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Backed by the towering mountains of the Sierra Almijara on Spain's Costa del Sol, Nerja is the ultimate spot for sun and relaxation. This seaside town still feels like a quaint fishing village, with its whitewashed buildings topped with terracotta roofs lining the Plaza de España. Pick a table in the central, palm-trimmed Plaza Balcón de Europa with a glass of sangria in hand. Along the seafront, Nerja has 12 beaches ranging from small coves to long golden stretches, where travellers can swim and snorkel in the aquamarine waters.
Most Nerja hostels are a short walk from a beach and have views over the Alboran Sea. To top up your tan, stroll up to your hostel's roof terrace or lie back on a lounger next to a pool. Some hostels in Nerja have private rooms and balconies where you can sit and watch people go by. You can find hostels en-suite rooms too, while others have shared kitchens and common rooms.
Nerja is made up of winding streets punctuated with quaint squares, like the small Plaza Andalucía or the verdant orange tree-filled Plaza Cantarero. The town's main hub is just next to the Balcón de Europa: a viewing platform above the serene Playa de la Caletilla cove. Along the Nerja coastline, the town is grouped around its many beaches. Playa de Burriana is the biggest and most popular, with 800 metres of golden sand and a lively promenade lined with restaurants and bars.
There's plenty to satisfy adventure-lovers in Nerja. On Playa de Burriana, you can sign up for scuba diving lessons at the water sports centre or hire a kayak or jet-ski to explore the nearby coves. For terrific views of the Costa Del Sol, hike up the 1,508-metre El Cielo mountain in the Almijara Natural Park. Just on the outskirts of the town you'll find the Caves of Nerja, which cover 5km of underground caverns and where music concerts are regularly held.
From Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, 65km up the coast, you can hop on a bus or metro service to the city's main bus station, where you can catch a service going straight to Nerja. The journey should take no more than 1.5 hours and you'll be dropped near Plaza Cantarero, which is then a 15-minute walk from the centre. While Nerja has a few local buses and plenty of taxis, the whole town can be explored on foot.