Where is Nerja?
Where is Nerja?

Where is Nerja Spain Exactly?

Where is Nerja Spain?

Nestled along the sparkling coastline of the Costa del Sol, Nerja is a picturesque town that epitomizes the charm and allure of southern Spain. Known for its stunning beaches, breathtaking views and vibrant nightlife, Nerja is more than just a dot on the map; it's a destination that will steal your heart.

If you're planning a trip to Europe and looking for a sunny destination with plenty to see and do, Nerja is definitely worth considering. Whether you're interested in exploring the town's top sights, relaxing on its beautiful beaches or simply soaking up the Mediterranean sun, Nerja has something for everyone...

Nerja's Geographical Location

So where is this sunny destination that attracts so many people year after year?

A glance at the map takes us to the southern coast of Spain, in the province of Malaga, in Andalucia. Located on the eastern tip of the Costa del Sol, Nerja is approximately 50 kilometers east of the city of Malaga, the provincial capital. This prime location places the village in a region famous for its sunny climate, stunning Mediterranean coastline and rugged mountains full of wonderful hiking trails.

Geographically, Nerja boasts a unique landscape where the Sierra de Almijara mountains meet the sea, creating dramatic cliffs and secluded coves along the coast. The town is also home to the stunning Maro-Cerro Gordo Nature Reserve.

Playa Calahonda in Nerja Spain
** Where is the Beautiful Village of Nerja?

To the east, Nerja borders the municipality of Almuñécar in the province of Granada, marking the transition between the Costa del Sol and the lesser known but equally beautiful Costa Tropical (known for its subtropical climate and exotic fruits such as avocados and mangoes). This proximity to Granada means that visitors to Nerja can easily explore the world-famous Alhambra Palace or the historic city of Granada, just an hour's drive away.

Where is Nerja in Relation to Other Towns

Larger Cities:
Málaga Nerja 58 km / 51 min
Granada Nerja 94 km / 1 hr 4 min
Sevilla Nerja 257 km / 2 hr 45 min
Cádiz Nerja 291 km / 3 hr 7 min
Smaller Villages:
Frigiliana Nerja 7 km / 13 min
La Herradura Nerja 16 km / 17 min
Almuñecar Nerja 20 km / 24 min
Torrox Nerja 13 km / 16 min
Competa Nerja 24 km / 36 min
Motril Nerja 46 km / 35 min

Nerja on the Map - A Closer Look

Protected by the Sierra de Almijara mountains to the north, Nerja enjoys a unique microclimate, characterized by mild winters and warm, sunny summers, a perfect blend for holiday makers.

Let's take a closer look at the areas around Nerja.


Nerja Spain Map

Where is Nerja in Spain? and Andalucia?
** Where is Nerja in Spain? and Andalucia?

When considering the question... "Where is Nerja Spain", a closer look reveals much about its almost perfect location. On the detailed maps below you will see that Nerja is prominently located on the southeastern coast of Spain... with the Mediterranean gently lapping at its shores.

  1. Andalucía: Nerja is located in Andalucia (highlighted above), the southernmost autonomous community in Spain, known for its rich Moorish heritage, flamenco music and beautiful landscapes. There are 8 provinces in Andalucia (from east to west): Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga, Jaén and Almería.

  2. Province of Malaga: Nerja is just within the border of the province of Malaga and sits alongside the province of Granada.

  3. Costa del Sol: Nerja is the last village on the eastern end of the famous Costa del Sol.

  4. Málaga: A vibrant port city and the capital of the Costa del Sol, Malaga offers beautiful beaches and was the home of Pablo Picasso. Nerja is approximately 50 kilometers (a 55 minute drive) to the east.

  5. Granada: Another historic city just an hour north of Nerja, world famous for the Alhambra Palace, a stunning Moorish palace and fortress complex set against the soaring Sierra Nevada mountains.

