Taking it Easy in Nerja, Spain

September 2015

During our recent road trip through Spain’s southern Andalusian region, we took a detour toward the Mediterranean and Spain’s famous stretch of sun-drenched (and often pale Northern Europeans packed!) coast, the Costa de Sol. We set our sights on the still touristy but quieter Old World charming resort town of Nerja for an overnight beach stay.

After a week of active “touristing” through palaces, parks, and the labyrinths of charming colorful Old Town streets, we took a lazier approach to our brief stay in Nerja by camping out on two shaded deck chairs by the rooftop pool of Hotel Puerta del Mar for the better part of the afternoon to do some reading (I’m working on a goal of 12,500 pages for 2015!) and snoozing.

After restoring ourselves by the pool and charging up the camera, we ventured out to wander through the whitewashed buildings along Calle Hernando de Carabeo and admire the miles of coastline and sea views from the bluff of the cheekily named Balcony of Europe while making a scoop of the most amazing snickers ice-cream from the local favorite and family-run El Valenciano Helados quickly disappear.

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Wanting to dip our toes in the water and enjoy dinner beachside, we made the twenty minute cliff top trek east to Playa Burriana passing through the smaller sandy stretches of Playa Calahonda, Playa Carabeo, and Playa Carabello. Given that it was late September just after sunset, the water was a bit bracing upon first approach but for this native Californian it felt like being back at the beach in San Diego. The biggest misconception about southern California’s stretch of the Pacific Ocean for out-of-towners is that the water is warm like the Gulf of Mexico, if only!

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Along Playa Burriana lies a number of outdoor beachside restaurants with huge open-pit barbecues grilling up the most succulent meat, seafood, and vegetables. We settled in at an ocean-view table at Montemar for a bottle of fantastic house red wine, Caesar salad, mixed barbecue platter, and fresh garlic aioli stuffed jacket potatoes. Without a doubt, it was one of our most favorite and memorable meals of the trip! Looking back at all the truly delicious fare we enjoyed in southern Spain as well as our previous trip to northern Spain’s Basque city of San Sebastian aka the delicious land of pinxtos, I would have to say Spain collectively has the best cuisine we have eaten anywhere thus far in our European travels.

Our bellies full and our heads dizzy with wine, we made the at-times arduous journey back to the hotel stopping for one last glass of wine along one of the main pedestrian streets to people watch and soak up the energy of the streets before calling it a good night. For a quick overnight or weekend seaside getaway, Nerja is a perfect choice!

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*We unfortunately arrived in Nerja after lunch time so disappointingly couldn’t partake in the famous €6.50 beach-side all-you-can-eat paella feast at Ayo’s on Burriana Beach. Only served from noon until mid-afternoon, make sure you grab one of the hundred beachside tables in the shade along with a jug of sangria and be sure to let us know what we missed!

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