Information on Nerja, Costa del Sol, Spain
If you are looking for villas in the Costa del Sol region for your Spanish holidays, you might want to consider Nerja. Nerja is a great place to spend your vacation and has steadily become one of the most visited resorts in the Costa del Sol.
Nerja is a small coastal town in the province of Málaga on the Spanish Costa del Sol, in the Andalucía region of southern Spain. Nerja has grown relatively slowly over the years for, until the motorway arrived in 2002, it was the last town in the eastern section of Málaga Province. To many, it was a forgotten place, at the end of the road, reached only by dint of will and determination. Because of its previous out-of-the-way location, Nerja still exudes a feeling of quiet seclusion and tranquillity that makes it such a special place to visit or live. Although Nerja’s growth has been slow in the best sense of the word, it has still become home to people of many nationalities. Within Nerja's resident population of around 12,000, there are now over 1000 UK expats with somewhat smaller numbers from other European and international locations.
Tourism significantly expands the resident population with dramatic peaks in July and August. Diligent town planning ensures that Nerja will not fall victim to the high-rise concrete building craze that has ruined much of coastal Spain. The name "Nerja" is derived from the the Arabic word "Narixa" which literally means "abundant spring of water". In the year 917, during the period when Spain was occupied by the Moors, the Arabian poet, Ibn Saadi, wrote: “Stretched on a carpet of magic colours, while sleep closed my eyes, Narixa, my Narixa, sprang from the flowers to bathe me in all her beauty.
This abundance of water, coupled with the excellent climate that Nerja enjoys, has created a thriving agricultural industry. Almost all types of fruit and vegetables can be grown in the eastern Costa del Sol and the adjoining Costa Tropical. Medical facilities are very good in Nerja. There are several private doctors and clinics in addition to the well-equipped public ambulatorio. The nearest hospital is in Velez Málaga which is about 20Km west of Nerja. There are also 2 large hospitals in Málaga. Dental work is essentially private but the costs are not excessive.
Andalucían public transport is reliable and inexpensive. Nerja has 2 local public transport systems: a small train that winds its way through the narrow streets of the town center, and a bus that runs regularly up to San Juan from the town center, also calling at Burriana Beach in the summer months. Additionally there are the privately owned horse-drawn carriages that do circular tours of the town from the Balcon de Europa.
Centuries of erosion have carved out Nerja's rugged coastline to form the numerous small coves and beaches that help to characterise Nerja and make it such a unique and naturally beautiful place to live or visit. Travellers are often smitten by Nerja... where else can you ski on the Sierra Nevada in the morning, play a round of golf in the sun and then cool off with a swim in the Mediterranean, all in one day? It doesn’t get much better than that! You could be sold forever on the beauty of this privileged place in the sun. Nerja, and the white villages of Frigiliana, Competa, Torrox and Algarrobo that dot the mountain sides of the eastern Costa del Sol, offer many attractions to discerning tourists and to those interested in property investment in this lovely part of southern Spain.
Situated at the eastern end of provincial Málaga, Nerja is a small, picturesque, town lying at Latitude 36º45' N and Longitude 3º52' W on the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain. It is the last town before entering the province of Granada. Nerja is less than an hours drive (50km), on the new motorway, from the Picasso International Airport, Málaga, and less than 2 hours drive from Granada Airport and the famous Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, which hosted the 1996 World Alpine Skiing Championships. This world class winter sport resort is enhanced by its proximity to the enchanting City of Granada, home of the Moorish built Alhambra (remember Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra), the most visited shrine in Spain and Europe and considered by many to be one of the architectural wonders of the world.
With typically 300 sunny days per year, Nerja’s temperate and sub-tropical, micro-climate is possibly the best in Europe. The Sierra Nevada and Alpujarra ranges, which have peaks of over 3,500 metres, gradually descend to meet the warm Mediterranean waters where Nerja established its roots many centuries ago. These mountain ranges form a protective horseshoe around Nerja and, in particular, they help to keep out the colder northerly winds of winter and to maintain Nerja's year-round micro-climate. As may be expected, the warm Mediterranean Sea offers extensive water sports activities. Conventional and powered hang gliding is frequently seen over Nerja.
As far as land-based sporting activities go, Nerja has 2 sports centers. The newest one is on the left (beside Supersol) as you leave Nerja travelling east - it is quite a large stadium with a good swimming pool, that is almost completed, at its north end. There are several gymnasiums in Nerja and popular outdoor activities include: horse riding, mountain biking, jeep safaris, catamaran day trips, fishing etc. and, of course, there is golf. The photograph shows a view of the popular Anoreta golf course at Rincon de la Victoria. As some Costa del Sol road signs indicate, the area is quickly becoming known as the "Costa del Golf" and the region is now a favourite among international golfers. With close to 100 golf courses within 2 kilometres of the Mediterranean coast this is not surprising.
