Summer has officially hit Seattle, and I’m just now getting caught up on my Spain springtime travels (sorry!); with a last weekend beach getaway to Nerja and a drive up and down the Costa del Sol and Costa Tropical. I’ve heard of Nerja long before I stepped foot in Spain and knew I had to take advantage of my close proximity to this beachy and beautiful pueblo blanco (white village).
Beautiful Nerja, Spain
We set off on the road right after work with no plan whatsoever, a last-minute car picnic strewn across our laps, and a blind reliance on the GPS guiding us down the curvy coastal highway through hedonistic Marbella and the transportation-hub of Malaga.
There’s no better feeling than escaping the city and heading to new places, though Nerja is not new in the least. It was discovered long ago (try 25,000 BC!) by cave-dwellers who inhabited the caves of Nerja on and off through the Bronze Age. We made a stop by the caves—which are fascinating—marveling at the jagged carvings of marble rock, climbing into what felt like the deepest pockets of the Earth.
In the Caves of Nerja
When we weren’t partaking in Indian Jones-esque adventures, we spent our time sunbathing on the many beautiful beaches of Nerja—a truly relaxing mini vay-cay. Though the sand is gray and a bit rocky, you can’t beat the scenery: palm trees, white-washed barrios, and cafe upon cafe of thirsty sun-revelers sucking down Coronitas and scarfing down paella.
Paella, if you’re unfamiliar, is a classic Spanish (but more accurately, Valenciana) dish reigning from the region of Valencia on the east coast of Spain. It’s a rustic dish composed of rice, seafood, meat or a combo of both, saffron, olive oil, paprika, vegetables and more. It’s not authentic unless it’s cooked over an open-fire and eaten directly out of the paellera (pan). With prawns in their full armored Spanish glory (legs, head, tails still attached!), mussels (which I’m not a huge fan of) and other mariscos staring up at me from my plate, I felt a bit apprehensive before my first bite, and unfortunately it was for good reason! I much prefer homemade paella, but then again, we suspect we were the victims of a tourist trap, low-quality, high-price restaurant.
Balcon de Europa, Nerja
On the bright side, we viewed not one, but two beautiful brides entering the church across the plaza comfortably from our table that day. Nerja is idyllic in this sense that romance is oozing out of it…it’s easy to see why everyone who’s been here holds this charming seaside town in high regard.
Nerja makes for a beautiful seaside escape, and is a popular destination for European travelers. Many Spanish families escape the suffocating heat of the center of Spain, or the cooler north and own vacation homes here on the Costa Tropical. I recommend visiting anytime from May-September.