  6. Madrid: Nerja is located approximately 520 kilometers south of Madrid, the capital of Spain.

  7. Barcelona: It is also located approximately 770 kilometers southeast of Barcelona, another major Spanish city.


Nerja Malaga Map

Nerja & Sierra de Almijara Mountain Range Behind
** Nerja & Sierra de Almijara Mountain Range Behind

Take a closer look and you will see that there are four regions surrounding the coastal village of Nerja... just waiting to be explored...

  1. Axarquía: Nerja is one of the white villages of La Axarquía, the easternmost region of the province of Málaga, characterized by its hilly terrain, traditional white villages and beautiful coastline.

    Other popular villages are: Canillas de Aceituno, Comares, Cómpeta, Frigiliana, Salares, Torrox, Vélez Málaga, and Viñuela

  2. Costa Tropical: Because Nerja is close to the border with the province of Granada, it borders the Costa Tropical and the charming towns of Almunecar, La Herradura and Salobrena.

  3. Sierra de Almijara mountain range: These mountains lie to the north of Nerja and offer stunning natural landscapes and wonderful hiking trails.

  4. Sierra Nevada National Park These mountains lie to the northeast of Nerja and south of the capital city of Granada. They are well known for the highest ski resort in Spain, more wonderful hiking, and the Alpujarra region (a collection of Moorish villages and terraced farmland).


Nerja Area Map

Nerja Map - Municipality and Surrounding Areas
** Nerja Map - Municipality and Surrounding Areas

Within the municipality of Nerja there are several other areas to explore, plus a few towns that are just a short drive away.

  1. Frigiliana: A charming whitewashed village near Nerja, known for its narrow winding streets, Moorish history and stunning views of the Mediterranean. It's also considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. (6 kilometers north)

  2. Maro: A small village east of Nerja, famous for its unspoiled beaches and the famous Maro-Cerro Gordo cliffs, which offer spectacular coastal scenery. (4 kilometers east)

  3. Nerja Caves: A series of stunning underground caves near Nerja with extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites and ancient cave paintings. (4 kilometers east)

  4. Torrox: Known for having "the best climate in Europe", Torrox is a picturesque coastal town near Nerja that offers a blend of traditional Spanish charm and beautiful beaches. (11 kilometers west)

  5. Competa: Nestled in the mountains, Competa is a traditional Andalucian village famous for its local wine, whitewashed houses and panoramic views of the countryside. (24 kilometers north)


Nerja Beaches and Coastline

Coastline Around the Balcon de Europa
** Nerja Beaches and Coastline Around the Balcon de Europa

Nerja has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Costa del Sol, with more than 16 kilometers of coastline. The most popular beaches in Nerja are Burriana Beach, Torrecilla, Calahonda and Playa el Salón.

Burriana Beach is the largest and most popular beach in Nerja, with a wide range of facilities and water activities. Torrecilla is another popular beach, located in the heart of the town and surrounded by a lively promenade. Calahonda and Playa el Salón are smaller, quieter beaches... perfect for those who prefer a more peaceful atmosphere.

In total there are 11 beautiful beaches within the town of Nerja and 10 more just outside in the Maro Nature Reserve.

Water Activities:

Nerja's location on the Mediterranean Sea with its crystal clear waters makes it a perfect destination for people who enjoy water sports. The town offers a wide range of water activities including scuba diving, sailing and the very popular kayak tours along the coast.

Diving in Nerja is an especially unique experience thanks to the underwater caves, cliffs, waterfalls and diverse marine life that can be explored within the reserve. The nearby town of La Herradura is a 4 star dive center with daily group excursions.


Nerja's top Attractions and Landmarks

Historical Landmarks:

One of Nerja's most iconic landmarks is the Balcón de Europa, a beautiful promenade that offers breathtaking views of the sea. Originally built in the 19th century, the Balcón de Europa was named after King Alfonso XII and is surrounded by charming cafes, restaurants and shops.

Another must-see historical landmark is the Church of El Salvador, a stunning 17th century church located in the heart of the city. With its beautiful architecture and stunning location on the Balcón, the church is a popular destination for weddings.

