddleboat to float on the Mediterranean Sea, challenge your friends to a round of beach volleyball, and enjoy a thrilling jet ski ride.

    The beach also has convenient amenities, including sunbeds for hire, beach showers, and play areas for children. There are plenty of Spanish restaurants on the promenade next to Playa Burriana. A popular spot is Ayo, which serves traditional paella in enormous pans.

    Location: Camino de Burriana, s/n, 29780 Nerja, Spain


    photo by michael clarke stuff (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Balcón de Europa

    Oversee the coast from this incredible viewpoint

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    Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe) is located along Nerja’s coastline in the centre of the old town. What used to be a heavily armed fortress is now a viewpoint dotted with palm trees and a promenade.

    The views over the beaches and rocky seashore are absolutely magnificent. Aside from the stellar scenery over the edge, Balcón de Europa has many restaurants and the white-plastered, 17th-century Church of El Salvador.  

    Location: Plaza Balcón de Europa, 29780, Nerja, Málaga, Spain


    The Aqueduct Eagle

    Majestic waterworks surrounded by nature

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    The Aqueduct Eagle is one of the most superb pieces of architecture in Nerja. The red brick structure dates back to the 19th century, spanning 4 storeys of superimposed arches. It still functions to this very day – locals use the water to irrigate their farmland. 

    If you want to stretch out your legs in the morning, it’s worth climbing the encircling hills for stunning views of the aqueduct. As it’s a public building, no entrance fee is required to see the wonders of this aqueduct and the lush hills around it.

    Location: Barranco de la Coladilla, s/n, 29787 Nerja, Málaga, Spain


    photo by michael clarke stuff (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Rio Chillar

    See limestone cliffs and pools in this gorgeous canyon

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    Nerja is mainly known for its natural beauty, and walking along the Rio Chillar is one of the best opportunities to soak up the gorgeous nature of Spain’s southern coast. Admire the magnificent rock walls, wade through the crystal clear water and dip in one of the pools as a reward for your hike. 

    The river reaches a maximum depth of 30 cm, and the walk is suitable for people of all ages. Be careful of stones in the water as they are quite sharp and slippery. Wear a pair of water shoes or sandals and you’ll be able to take in the views without worry.  

    Location: Caminata por el rio Chillar, 29780 Nerja, Spain


    photo by Emilio (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Nerja Caves

    Explore an underground wonder world

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    Fundación Cueva de Nerja – or Nerja Caves – are arguably the town’s most popular tourist landmarks. The entire cave system stretches out for over 3 miles, with must-sees include a 32-metre-high stalactite and cave paintings dating back thousands of years.

    Don’t miss out on the Nerja Caves Festival if you’re in town during the summer months. The music fiesta takes places inside the caves, which boast amazing acoustics in an enchanting setting. Where else can you attend a concert surrounded by stalagmites, stalactites and centuries-old murals?

    Location: Carr. de Bajada a Playa de Maro, 29787 Málaga, Spain


    photo by Millars (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Pico del Cielo

    Hike along rocky cliffs

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    Pico del Cielo, a summit just outside the town of Nerja, is a haven for sports enthusiasts and active travellers. At 1,508 metres above sea level, the peak offers vistas of Costa del Sol’s entire coastline. On a clear day, the coastline of Morocco is even visible.

    Climbing El Cielo is a popular summertime activity as you get to enjoy unspoiled views. The warm sun also makes up for the cooler air at this altitude. The trail leading to the summit is a loop of almost 19 km, so you’ll need to have a reasonable level of fitness if you’re aiming to finish the entire circuit.

    Location: 29780 Nerja, Spain


    photo by Por los caminos de Málaga (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Museo de Nerja

    A must for history lovers

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    History buffs and those interested in Nerja’s past should head for Museo de Nerja, an interactive museum in Plaza de España. There are 5 rooms with informative videos and artefacts narrating the history of Nerja, its caves and its people. The museum also displays information on the local architecture and industry, which makes it an excellent spot to get to know and understand your holiday destination. Museo de Nerja is free entry if you show your Nerja Caves tickets at the entrance.

    Location: Plaza de España, 4, 29780 Nerja, Spain

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +34 952 527224


    Cascada de Maro

    A 15-metre high waterfall that drops into the sea

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    Cascada de Maro is where the mountains meet the sea in Nerja. Just 2 km southeast of the famous Aqueduct Eagle, this spectacular waterfall tumbles from a height of 15 metres straight into the Mediterranean Sea. The steep limestone cliffs and clear blue waters make for a scenic photo as well.

    You can visit Cascada de Maro on a boat tour, or by sea kayak if you’re feeling active. It’s recommended to go there in April or May when there are fewer visitors. The waterfall is usually more powerful during these months compared to summertime. 

    Location: Río de Sanguino, Málaga, Spain


    Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park

    Explore more mountains in the region

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    If you’re down for hiking and magnificent scenery, the Sierras of Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park has all-natural beauty you could wish for. This mountainous area is home to the Iberian wild goat, fields full of poppies, fragrant herbs, and citrus trees.

    Challenge yourself by hiking from El Robledal to the Maroma summit – at 2,069 metres above sea level, it’s the highest peak in the park. Views of pine forests and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada in the distance make for a pleasant reward. 

    Location: Urb. Costa Aguilera Alta, 115, 18680 Salobreña, Granada, Spain


    photo by Nandicus (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Playa El Salón

    Relax and enjoy the sunset

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    A short stroll away from Balcón de Europa lies Playa El Salón, a beach surrounded by massive boulders and picturesque fisherman's houses. This beach is especially enjoyable at dawn when the fishing boats are back on the beach and locals flock in to enjoy the sunset. To indulge in the atmosphere and relaxation after a day of sightseeing in Nerja, rent a sunbed and watch the sun dive under the horizon.

    Location: Urb. Marinas de Nerja, Nerja, Spain


    photo by Dguendel (CC BY 3.0) modified

    Huub Lakerveld | Contributing Writer

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