Why Nerja should be your next holiday destination
Is your holiday season coming soon yet you still have no idea where to go and have fun with your family? Well, choosing a holiday destination is never a walk in the park unless you have very compelling reasons why you would want to go to a particular place. Today we want to share with you a review and historical check of Nerja, a place with charming resources which might just nullify all your previous options to make it your preferred destination.
How was the town founded?
Nerja is a fantastic tourist destination located on the Costa del Sol (translated as sunny coast) in the Malaga province, south of Spain. The town’s past is coloured by exciting historical events that are partly evidenced by the Nerja primitive cave paintings and the three Roman settlements whose remains are still there for anyone to see.
After the battle of Guadelete in AD 711, the Moors (Muslim in inhabitants of the Maghreb during the middle ages) took over the place and named it Narixa which loosely translates to an abundant spring. At this time, the area realised exponential economic growth as the textile sector grew more vibrant, absorbing well over 13,000 employees. This perhaps explains why the invaders gave it a name referring to an abundant spring.
The arrival of the Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs arrived here in 1487, conquered Malaga and disrupted the peace that the area had enjoyed over the years. Well, for some time, the subdued Muslim community continued to co-exist with the Jews and Christians until a decree was issued requiring all other religious groups to either convert to Christianity or move away from the Kingdom.
It is believed that the beach El Salon was given this name because this was the place where the hundreds of Jews repeatedly used the word Shalom (meaning peace) as they parted ways following the Catholic persecution.
The decree came as hard teaching, and as a result, hordes of uncompromising Muslim families also fled abandoning the only places they had called home for years. The mass exodus left Nerja with very few inhabitants and sensing this vacuum, the Galicians, Asturians and Valencians from northern Spain moved and settled in the area.
As expected, the Moors were not going willing to go down without a fight, and for some time, the threat of an Islamic backlash continued to linger above Nerja. This concern got so intense that the most inhabitants got fully armed and canons were fixed at the now Balcon de Europa (Torre de los Gurdas).
After the 1567 Islamic rebellion in Competa, relative calm set in and the town got back to its recovery path. All the same, the possibility of pirate attacks continued to haunt the town prompting the erection of defensive towers which still stand tall to date. These towers were meant to help in spotting pirates before they got too close.
The turn of events in the 19th century
Economically, Nerja began to thrive, paving the way for the erection of several landmarks. For instance, in 1591, Spain built its first sugar factory. Over 100 years later (in 1697) the Church of El Salvador’s initial phase was completed, and in 1720 the construction of chapel Ermita de las Angustias also came to completion.
The beginning of the 19th century (January 1, 1801, to December 31, 1900) and the shift in the Spanish political dispensation opened a new chapter of development in the town. Most older buildings were renovated, the streets were extensively repaired, and main structures like the Church of El Salvador were significantly improved. More to this, the agricultural sector also received more attention giving way to efficient farming and attractive yields.
Given the vital role of infrastructure, road construction was given priority, and as a result, roads were built linking Nerja to Almeria and Malaga. The community was much delighted by this move because it brought amazing economic benefits to the town’s business and farming population. So far, the area had approximately 8000 inhabitants.
The town as it is today
More recently, sugar cane production has been on the decline as farmers turn their interest to the new and more profitable cash crops like;
The ruins of Nerja’s legendary sugar factory now languishes on the eastern edge of the town, as tourism entirely takes over as the town’s primary industry.
For example, in the summer tourists flock to the area, swelling the population many times over. Generally, Nerja is a town that rises from the coast at mean sea level up a rather steep hill into mountainous realm. Many cars can be seen lining its narrow streets although there are two major car parks that reserve space for any traffic overflows. Some of the roads are only meant for pedestrians, while others are just one way.
Do you usually struggle finding your bearings in a new place? Well, while here, that won’t be a problem because it is a small area whose shops and streets you can master in a single tour.
The town also boasts several beautiful beaches that spread into bays under overlooking cliffs. And if you are an enthusiastic walker, then the neighbouring Sierra Tejeda, Sierra Almijara and the Sierra de Burno hilly terrain will serve you well.
What is there to do in Nerja?
Nerja Historic Centre
As opposed to the classic modern resorts in and around town, the Nerja historic centre presents you with beautiful streets lining traditional Andalusian buildings. This part of town gives you an impression of a unique village in its own right.
Balcón de Europa
The Balcony of Europe is a fascinating viewpoint built on a rock above the beach. It was initially used to spot and ward off sea pirates and from this point, you can capture a rare panoramic view along the coast to La Herradura. If your schedule allows, you can remain here, walking to the nearby beaches, basking and enjoying sea activities most of the day.
The Nerja Caves
Your trip to Nerja wouldn’t be complete without making a tour through these caves. This is a series of caverns that go for about three miles (five kilometres) displaying stalactites and stalagmites in their bizarre forms. By the way, these caves host the world’s largest stalagmite.
Water sports in Nerja
The place also has a lot to offer for those who are more fascinated with water sports and related activities. You can do everything ranging from snorkelling, water-skiing, knee boarding, interacting with dolphins, boat charters, kayaks and inflatable rides.
Where to shop and eat
The other essential amenities include,
- 400 restaurants, cafes and bars
- Five supermarkets
- Several mini-marts in different parts of the town.
Owing to Nerja’s resourcefulness, the list of places and the things you can do is relatively long. That is probably the reason why you would want to settle for this as your next holiday destination.