Nerja makes an easy day trip from Malaga, but what if you want to spend a little more time exploring the white town? We recently spent 48 hours in the resort and based on what we did and saw, have put together an itinerary for a weekend in Nerja. We’ve included something for everyone and recommendations for eating out and where to stay.
Day 1 of a weekend in Nerja
Morning – explore the centre
Once you’ve dropped off your luggage, put on some comfy shoes and get ready to explore Nerja old town. Make the picturesque Balcón de Europa with its sweeping Med and mountain views your starting point. Don’t miss the selfie opportunities with the statue of King Alfonso XII.
Admire the beaches from above – Playa Calahonda to your left and Playa del Salón on your right – before heading for the main square and church. Notice the lovely cobbled streets, the giant Araucaria tree outside the church and the pristine white façades.
Did you know? The salón (living room) in Playa del Salón is really shalom, used by the Jews as they said goodbye to Nerja from this beach after they were expelled from Spain by King Felipe II.
Suggestion for lunch in Nerja – fine dining
Like all resorts on the Costa del Sol, Nerja does seafood and fried fish exceptionally well. But in the last few years, the town has upped its foodie game. Treat yourself to some of the finest dining on the Costa del Sol at Patanegra 57 (Calle Almirante Ferrándiz) where chef Sergio Paloma works real magic using local ingredients.
Afternoon – take to the caves
No weekend in Nerja would be complete without a visit to the caves. One of the most famous attractions on the Costa del Sol, the caves were discovered 60 years ago by chance by five local boys chasing bats. Today, you visit just a small part of these enormous caverns that stretch far underground.
Don’t miss the giant stalactites and stalagmites, which take thousands of years to join; the ‘ghosts’, the ‘sheets’, the ‘organ’, the ‘broccoli’ … plus lots of other curious rock formations. Treat yourself to a guided tour (tickets €19 instead of €13) to discover cave secrets and hidden corners you wouldn’t otherwise see.
Did you know? Nerja comes from the Arabic Narixa meaning many fountains – that’s why this corner of the Costa del Sol is so green.
Evening – tapas and flamenco
Dive into the side streets away from the beaten tourist trail and snack of tapas like the locals. Try the fresh fried fish at La Puntilla in Calle Bolivia or Taberna de Pepe in Calle Herrera Oria. Finish your evening with a dash of some live flamenco at Bar El Molino in Calle San José.
Day 2 of a weekend in Nerja – morning
Morning – discover the beaches
Nerja might look small but its coastline stretches for 9km along the Mediterranean with 9 beaches, all very different. Choose from bigger beaches like Burriana and Torrecilla, tiny stretches of sand such as Carabeo (accessed via the steps from Balcón de Europa) or ‘secret’ coves like those in Maro to the east of Nerja.
The Maro coastline with its impressive cliffs is protected and a hotspot for watersports such as paddle surf, kayaking and snorkelling. One of the best ways to admire this part of Nerja is from a kayak – you can hire one at Burriana beach or on Maro beach itself.
Did you know? Nerja has a year-round calendar of festivities. The Carnival in February is one of the annual highlights – thousands of locals dress up for the parade to let their hair down before Lent.
Suggestion for lunch in Nerja – traditional tasting
Today’s foodie recommendation is all about getting back to basics. Head for one of the chiringuitos (beach restaurants) on the sands to sample local cooking at its best. At La Barca on Burriana beach, for example, they do paella, sardines and fresh fish, all cooked to perfection on the open fire at the back of the restaurant. Also on the menu are fried fire, seafood, salads and excellent homemade chips!
Afternoon – some you-time
A weekend in Nerja should include some time-out so treat yourself to a lounger by the pool or on the beach. We spent a very relaxing couple of hours gazing at the sea and mountains from the garden in the Parador in the shade of the century-old ombú trees in the botanical garden.
Did you know? Nerja is a popular location for Bollywood films with dance scenes filmed on the Balcón de Europa.
Evening – shopping
After a well-earned siesta, complete your weekend in Nerja with a spot of retail therapy. Shopping is excellent in Nerja – browse to your heart’s content in the stores on Calle Almirante Ferrándiz and Calle Pintada. There’s a great mix of chain stores, fashion boutiques, art galleries and artisan shops. Perfect for a souvenir!
Where to stay in Nerja
There’s a long list of hotels plus a good choice of holiday lets in Nerja. Guide to Malaga stayed at the Parador de Nerja, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sea views come guaranteed from all 98 rooms and the service is excellent. Double rooms cost from €95 in low season.
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