Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Enjoy the coastal resort of Nerja, Spain

We're just back to reality after a great two week holiday in the resort of Nerja in Andalucia, Spain. Built on a cliff above a collection of sandy coves, Nerja lies at the foot of the beautiful Sierra Almijara. There are some great sweeping views up and down the coast from the El Balcon de Europa (Balcony of Europe).

El Balcon de Europa

San Salvador Church
Nerja is first and foremost a tourist resort and lacks the shopping and cultural attractions of the nearby city of Malaga. That said, in no way does it resemble many of the other tourist resorts on the Costa del Sol. It is smaller, more relaxed and the skyline is less dominated by ugly apartment blocks and package holiday hotels. There are a lot of holiday apartments on the outskirts of the towncentre and built up into the hills overlooking the town,  however more care seems to have been taken into planning their look than in other Spanish coastal resorts. 

There are around 13 kilometres of beach around the coast of Nerja, broken into 7 individual beaches or coves. The two largest are called Burriana and Playaso. Burriana beach is located about 10/15 minutes walk west of the Balcony of Europe, it has plenty of bars, restaurants and icecream shops to keep you going through a long day on the beach. From what we could see, it seems to be mainly covered in tourists. Our favourite by far was Playaso beach, situated in the opposite direction to Burriana, it is the largest and most secluded beach in Nerja with some great views of the mountains in the background. Monday to Friday Playaso is generally relatively quite up to about 4:30pm when more of the locals start to arrive as work ends for the day. There are a couple of bars along with a great beach restaurant called Pepe Mese, be warned on Sunday it gets very busy.

Pepe Mese Merendero on Playaso beach

Delicious seafood kebab
As you'd expect from a seaside resort there are an abundance of places to eat out, catering for all pockets and preferances from traditional Spanish to Indian cuisine. Whilst we were staying in a friends apartment in the hills overlooking Nerja and cooked at home some evenings, we still took the opportunity to eat out when we felt like it. If you like seafood and tapas, look no further that El Pulguilla on Calle Almirante Fernadez. You can enjoy a drink and tapas at the bar or a simply delicious plate of seafood in the restaurant at the back. With a high percentage of Spanish customers, this feels like real Spain.

El Pulguilla

Another great destination for Tapas is La Marina on Plaza La Marina, perhaps a little more basic than El Pulguilla but great value and full of Spanish locals so you know the food is good too. Close by you'll find a restaurant called Pata Negra offering excellant Spanish cuisine and tapas. It has a great wine list, something to suit all wallets. We went there twice and really enjoyed the food although on the second time, a busy Friday night, the service did let it down. If you are looking for something a little more upmarket, two great options are Restaurante Oliva on Pindada 7 and Restaurant 34 on Calle Hernando de Carebeo. Both offer great food and service with Oliva perhaps edging it on both counts, 34 wins when it comes to location with their beautiful open air terrace. If a full Irish or English breakfast is your thing on holiday, don't worry there are more than sufficient establishments offering these and similar meals.

Outside Hotel & Restaurant 34
So what else is there to do in Nerja apart from enjoy the beach and restaurants. The answer is plenty, there are some great walks nearby, you can get a map from the tourist office. If you need some emergency treatment for your nails after a long day on the beach then the abc nailstore is the place to go.

Just a 15 minute drive away you'll find the beautiful village of Frigiliana, and only 50 minutes away you should take some time to explore Malaga.

Inside Nerja Caves
 Perhaps the biggest attraction of Nerja other than its beaches are the Caves or Cuevas in Spanish. Discovered in 1959 by a group of local boys they are well worth a visit, in fact don't miss the opportunity as they are truly impressive. Unfortunately as flash photography is not allowed our photos in no way do them justice.

So if you're looking at a beach holiday in the south of Spain, take a look at Nerja. Yes there are plenty of tourists from all over Europe, yet Nerja still retains the feel of Spain something which many of the other resorts along the coast don't. 

Adios from Nerja