Nerja is a tourism-oriented town on the Costa del Sol in the province of Málaga, which lies in one of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, Andalusia, on the country's southern, Mediterranean coast. It lies about 50 km east of the city of Málaga, and is within 1 hour 15 minutes drive of the Alhambra in the city of Granada, and 30 minutes more to skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
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 potholes 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 gave the settlement the name "Detunda", and it was later taken over by the Arabs. Under the Muslims, it became "Narixa", which means "abundant spring", and is the origin of its present name.
Nerjas agricultural and silk products are said to have been famed throughout the Muslim world and in the markets of Damascus as early as the tenth century. The aqueduct in the illustration is not as old as it might appear, but was built to supply water to the sugar plantations in the 19th century.
Nerja in 2010
In more modern times, sugar cane production has given way to more valuable cash crops, particularly semi-tropical fruits such as mango and papaya and widespread avocado plantations in what is one of the major avocado growing regions in Europe.
It is the eastern-most town in the area known as the Axarquía and has an official population of around 22,000 (in 2008) — nearly 30% of which are foreign residents, including around 2,600 British — although the true expatriate population is probably at least twice that. In the summer months, tourism swells the population several times more.
Nerja has several beaches set in charming coves beneath cliffs and one of the best climates in Europe. It is also becoming a significant centre for walkers, thanks to the dramatic mountain scenery of the nearby Sierra de Almijara and Sierra Tejeda. The Sierra de Burno overlooks the town and provides an imposing challenge to climbers. Those who are willing to test their mountain skills to the full will find the southern route up this mountain especially rewarding.
Nerja is also the centre of scuba diving on the Costa del sol, with the Natural Park of Maro - Cerro Gordo nearby. On the famous Burriana Beach which is one of few EU-classified blue flag beaches, you will find several opportunities for water sports. Burriana Beach also has some of the best chiringuitos or Merenderos(small beachside establishments that serve food)although some are now more than just a small beachside shack.
Ayos is famous for it´s Paella, this is served in massive pans or "Paellas" the dish itself is called "Arroz" (Rice)
La Barca restaurant does the most fantastic fresh fish, try the Lubina or Dorada.
There are Chinese, English, Spanish and other restaurants, bars and shops all along Burriana beach.
Bitter'n'Twisted do a fantastic traditional sunday lunch!
Not to be missed on any trip to Nerja are the fantastic Nerja Caves.
The Caves of Nerja are a series of caverns close to the town of Nerja in Andalusia. Stretching for almost 5 km the caverns are one of Spain's major tourist attractions. Concerts are regularly held in one of the chambers which forms a natural amphitheatre.
The caves were discovered on 12 January 1959 by a group of cavers, who entered through a narrow sink hole, known as "La Mina". This forms one of the two natural entrances to the cave system. A third entrance was created in 1960 to allow easy access for tourists. The cave is divided into two main parts known as Nerja I and Nerja II. Nerja I includes the Show Galleries which are open to the public, with relatively easy access via a flight of stairs and concreted pathways to allow tourists to move about in the cavern without difficulty. Nerja II, which is not open to the public comprises the Upper Gallery discovered in 1960 and the New Gallery discovered in 1969.See More about the Nerja caves on Wikipedia