Nerja, pronounced Nair-ha, is a popular seaside resort on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Almijara Mountains, it has avoided the endless high-rise architecture of other resorts and remains at heart a Spanish working town. With mild winters and hot sunny summers it is popular all year-round. It is a favoured holiday destination with Spanish families as well as Europeans which gives it a village community atmosphere. Those looking for discos and wild parties will probably prefer to stay elsewhere!

Nerja's old town runs down the hillside in a gentle gradient to the old fishing port. It has narrow pedestrianised streets and local whitewashed houses clustered around the 17thcentury church. Nerja also has a more modern, developed side beyond the Plaza Cabana. The Balcon de Europe is a pleasant promenade built on the headland to give spectacular views of the coastline and the mountain backdrop. This is the place to head for to join in local fiestas, such as the Virgen Del Carmen festival in July and the New Year's Eve celebrations.

Getting to Nerja is easy. The nearest airport is Malaga Airport, approximately 70km west along the coast. There are bus connections to Nerja but many visitors choose to rent a car in order to explore this lovely area. The caves of Nerja are an interesting place to visit and the impressive 19thcentury aqueduct, Eagle's Bridge, which spans the river valley can be seen along the way. The Rio Chillar Waterfall is a scenic local beauty spot and there is a Sunday Market close by. Frigiliana is a charming local Andalucian village nearby which is decorated with painted tiles. Further afield are the splendid Alhambra and the historic city of Grenada.

Most visitors choose to stay in Nerja for its 13km of gorgeous beaches. The Playa Burriana has a Blue Flag Award for clean waters and is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, diving and watersports. With excellent restaurants, markets and beautiful walks in the surrounding hills it is an excellent base for those wanting to enjoy the "real" Spain.

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