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Unmissable Beaches in Nerja – A Guide

The town of Nerja, Spain is located a 50-minute drive from Malaga. It is an extremely popular tourist town for Northern Europeans and Spaniards. Its quaint small-town feel is home to 35,000 year-round residents. With incredible restaurants and excellent hotels, Nerja is a foodie paradise. With many of the ingredients local to the region, Nerja’s culinary scene improves with each year. And dotted around the coastline of Nerja are some of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol

For such a small town, Nerja Spain has an extraordinary amount of excellent beaches. This coastal town in Southern Spain is dotted with quaint little coves and sandy beaches. Visitors will be spoiled for choice when it comes to sunning themselves and plunging in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean Sea. During the height of the summer months, the beaches get busier and those with cars should plan on arriving early to claim a parking space. But with such a variety of beautiful beaches in Nerja, there will be a sandy beach for everyone. 

Burriana Beach Nerja (Playa Burriana)

Burriana beach is a beautiful beach for a number of reasons. It’s the longest sandy beach in Nerja being almost a kilometre in length. Lined with some of the best restaurants in Nerja, you can also find the usual seaside shops selling snorkels and towels. It is one of the best sandy beaches in Nerja. 

For beachgoers who love to be active, Burriana beach has two volleyball courts, kayak and paddleboard rental and jet ski rental. The popular kayak tour departs hourly and an adult ticket costs €20, the tour is 2.5hrs in length. The kayak tour visits Cerro Gordo, a waterfall and the cliffs of Maro. Verano Azul was a popular Spanish TV show that was filmed during the 70s in Nerja and the kayak tour visits some of the filming sites. 

Sun loungers dot the beach and generally cost €5 per bed. Depending on the section of the beach they typically include the umbrella in the price. It’s worth noting that some places offer drinks service to the sun loungers. There is a lifeguard tower during the summer months. There are usually free showers placed all across the beach so you can wash off the sand and salt before heading for a sundowner at the many bars and restaurants by the beach.

Photo by Dominik Sostmann on Unsplash

Eating & Sleeping at Burriana Beach

Burriana beach has the best selection of restaurants to choose from of all the beaches. The most famous restaurant on the beach is the Chiringuito Ayos. What makes Ayos so famous is their paella. Getting a table in this restaurant during the afternoons can be difficult, but if you arrive between 12.30 and 2 pm you can easily get a table. The paella in Ayo’s is incredible, but it’s not only the taste but the free refills you get afterwards that make this experience even better! For visitors looking for the best paella in Nerja, then look no further than Ayos. 

For early risers, a lot of the restaurants on the beach start operating from 9 am onwards and you can find some of the best breakfasts in Nerja on the Burriana beach. Unfortunately due to the Pandemic, a lot of places that were regulars on the beach have now shut down and new restaurants have taken their place. The beach has a variety of ice-cream parlours, tapas restaurants and beach bars. It can be hard to leave the Burriana beach as it offers so much for its visitors.

Staying near Burriana beach is easy as there are so many aparthotels in Nerja, and this section of the beach has plenty of accommodation choices. Guests staying in the Parador de Nerja hotel can make excellent use of the elevator which provides guests with direct access to the beach and hotel. For such a large beach there is not a lot of parking available, so do make sure you arrive very early if you are coming by car. 

Calahonda Beach Nerja (Playa Calahonda)

Located right beside the Balcon de Europa, the Calahonda Beach is a favourite for those staying in the centre of town. Its direct access from the Balcon de Europa makes this beach very popular during the high season. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent for the day and cost €5 per sun lounger. There is ample room on this beach and due to its proximity to the centre of town, you can easily do some shopping and grab food at the nearby restaurants before accessing the beach via the Balcon de Europa.

To access this beach, there is a small archway and a large walkway down to the beach. It is not wheelchair friendly. Playa Calahonda is a wonderful beach and has some of the best sunsets in town. It’s the perfect beach to spend an afternoon on after walking around the town of Nerja and exploring.

Carabeo beach (Playa Carabeo)

Only if you happened to be walking along the pedestrianised Carabeo street would you stumble upon this small beach. Parking is available in the enormous town parking lot, a stone’s throw away. Carabeo Beach is perfect for those who love an uncomplicated beach.

