Nerja is a gorgeous town on the Costa del Sol, near Málaga in Spain, known for its expansive caves and its beautiful setting on the Mediterranean sea. Unsurprisingly the main industry in Nerja is tourism, supported primarily by the English; who love it so much they now make up to 25% of the local population.
We were there because it looked like a good opportunity to break up our trip from Granada to Málaga, spend a night in a hotel and a day relaxing on a nice beach. It was and we did.
To reach Nerja you need to get to either Granada or Málaga first.
From Granada we arranged a rideshare using BlaBlaCar. Our journey took 1.5 hours, cost €6.25 each and we were dropped within five minutes walk to our hotel.
The other option from Granada to Nerja is bus. ALSA run multiple buses daily that take between two and three hours, tickets start from €9.33 each.
Málaga is the closest major city 50km away, but all that really means is a shorter bus ride as Nerja doesn’t have a train station. The Málaga to Nerja bus takes one hour and costs €4.52 each.
Rental car is an option to get to Nerja if you plan to explore further, but since it’s such a short journey make sure to weigh up the cost against the bus.
Hitchhiking is not a great option getting in or out of Nerja. We tried for a couple of hours and ended up on the bus to Málaga.
Once you are in Nerja you either walk or taxi around town. It’s so small that it’s never far to walk and never too expensive to taxi.
Hint – Nerja bus station is really just a layby, so don’t miss it.
Since we were only in Nerja for a quick one night stay, we decided to ‘splash out’ on a hotel. We actually ended up at the Hostal Alhambra in a nice third storey room with a terrace for €45. While it’s not exactly luxury, it was still above our nightly budget and gave us a short break from staying in bnb’s. Overall we were happy with the room and staff and I would recommend it for somewhere relatively cheap.
Actual hostels are hard to come by in Nerja, with Easy Nerja Hostel currently being the solitary option. They have dorm beds starting from €16 per bed per night.
Bnb’s have double rooms starting from around €25 per night, with an average of €50. If you want to rent a whole apartment using a site like Airbnb, prices range from €40 to €80 per night.
Hotels in Nerja (the cheaper places sometimes called ‘Hostals’) have double rooms starting from around €40 per night. Generally if you pay between €60 and €80 per night you will be staying somewhere with three stars, which is better quality than you might think. Anywhere over €100 per night will be luxury.
Nerja is fairly small so don’t fret too much about your location. Many places will have sea views and all are within walking distance to the beach. If you want to be close to the action then the closer you are to the Balcon de Europa the better.
As I’ve mentioned; Nerja is small. There’s honestly not a whole lot to do other than lie on the beach, wander around the town, eat and drink. Which is great if that’s what you’re looking for. Since we didn’t spend a lot of time there my experience is limited, but here’s what I can say:
Walk through the old town to the Balcon de Europa at sunset. There are 400 restaurants in Nerja and in the plaza outside the El Salvador church you will find markets and street performers in the summer. The bustle of thousands of people searching for dinner, walking with ice creams and relaxing in the Spanish climate creates great atmosphere, if a little touristic. The Balcon de Europa provides stunning views of the town, coastline and beaches.
The beaches in and around Nerja are beautiful. The water is warm and clean, and the city beaches are great for relaxing and people watching. Check out this great guide to all the beaches in the area.
For food check out Las Niñas, a friendly tapas restaurant/bar near Playa De La Torrecilla. We ate our full of tapas and raciones for €16.20 between us, the food is ok but the service is great and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun.
There is a lot of research to be done on Nerja restaurants, so take the dive and find somewhere that suits you. The only other place on my list was Momo Burger, which you should really only visit if you’re a local or if you’ve had a guts full of Spanish cuisine and are craving a burger. We didn’t eat there.
The biggest attraction in Nerja, and one of the most popular in Spain, is the Nerja Caves. We didn’t have the time to visit, but if we had even a few more hours we would have made the effort. By all accounts it’s an incredible place and entry is only €10 for adults.
There’s also a pretty cool Aqueduct just out of town, we saw it as we drove in but if you arrive from Málaga (the opposite direction) then you might want to grab a taxi to take you there. It’s 6km from the bus station.
Nerja would be a great holiday destination if you want somewhere small and relaxed with nice beaches and an English speaking crowd. If you had a nice apartment I could imagine spending a week there quite easily. If you are a traveller just cruising through; I would say no more than two nights are needed to see the town.
Hint – This might seem a little cheap, but it’s also true. The Sangria served in cheap bars for a premium is often comparable to the Dom Simon Sangria you can buy in supermarkets for €1 a litre. It’s not great, but you might prefer not getting ripped off every time you fancy a cool fruity boozy drink. Obviously if you want good Sangria find a high quality, well-reviewed bar or restaurant.
Nerja for one night;
This article is also available as a mobile app.
Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
Please consider donating to help keep Roam and Recon going!