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Municipality and town
View from Balcon de Europa in Nerja
View from Balcon de Europa in Nerja
Flag of Nerja
Official seal of Nerja
Municipal location in the province of Málaga
Municipal location in the province of Málaga
Nerja is located in Province of Málaga
Location of Nerja in Andalusia and Spain
Nerja is located in Andalusia
Nerja (Andalusia)
Nerja is located in Spain
Nerja (Spain)
Coordinates: 36°44′49″N 3°52′44″W / 36.74694°N 3.87889°W / 36.74694; -3.87889Coordinates: 36°44′49″N 3°52′44″W / 36.74694°N 3.87889°W / 36.74694; -3.87889
Country Spain
Autonomous community Andalusia
 • MayorMs. Rosa Maria Tellez Arrabal
 • Total85 km2 (33 sq mi)
26 m (85 ft)
 • Total21,811
 • Density260/km2 (660/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
WebsiteOfficial website

Nerja (pronounced [ˈneɾχa]) is a municipality on the Costa del Sol in the province of Málaga in the autonomous community of Andalusia in southern Spain. It belongs to the comarca of La Axarquía. It is on the country's southern Mediterranean coast, about 50 km east of Málaga.

Under Muslim rule, its name was Narixa, which means "abundant source" and is the origin of the current name.


Nerja has a long history, evidenced by the primitive paintings found in its famous Nerja caves, discovered in 1959. These caves are now believed to be just one entrance to a linked series of sinkholes[clarification needed] stretching many miles into the mountains between Nerja and Granada, and which may yet prove to be one of the most extensive unexplored systems in Europe. Visitors to the caves will be able to view the remains of one of the ancient inhabitants of Nerja.

The Romans built here three settlements, including Detunda, of which now large remains can be seen. The area was later taken over by the Arabs in the early 8th century. Under the Moors, the town was known as Narixa, which means "abundant spring", from which the present name derives.

Aqueduct of Nerja.

Its agricultural and silk products are said[by whom?] to have been famed throughout the Muslim world and in the markets of Damascus as early as the 10th century.

Capistrano Playa, Nerja.

The Balcón de Europa, a mirador or viewpoint which gives stunning views across the sea, is in the centre of the old town. Its name is popularly believed to have been coined by King Alfonso XII, who visited the area in 1885 following a disastrous earthquake and was captivated by the scene. Local folklore says that he stood upon the site where the Balcón now stands, and said "This is the balcony of Europe". Local archive documents are said to show that its name predated this visit, but this has not prevented the authorities from placing a life-sized (and much photographed) statue of the king standing by the railing.

The Balcón area was originally known as La Batería, a reference to the gun battery which existed there in a fortified tower. This emplacement and a similar tower nearby were destroyed during the Peninsular War. In May 1812, the British vessels Hyacinth, Termagant and Basilisk supported Spanish guerrillas on the coast of Granada, against the French. On 20 May, Termagant or Hyacinth opened fire and the forts were destroyed. Two rusty guns positioned at the end of the Balcón are reminders of these violent times. The huge lumps of rock, the remains of La Batería, visible in the sea at the end of the Balcón, are further evidence of this action.

Panorama looking out to the East of Nerja with the mountains in the background

Main sights[edit]

  • Caves of Nerja
  • Balcón of Europa
  • The Aqueduct, built in the 19th century
  • Baroque Hermitage of las Angustias (17th century)
  • Church of El Salvador, in Baroque and Mudéjar style (17th century)
  • Maro, a coastal village within Nerja's municipal term
  • Chillar River[1]



  • Enrique López Cuenca Sports Stadium -

Combined Football and Athletics stadium, home to the local semi-professional soccer team C.D Nerja (Club deportivo Nerja)

  • Watersports

Sea-Kayaking and Scuba-diving are based at Burriana beach[5]

Public transport[edit]

Nerja is not integrated in the Málaga Metropolitan Transport Consortium.

As well as two local bus routes, around town (from the Riú Mónica Hotel), there are buses from the top of the High Street by the Alsa ticket office to Málaga, Caves of Nerja, Frigiliana, Maro, Almuñécar, Vélez-Málaga, Torre del Mar, Granada, Córdoba, Seville, Almería and Motril.

Twin towns[edit]

Tour into of the Balcón de Europa.

Cultural references[edit]

Nerja has been a source of inspiration for expatriate writers and artists, such as Scottish novelist Joan Lingard and French-born author André Launay; Jorge Guillén and Federico García Lorca were longtime visitors and residents of the town.[citation needed] The town was also the main setting for the filming of Verano azul,[6] a popular Spanish television series later exported to several countries, a replica of the boat the featured in the series can be found in a park of the same name (as the series), near the centre of town.[7]

In popular fiction The Enigmatic Mr Phelps[8] (pub.1997-2003-2005), which combines the first two international crime fiction novels in a continuing series along with a screenplay Mr Phelps (2016 - co-written by Award winning Canadian Film Director and screenwriter Jason C. Bourque), created for a motion picture adaptation by Canada-based English international crime writer David B. Green, are set in Nerja during the mid 1990s. The stories include many references to Nerja and the Axarquia region and focus upon a fictional bar restaurante located on c/Carabeo. The fictional character of "Phelps" is often confused with the real life of the author who himself lived in Nerja between 1995 and 1998.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GREAT FAMILY WALK The Río Chíllar in Nerja – Big Lovely Day". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  2. ^ "Nerja Beach Guide - Burriana Beach | Nerja Today". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  3. ^ "Nerja Beach Guide - Carabeillo beach | Nerja Today". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  4. ^ "Nerja Beach Guide - Carabeo beach | Nerja Today". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  5. ^ "Water Sports in Nerja | Explore Nerja". Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  6. ^ "Localizaciones de rodaje de la serie Verano Azul".
  7. ^ "Nerja - Parque Verano Azul | Nerja Today". Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  8. ^ B., Green, David (2005). The enigmatic Mr Phelps. Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781420853698. OCLC 948804742.

External links[edit]