We are just back from what I can only describe as the perfect weekend away in Nerja. It was a short break of sun, sea, sand, tapas, and great mates. Crucially, it was a break away sans enfants, made possible by my amazing mammy, the minis’ Super Granny.
Nerja is a small coastal town located 45 kilometres to the west of Malaga. The temperature was a comfortable 28 degrees on average by day, and by night it was still warm enough not to have to wear a cardigan (I love that!)
What to Do in Nerja
The beauty of Nerja is that if you want to do very little, than this is the place for you. The beach is where we centrered most of our time. There are a cluster of beautiful beaches that fan out from the epicentre of the town-the Balcon de Europa. Here you will find a square packed with cafes, restaurants and bars-absolutely perfect for people watching over a few ice cold beers and tapas.
The Beaches in Nerja
The waters are a little cold to submerge yourself in, but once down, you’ll be reluctant to leave. Not all the beaches are sandy-some contain tiny rocks. I personally prefer this as it means less sand to get everywhere. Bear in mind, however, that these tiny pebbles get hot in the sun so flip flops are a must for the Nerja beaches.
Sun loungers are available to rent on the larger beaches at a cost of €4. There are also loads of souvenir shops around offering everything you may have struggled with/forgotten to pack in the suitcase including inflatables, towels, sunhats and the all important suncream. If you’re travelling with kiddies, watch out for the peddalos with slides attached for hire-these look like a lot of fun!
Furtherafield, there are the caves and the beautiful mountain village of Frijiliana to visit. Plus there are also day trips to Granada and the spectacular Alehambra.
As we were there for a wedding, and had done much of the sightseeing on offer on a prior trip to the area, we concentrated our efforts (if you could call them that!) on taking things handy. Shopping, sun, sea, and tapas were the order of the day!
Shopping in Nerja
Nerja is packed with lovely side streets containing fashionable boutique shops. We loved Wonky Donkey on Calle El Barrio for quality 100% cotton gifts including babywear and T-shirts. The flagship of Spanish fashion, Desigual offers funky fare and there are a myriad jewellery shops featuring some really unique designs.
Drink in Nerja
Located in the south of Spain, Nerja gives you a lot of value when it comes to feeding and watering. A generous serving of gin with tonic will set you back about €4, while glasses of house wine are about €1.80 as are small glasses of beer or canas.
Bars stay open late and no later than in Plaza Tutti Frutti, a collection of watering holes that spill out into the enclosed square until the early hours of the morning. It’s where the young go to party, and even though we congratulated ourselves on making it there all three nights, it’s probably a place best left to the young (and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!).
Food in Nerja
The most expensive places to eat are located in the main square and the old town, however, there are still deals to be had. We found two tapas bars offering free tapas with every drink purchased. One of the places offered tapas that were fine, the other however, the Bar Redondo on Calle Almirante Ferrandiz, brought us delicious tapas of every variety. We happily munched on prawns, Spanish omelette, paella, octopus, even chorizo which we got to cook ourselves. As you can see from the photo, the bill for five people for lunch came to a measly €26!! Along that same street, we enjoyed a seafood feast at Bar El Pulguilla, which again offered great value for money-though the house rose is best avoided! Playa Burriana, located approximately 20 minutes walk from the centre of town is the place to go for paella.
Where to Stay in Nerja
As we were on a budget, we stayed in the Hotel Toboso Chaparil, formally the Hotel Jimesol. It was basic, but the staff were lovely. As locations go, I’m not sure I can advise it as it had roadworks ongoing on one side and the pulsing beats of Tutti Frutti on the other side! El Pulguilla, the seafood restaurant mentioned above offer apartments to stay in. The most expensive places to stay are all located around the Balcon de Europa. Airbnb has loads of lovely places to stay too. Use this link when you sign up to avail of €20 off your first booking!
How to Get to Nerja
Malaga is the closest airport, approximately 55 kilometres east of Nerja. You can fly with Ryanair from Shannon, Dublin, Knock and Cork. Or with Aer Lingus from Dublin, Shannon or Cork. Ryanair tends to be a lot cheaper, however Aer Lingus have flight times which are a little easier to deal with, especially if you’re travelling with young children. Our flight times from Shannon for example, saw us landing in Nerja at 21:20 on Friday, which wasn’t too bad. We didn’t touch down back in Shannon until ten past midnight on Tuesday, however, which is way past little ones’ bedtimes.
Once in Malaga airport, you have a number of options to get you to Nerja. At just €1.80, the quickest and cheapest option to get to Malaga is to take the train, line C1. This gets you to Maria Zambini station in approximately 8 minutes and runs every 20 minutes. This station is across the road from Malaga bus station. The bus to Nerja usually goes from bay 38, takes about an hour and costs €12 each way. Car hire companies are available in abundance at the airport terminal or you could plumb for a taxi. We went with nerjataxis.com and prebooked (no money changes hands until you arrive at your destination) for €65. This is a flat fee which is the same if you book for 1-4 people. They were incredibly pleasant and efficient and it took all the stress out of getting to our hotel.
Disclaimer: None of the businesses featured in this post have paid me. I just like sharing holiday tips with my lovely readers. 🙂