Nerja, the balcony of Europe.

Nerja, the ancient Arabic Naricha, is barely 50 kilometres to the east ofMálaga heading towards Almeria. Coves and small bays, rocky peaks and breathtaking stretches of sand, such as the Buriana beach, unfold along 16 kilometres of shoreline. But Nerja’s international renown comes, not from its spectacular beaches, but from its caves that have been christened ‘the Prehistory Cathedral’. Inhabited during the Neolithic period, magnificent paintings and remains discovered there by archaeologists and palaeontologists have made them a historical milestone. Impressive halls over thirty metres high, such as the Cascade where music and dance spectacles are held, and giant stalactite and stalagmite formations shape the subterranean charm of this wonderfully preserved prehistoric gem.

In the town itself, every walkway leads to the same landmark – the famous vantage point that King Alfonso XII christened the balcony of Europe. From this wide esplanade, you can contemplate the deep blue Mediterranean Sea stretching to the horizon and, if you turn round, the mountains that form a backdrop to the town are arrayed in all their splendour, with the Cresta del Cielo, over 1,500 metres high, towering above the other peaks.

Seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings such as the Parochial Church, the Hermitage of the ‘Virgin de las Angustias’ and the Castle that dates back to 1509, are just some of the places worth visiting in this remarkably scenic area.

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