Although there are no prior references to or information about the settlements in the area where Nerja stands today, certain theories speak of the existence of some sort of human settlement during the Upper Paleolithic, in the Cuevas de Nerja or Nerja Caves, and around the town center, as well as the possibility of a settlement in Roman times, due to Nerja’s proximity to the Roman villa of Detunda, present-day Maro.
Following the surrender of Velez in 1487, Pedro de Córdoba took possession of Nerja on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs. Under Christian rule, the town began to lose inhabitants, so to avoid further losses, Joanna the Madordered Nerja to be repopulated with old Christians from Vizcaya, Valencia, Galicia, and Malaga itself, and these moved into the abandoned homes and were granted exemption from paying tax and all other levies or excise duties, as well as from the sales tax, and fishing fees.
Towards the end of the 16th century, the first sugar factory was set up, and at the end of the 18th century, a paper factory that was supplied with water from the Miel river and operated until the 20th century. During the War of Independence, the English tore down the fortress that stood where the Balcón de Europa is today and also destroyed the port constructed for cabotage.
Transfers from Malaga Airport to Nerja
The easiest way to get to Nerja is to travel from Malaga, which is easily accessible from pretty much anywhere in Spain.
If you are searching online for a train connecting Nerja to Malaga then you likely won’t find anything in your search results. This is because currently there is no actual Malaga to Nerja train service that connects these two cities.
The easiest and fastest ways: You can take a Nerja taxi from Málaga, transfers from Malaga Airport to Nerja or take a bus from the AirPort or Málaga center bus station from 5€ aprox. Which. is the cheapest way so far.
Things to do in Nerja
Explore Nerja Caves
Today, it is home to the tallest stalactite and stalagmite formations in the world, the most impressive being a gigantic column located in the “Hall of Cataclysm”, which has been listed in the Guinness Book of Records since 1989 as the world’s largest. Discovered in 1959, the Nerja Caves have been declared a Historical and Archaeological Monument, also thanks to their great variety of cave paintings dating to prehistoric times. remember to take some warm clothing as the temperature drops significantly once you’re inside the cave. Meanwhile, a visit to the Nerja Caves is not recommended if you suffer from claustrophobia, and children must be accompanied by an adult because the track consists of stairs, slopes, and bridges.
Stroll Along Balcon de Europa
The first thing you should visit is the spectacular Balcón de Europa, the most famous place in Nerja. Its name harks back to an incident starring King Alfonso XII. The town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1884, hence the king made the decision to visit in person and see what damage had been sustained. As soon as he spied the rocky outcrop on which the 9th-century Moorish fortress stood, he exclaimed: “This is the Balcony of Europe“.
Wander around Nerja’s Historic Center
It wouldn’t be a true Spanish city without a historic center full of narrow streets, old buildings, and a church or cathedral (or two).
Nerja’s historic center does not deviate from the norm and creates a village-like atmosphere along the pedestrian cobblestone streets. This is a great way to escape the resort feeling the rest of Nerja has and get back to good old-fashioned Spanish roots.
There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops in the historic center if you need to rest your feet for a bit. But if you’re up for some walking, then it’s worth wandering around.
There are landmarks like the El Salvador Church, which dates back to the 17th century, and the Nuestra Senora de las Angustias Hermitage, which is from the 16th century and filled with gorgeous paintings by Alonso Cano.
No matter where you end up in the historic center, you can’t go wrong!
Kayak or Paddleboard the Nerja Coast
Discover the most unusual places that are not accessible by other means. The kayak outings in Nerja combine sport, sea, and adventure. The experience does not include any tour guide.
Kayaking for 2 hours or more through the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, specifically in Nerja (Malaga) where you will get in touch with the environment and reach the most remote places. In addition, you can rest a while giving yourself a bath in these waters.
Make Your Way to Frigiliana
Frigiliana is a traditional Andalusian white village in the hills. I figured it would be a lesser version of Pampaneira and Búbion in the Alpujarras, but it had a charm all of it’s own. There are art and craft shops you could spend time exploring, and numerous restaurants where you can enjoy Spanish food.
In the Barribarto, as Frigiliana’s historic city centre is also known, you can breathe in the Moorish atmosphere that was the master back in the XVI century. The narrow streets that wind up through the attached white houses are a picturesque jewel of the region of La Axarquía.
The Barribarto was declared Conjunto Histórico-Artístico in 2014 (Historic-Artistic Grouping), and one of the main reasons for that is because it is considered to be one of the best-preserved historic city centres in the province of Malaga.
The hill behind Frigiliana is called El Fuerte, and you can climb to its 7-km far top through a mesmerising hiking route from Frigiliana. Once on top, enjoy its 963-meter height and take pleasure in the breathtaking views of the white village and the coastal area of Malaga you can spot from there.
A curiosity: when the Spanish troops conquered Frigiliana in 1569, the Moorish soldiers plunged from the hill to prevent the Spaniards from capturing them.