Nerja Tourist Attractions & Things to Do

Top of your list of things to do in Nerja must be a visit to the fascinating prehistoric caves where you step back in time five million years!

You'll find the caves three kilometres east of the town on Carretera de la Cueva. They house archaeological treasures including prehistoric remains and wall paintings thought to be 20,000 years old. Skeletal remains and other archaeological finds suggest these caves were inhabited from 25,000 BC up until the Bronze Age.

The caves, known as the natural cathedral of the Costa del Sol, were discovered by a group of boys from the nearby village of Maro in 1959 and are now one of Andalucia's most popular tourist attractions. They were formed by natural calcification and underground rivers five million years ago. The 22 cave paintings have been declared a national monument of historic and artistic importance.


The cave people would marvel if they could see what's happened to their former home! These days the caves host a major international music festival which takes place in July and attracts some big name stars. Throughout the summer months you can enjoy music, ballet and concerts in the huge natural cavern which has been sympathetically transformed into a theatre.

  • Spain Beach
  • Spain Beach
  • Spain Beach

Among other historic sights worth seeing is the 19th century aqueduct on the coastal road from Nerja to Maro. The aqueduct, decorated with a gallery of 38 Moorish style horseshoe arches, was built to supply water to the local sugar factory and is still used today to irrigate local farms.

Visit the parish church of El Salvador, built in the 17th century in a baroque-Moorish style, and the 17th century Angustias Chapel with its Andalucian paintings adorning the cupola.

Explore the back streets of the old quarter, built in 1487 after the Christian armies finally ousted the Moors.

A more modern attraction is the impressive Balcon de Europa built on top of a rocky outcrop which was once the site of a 9th century fortress. This wide promenade, adorned with palm trees and exotic plants, has magnificent views (as far as the African coast on a clear day) and is a popular meeting place for drinking, dining and partying.

At the Balcon you can hire a horse drawn carriage for a relaxing and enjoyable sightseeing trip of the town. Or for the more energetic, the local tourist information centre provides an excellent leaflet called "The 12 Walks of Nerja".

The Paseo de los Carabineros is another beautiful promenade in a landscape of natural rock skirting the beaches of Calahonda and Carabeillo.

Stroll through the Jardines Urbanizacion Capistrano Playa - beautifully landscaped gardens with sub-tropical trees and plants interspersed with lakes. The gardens lead down to Burriana Playa, Nerja's main beach.

The entrance to the town, off the main road from Malaga, is marked by the impressive Rapto de Europa monument created in 1986 by sculptor Aurelio Teno to commemorate Spain's entry into the EC.

A short drive inland from Nerja you'll find the picturesque Andalucian village of Frigiliana - a taste of the real Spain with whitewashed houses clustered on the mountainside. Marvel at the views and enjoy the "vino del terreno" sweet wine with a local dish of "choto" (baby goat).

An hour and a half's drive away is the fascinating city of Granada with its famous Generalife Gardens and the fabulous Alhambra Palace, the seat of the Moorish rulers for hundreds of years. Don't go on spec in high season though because visitor numbers are restricted. Book tickets in advance through one of the town's tour operators.

Drive on for another hour and you'll be in the Sierra Nevada mountains, home to Europe's most southerly ski resort.

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