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Nerja, Spain in a day

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Things to do in Nerja, Spain

Before I dig into this cute little beach town in the Costa Del Sol region of Spain, let me ask you one question: 

What beats celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary in Andalucia, Spain?

Not much if you ask me. My parents decided to forego the church basement reception and instead splurged on a celebratory trip with their four kids and spouses (yep, that includes me and the hubs sans kids)!

My dad loves a challenge. For example: planning a week-long celebration vacation for a party of ten in Spain, without breaking the bank. 

Mission accepted, mission successful! 

We had a blast and you can read more about how we based ourselves in Sevilla and what our week-long itinerary in Andalucia looked like here:

Costa del Sol's favorite little beach town

While basing ourselves in a five bedroom flat in Sevilla, we made a few day trips. Charming Nerja along Spain's southern coast followed our time in Granada. (We also hit up Ronda and Cordoba). You can check out our full Andalucia itinerary here

What follows are our top five things to do in Nerja for the adventurous types.

Our party of ten actually split up this day - a swing day so to speak - basically so we could all have a break from each other. My twin sister and her husband joined me and mine for the day. 



1. Snorkel along Costa del Sol

We chose Nerja Dive Resort to take us out for a few hours of snorkeling along the coast. Located on Burriana Beach, Bernie and his crew were helpful and fun.

Tip: If you own a GoPro, bring it along for underwater footage and boat ride selfies. The crew's camera wasn't that great and the above picture is proof. 

The boat ride itself was fun, and while it wasn't the most colorful, exciting snorkeling we've experienced, the bright orange coral and jellyfish were the most impressive. The water wasn't super cold, but we wore wetsuits to protect us from the jellyfish. 



2. Head to Ayo's for a Paella feast

After our snorkeling excursion, we were famished, so we headed straight for Ayo's.

At Ayo's you'll dine on inexpensive, fresh paella under a large tiki hut on Burriana Beach. Cash only, Ayo serves an all-you-can-eat (until he runs out) paella feast at lunchtime. Ayo has happily fed locals and tourists for three decades. 

Ayo's paella fires blaze up about noon and run through mid to late afternoon. Snag a table under the canopy and ask for a jug of Sangria.

Only a 20 minute walk from the Balcony of Europe, this outdoor eatery sits on the east end of Burriana Beach - look for the pyramid shaped rooftop with AYO'S in larger lettering. 



3. Playa de Burriana  

After you've had your fill of paella, walk right out to the beach, spread out a blanket and snooze or sun-bath on Nerja's best local beach.

Don't have a beach blanket? Rent a couple of chairs and an umbrella if you prefer, and buy a cold Fanta as you people watch. 

Families love this beach for all it's entertainment options: volleyball, paddleboats, playgrounds, and cafes. 



4. Balcony of Europe  

Hop in your car (if you parked near Burriana Beach) and drive west a few minutes to find a parking spot in town that gets you within walking distance of this large viewing balcony that juts out over the Mediterranean.

You can also walk 20 minutes from Burriana Beach to get there. Parking can be difficult in the Old Town, so choose what works best for you. 

Head for the Balcony of Europe and enjoy romantic vistas and beaches below. PIck up your daily scoop at a gelateria along the way. 

To the left of the balcony are stairsteps that wind down to the rocky coastline and beach below.





5. End your day with dinner nearby

Dine in one of the many restaurants on or near Plaza Balcon de Europa.

Particularly along Calle Almirante Ferrandiz, Nerja's restaurant row, you will find lots of great choices for a wonderful dinner inside or out.

Reminisce about the day while you enjoy a leisurely dinner before hopping in the car for you drive back to Sevilla. 




Other places to go nearby:

Maro Waterfall

This waterfall springs forth from the caves of Nerja to a 15 meter fall to meet the Mediterranean below. To enjoy it, meet the waterfall from below by kayaking between the cliffs.

This is one of the secret places that the Natural Park of the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. Learn more about Maro Waterfall here.

Nerja Caves

Just 2.5 miles east of Nerja, these caves boast the world's largest stalactite column found within the Hall of the Cataclysm. This 45 minute unguided tour up and down 400 stair steps winding deep into the mountain is a favorite among Spanish families and cruise ship folks. 


This super cute white-washed hill town just 4 miles up from Nerja is a pure delight. If this is your only chance to wander through a white hill town, take it! Pick up a little map at the Tourist Information building before exploring Old Town and perhaps find a quaint place for dinner. 

Our favorite tour guide

No one beats Rick Steves for honest, practical, tourist help and suggestions for fun throughout all of Europe. Rick wittingly tells you where to go, what to skip, and how to get there. Pick up a copy and you won't have any regrets: 

Have you been to Spain's Costa del Sol? What was your favorite? 

All photos in this post belong to Tanya Raedeke. Please do not use without written permission. 

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