There are no sun loungers here, nor restaurants. It’s simply sand and crystal clear sea. The simplicity of this beach is not to be understated, it’s beautiful and surrounded by high cliffs which make it feel very private and sheltered. Walking back up the stairs of the beach, you can easily walk 500m into Nerja town and have lunch or grab snacks to bring back to the beach. 

Playa la Caletilla 

Playa el Salon

Playa la Caletilla is located on the other side of the Balcon de Europa. A smaller beach, Playa el Salón is right next to it and visitors used to be able to walk from one beach to the next and around the Balcon headland to Calahonda. Due to coastal erosion and rockfall that is no longer possible. Playa el Salón is only now accessible via the Hotel Balcon de Europa.

Playa la Caletilla can be accessed by walking down a steep hill and has a small shop for drinks and snacks. There are facilities such as showers and you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas. Lined with quaint fisherman’s huts which have now been transformed into summer accommodation, Playa la Caletilla is a large beach in the heart of Nerja town. While there are no restaurants on the beach, a quick stroll back up the hill will give visitors many restaurants and cafes to choose from. 

Beaches near Nerja

Maro Beach Nerja {Playa de Maro}

Maro is technically the next town over, but its beach is quite different to that of Nerja’s most famous Burriana beach. Playa de Maro makes an excellent spot for those wanting a beach to snorkel, with its crystal clear waters and excellent visibility. The water at Maro beach is very calm and there is a large number of sea creatures to be discovered in these waters. Kayak rental is available on the beach and is worth experiencing the waterfalls off the cliffs of Maro. Kayak rental starts at €8 per hour. 

Playa de Maro offers a smaller selection of sun loungers and umbrellas. There is a small parking lot but you will probably end up parking on the side of the road that leads to the beach. It is possible to travel by bus from Nerja, visitors will need to walk through the town of Maro and down to the coast. 

If you are looking for a quieter beach that offers excellent snorkelling and water-based activities then Playa de Maro is the beach for you. 

Maro Beach Photo by Dominik Sostmann on Unsplash

Canūelo Beach

Canūelo is a secret beach that tourists rarely venture to. Technically not in Nerja, this beach is fantastic thanks to its location. Accessible by car, you can park at the top of a large steep hill. A small shuttle bus (€2) will bring you down to the beach. The beach is a stoney at parts and sea shoes are recommended when visiting. There is a small section of sun loungers and umbrellas available to rent. It is the restaurant, Chiringuito Las Piedras, that draws a lot of visitors and for good reason. Some of the freshest fish is served here, with locally produced olive oils and wines. Reservations are needed during the high season. Excellent snorkelling is recommended and for those who scuba, there are sea caves that can be explored. Canūelo is a magnificent beach and worth visiting for the excellent restaurant – Chiringuito Las Piedras. 

Nerja Beaches Map

Beaches of Nerja

Nerja is fortunate to be blessed with so many fantastic beaches in its vicinity. Most of the beaches are located in the centre of Nerja and do not need any additional forms of transport to access them. If you are planning on staying in Nerja town, you will have many beaches within walkable distance. Whichever beach in Nerja you end up visiting, it’s sure to be memorable when exploring some of the best beaches in the Costa del Sol.

Missy Cahill

Travels with Missy will guide you on trips around the world with a book in each hand. With a focus on Mid-Range travel and budgets, discover suggestions for countries all around the world and excellent book recommendations.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Jill

    I can’t believe how many beach options there are near Nerja! The only beach in southern Spain so far that I’ve had the chance to visit is Cadiz, and I would love to explore more! The blue water against the cliffs look absolutely stunning in your photos. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Lita

    I haven’t been to Nerja yet, but boy do I know where to go if I ever visit. This is such a great guide to the beaches there. I love all the details about each one and the map is so handy!

    1. Missy Cahill

      It definitely depends on the time of year, but the water can absolutely be crystal clear!

  3. Josy A

    These all look fabulous Missy! Nerja has some beautiful beaches and that water looks so, so inviting! I am most tempted by Chiringuito Las Piedras at Canūelo beach – that sounds like the perfect place to spend the day relaxing and eating tasty food!

    1. Missy Cahill

      It’s so yummy! If you ever get the chance, you won’t regret a day filled with yummy food and relaxing beachiness!

  4. Jenn

    Stunningly beautiful beaches on Spain’s Costa Del Sol – now I’m sad that I didn’t see Nerja when I was in Malaga! And snorkeling! I will have to return to try that.

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