While working out of Malaga for a month, I wanted to do as many day trips as I could. An easy day trip is to Nerja, a beautiful town on the coast popular among foreigners (especially pensioners). The bus from Malaga to Nerja is easy and cheap to book through Alsa.es and the direct bus takes less than an hour. Sara and I caught a bus at 8am from Malaga which means we arrived in Nerja at 9am, before tourist information and many of the shops had even opened. It was a great time to visit the Balcon de Europa, one of Nerja’s most popular attractions, as it was free of crowds and we could enjoy the spectacular views in peace.
The Balcon de Europa in in the center of Nerja’s old town and seems to be where a lot of Nerja’s activities occur. The name, Balcon de Europa, is believed to have come from King Alfonso XII who apparently was so captivated by the views in 1885 that he called it the Balcony of Europe. There is a statue of King Alfonso XII on the balcony to commemorate this story, even though the story is highly suspect.
The area around the Balcon de Europa was originally known as La Bateria due to the fortified tower and gun battery which stood there before being destroyed in the Peninsular War. There are two rusty cannons at the end of the Balcon as reminders of to the area’s violent past.
As part of our day trip to Nerja, Sara and I planned to check out Frigiliana by bus. Frigiliana is only 6km or so from Nerja and is known for its white houses built up into the hills. The bus is only 1€ but it’s apparently also quite cheap to get there by taxi or free if you’re willing to walk.
Upon arrival in Frigiliana we walked to the tourist information and inquired about hikes in the area. Tourist information recommended a walk to Fuente del Esparto which is a 6.3km, 3 hour walk to a dry well.
Prior to setting out on our walk we explored the beautiful streets of Frigiliana, admiring the ceramics and other souvenirs, and purchasing water for our walk.
The walk starts on the East side of Frigiliana down the towards Rio Higueron. It is a short walk from the bus station and the access road can be seen in the lower right of the below photo.
After walking along the Rio Higueron for some time we came across a sign indicating the hike to Fuente del Esparto also connected to a trail leading back to Nerja. Although we had planned to do a round-trip hike and return to Nerja by bus, we decided we’d walk all the way back to Nerja and save our 1€ bus fare. The hike we did is essentially the one shown below, except that we had took the bus from Nerja to Frigiliana which thankfully removed some of the vertical.
While hiking, we followed the sign posts for the GR-249, which I later discovered are markers for La Gran Senda de Malaga (The Great Malaga Path) which is a 656km circuit through Andalucia. The trail we walked was in great shape and I would tackle more sections of the trail one day.
The hike offered us spectacular views but was also much longer than we had planned. The sun was hot, even in March, and the 2 liters of water we carried was barely enough. I would definitely suggest being better prepared and organized than we were if you plan to set out on a long hike as Andalucia can be very hot and dry.
On the final walk from Maro to Nerja on the highway, we also passed the Eagle Aqueduct. Although it is nowhere near as spectacular as Segovia’s aqueduct, it is still a pretty sight. The Eagle Aqueduct was built in the 19th century to supply water to the San Joaquin sugar factory on the outskirts of Nerja but was damaged during the Spanish Civil War. The aqueduct was recently restored but appeared to be plastered and painted which unfortunately takes away from the architectural beauty. It is cool to know that the aqueduct is still in use though, supplying water to irrigate local farms.
We returned to Nerja sweaty and tired but really enjoyed the hike and our day. March was a perfect time to go hiking in the Sierra de Almijara but I would definitely caution people in being prepared for the heat of summer with plenty of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Nerja and Frigiliana are an easy day trip from Malaga by bus and I am happy I had the opportunity to visit the area. Hopefully in the future I will have the chance to conquer more of the GR-249 trail!