8 Amazing Things To Do In Nerja, Spain

Nerja is one of Spain’s best beach towns located one hour away from Malaga.

It’s one of the top destinations in Costa del Sol for its easily accessible beaches, pretty town center and jaw dropping ocean views.  If you’re in need of a relaxing getaway where all you’re looking to do is chill, there’s no better place to go in Spain than Nerja! Get ready for the ultimate beach vacay of your dreams with these 7 must-do’s in Nerja!

Plaza Balcón de Europa

As soon as you get to Nerja, the first thing you should do is head over to Balcón de Europa (the Balcony of Europe) to get you in the mood for the fabulous beach vacation you’re about to have. Balcón de Europa is a large circular balcony at the edge of the main promenade where you can catch spectacular panoramic views of the sea and Nerja’s famous beaches. There’s nothing but glittering baby blue waters in all directions as far as the eye can see.

Balcon de Europa views
Balcon de Europa views. PHOTO NADIA CHO

There’s Playa Calahonda to the left and Playa El Salon to the right. The palm-lined promenade connects to Nerja’s main square where there are tons of restaurants, bars and ice cream shops to pick up some goodies to enjoy with the views. Balcón de Europa offers some of the most beautiful ocean views that you’ll ever see, so be sure that it’s the first and last thing you do during your time in Nerja.

Balcon de Europa
Balcon de Europa. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Balcon de Europa far view
Balcon de Europa far view. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Playa de la Calahonda

Playa Calahonda is Nerja’s most popular beach due to its proximity to town, and obviously because it’s a looker. You can get to Playa Calahonda within minutes from the town center by walking down the paved road through the white arches at the base of the promenade. The beach is a wide cove encircled by rocky cliffs on one side and Balcón de Europa on the other. There are palms swaying in the breeze and soft light sand on the curved shoreline. The water is calm with barely any waves so it’s a great spot for swimming and lounging on the sand.

Playa Calahonda
Playa Calahonda. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Due to its popularity and the fact that it’s an enclosed cove, Playa Calahonda often gets crowded real early on the weekends and during high season. Our advice is to get there early on the weekends or to go during the week to set up camp and get some time in at Nerja’s most popular beach.

Playa Calahonda
Playa Calahonda. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Playa Calahonda
Playa Calahonda. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Playa Burriana

Cam. de Burriana, s/n, 29780 Nerja, Málaga, Spain

If Playa Calahonda is too crowded, you can walk the gorgeous walk to the other side of the cliff to Playa de Burriana. Playa de Burriana is a godsend because it’s one of those beaches where the shore is wide, there’s plenty of space to go around and the sand beach stretches on for a mile. There are a few sunbeds and umbrellas set up on the sand which you can rent, similar to the lidos in Italy. Otherwise, it’s nothing but long and wide stretches of sand where you and your family and friends can play all day in the sun. The water is incredibly clear and light with gentle baby waves which makes it great for swimming and floating along the shore. There’s jet skiing and stand-up paddleboarding which are popular activities with beachgoers.

Playa de Burriana
Playa de Burriana. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Playa de Burriana is awesome because the large beach also comes with a long promenade, along which you’ll find plenty of seaside restaurants and chiringuitos (beach bars) where you can eat, drink and be merry next to the water. It’s definitely the best beach if you want a lot of food and drink options nearby. Whenever you get tired and need to refuel after a few hours in the sun, be sure to nosh on some tapas and sip on a tinto de verano to enjoy the Spanish seaside vacation that you deserve!

Playa de Burriana
Playa de Burriana. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Playa de Burriana
Playa de Burriana. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Playa la Caletilla

La Caletilla is a dream in itself to get to. To get there, you get to walk by narrow streets framed by beautiful white walls that make it look like you’re in Santorini. Then you must pass through the viewpoint where the statue of Chanquete stands overlooking the wide bright blue ocean. When you veer to the left and continue down the lookout point, that little slice of heaven of shallow electric blue water between jagged rocks is Playa la Caletilla.

Playa la Caletilla
Playa la Caletilla. PHOTO NADIA CHO

It’s not uncommon to see couples smooching or people posing like mermaids for their Instagrams among the rocks dotting the water at la Caletilla. The beach is tiny, but oh-so-romantic, and happens to be right below picturesque Balcón de Europa.