Nerja is also blessed with one of the biggest and most beautiful caves found anywhere in the world. Actually located in Maro, a small village just east of Nerja, these famous caves boast breath taking stalagmites and stalactites that are ranked in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest in the world. These fascinating structures, carved out by nature over the centuries, are of unparalleled beauty. Since 1959, the "Festival of the Caves of Nerja" is celebrated every July in the Chamber of the Cascada. This large auditorium was constructed in the caves to host cultural events and is recognised for its superb acoustics. The Festival has played host to Masters such as Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin, Maya Plietskaya, Joaquin Cortés and the Bolshoi Ballet to name but a few. Even the Spanish consort Queen Sofia, a passionate lover of the arts, graced the Festival with her presence when she unexpectedly landed in the Royal Helicopter to see a performance in 2001.
Only a short walk from the caves, and clearly visible to the right of the A340 coast road, going toward Nerja, there is the much-photographed and eye-catching aquaduct that once provided vital water for the sugar cane factory that now lies derelict behind it. The aquaduct is in need of restoration and it has recently been agreed that this will be undertaken to ensure that it remains an integral part of Nerja’s rich and diverse heritage. Although the sugar factory ceased to function more than 60 years ago, it is testimony to its sound design and construction techniques that water still flows along the aquaduct. There has been talk of restoring the sugar factory and creating a museum but nothing has been finalised at this point in time.
This would be complete without mention of what is undoubtedly the heart of the town .... the famous Balcon de Europa. The photograph below shows the bronze statue of the Spanish King, Alfonso XIII, on the Balcon de Europa. In 1885, impressed by the view as he stood on some rocks that jutted out into the Mediterranean Sea, the king exclaimed: “This is without doubt the Balcon de Europa”. The photograph shows a view over the east of Nerja with the snow-capped Sierra Almijara as a back drop. The Balcon de Europa with its beautiful palm lined promenade, is a favourite spot for strollers, people watchers, and romantics.
Pavement artists, buskers and groups of talented local artistes can be be found here most evenings.... but New Years Eve is something else. The Town Hall organises the New Year celebration. Top entertainment is arranged, there is a fireworks extravaganza, and the entire population of Nerja seems to descend on the Balcon to celebrate as only the Spanish can. Everyone enjoys the event. As the nearby church clock begins to strike at midnight, tradition dictates that a grape be consumed at every strike .... and most of the revellers seem to manage it. The Spanish population of Nerja know how to celebrate.... although wine is consumed copiously there never seems to be any fighting or unpleasant-ness. In general they are a happy community and ever-ready to smile.
Looking east from the Balcon de Europa one can see the village of Maro which is reminiscent of a bygone time when the fields were still ploughed by oxen and siestas were the most sacred part of the day. Maro has never lost its tranquillity or charm.
The sights and sounds, flavours and fragrances of Nerja can be summarised by the shops, the tapas bars with their Iberico hams hanging from the ceiling, the restaurants where children are most welcome, the tennis and petanque courts, the well charted trekking and horse riding trails, the biking, seeing up to 3 people and their dog on one scooter, the water parks (in Torre del Mar and Almuñecar), the flamenco and sevillana dances and the sounds of castanets. For a small town, Nerja is remarkably complete and self-contained. There are very few shopping requirements that cannot be met by the good variety of family-run businesses and the 5 large supermarkets in Nerja. Most of the world's culinary delights are available in Nerja..... from a wide variety of tapas, that come free with alcoholic beverages in most Spanish bars, to eloquent meals from a broad variety of restaurants. So.... whatever your taste, you are unlikely to be disappointed in Nerja.
Language is not generally a problem for English speakers in Nerja because, as tourism has developed, related businesses have, to some extent, been coerced into learning at least a little English. That said, however, it is always appreciated when foreigners attempt to speak Spanish and it is the easiest way to learn the language too. Traditions are still very strong. The New Years Eve festivities at the Balcon de Europa have already been mentioned but there are many more "fiestas" through-out the year. They are generally accompanied by firework displays and often by very impressive processions. Summarising, it is fair to say that Nerja has something of everything good that Spain can offer, but in moderation, without excess, and without stress...... Nerja is definitely the place for a relaxed and easy lifestyle.