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Best Sights of Nerja
Nerja is a beautiful small town located 50 kilometres east of Malaga. Its population is about 22,000. Nerja is built on a ledge, about 100 feet above sea level, with a splendid view of the surrounding area. Because of its special light and clear air, many artists have traveled here to find inspiration. Nerja charms everyone and is a very friendly town. The climate is said to be one of the best on the whole Costa del Sol because of the high mountains that surround and protect the city. The air is clean and refreshing. Apparently one can see the stars 320 nights a year. This is the ideal place to live if one wants a quiet life.
Nerja has a very long history. The Maro caves adjacent to the city have objects that are from the Early Stone Age to the Bronze Age. There are also Cro-Magnon human remains. During Moorish times, Nerja was known for its agriculture and for its silk trade with Damascus. During the Moorish times, Nerja was called Narixa ('rich with water'). The present Balcon de Europa has been built over a Moorish fort. After the strong earthquake of 1885, King Alfonso XII visited the city and was impressed by the view and he gave the Balcon de Europa its name.
In 1959 the Maro caves were discovered about 5 km from the city. The Cave of Nerja is considered the natural cathedral of the Costa del Sol and is world famous. During the summer there is a music festival held in the cave.
Due to its planned slow development, the city has kept its genuinely Spanish character, with beautiful white buildings, small alleys, and cobblestone streets. One is not allowed to build houses higher than 3 floors, and the area around the city is reserved for agricultural use. Nerja and its surroundings are always marvelously green, due to numerous springs and wells. ). Exotic fruits, such as chirimoya, kiwi and avocado are grown here.
a. Balcon de Europa
In the center of Nerja one can find the Balcon de Europa, which is a terrace on top of a cliff above the Playa Calahonda and the Playa El Salon below. It has magnificent views of the rocky coast, behind which are the Aljimara mountains. The outlook point has a bronze statue of King Alfonso XII, which is a favorite place to take photographs. The beautiful sculpture was created by Francisco Martin. The story is that in 1885 the king visited Nerja after a big earthquake devastated the town. When he saw the lookout point, he said that this must be the Balcony of Europe, and this lookout point now has that name.
The balcony is lined with palm trees and shrubs. On one side there is a hotel and several restaurants. It ends at the edge of the precipice in a semicircle. The view is probably one of the most impressive views in Europe. First one has the view of the blue sea. On the left one has a view of the mountains, which are nearby. This is a popular promenade area for tourists and natives of the town. Nearby are horse drawn carts that take tourists on short tours of the town. On one side of the balcony is the El Salvador Church, dating from the 17th century, and a favorite place for weddings. During winter the views are especially attractive when the background mountains have their peaks covered with snow.
b. Nerja Caves
The Nerja caves are located 3 kilometres from the center of Nerja, about a 45 minute drive from Malaga. They are some of the most beautiful caves in Europe. In 1959 five boys from Maro, near Nerja, were exploring and found by chance the caves of Nerja. The caves were opened to the public the next year. In 1970 the authorities discovered the upper and new galleries. The Caves of Nerja are now a National Monument. They consist of crystalline dolomites.
The cave is about 4200m long but only the Low Galleries can be visited. There are eight rooms in total. The Room of the Cataclysm has the largest column in the world, which is 49m high, and with a diameter of 18m.
The Room of the Cascade has a stage and 600 seats and every August the room is used for the Festival of Music and Dance. The Torca Chamber has cave paintings of animals. The Lobby has a display of human remains, tools and ceramics found in the caves. The Chamber of the Elephant’s Tusk has beautiful views of stalactites and stalagmites.
c. Parador of Nerja
This hotel has beautiful gardens with magnificent views of the sea and nearby mountains. The gardens have a big pool and there is an elevator from the gardens to the beach.
d. Church of El Salvador
The Church of El Salvador in Nerja was built in 1697 and later was made bigger in 1776. In 1792 there was another addition to the church, and the plans were revised by the famous Spanish architect of that time Ventura Rodriguez. This project was coordinated by the Maestro Antonio Ramos. The last restoration was in 1997. The facade is Baroque in style.
There are three naves, separated by pillars, the pillars being connected by rounded arches. The ceiling is Mudejar. On one side are two camarines (dressing rooms) that are in the Rococo style, from the end of the 18th century by the Granada school. Another mural was done by the contemporary artist from Velez-Malaga Francisco Hernandez Diaz, and this shows The Annunciation, done in 1990. There is also a bronze statue of Christ by the artist from Cordoba Aurelio Teno.
The main facade has a door that is framed by two pilasters and topped with an arch. Above the door is a ceramic panel. The bell tower built in 1724 has four sides, but the top part is octagonal.
e. Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Las Angustias
Nerja has a beautiful chapel called La Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Las Angustias, which translates to the Hermitage of Our Lady of Anguish located in the Plaza Ermita. The small chapel of the hermitage was built in 1720 and has one nave with a barrel vault with lunettes. There is a cupola over the high altar that is painted with a beautiful mural, attributed to an unknown painter of the Granada school, and has a theme of pentecost, painted at the start of the 18th century. The high altar is gilded and has a Neo-Baroque design, designed by Fernando Prini Betes and executed by Luis Sanchez in 1986. The statue of the Virgin Mary is shown in her dressing room. The pendentives have paintings of the four Evangelists with their symbols: St. John with the eagle, St. Matthew with the angel, St. Luke with the bull, and St. Mark with the lion.
The founder of the church was Bernarda Maria Alferez. She belonged to the prominent family Lopez de Alcantara from Granada. She and her son decided to build the church to honor the Virgen de las Angustias, on property her husband Luis Lopez de Alcantara owned. He owned the sugar factory called San Antonio Abad. Bernarda wanted to encourage the cult of the Patroness of Granada, the same Virgin. The family funded the church until their inheritors could no longer do so for economic reasons and the church went to the Malaga Cathedral and the City of Nerja. The Cofradia of the same name now has its seat in this church.
f. Aqueduct of El Aguila
The Aqueduct of El Aguila near Maro was constructed by Francisco Cantarero at the end of the 19th century to bring water to the old Maro sugar factory. It looks like a Roman aqueduct, with four floors of brick arcades that have a total of 37 arches. The water now is used only for irrigating land.
g. Beaches of Nerja
Nerja has several beaches, many of which have great views because of the cliffs that suddenly fall to the sea. These beaches are Playa El Playero, Playa La Torrecilla, Playa El Salon, Playa de la Caletilla, Playa de Calahonda, Playa El Chorrillo, Playa de Carabeo, Playa de Carabeillo and Playa Burriana.
h. Virtual Tour of Nerja.
A mini guide to Nerja showing many of beaches and interesting places in a 360 Deg Virtual Tour of Nerja.