Playa la Caletilla
Playa la Caletilla. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Playa la Caletilla views
Playa la Caletilla views. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Playa El Salon

Playa el Salon is the most beautiful beach in Nerja in our opinion. Located on the west side of Balcón de Europa, Playa el Salon our favorite because it’s a beautiful little bay with white sand and calm, gently rippling aqua blue waters. The beach is framed by picturesque rocks on either side and there’s also a pretty view of the small peninsula on the west side.

Walking down to el Salon is a pleasure because it’s the same route to go to El Salón which is on the way, but just a few steps further. Playa el Salon is medium-sized so it’s great for groups and feels slightly less busy than the more popular beaches like Playa Calahonda and Burriana. The chill vibe is most likely why Playa el Salon is our favorite beach in town, and it’s also impossible to get over how beautiful it is the entire time that you’re there.

Playa el Salon
Playa el Salon. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Playa el Salon
Playa el Salon. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Playa el Salon
Playa el Salon. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Eat at Restaurante Rey Alfonso  

Pl. Balcón de Europa, 0, 29780 Nerja, Málaga, Spain

There’s one restaurant in town that offers truly 360-degree panoramic ocean views, and that’s Restaurante Rey Alfonso. The restaurant is literally carved into the rocks beneath Balcón de Europa, and this location is what makes the views so spectacular. To get to the restaurant, you must walk down a discreet staircase on the right side of Balcón de Europa. As soon as you enter, you’ll see that the restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows and no walls which encircle the entire restaurant. There’s nothing but views on views of the pretty blue ocean to feast your eyes on while you eat.

Restaurante Rey Alfonso is a typical Spanish restaurant which has all the crowd-pleasing tapas and dishes which everyone craves: croquetas, ensaladilla rusa, gambas al ajillo and calamares. Of course, it wouldn’t be a typical Spanish restaurant without a full bar that serves tinto de verano by the pitcher and hefty gin and tonics however you like them. Everyone needs to dine at least once at Restaurante Rey Alfonso while in Nerja for that time when you want the most impressive ocean views to go with your tapas.

Restaurante Rey Alfonso
Restaurante Rey Alfonso. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Restaurante Rey Alfonso ensaladilla rusa
Restaurante Rey Alfonso ensaladilla rusa. PHOTO NADIA CHO
Restaurante Rey Alfonso croquetas
Restaurante Rey Alfonso croquetas. PHOTO NADIA CHO

Shop for Resort wear on Calle Pintada

Calle Pintada

As you walk up and down Calle Pintada, the main thoroughfare that cuts through the historic center of Nerja, you can’t help but notice the endless shops selling loads of beach and resort wear. During your walk you’ll pass racks and racks of clothes, bags, accessories, swimwear and more set up on the street. While many touristic destinations have similar rows of shops selling beachwear and souvenirs and such, Nerja actually has a ton of great stores where you can get resort wear that’s cute and stylish for real.

Our favorite boutiques include La Galeria which has very chic, bold-printed dresses, kimonos and general resort wear which you won’t find anywhere else. And we also love La Casita de Sal which has a more high-end boho-chic collection of hats, clothes, bags and other accessories. Of course, there are tons of other shops all along Calle Pintada and connecting alleyways that specialize in bags, shoes and swimwear. There’s so much good shopping on the street that you could literally forget to pack a bag and just buy everything new while you’re there.

Party at Plaza Tutti Frutti

Whenever we asked around about what we should get up to at night, every single local pointed us to Plaza Tutti Frutti, aka Nerja’s one-and-only premiere party destination. It might be the only hub for nightlife in town, but do not underestimate it because this compact plaza lined with club bars gets lit on any warm weekend.

Nerja SPAIN
INSTAGRAM @analauphoto

Plaza Tutti Fruitti is located deeper in the newer part of town (away from the touristy Centro Historico), but still just a 10-minute walk away from Balcón de Europa. You’ll know when you’ve arrived when you see tons of strobe lights and people spilling out from the multiple terrazas that are lined up around the plaza. Any of the bars in the main plaza will have music bumping and liquor flowing. We had a great time at Pub Tamareo where it was packed with people dancing into the wee hours of the night. SE7EN is also a popular club destination for the later hours in the evening.

Going partying at Plaza Tutti Frutti is all part of the fun when staying in Nerja. It’s the place to be because you know that every hottie you saw at the beach earlier in the day will be out in the plaza at night, so don’t miss out on the fun!

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

As the empowered female behind the blog: International Women of Mystery, Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features on hidden gems and cool hotspots. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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