Natural Attractions:

Nerja is also home to a number of stunning natural attractions, including the Nerja Caves and the Maro Nature Reserve. The Nerja Caves are a series of underground caves that were discovered in 1959 and are now one of Malaga's most popular tourist attractions.

The Maro Nature Reserve, located just a few kilometers from Nerja, has beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and stunning cliffs, making it another perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.


Traveling to Nerja

Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel
** Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel

Getting to Nerja is relatively easy, whether you're coming from within Spain or from international destinations. The nearest airport is Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport, which is approximately a 50 minute drive from Nerja. This airport serves a wide range of international and domestic flights, making it a convenient gateway to Nerja and the surrounding area.

From Malaga there are several options to get to Nerja:

  • By Car: Renting a car from the airport offers the most flexibility and is ideal for those who want to explore the area. The drive to Nerja is scenic and straightforward, mainly along the A-7 highway.

  • By Bus: There is a direct bus service from Málaga to Nerja, which is an economical and convenient option. The journey takes about an hour and a half and buses run regularly throughout the day.

  • By Taxi or Private Transfer: For a more convenient and direct route, taxis or private transfers can be arranged from Malaga airport directly to your accommodation in Nerja.

Once in Nerja, getting around is easy. The town is compact and most of the sights are within walking distance. To explore the surrounding areas, local bus services, car rentals and organized tours are available.


Accommodation and Dining in Nerja

Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel
** Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel

Nerja offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. From luxury hotels and resorts to cozy bed and breakfasts, self-catering apartments and budget hostels, there's something for everyone.

  • Hotels and Resorts: For those seeking comfort and amenities, Nerja has several hotels and resorts, some with stunning sea views and access to the beach.

  • Apartments and Villas: Ideal for families or groups, renting an apartment or villa offers flexibility and a home-away-from-home experience.

  • Hostels and Budget Accommodation: For those traveling on a budget, Nerja has a selection of hostels and budget guesthouses that offer basic but comfortable accommodation.

  • If you can't find what you're looking for, try VRBO.com, which has a ton of great villas and apartments, like this one!

Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel

When it comes to food, Nerja's culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional Andalucian flavors and international cuisine. Seafood is a staple here, thanks to the town's coastal location. Be sure to try local dishes like espetos (grilled sardines), gazpacho (cold tomato soup) and paella.

  • Beachfront Restaurants: Many restaurants along the Burriana Beach and near the Balcon de Europa offer the perfect setting for a meal with a view.

  • Tapas Bars: No visit to Nerja, or Spain for that matter, is complete without experiencing the tapas culture. Wander through the town's narrow streets and discover the many tapas bars serving small, delicious portions.

  • Local Markets and Shops: For those who prefer to cook, the local markets and shops offer fresh produce, meats, cheeses and spices, allowing you to try your hand at Spanish cooking.


Who Should Visit Nerja?

Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel
** Nerja Accommodation - Balcon de Europa Hotel

Nerja's wide variety of activities makes it a perfect destination for all types of people, like:

  • Families: With its beautiful beaches and calm waters, natural parks and family-friendly attractions like the Nerja Caves, Nerja is ideal for families. Many restaurants and accommodations also cater to families, ensuring an enjoyable stay for all ages.

  • Couples: For those seeking a romantic getaway, Nerja's charming old town, stunning sunsets at the Balcon de Europa, and intimate coves provide the perfect backdrop for romance.

  • Solo Travelers: Safe and easy to navigate, Nerja is ideal for solo travelers. The town's friendly atmosphere and range of activities make it easy to meet people and find adventures suitable for individual explorers.

  • Adventure Seekers: From water sports to mountain hiking, Nerja offers a variety of adrenaline-pumping activities. The nearby natural parks and coastal waters provide ample opportunities for exploration and adventure.

photo of Darsey and Izzy

Who are we? An American expat with over 20 years of experience living and traveling in Spain, specifically in Malaga and Granada. Darsey is a seasoned explorer of Andalucia. Drawing from decades of immersive experience, she offers deep insights into this enchanting region of Spain, including off-the-beaten path destinations, the best places to stay, and the top bucket list activities to try! More...

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